From End of the Road, Aram Avakian, 1970.
The actors are Stacy Keach and James Earl Jones.
End of the Road is a fascinating motion picture, not just because it was cinematographer Willis' debut feature. John Barth, the author of the 1958 novel on which it is based, dislikes the movie expansively. Being a fan of the book I anticipated I might come to a similar assessment, if I ever saw it. Which was difficult for some time. It became available for viewing under the aegis of Steven Soderbergh, who also made a documentary about its making; the movie and the doc are available via Warner Home Video. As it happens, Road, while not a very good adaptation of Barth's book, is an engaging, sometimes mesmerizing, and ultimately affecting movie. In transposing the book's action from the early '50s to the then-present day, Avakian and his co-screenwriters Dennis McGuire and Terry Southern concoct an alienated counter-culture anti-parable. If Eustache's The Mother and the Whore depicted personal and romantic dysfunction in Paris as an emblem of the failure of May '68, Avakian's picture implies a sour elegy for the Woodstock Nation. And its imagery is unfailingly striking and beautiful. There are worse things you could do this weekend than to seek it out.