Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Revisionist View of “The Reivers”: Novel into Film

Carl Rollyson
The Life of William Faulkner, volume 1 was published in March 2020 by the University of Virginia Press.  Volume 2 will appear on Faulkner’s birthday, September 25, 2020.

The Reivers (1962), William Faulkner’s final novel, casts a retrospective and ruminative eye on the history of Yoknapatawpha, his mythical county. Critics and biographers have called the book nostalgic, because in the mellow tones of a grandfather the narrator tells his grandchildren about the Mississippi of 1905, focusing in the main on a seemingly simpler era, when an automobile was a work of wonder, and when a trip from Jefferson (Faulkner's version of Oxford, his home town) to Memphis could seem like an epic adventure.

In the novel, Lucius Priest (the grandfather) recounts the time he and Boon Hogganbeck, a family retainer, become reivers (thieves) when they “borrowed” the Winton Flyer belonging to “Boss” Priest (Lucius's grandfather) and set off for the big city, where Boon could visit Miss Corrie in a Memphis cathouse, and introduce eleven-year-old Lucius to a world that (Boon assures him) Lucius will one day understand and avail himself of.

Even though Lucius has been brought up to be a gentleman, his escapade with Boon requires him to lie to his family about Boon’s scheme, a lie made possible by Boss Priest having taken the train to attend the funeral of his wife’s father, Lucius’s other grandfather. Boon is supposed to lock up the automobile and not use it while Boss is away. The meaning of “gentleman,” which involves taking responsibility for one’s actions and abiding by a code of honor, is developed in references to Yoknapatawpha history in the first chapters of the novel, in which descriptions of the Sutpens, the Compsons, the McCaslins, and all the county's important families impinge on Lucius’s consciousness. What he does, in other words, will be measured against what his forebears and predecessors have done. In effect, Lucius’s decision to lie, to leave home, is a declaration of independence, but it is also another act in the drama of his community's history. In effect, Lucius as “grandfather” is telling his children their history, showing how the individual has to understand it in order to come to terms with himself.

Calling The Reivers nostalgic and a summation of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha saga is understandable but also misleading since doing so suggests that the novel is not in the same class as his earlier and presumably greater novels. Indeed, in just this way many critics and biographers have discounted The Reivers, taking the narrator's relaxed tone as a sign of the author's more indulgent and less complex art.  This assumption, however, ignores the circumstances of the telling: a grandfather addressing his grandchildren. His narration is all about the chil’'s discovery of the adult world as told by an adult to his own kin who will, in turn, discover the world in their way. To confuse Faulkner with his narrator—no matter how many similarities between them can be assembled—is to wreck the fiction and to deny Lucius Priest his independent existence as a character.

Certainly the darker events of Faulkner’s earlier novels—the suicide of Quentin Compson, the castration of Joe Christmas, and revelations about the evils of slavery—are not explored. But their consequences are—especially in the figure of Ned McCaslin, Boss Priest's coachman, whom Lucius refers to as “our family skeleton.” Ned is a black man, born in 1860, who claims that his mother “had been the natural daughter of old Lucius Quintus Carothers himself,” the original progenitor of the clan.  In other words, Ned claims direct descent from a founding father, whereas Lucius’s line “were mere diminishing connections and hangers-on.”  To readers of Faulkner’s other novels— especially Go Down, Moses, which explores the McCaslin genealogy and the white family’s inextricable connections with the lives of the McCaslin slaves—Ned’s pride and self-assurance are all the more appreciated. When Ned stows away in the Winton Flyer because he, too, wants a trip to Memphis, Boon cannot gainsay his presence, even though as a white man (albeit with Indian ancestors) Boon ought to be able to master his so-called inferior in this highly segregated society.

Except that such segregation and racial distinctions keep breaking down and dissolving in the world of Faulkner’s fiction. Ned represents the novelist's deft way of showing that dissolution even in an adventure story in-tended to entertain children.  Compared to the wily Ned, Boon and Lucius are innocents abroad. Lucius has been rightly called a “motorized Huck Finn” (Inge, 91), and yet it is as if Faulkner takes “Nigger Jim” off the raft and puts him in control of the story that becomes The Reivers.

