Sometimes a Great Notion
By Marshall Fine
Paul Newman, an American original, would seem to be the perfect choice
to direct a film adaptation of the second novel by another American
original--Ken Kesey. But Kesey's novel, written under the influence of
both LSD and growing fame, was a mishmash, and Newman's film can't rescue
it. It also seems strange to see the ultraliberal Newman starring as a
strike-busting logger who honors a contract on principle, rather than
observe union concerns, bringing all sorts of misery down on his family.
Henry Fonda is interesting as Newman's father, but the film never finds
its footing. One killer sequence, however: Richard Jaeckel, as Newman's
brother, trapped under a log in a river, slowly drowning despite Newman's
best efforts to save him.
Sometimes a Great Notion received Academy Awards
nominations for Supporting Actor (Richard Jaeckel) and Music Best Song
(Henry Mancini - Music, Alan Bergman - Lyrics, Marilyn Bergman - Lyrics).