One of the more dramatic resurrections in recent cinema history has seen Peter Fonda bring back his debut film as director, The Hired Hand. A gorgeous and poetic meditation on fate, honor and life in the Old West, the film was basically abandoned by Universal at the time of its release, bastardized for a few network broadcasts and then all but forgotten.
“The Hired Hand” is the simple, lyrical story of Harry Collings (Fonda) and Arch Harris (Warren Oates), two men drifting out toward California. When trouble finds them in a small New Mexico town, Harry and Arch make their way back to the house Harry abandoned years before, and the wife, Hannah (Verna Bloom), who Harry also left behind. Tired of his aimless existence, Harry must learn to be a husband again, and Arch must decide where his path will finally lead him.
This was, simply put, one of the great lost films of the ’70s. But Fonda, who had spent a quarter-million dollars of his own money to get the film made, never gave up hope that it would one day find the audience it so deserves. Now, thanks to the advent of DVD and the efforts of Frank Mazzola, the orginal editor of the film, The Hired Hand has finally made its triumphant return. After screenings at festivals around the world, Sundance/Showtime has just released a lavish two-disc Collector’s Edition that will thrill fans of Fonda, ’70s cinema, Westerns and great movies in general.
Tim Merrill from Film Threat recently sat down with Fonda, Bloom and Mazzola for a round-table discussion about the long-awaited re-release of this wonderful film.
Get the interview in part two of PETER FONDA SHOWS HIS “HIRED HAND”>>>