Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alice's Restaurant (1969)

Alice's Restaurant is a american film adapted from a song by Arlo Guthrie. The song is Guthrie's most famous work, a talking blues based on a true story that began on Thanksgiving Day 1965. The movie reproduces the events of the song, in addition to other scenes.

The movie is directed and co-written by Arthur Penn and stars Guthrie as himself, Pat Quinn as Alice Brock and James Broderick as Ray Brock, with the real Alice Brock making a cameo appearance. In the scene where Ray and friends are installing insulation, she is wearing a brown turtleneck top and has her hair pulled into a ponytail. In the Thanksgiving dinner scene, she is wearing a bright pink blouse. In the wedding scene, she is wearing a Western-style dress.

Stockbridge police chief William Obanhein ("Officer Obie") played himself in the film version, explaining to Newsweek magazine that making himself look like a fool was preferable to having somebody else make him look like a fool.

The film also features the first credited film appearance of character actor M. Emmet Walsh, playing the Group W sergeant. (Walsh had previously appeared as an uncredited extra in Midnight Cowboy, released three months prior.) The film also features cameo appearances by American folksingers/songwriters Lee Hays (playing a reverend at an evangelical meeting) and Pete Seeger (playing himself).

The movie version of "Alice's Restaurant" was released on August 19, 1969, a few days after Guthrie appeared at the Woodstock Festival.

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