It is Ned who turns the seemingly simple road trip that Boon and Lucius have planned into a rococo plot that involves getting his kinsman, Bobo Beauchamp, out of trouble by trading the Winton Flyer for a racehorse, which Ned will then put up in a race against another horse, with the prize being the automobile and other winnings that will pay off Bobo’s debts and return the vehicle to Boss Priest. So devious and intricate is Ned’s strategy that it is not revealed until near the end of the novel, which becomes the denouement of a mystery of Ned’s devising. In fact, only after the race is won does Ned divulge to Boss Priest the intricate series of events and developments that neither Lucius nor Boon has been able to explain. Without Ned as the mastermind, the novel has no engine, no way to proceed or to resolve itself.

Because Lucius is telling the story, remembering his childhood even as he invokes his status as a grandfather, The Reivers has a double perspective: Lucius then, Lucius now; the world then, the world now. Although a good deal has changed since 1905, the moral values Lucius seeks to impart re-main the same and belong to the historical continuum that the novel itself enacts.

And Ned is the conduit of that continuum. He is forty-five years old in 1905, Lucius reports. And Ned will live to the age of seventy-four, “just living long enough for the fringe of hair embracing his bald skull to begin to turn gray, let alone white (it never did. I mean, his hair: turn white nor even gray. . . .).” (31)  Although Ned responds to change, represented by the automobile, he has no interest in driving it or learning about the new technology. And yet his very steadfastness in the midst of change, his knowledge of his own mind and his place in the world render him able to adapt to every new and unforeseeable situation on the ride to Memphis and in its aftermath. In short, he cannot be distracted by novelty or deflected from his purpose.

On the other hand, the slow-witted Boon (he failed the third grade twice) is impulsive, a man who acts in the moment without taking aim. His poor shooting is legendary. He is all id to Ned’s ego, with Lucius trying to manage his own inclinations and adhere to his upbringing while coping with the behavior of the shrewd black man born into slavery and the excitable white man saved from undoing himself by the grace of his gentlemen employers, beginning with old General Compson. Boon may be six-feet-four and weigh 240 pounds, but he has the “mentality of a child.” (18) He is a rough-hewn woodsman, with a “big ugly florid walnut-tough walnut-hard face.” (15)  This physical description suggests an impermeable quality in Boon, who cannot learn from experience as Lucius does, or profit from it as Ned can. Boon can drive the action forward, just as he drives the Winton flyer, but he cannot plot his adventures or predict their pitfalls.

A case in point is Boon’s confident belief that he can drive the automobile through Hell Creek bottom, a treacherous bog maintained that way by a farmer who makes his living dragging vehicles out of the mud.  Even though Boon paid the man two dollars the summer before to pull out the Winton Flyer, he thinks that this time, with Ned and Lucius helping, he can use block and tackle to move the car through the sludge. After several efforts that saturate Boon and Ned with muck, Boon pays the man with the mules two dollars per passenger to rescue them from the mire. This episode is a perfect example of Boon’s self-defeating actions, which tend to make his dilemmas worse than they were, to begin with. In short, Lucius’s up to now pristine existence, guided by the courtly examples of his father and grandfather, is enveloped in the mess Boon makes of his life.

Arriving in Memphis, the action shifts to the brothel, where Miss Reba is enchanted with Lucius’s manners, such a contrast to the conniving Otis, a young nephew Miss Corrie is trying to reform. Lucius is smitten with Miss Corrie, whom he describes as a “big girl. I don’t mean fat: just big, like Boon was big, but still a girl, young too, with dark hair and blue eyes and at first I thought her face was plain. But she came into the room already looking at me, and I knew it didn’t matter what her face was.” (99)  She may be a whore, but there is an innocence in her that Lucius connects with, and they quickly form a bond that leads to Lucius being cut by Otis’s knife in a fight that starts when Lucius strikes out at Otis for denigrating Miss Corrie. She, in turn, decides to reform herself in order to be worthy of Lucius’s devotion. Set against her sincerity is Mr. Binford’s cynicism. This head of the whorehouse turns a critical eye on Lucius and tries to corrupt him, offering beer even though Lucius steadfastly refuses the drink, announcing that he has promised his mother that he will not imbibe until he is of age.

The novel’s action shifts again when Ned shows up with a horse he has named Lightning, informing Boon that the Winton Flyer can only be re-covered by winning a horse race.  On the way to the race site, Ned, Boon, and Lucius encounter the sadistic deputy sheriff Butch Lovemaiden, who arrests Boon and Ned for possessing a horse that in fact is stolen property.  The price of their release, Butch informs them, is a night with Miss Corrie.  Seeing no way out, she complies and is later assaulted by Boon, who thus loses Lucius’s respect.

