Deliverance's inbred banjo boy


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It is one of the most captivating scenes ever created. A joyous moment that shifts almost to horror when song has finished and the boy shuts off completely. It’s like anything those city boys had in common with that river they are about to face just ended instantly. I love this movie.


Yeah, ain’t “redneck” stereotypes just the best!

That movie is pure American middle-class white-male classism. It’s bullshit on parade, built to make money from citified white suburban fear (of the rural white Other, and of the supposed pussification of one’s own masculinity).

On another note – so is the actor who plays these “inbred” characters actually inbred?


Thank you for your interest in my post. I disagree with your view of the movie. I believe it is the classic man against nature story. The “inbred” characters are not the primary force that is faced - it is the river. And the danger comes from the over confidence in one’s own masculinity as displayed by Burt Reynolds and the others who idolize him.

As far as sarcasm goes, I’m too old now to care. No time to swat Gadflies.


Good point, though I don’t think its relative insignificance in the story negates my reading. Overconfident masculinity is just one form of masculnity; Hemingway-esque “grace under pressure” becomes another form that the movie promotes, instead of Burt’s excessive macho confidence. It’s still about masculinity, and fear of its loss, all of which got properly addressed and rejected, appropriately enough, back around when Hemingway died.

That the “inbred” characters are not the primary force that the city guys face doesn’t mean that the movie’s classist stereotypes are okay. Those characters, and thus actual rural white Americans, get reduced to the subhuman level of another natural, “uncivilized” force that the anxious city guys struggle against.

Anyway, you’re clearly going to stick to your guns on this one and dismiss me as a Gadfly, so have fun, I guess.


I don’t know of any evidence that the actor is actually “inbred.” His facial features (at least as a child) are similar to those found in victims of fetal alcohol syndrome.

when song has finished and the boy shuts off completely.

He ‘shut off’ when the stranger blasphemed.

Redden gave “Deliverance Tours” along the Georgia river where the film was shot.

“And if you look to your left, you’ll see sodomy ridge.”

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Dang! Robin Williams isn’t looking so good! :wink:


I prefer Southern Comfort to Deliverance. Am I unusual?

Also, I don’t much like the title of this thread.


I was gonna say Bono, but Robin Williams is a good call.

And who actually played that banjo part? Eric Weisberg, New York musician. He and Marshall Brickman (writing partner of Woody Allen) released a breakthrough album of banjo picking featuring the new-at-that-time “melodic” banjo style, playing fiddle-like melodies note for note. They and Bill Keith modernized banjo playing. Northerners, all. (BTW, Eric appeared in a recent Viagra commercial set in a Nashville recording studio).


That movie has forever associated dueling banjos with unpleasant things for so many people. Being from Georgia with a southern accent (pronounced AX-SEE-INT), I’ve had it jokingly referenced more than once by people I’ve spoken to as I’ve traveled to northern and western states. I guess that’s better than squealing like a pig!


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I was with my friends Steve and Elaine, looking at CDs at a Circuit City (say, this was a while back!). I paused over Rhino’s “Appalachian Stomp” disk, and Elaine asked me what I was looking at.

“Well,” I said, “This looks like it has all the bluegrass pieces I ever felt like playing. It even has the Ballad of Jed Clampett. Here’s Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Orange Blossom Special, Rocky Top, Dueling Banjos…”

“That’s my brother,” she said. I looked confused, and she explained that her brother, Steve Mandell (not to be confused with her husband of the same first name), played guitar on the cut — for which he got [no byline and] not a lot of money.

After that, I just had to get it, and, to make a long story short— The End. Drive safely.

edited to set off the part on which I was corrected [I’d rather have put a line through it]


No byline? I had an audiocassette of music by Weissberg and Mandel that featured the track in question, and both names were listed prominently on the cover. Looked just like this:

Hmm. Maybe he didn’t get screen credit for it.

I stand corrected, and have awkwardly edited my comment to sort-of, kind-of, reflect that.

For a modern viewer, the strangest thing is that nobody is filming it with their phone.

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It’s Burt Reynolds, not Burt Reynold.

He was in Big Fish? Now i know how Miley learned how to twerk.