Review: ‘Raggedy Man’

Directed by husband Jack Fisk (his first feature), Sissy Spacek plays a spunky divorcee, struggling to raise two young boys and stuck in a hopeless job as a small-town telephone operator tied to the switchboard in her house.

Directed by husband Jack Fisk (his first feature), Sissy Spacek plays a spunky divorcee, struggling to raise two young boys and stuck in a hopeless job as a small-town telephone operator tied to the switchboard in her house.

The setting is Texas in 1944 and Fisk, along with art director John Lloyd and costumer Joe I. Tompkins, has done a superb job in creating a faithful environment, down to the smallest detail. (Fisk was previously an art director.)

Enter sailor Eric Roberts in a rainstorm, knocking on the door to use the phone. After a night on the porch, Roberts spends a warm-hearted day with Spacek and the lads (Henry Thomas and Carey Hollis Jr). Gradually, warmth turns to heat in Spacek’s bed.

Roberts is a terrific match for Spacek and their building romance sparkles. But she abruptly sends him packing and, after a tearful farewell, Roberts is seen no more.

With Roberts gone, the film turns mean as William Sanderson and Tracey Walter – both ably playing their redneck roles – make their move on Spacek. This is standard stuff and hardly worth Spacek’s talents.

Raggedy Man

Production

Universal. Director Jack Fisk; Producer Burt Weissbourd, William D. Wittliff; Screenplay William D. Wittliff; Camera Ralf Bode; Editor Edward Warschlika; Music Jerry Goldsmith; Art Director John Lloyd

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Sissy Spacek Eric Roberts Sam Shepard William Sanderson Tracey Walter Henry Thomas
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