Dealing: or The Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (1972)

Dealing: or The Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (1972)

“I’m not so sure of anything.”

An apathetic Harvard law student (Robert F. Lyons) working for his drug-dealing classmate (John Lithgow) smuggles marijuana across the country to Berkeley, where he meets and falls in love with a free-living hippie (Barbara Hershey). When trying to connect back in Boston, Hershey gets caught smuggling and loses a bag of drugs, leading to Lyons eventually pursuing the corrupt cop (Charles Durning) who’s made off with the loot.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Barbara Hershey Films
  • Blackmail
  • Corruption
  • Drug Dealers
  • John Lithgow Films
  • Police

This intriguingly titled movie is based on a pseudonymous early novel by Michael Crichton and his brother Douglas (collectively using the pen name “Michael Douglas”). It seems to reflect some of Crichton’s own experiences giving up a prestigious future-career (he earned an M.D., but never practiced medicine) for something much riskier — in this case, stupidly risky drug transportation which clearly taps into Lyons’ desire for novelty and excitement. It’s a challenging plot to become invested in, given how little we care for or about Lyons, who’s actually a bit of a cad in the way he mistreats, neglects, and cheats on his straight-laced girlfriend (Ellen Barber).

Once the storyline turns to Lithgow and Lyons’ desire to retrieve their “missing” loot, we really know we’re dealing with losers who should leave well enough alone.

Meanwhile, Michael Small’s soundtrack comes across as oddly inappropriate at times, unlike his highly memorable work for The Parallax View just a couple of years later.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Good use of authentic shooting locales

Must See?
No, unless you’re curious. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


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