The novel’s exciting denouement centers on the horse race.  Ned admits to Lucius that he believes he can make their horse a winner (Lightning has lost races against his rival, Acheron), but the neck-and-neck heats in which the neophyte jockey Lucius rides make the result anything but certain. After their triumph, Ned explains that he has studied the psychology of his horse and discovered its liking for sardines, which Ned carries with him at the finish line in sight of the galloping Lightning.

In the novel’s coda, Lucius comes home for his punishment, but he is spared the beating his father is prepared to give him when Boss Priest intervenes, suggesting that it is punishment enough for Lucius to live with a sense of his transgressions. “A gentleman accepts the responsibilities of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences, even when he did not himself instigate them but only acquiesced to them, didn’t say No though he knew he should.” (295)  To the young Lucius, expecting corporal punishment, the psychological and moral burden his grandfather places on him seems overwhelming. But Boss tells him, “A gentleman can live through anything.” (295) And this is surely what Lucius, as narrator, is telling his grandchildren without actually saying so directly. Lucius has lived to tell the tale and is the better for it.

All along, Ned has been preparing Lucius for the moment when he will have to confront Boss.  Ned has known from the start that they could not get away with their adventure, or even just accept their punishment and be done with it. Instead, as in all of Faulkner’s fiction, the past is never past. It has to be borne and contended with as an inextricable part of a community and an individual’s history.

The Reivers (1969), a film directed by Mark Rydell, and starring Steve McQueen and Juano Hernandez, who played Lucas Beauchamp in the film adaptation of Intruder in the Dust (1950), was generally well-received by critics as a well-made family film. As Roger Ebert puts it, it was the kind of film that “neither insulted nor challenged the intelligence of any member of the family.” Ebert also notes, however, that the film does not “particularly carry a Faulkner flavor,” and is closer to Mark Twain because of its simplified adventure plot. ( Even so, most of the best lines in the screenplay are taken from Faulkner’s novel.  What the movie lacks is a narrative frame, even though it includes voice-over commentary by Burgess Meredith, which captures the memoir-like quality of The Reivers but cannot situate the significance of the story into the context of Yoknapatawpha history. Mitch Vogel deftly portrays Lucius’s innocent but growing awareness of the adult world. But the production is seriously flawed in its casting of two major characters, Boon Hogganbeck and Ned McCaslin, on which so much of the action and the morality of the novel pivots. McQueen, an actor with leading man looks who was more successful in dramatic roles, lacks Boon’s curious combination of crudity and sensitivity—more a failing of the role as written than of the performer. And Rupert Crosse is too manic to play the sly and deliberate Ned; the result is a caricature of one of Faulkner’s most fully realized characters.  But most of the remaining cast and the screenplay captures the essence of the novel’s minor characters, especially Charles Tyner as Edmonds, the owner of the Hell Creek bottom mud patch; Ruth White, playing Miss Reba, the brothel madam; Michael Constantine (Mr. Binford), who presides over the Memphis brothel; Juano Hernandez (Uncle Possum), Ned’s ally and Lucius’s refuge; Clifton James (Butch Lovemaiden), the mean deputy sheriff who covets Miss Corrie (Sharon Farrell), Boon’s beloved whore; and Will Geer as Boss Priest, Lucius’s grandfather, looking every inch the Southern gentleman.

The Reivers was shot in fourteen weeks almost entirely on location in Carrollton, Mississippi, “a time warp"” according to McQueen’s wife: “It was America still in the early 1900s” (Toffel, 206). Only the horse race was filmed on the Walt Disney ranch in Southern California. Steve McQueen seems to have had second thoughts almost immediately after agreeing to star in the picture. As his biographer Marc Eliot puts it, “Audiences wanted Steve,” the star of Bullitt and The Thomas Crown Affair, to be “the king of cool, not a sweaty southern country boy."” Moreover, McQueen was counting on William Wyler, one of the great Hollywood directors, who had filmed such classics as The Westerner (1940) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), to add depth and prestige to the film. But Wyler bowed out, and his replacement, Mark Rydell, dismayed McQueen, who knew the director from early work in television and did not like him.  Rydell was simply not in Wyler’s league. And indeed, the film does, in some respects, go for the easy comedy of a made-for-television movie, even though the screenwriters, Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., had successfully adapted parts of The Hamlet, “Spotted Horses,” and “Barn Burning” as The Long Hot Summer (1958), starring Paul Newman, and wrote Hud (1963), another of Newman’s best films. McQueen may well have thought their screenplay would do for him what it had accomplished for Newman.

