Little Big Man

Director: Arthur Penn
Year Released: 1970
Rating: 2.0

... or, the History of the West According to Ken Russell. Idiotic story of Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman), a 120+ year old man who claims to have been a witness to the slaughter of the Indian tribes at the hands of the U.S. Troops, led by General Custer. By sheer strokes of fate he first winds up being raised as an Indian by the head of the Cheyenne tribe (Chief Dan George, very good, very deadpan), then quickly ends up back in the hands of the white man, then he goes back to the Indians, then to the whites, etc., all the while encountering various oddballs (Wild Bill Hickok, a nymph played by Faye Dunaway and a professional huckster played by Martin Balsam). It just goes back and forth, him trading sides, like a rolling stone. Where this leads I can hardly tell you, and I can't - for the life of me - make out what Arthur Penn's trying to say. That Custer was crazy and egomaniacal? That so were the Indians and their bizarre customs and ways? The mood in the picture shifts uncomfortably from melodrama (Crabb's wife and child get viciously killed) to comedy (Hoffman's ridiculous accent, his pathetic make-up job, Faye Dunaway, etc.), and the result is uneven, unsure of its self and also entirely too long.