The Deer Hunter – Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You

| May 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

Video note: For some reason, I can’t embed this video. You have to click through and watch it on YouTube. It’s worth the hassle.

The Deer Hunter is one of the defining movies of the Vietnam War era. It’s epic in scale and has some of the best actors of all time. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Casale and Meryl Streep. It is deeply disturbing, particularly the scenes in Vietnam, which were powerful, but criticized when the movie came out for the dramatic license that was employed by the writer/director, Michael Cimino. The use of Russian Roulette as a metaphor was not well received by many, particularly veterans.

The movie begins in a gritty steel town in Pennsylvania on the day one of a group of steelworker friends is to be married. They leave the factory and head straight for the bar and start drinking and playing pool. All the hugging, backslapping, joshing and ball-busting shows how much they love each other. We also learn that a few of them are bout to enter the military and head to Vietnam. Because they are Pennsylvania steelworkers, they are looking forward to the opportunity to fight the gooks for their country.

As they stand around with their pool cues and beers in hand, one of them goes to the juke box to play the song You’re Just Too Good to Be True, by the Four Seasons. As a viewer, you know these guys are about to enter the lower depths of Hell. They are experiencing their last moments of youthful innocence. And they begin to sing along with the song. The contrasting emotions you feel watching this are intense. They all belt out “I LOVE YOU BABY! AND IF IT’S QUITE ALRIGHT, I NEED YOU BABY!….”. We get an early peak at Christopher Walken’s awesome dance moves. The scene is played joyously, but you, the viewer, are deeply saddened because you know what’s coming. The scene ends with the groom’s mother, a Polish immigrant dressed as though in mourning all in black, marching up the street to the bar, bursting inside and dragging the drunken groom out into the street whacking him with some stick. The other guys laugh uproariously.

The scene sets the stage for what follows beautifully. A bunch of happy go lucky blue collar guys knocking back a few beers and looking forward to serving their country in an honorable cause.

Then things take a turn….


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