McQueen’s doubts about his taller, six-foot-five co-star, Rupert Crosse, complicated the production further. Boon is supposed to be the big man in the story, not Ned McCaslin. Even worse, Crosse, an untested actor in his first big role, seemed to take too long to warm up to his part, going through several takes that tried McQueen’s patience. Boon is, in fact, a role for a great character actor—say Randy Quaid or Warren Oates—and there was simply no way for McQueen to lose himself in his part. According to Eliot, after one or two takes McQueen had nothing left to contribute to a sharper interpretation of his character. Even with such problems, The Reivers was nominated for two Academy Awards: Rupert Crosse as best supporting actor (the first black actor to be nominated in this category), and John Williams for the musical score. But in both categories the film lost: to Gig Young in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, and to Burt Bacharach for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidThe Reivers was a very modest success at the box office, and critics seemed unwilling to accept McQueen in an offbeat performance.

The film begins with shots of light glistening on a leaf and a boy in a boat fishing out on a calm lake, then introduces the dulcet voice of Burgess Meredith recalling life as a boy “a long time ago” in Jefferson, Mississippi, among a “pleasant and courteous people attending to our own business.” It is unimaginable that Faulkner could write such a sentence, so un-grounded in particulars.  Actually, the novel begins with grandfather de-scribing the outlandish Boon Hogganbeck and how he fits into the scheme of things in Jefferson.

Although filmed on location, the Southern setting seems generic, except for a black man picking cotton and a few shots of blacks tending garden plots beside small shacks. The action picks up with the arrival of the Winton Flyer by railcar, with the first shot of Boon and Ned standing next to one another full of anticipatory glee about the appearance of this new invention. In the novel, however, Ned never cares much for the vehicle and does not engage in the sort of bosom-buddy rivalry that the film sets up between him and Boon. What saves the film at this point is the closeup on McQueen’s face in a shot that reveals a dreamy, lovesick expression, a yearning for this shiny yellow conveyance that seems to transport Boon out of his everyday life and into the realm of fantasy. But then the film turns into farce as Ned wrests control of the automobile from Boon and goes off across town on a tear, thus destroying the carefully delineated differences between characters Faulkner drew.

Of course, film foreshortens a novel’s narrative, which provides context and background. Thus the film shifts quickly from Ned’s joy ride to Boss Priest’s departure from town, to Lucius’s lying to facilitate the unauthorized journey to Memphis. The highlight of the trip is their descent into Hell Creek bottom, with an amused Edmonds rocking on his porch just waiting for the moment when Boon will beg for his mule team to pull out the automobile. Several cutaway shots of Edmonds build on his smirk, which becomes full-throated laughter as Boon and Ned try to lever out the vehicle, splattered with mud from the spinning rear tires. The dialogue that ensues, as Edmonds brings up his team, is pure Faulkner and a classic of Southern humor. When Edmonds demands two dollars for each passenger, Boon tries to knock down the price by saying Ned is not white. The mules are color blind, Edmonds retorts.

The film includes some nice touches, such as Boon giving Miss Reba a hearty kiss when he enters the brothel, then turning to Lucius to tell him to make his manners—which includes executing a courtly bow. Meeting Miss Corrie, however, again spoils the scene, since she is not the big country girl turned whore of Faulkner’s novel, but an elegantly dressed, beautiful model who would not out of place in a Gilded Age painting. In short—except for the overdone makeup—she is not the girl who belongs to Faulkner’s Boon, although she is a looker who might well attract Steve McQueen. At the same time, Mr. Binford’s arrival at dinner and his quick, none too pleased glance at Lucius, signal a return to the atmosphere of Faulkner’s novel. When Lucius stands to make his manners and puts out his hand, Mr. Binford, absorbed in his dinner, eyes the boy and puts a plate of food in his hand, ignoring the courtesies Lucius had been brought up to observe.  When one of the girls arrives late to dinner, Mr. Binford rails about the “trouble with you bitches” who do not know how to act like ladies. A shocked Lucius bows his head. “Don’t you like it or can’t you get it,” Mr. Binford taunts Lucius, who refuses the offer of beer and is immune to Mr. Binford’s sophistries, as he argues that Boss and mother are not there and that Lucius is “on a tear” with Boon anyway. The ugli-ness of the scene is true to Faulkner, as Miss Reba objects to Mr. Bin-ford’s blunt language, and Mr. Binford tells her to “use your mouth to eat your supper with.”

