Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues

Overview

Years before Coma, Jurassic Park, and Twister made him a household name, Michael Crichton co-wrote this amiable drug-oriented comedy, based on a novel Crichton co-authored with his brother Douglas under the pen name Michael Douglas. Peter Robert F. Lyons is a shaggy but straightlaced Harvard law student who feels the need for some rebellion in his life and could use some extra money, so he takes up the offer of mid-level drug dealer John John Lithgow to ferry a load of marijuana from California back to Boston. En...
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Overview

Years before Coma, Jurassic Park, and Twister made him a household name, Michael Crichton co-wrote this amiable drug-oriented comedy, based on a novel Crichton co-authored with his brother Douglas under the pen name Michael Douglas. Peter Robert F. Lyons is a shaggy but straightlaced Harvard law student who feels the need for some rebellion in his life and could use some extra money, so he takes up the offer of mid-level drug dealer John John Lithgow to ferry a load of marijuana from California back to Boston. En route, Peter meets Susan Barbara Hershey, a comely hippie with whom he falls in love. Peter helps Susan avoid a drug bust and she decides to head back to Boston with him, but she finances the trip by arranging to bring back a stash of her own. At the airport, Susan runs afoul of Murphy Charles Durning, a crooked narcotics cop who steals half the pot and attempts to blackmail her. Dealing featured the screen debut of John Lithgow; Demond Wilson who later starred in Sanford and Son and musician Buzzy Linhart also appear.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This offbeat but engaging piece of work does a fine job of capturing the "New Hollywood" style of filmmaking that was so prominent during the early 1970's. The Paul Williams script, adapted from an early novel that Michael Crichton cowrote with his brother, is a surprisingly breezy affair given the subject matter. In "New Hollywood" style, it favors character over plot, places an accent on sly humor and takes a cynical view of institutions (whether it is students pontificating shamelessly in their dorms or cops pocketing dope while preaching law-and-order to the public, the script takes an equal opportunity approach to its satirical targets). As a director, Williams brings a smart, stylish approach to his script, giving his actors plenty of room to realize the story's episodic beats but also making effective use of pop music and jump-cut editing to lend it a little pizzazz. He also acquits himself nicely when the film demands a more setpiece-oriented approach during the film's third act, crafting a finale that builds tension while retaining the film's unorthodox, humorous mood. Robert Lyons offers a subtle but witty portrayal of the film's hero, essentially the counter-cultural version of an everyman, but the real scene-stealers are John Lithgow in a charismatic turn as Lyons' dope-dealing pal and Barbara Hershey, who turns in an earthy, alluring performance as the free spirit that Lyons falls in love with. There is also fine work from Charles Durning as the hypocritical cop who slowly loses his cool as he matches wits with the hero. All in all, Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues is a likeable little sleeper that is worth viewing for anyone who enjoys "New Hollywood"-style fare.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/4/2009
  • UPC: 883316195192
  • Original Release: 1972
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Time: 1:29:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 46,744

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Durning Murphy
Barbara Hershey Susan
Buzzy Linhart Buzzy
John Lithgow John
Robert F. Lyons Peter
Desmond Wilson Rupert
Joy Bang Sandra
Ellen Barber Annie
Gene Borkan Musty
Tom Harvey Captain Fry
Herbert Kerr Emir
Anitra Walsh Townie Girl
Ted Williams Receptionist
Paul Williams Barry
Technical Credits
Paul Williams Director, Screenwriter
Brian Beck Set Decoration/Design
Ken Brooke Makeup
Edward R. Brown Cinematographer
Gene Callahan Production Designer
Michael Crichton Screenwriter
Fred Gammon Asst. Director
Russell Heise Sound/Sound Designer
Sidney Katz Editor
David Odell Screenwriter
Edward R. Pressman Producer
Michael Small Score Composer
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