Friday, July 19, 2013


In W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings, Burt Reynolds plays W.W. Bright who has a personal vendetta against the S.O.S. company, so he rides around the country robbing those gas stations. With a little cash and a lot of con, he convinces the gas station attendants to give a false report to the police about what the robber looked like. Burt Reynolds is at the top of his game as a "good ole boy" with a bucket load of charm, and his on-screen charisma is what holds the movie together.

While almost getting caught during one robbery, he hides out inside a local dance hall. Burt ingratiates himself with the local band playing there, which features Conny Van Dyke (Dixie), Jerry Reed, and Don Williams. In a "put up or shut up moment", Burt convinces the band he can take them to Nashville and make them famous. When funds run short in Music City, Burt gets the band to help him rob another one of S.O.S.'s businesses, a bank. This plan goes awry and the gang flees to the rural country, where they hide out at the home of blues singer Furry Lewis. 

This is one movie that always makes me happy when I watch it. I don't know if it's Burt's charm, the presence of Jerry Reed, in his big screen debut, or sad sack Don Williams. Not to mention the great bits by Mel Tillis (as a gas station attendant) and Roni Stoneman (who plays the ticket taker at the dance hall). Something just has me grinning all through this movie. The only flaw in the film is Art Carney's role as a fundamentalist preacher, who is also a private detective trying to catch Burt. Carney did a fine acting job, it's just his character never rang true for me and seemed over the top (which is saying a lot, since the movie is filled with over the top characters). It's a shame that W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings is out of print, since it's such a great film, but it shows up now and then on cable TV or can be obtained easily on the "grey market".

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