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Tandra Page 1549, Butterfly Morning

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I’m sitting on my back porch looking out over the yard as the rising sun brightens the Eastern sky.

This week’s Tandra Page has the title “Butterfly Morning”. This title is inspired from the 1970 film “The Ballad Of Cable Hogue” starring Jason Robards and Stella Stevens. “Butterfly Morning And Wildflower Afternoon” is a song in the film that is sung by Robards and Stevens, or is so credited. You cannot always believe the credits in Hollywood Product. In the popular movie “West Side Story”, the songs on screen sung by Natalie Wood were reported to be dubbed over by a professional singer, much to Wood’s irritation after the fact. As Wood was shooting the movie, she believed it would be her voice audiences would hear as her lips moved on screen. Not so, as it happened. Producers decided otherwise and producers have the final say in Hollywood Movies. Actors are no more than props doing as they are told and speaking words written for them by others. In the first James Bond flick, Ursula Andress reveals in a later interview included on the “Doctor No” DVD, another woman was brought in to record a voice over with Andress’ lines. Andress makes claim the producers decided her natural voice was too husky. So what you see on screen in a Hollywood Production is not always what you get. But you already knew that, did you not? Is there anyone out there who believes that big monkey actually fell off the Empire State Building?

In any case, Stella Stevens makes claim in an interview included on the “Cable Hogue” DVD that it was factually Robards and her doing the duet vocals for “Butterfly Morning”. Stevens says the song was done with one take, by decision of the director. Stella says she thought she and Robards should have sang the song again and maybe again to get the best possible performance, but director Sam Peckinpah was satisfied with only one take. In any case, it’s a nice song as performed.

The movie itself (Peckinpah claimed it is a comedy, but Stella Stevens insists it is a Love Story.) concerns Cable Hogue (Robards) left in the Arizona Desert by his two partners to die without water. But Hogue does indeed find water and sets up a watering rest stop on the road between Gila and Dead Dog. He has the only water for forty miles and stage coaches stop to water horses and to rest. Hogue meets Hildy (Stevens) when he goes into town to register his claim to his water hole all legal like. Hildy is a prostitute with a thriving business. When Hildy is run out of town by the city fathers, she comes to stay with Hogue for a few weeks, but she does not plan to remain long. Hildy is on her way to California here she plans to marry the richest man in the state (mebbe the two richest). She asks Hogue to go with her, but he is waiting for his two former partners to show up. Hildy goes and Hogue stays, and the former partners do eventually show with plans to rob Hogue. He has acquired quite a fortune from his water hole.

Hogue does indeed get his revenge and Hildy returns from California in a touring car with a driver. The year is 1908 and Hogue has never seen such a contraption before. Hildy has indeed married a rich California man and he died with a smile on his face, so she says. Hildy is en route to New Orleans and Hogue agrees to go with her. The days of travel by horse are coming to close and Hogue’s water hole business is soon to be out dated. As Hogue prepares to leave, an accident lays him out and he dies from internal injuries and is buried in the desert where he passed his life.

“The Ballad Of Cable Hogue” is a nice movie, not spectacular but a pleasant way to pass 121 minutes. I pull the DVD from the shelf and watch it when I’m in the mood for that sort of thing. Peckinpah was wrong and Stevens is correct. “The Ballad Of Cable Hogue” is not very funny, but it is a love story with heart. Well worth the time invested to watch it.

“When your moral code is determined by your politics, you have no morals.” -traditional


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