Squares (1972)

GP | 92 mins | Western | 1972

Director:

Patrick J. Murphy

Writer:

Mary Ann Saxon

Producer:

Patrick J. Murphy

Cinematographer:

John Koester

Editor:

Grant Hoag

Production Designer:

Mike Minor

Production Company:

Plateau Productions
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HISTORY

The title of the viewed print was Riding Tall . Although an onscreen credit indicates that the film was copyrighted, it was not registered for copyright. A closing credit reads: "Special thanks to the New Mexico Film Commission and the Santa Fe Downs Race Track for their co-operation and good-will." Squares marked the feature film debut of Gilmer McCormick. As noted in contemporary sources, the picture was shot mainly on location in Santa Fe, NM.
       Although the Jan 1972 HR review stated that the film would have its premiere in Santa Fe on 5 Feb, a 10 Apr 1972 HR news item reported that the premiere would take place on 12 Apr 1972 in Santa Fe and ... More Less

The title of the viewed print was Riding Tall . Although an onscreen credit indicates that the film was copyrighted, it was not registered for copyright. A closing credit reads: "Special thanks to the New Mexico Film Commission and the Santa Fe Downs Race Track for their co-operation and good-will." Squares marked the feature film debut of Gilmer McCormick. As noted in contemporary sources, the picture was shot mainly on location in Santa Fe, NM.
       Although the Jan 1972 HR review stated that the film would have its premiere in Santa Fe on 5 Feb, a 10 Apr 1972 HR news item reported that the premiere would take place on 12 Apr 1972 in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1971.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jan 1972
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1972.
---
Variety
26 Jan 1972
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
Loc auditor
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam/Still photog
Best boy
Best boy
Key grip
Gaffer
Crane op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Props/Set dressing
Set const
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff
Sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles
MAKEUP
Hairstyling by
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Transportation capt
Loc auditor
STAND INS
Stunt man
SOURCES
SONGS
"Chasing Dreams," words and music by Donald Vincent, sung by Karen Gunderson
"Just Runnin'," words and music by Donald Vincent, sung by David Ollingson.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Riding Tall
Release Date:
1972
Production Date:
ended September 1971 in Santa Fe, NM
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
GP
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

At a Tulsa, Oklahoma rodeo, thirty-three-year-old Austin Ruth, recovering from a broken wrist, is thrown from a bronco almost immediately and is roundly booed by the crowd. In desperate need of money, Austin is illegally siphoning gas from a truck when his buddies Carl and Ed beg a ride to the local brothel. Along the way, however, Austin’s jalopy catches on fire, and as his friends run for their lives, he wrecks the car in a fury. After hours of hitchhiking in the hot sun, Austin is almost run over by Chase Lawrence, a Vassar drop-out asleep at the wheel of her Cadillac. When she stops to check on him, he takes her keys and threatens to turn her in, but she begs for a truce in return for a ride. As Austin drives, Chase falls asleep, and upon awakening is annoyed to learn that he took money from her purse for gas, but pleased that he insists he will repay her. They stop to eat at a diner, where she informs him that she has been fasting for a week to cleanse her system. When she then states that her car is stolen, he rises to leave, but she confesses that she “borrowed” it from her parents. In the restroom stall, she smokes marijuana, and is quickly cornered by a woman who, bored and dissatisfied with small-town life, asks if Chase and Austin want to “swing” with her and her husband. Chase jokes that her preferred techniques are too dangerous for the woman, then leaves with Austin. Along the way to the next rodeo, they develop a flirtatious friendship, and once there, she offers to stay but he ... +


