Another iconic actor of the 1970s has passed away. On September 6, at the age of 82, Burt Reynolds died of a heart attack.
Reynolds started out in the theater and on television in the late 1950s. When he was cast in a lead role in Gunsmoke (1962-1965), Hollywood began to take notice. His breakthrough came with John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), which was both a commercial and a critical success. From then, he received top billing in many films.
Although Reynolds was a versatile actor, he was often cast as a he-man in action movies. The films for which he is remembered best, such as Robert Aldrich’s Smokey and the Bandit (1977), are full of car chases and gun fights. And he was good at it. Around 1980, he was at the height of his popularity.
In the late 1980s, when Reynolds’ physique began to show the signs of his age, he gradually moved to supporting roles. But for Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997) he received star billing again. His part as a director of adult films was much acclaimed and the film marked his comeback.
In the field of super 8, Burt Reynolds is not as ubiquitous as, say, Robert Redford or Gene Hackman. But there are some interesting titles around.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977) was released as both a digest and a two-parter by Universal 8. Piccolo Film released a German dubbed version in two parts, as Das ausgekochte Schlitzohr. A shorter version (66m/220ft) in black and white was released by Revue Film.
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) was released as a two-parter by Universal 8. Again, Piccolo Film released a German version in two parts, as Das ausgekochte Schlitzohr ist wieder auf Achse. The German version was edited differently than the American version.
The Longest Yard (1974), a sports comedy which was one of Burt Reynold’s most popular films, was available from Marketing Film International as a three-parter with English sound. The same company also released a digest. The German version Die Kampfmaschine was released by Marketing Film of Germany, also as a three-parter.
The western 100 Rifles (1969) was released by Ken Films as a digest. Inter-Pathé Film distributed the same digest with German sound, as 100 Gewehre.
My personal favorite is the Columbia Pictures cut-down of Shamus (1973), in which Reynolds can be seen as a private eye. In the Netherlands, this digest was distributed with Dutch subtitles. It is quite common here.
In an interview for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1983, Burt Reynolds said: “I know there have been a few pictures even my mother didn’t go see, but there’s always been an audience for them. I guess it is because they always know that I give it 100 percent, and good or bad, there’s going to be quite a lot of me in that picture. That’s what they’re looking for. I don’t have any pretensions about wanting to be Hamlet. I would just like to be the best Burt Reynolds around.”
Any of Burt Reynolds’s films we may have in stock can be found here.