Just as Lucius is learning his way around the whorehouse, Ned shows up outside and calls to Boon. Obviously drunk, Ned announces he has traded the automobile for a horse.  Ned would never behave this way in Faulkner's world because Ned is not reckless.  He calculates risk and does not go off on sprees. But in the film, he is made to appear the buffoon, and Boon becomes merely a comic character who upsets the evening in the brothel when he comes crashing down the stairs to confront Ned. Unlike the taciturn Ned of the novel, whose plans are divulged in a piecemeal, laconic manner, the movie’s boisterous Ned simply states that acquiring the horse—and ultimately winning a horse race along with the automobile—is the only way the group can exonerate themselves in Boss’s eyes. The Ned of the novel, on the other hand, knows that all he can do is ameliorate, not wipe out, the punishment for stealing the automobile.

The film veers back on course when Deputy Sheriff Butch Lovemaiden interrupts the progress to the race site. Clifton James plays Butch with just the right amount of easygoing menace, giving Miss Corrie the eye, and establishing his authority by sending Lucius to Uncle Possum’s melon patch to retrieve a melon and a salt shaker for Butch’s delectation. He is going to enjoy that melon the same way he will enjoy Miss Corrie. But this superb way of dramatizing character is spoiled because Butch be-comes brutal too quickly. He shoves Boon over—not an action that could occur in Faulkner’s novel, where Butch is more cunning and offensive, pushing Boon a little too hard, but not had enough to start a fight. Once again, the novelist’s subtle development of action is sacrificed for a broader, slapstick humor. Juano Hernandez saves the scene with a single line (taken from the novel). When Butch says Uncle Possum knows him, Hernandez replies so dryly that no one can miss the point: “Everyone knows you, Mr. Butch.” Uncle Possum is Ned’s ally, who has seen Lightning in action.

After this point, the action speeds up, centering on the horse race in a series of scenes that adhere closely to Faulkner’s novel. But there is a moment, when the horse race is presented in slow motion, which Burgess Meredith’s awe-struck, lilting voice announces as the film cuts between closeups of Lucius on the horse and the pounding of the horses on the track: “Carried on the back of Lightning, racing on a jet black shape, it took me completely.  Blood, skin, bowels, bones, and memory. I was no longer held fast on earth but free, fluid, part of the air and the sun, running my first race, a man-sized race, with people, grown people, more people than I could remember at one time before, watching me run it.  And so I had my moment of glory, that brief fleeting glory, which of itself cannot last, but while it does it’s the best game of all.” These lines are not in the novel, and yet they approach not only Faulknerian style, but the denouement of the film about a boy’s coming of age. If the film is not entirely faithful to the story the novelist conceived, this cinematic rendering en-compasses a moment that Faulkner might well have emphasized in his own screenplay of his novel. The rhythms and repetitions of the speech sum up not merely the style of The Reivers, but also of Faulkner stories about flying, leaving the earth, and attaining a brief kind of exaltation and apotheosis of what it means to be a striving, questing human being.

In the midst of the celebrations over the winning the horse race, Lucius looks up to see Boss Priest, whose authority is emphasized in a low angle shot making him seem statuesque in his uncompromising dignity. The stern moment is softened when Boss inquires of Lucius, “What happened to your hand?” But before Lucius can explain, Boss says, “Never mind. We can talk about it later.  I can see you are busy now.”  Lucius keeps glancing back at Boss, as members of the crowd lift the boy to their shoulders. The scene prepares, of course, for the reckoning back home, which occurs in a beautifully shot interior scene, in which Lucius’s father is seen to be about to whip him when a door is heard to open, and Boss comes down the steps. The dialogue is close to Faulkner’s own.  Again, the low angle shots—this time of Boss seated in a rocking chair scrutinizing a cowed Lucius—emphasize how much the boy has to answer for, which is more than a beating can possibly rectify, Boss has told Lucius’s father, Maury. The deep focus of the scene shows an ashamed Lucius, his back turned away from his grandfather, standing some eight feet away, confessing, “I been telling lies.”  Boss says dryly, “I’ve been aware of that.” But then he leans forward and opens his arms, telling Lucius to ‘come here,” thus proffering his understanding of the gentleman’s code exactly as Faulkner wrote it. Lucius may suffer his grandfather’s loss of respect and trust for “a while,” but not forever, Boss assures him—again with open arms, as Lucius runs to his grandfather’s embrace. Burgess Meredith’s voiceover, as in the speech about riding Lightning, admirably sums up the ethos of Faulkner’s novel, as Lucius remembers “my face against the stiff collar of his shirt, and I could smell him, the starch and the shaving lotion, and the chewing tobacco. And finally the faint smell of whiskey from the toddy which he took in bed every morning before he got up.”  As Will Geer, almost in tears himself, bids the crying boy to wash his face—as a gentleman always does—rocks back in his chair, it is hard not to believe that Boss, too, is remembering his youth and what it was like to break the rules and pay for breaking them.

