Americana (1981)

“There’s a dark horse in the American Dream.” A true hidden gem, Americana stars David Carradine (he directed the film as well) as a stoic drifter and Vietnam War veteran who makes his way to a small Kansas town and starts fixing an abandoned, rundown carousel (a metaphor perhaps?). No one he encounters can believe that this total stranger is bothering to restore the carousel for the sheer joy of it without any ulterior motives. Therefore, he is not exactly embraced with open arms by the local citizenry – with the exception of an elderly storekeeper (Arnold Herzstein), beer-swilling gas station owner (Michael Greene) and mysterious young woman (Barbara Hershey). It’s the kind of place where weekly entertainment involves cockfights amid the ruins of an old church. Beware: The final scene is rather disturbing to say the least! The cast includes John Blyth Barrymore, Bruce Carradine and Dan Haggerty. Originally filmed in 1973, Americana suffered numerous distribution setbacks and was not released until a decade later. Not for all tastes, Americana unfolds gradually but it’s well worth the ride. It’s a remarkable, mesmerizing film that should be sought out. Americana was loosely adapted by Richard Carr from Henry Morton Robinson’s 1945 novel The Perfect Round.

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