Wild Rovers is the film that helped inspire S.O.B. roughly a decade later. Basically, MGM wanted a movie about generational cowboys and Edwards wanted to make a real movie. MGM seized the movie, recut it and slapped on a happy ending. The ending never made sense and the film is just now making a resurgence on the revival circuit. So, what happened?
The film had 40 minutes cut from it that allowed audiences to understand William Holden and Ryan O’ Neal’s bonding. In the theatrical cut, it seems that Holden just feels bad for O’ Neal after the younger guy gets shot in the leg. The duo doesn’t have enough cash or time to get the leg wound treated, so they march on trying to stay ahead of a posse. All the while, Ryan O’ Neal’s leg gets worse and we see him fall apart.
The ending is still pretty brutal, as Tom Skerritt and Joe Don Baker finally catch up to the duo. Given that one is an old man and the other one is a nearly dead guy on a stretcher, things go as well as you expect. Having seen this film on constant rotation as a little kid, I automatically associate standard-def video haze with the presentation.
While I still think the film needed a restoration, this presentation is killer. Warner Archive has another deep cut Western winner with Wild Rovers. I appreciate the sole special feature, but I wanted to know more about what got cut. Anyways, you’re never going to see Wild Rovers look better than this release.
Wild Rovers is available now!