Like the novel, the film wraps up loose ends.  Boon wants to make it right with Lucius, who is still offended because Boon hit Corrie. McQueen, playing Boon at his ingratiating best, informs the boy that he is going to marry Corrie. The scene plays well in cinematic terms because Lucius and Ned are seated in the automobile, which is, for once, not in motion, instead of serving as a resting point for the story as these reivers reckon with the consequences of their actions. Boon, standing by the right front fender, says Lucius will feel better a year from now when he visits Boon and Corrie and their new baby, name Lucius Priest McCaslin Hogganbeck. “Only name he could have,” Boon tells the beaming Lucius, who sighs with satisfaction as Boon cranks up the Winton Flyer.  Then the camera pulls back so that the automobile is shown to be on blocks, the wheels removed. Obviously Boss is taking no chances. The credits begin to roll as the three-some pretends to be setting off on another adventure.

The novel ends with a short scene between Miss Corrie and Lucius, after she has married Boon and had their child. Lucius looks at the child and remarks that it is just as ugly as Boon.  Lucius wants to know what she is going to call “it.” Not “it,” she replies, “Him. Can’t you guess?” Lucius asks “What?” “Lucius Priest Hogganbeck,” she announces, putting an end to the novel. Perhaps Faulkner’s ending is just as cute as the film’s, but it is a little more down-to-earth, emphasizing the impact Miss Corrie has had on Lucius. Her presence at the novel’s conclusion emphasizes the sense of responsibility, obligation, and respect that are reaffirmed for Lucius. The film, on the other hand, returns Lucius to the scene of the crime. Given the film’s emphasis on the adventure story aspect of the novel, this tack makes sense—if not exactly Faulkner’s sense.

The film of The Reivers, while sometimes capturing the mood and ethos of Faulkner’s novel, is nevertheless very much a Hollywood product, suiting plot and character elements to the star.  Darwin Porter recounts, “[T]o virtually everyone on the set, it soon became obvious that the movie’s plot was being too greatly altered from Faulkner’s original” (Porter, 324 ). Boon is an uncomfortable fit for Steve McQueen, although the actor has the physicality, ruggedness, and exuberance appropriate to playing Boon, and it was daring of the star to want to deviate from his glamorous tough-guy persona.

For his part, Mitch Vogel seems pitch perfect—an achievement which, in part, can be credited to McQueen who, according to Vogel, treated the young actor in a tender, avuncular way, just as Boon does Lucius in the film (Terrill, 286). Rupert Crosse played his role as written with superb grace and humor, but the character simply does not measure up to the subtleties of Faulkner’ s Ned McCaslin, a role that Morgan Freeman could play to perfection in a remake of the movie.

The Reivers is, as Penina Spiegel notes, a “lark of a film, happy and in-fused with warmth, a slice of bygone Americana . . . a film of youth tinged with sadness at the all-too-certain knowledge of its passing.” (Spiegel, 226) In this respect, the film captures a vital aspect of Faulkner’s novel, which is, after all, subtitled “A Reminiscence.”

Works Cited
Eliot, Marc. Steve McQueen: A Biography. Crown Archetype, 2011.
Faulkner, William. The Reivers. Random House, 1962. Kindle corrected edition.
Inge, M. Thomas. William Faulkner.  Overlook Duckworth, 2006.
Kael, Pauline. Deeper into Movies. Bantam, 1974.
Kreyling, Michael. “The Last Faulkner: The Reivers on the Road to
Banality. Southern Quarterly  52: 2 (Winter 2017): 10-27.
Phillips, Gene D. Fiction, Film, and Faulkner: The Art of Adaptation. University of Tennessee Press, 1988.
Porter, Darwin. Steve McQueen, King of Cool: Tales of a Lurid Life: 
Another Hot, Startling, and Unauthorized Celebrity Biography. Blood Productions, 2009.
Terrill, Marshall. Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel. D. I. Fine, 1994.
Toffel, Neile McQueen. My Husband, My Friend. Atheneum, 1986.

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