Everybody talks about the perfect summertime movie, or maybe it’s just studio publicity departments (where the son-in-law gets creative with the product), and this is it.
The fishing lodge isn’t there any more. “Took ten months to clean up the mess,” says the proprietor, who offers you something transient.
Widows are being robbed and even murdered. The loot is guarded by a she-gator in the ‘Glades like Fritz Lang’s gold.
Joe and Gus lead a dog’s life to be sure. Gus can’t eat a New York strip steak in a snotty Rod & Gun Club without walking in his sleep and blowing the place up. Joe can’t even smoke a victory cigar without hearing a lecture about it.
And even when they’re back home on the trashpile by the dirty river, they can’t dip their flies without that gator snappin’ at their rear ends.
The beauty of this truth is somehow complemented by a style of filming unsuited to contain it, it perfects the whole thing to see it handled on the fly (Avildsen reportedly was paid to walk) in light comedy style with orchestral nuances, etc. Gary Grubbs’ rendition of a boat salesman (a suburbanized Mr. Haney) has nary a fly visible.