By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on December 18, 2021)
Rancho Deluxe (Vinegar Syndrome)
This criminally underappreciated 1975 Frank Perry comedy-drama sports a marvelously droll original screenplay by novelist Thomas McGuane. Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterston star as modern-day cattle rustlers in Montana. Loose and episodic…just like life on the range, I’d reckon (with the odd bit of toking up and kinky sex tossed in just for giggles).
Wonderful ensemble work from a cast that includes Elizabeth Ashley, Slim Pickens, Clifton James, Charlene Dallas, Patti D’Arbanville, Richard Bright and the late great Harry Dean Stanton (memorable as a love-struck cow hand).
One of the “stars” of the film is Willam A. Fraker’s cinematography, which didn’t get its proper due on the lackluster MGM DVD released in 2000. Vinegar Syndrome’s transfer is a new 2K restoration taken from the 35mm interpostive, and it really makes those gorgeous “big sky” Montana locales pop. Extras include commentary by Nick Pinkerton, a new 20-minute interview with Bridges, and a 10-minute chat with McGuane.