At a Tulsa, Oklahoma rodeo, thirty-three-year-old Austin Ruth, recovering from a broken wrist, is thrown from a bronco almost immediately and is roundly booed by the crowd. In desperate need of money, Austin is illegally siphoning gas from a truck when his buddies Carl and Ed beg a ride to the local brothel. Along the way, however, Austin’s jalopy catches on fire, and as his friends run for their lives, he wrecks the car in a fury. After hours of hitchhiking in the hot sun, Austin is almost run over by Chase Lawrence, a Vassar drop-out asleep at the wheel of her Cadillac. When she stops to check on him, he takes her keys and threatens to turn her in, but she begs for a truce in return for a ride. As Austin drives, Chase falls asleep, and upon awakening is annoyed to learn that he took money from her purse for gas, but pleased that he insists he will repay her. They stop to eat at a diner, where she informs him that she has been fasting for a week to cleanse her system. When she then states that her car is stolen, he rises to leave, but she confesses that she “borrowed” it from her parents. In the restroom stall, she smokes marijuana, and is quickly cornered by a woman who, bored and dissatisfied with small-town life, asks if Chase and Austin want to “swing” with her and her husband. Chase jokes that her preferred techniques are too dangerous for the woman, then leaves with Austin. Along the way to the next rodeo, they develop a flirtatious friendship, and once there, she offers to stay but he demurs politely. Austin tries to register for the contest but, upon learning that the fee has risen to $100, walks out, turning down the offer of the amorous office assistant to “work out a deal” for a loan. As he dispiritedly heads down the road, Chase pulls up to him in the Cadillac and questions why he has not entered the competition, and despite his curt reply, she reveals that she needs money and has twenty dollars to bet on horses. Although he assumes she is a rich, spoiled child, she retorts that she would never ask her parents for anything and offers to split the gambling profits. Finally, he agrees, and they drive to the Santa Fe Downs Race Track. There, he examines the horses and reminisces about his first race, and to Chase’s surprise, picks the winning horse. They drive off to celebrate, and when a policeman pulls them over for a routine check, his arrogance enrages Chase, who lashes out at him. Barely escaping jail time, the two enter a roadhouse, where they are joined by other friendly rodeo regulars, who tease Austin about his advanced age. When ex-con Hilly enters, however, Austin, who owes the large man money, crawls into a booth to evade him. As the men trade tales about the rough-and-tumble cowboys who take pride in their wounds, a bored Chase approaches Hilly and claims to have killed a man for flirting with her. When she tries to leave, Hilly grabs her roughly, and upon learning from the bartender that she arrived with Austin, drags her outside. Seeing Hilly harass Chase, Austin attacks him, but is easily bested by the brute, after which Chase knocks Hilly out with a piece of wood. As the police arrive, Austin and Chase escape. Later, she apologizes to him, and in return he recounts his recent dream, in which he rides perfectly and wins a rodeo. She takes him to a motel room, but as she prepares to make love with him, he falls into a deep sleep. In the morning, she is gone, and Austin walks off down the road in a rage, assuming she has abandoned him. She soon drives up, however, and reveals she has paid the rodeo entry fee, which further angers him, as he does not want to feel “pushed into things.” Finally, he assents, and as he enters the field on a bucking bronc, Chase cheers him on. He is thrown, however, and Chase races into the field to where he lies motionless. She sobs over his body, then accompanies him to the hospital, where the nurses’ seeming disinterest causes her to scream hysterically and faint. When she comes to, she is allowed into Austin’s room, where he is recovering from a concussion. Although the doctor has prescribed a week of bed rest, Austin wants to go to his parents’ house in Wichita, Kansas. Chase originally resists the plan, but when Austin declares that he will simply go on without her, she relents. They travel to Kansas, where his religious parents, Hannah and Lewis, warmly welcome their son, despite their disapproval of his itinerant lifestyle. Austin had promised Chase they would share a room, but she now learns that she must instead share a bed with his mother. The next morning, she announces that she will soon leave, but he tells her to “shut up and eat,” prompting her to declare her love for him. After he responds in kind, they spend the next few days enjoying the bucolic countryside. One day, he catches her smoking marijuana and realizes that she has been doing so regularly. She states that it no longer appeases her, and that she must figure out where her life is going. Austin invites her to travel with him, and she reluctantly agrees, terrified to see him hurt again. After the next rodeo, she lays depressed in their hotel bed and pleads with him to give up the life and settle down. “We’re squares,” she tells him, but he insists he cannot change. When he awakens in the morning, she is gone. He attends the next competition and, riding a bronc called “Last Chance,” finally wins the rodeo. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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