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Cast of “Deliverance” reunites at TCM Festival

There are so many good movies to see at the TCM Classic Film Festival, which wrapped its four-day run tonight, that you have to really plan your schedule carefully and leave yourself time to get to the venue, park and secure a seat.

I did none of that on Saturday morning.

Left my house in Silver Lake 15 minutes before the scheduled start of Deliverance which was screening in auditorium one of Chinese 6 instead of the larger Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

I arrived a few minutes late (thankfully no traffic on the 101!) and was escorted to the very back row of the theater where there were about five seats remaining which were then also quickly filled.

The movie had not yet started because sitting down front having an amazing discussion were its stars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty along with director John Boorman!

Burt, now a somewhat frail 77, displayed some of his trademark wit when asked what led him to want to do the classic film: ‘I just wanted a job.’

Then he added: ‘I thought it was the best script I had read. Unlike Mr. Voight, I don’t get these kinds of scripts all the time. I really wanted to do this.’

Ned Beatty, 75, tried to give his first answer but his microphone was not working properly. He cracked: ‘That was kinda sweet they gave me a microphone that didn’t do dick!”

He added: “Of course Burt was happy to get in a movie like this – it was a movie!”

Beatty, continuing what was becoming a stand-up routine then said: “They don’t give us a damned dime for coming to celebrate this movie. We’ve been celebrating for a year now and we haven’t seen a dime!”

At this point, directed Boorman interjected: “I cast Ned because he was angry. He walked into the interview and said,’I don’t want to be in your fucking film.’ He knew that role so well he couldn’t make a false note.”

Reynolds recalled the movie’s action shots in the rapids and he foolishly rejected the idea of using a stunt double or a dummy when it came time to go down a waterfall.

“I had this incredible ego at the time,” he said as the audience roared with laughter. “I had a cracked tailbone, a kidney got separated and a couple of other things got jarred, screwed up. A 34-year-old man went over the waterfall. … They looked down and found this nude 90-year-old guy.”

As the glorious panel discussion came to a close – it really was such a privilege to be there – both Voight and Reynolds reflected on the film’s longevity and what it means to them.

Said Voight: “It’s wonderful to see after so many years a full house coming in for appreciation for this work. I think the performances of (Burt and Ned) were extraordinary. I feel they were overlooked (for Oscars). We’re all very proud of this picture. After all of these years, I’m deeply proud to be in this picture and proud to be associated with these artists.”

Concluded Reynolds: “I’ve done 70 movies – don’t applaud unless you’ve seen them – and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve only been in one movie.”


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