Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Legend of Bigfoot (1976): or, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yeti!

Ivan Marx is a man on a mission. After scoffing for years at tales of the great musk ape roaming the American wilderness, he has a St. Paul-ine conversion when he comes face to face with the Sasquatch himself. To (mis)quote another group of famous primates:

Since he saw that ape
Now he’s a believer!
There’s not a trace
of doubt in his mind!

and he wants to let the world know that Bigfoot is real. Using family, friends, and an extensive stock footage library, Ivan sets out to bring back undeniable proof of Bigfoot’s existence.

The footage he brings back of cavorting Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) is shocking, to say the least, but probably not in the way Mr. Marx intended, as you can almost see the seams at the bottom of the shuffling Sasquatch’s fur pants. Still, despite the amateurish “authentic” footage, there’s nothing to indicate that Ivan did not intend everyone to take him seriously. He rants venomously and entertainingly against the “EXPERTS!” who call his footage fake and Bigfoot a hoax.

More entertaining is the fact that within 30 mins it becomes obvious Marx is not concerned with proving the Legend of Bigfoot, but rather with creating the Legend of Ivan Marx. Along the way we get the hilarious Bigfoot/Curly shuffle, some intriguing stories about the Sasquatch’s ability to channel dead Eskimo ancestors and make the skies run red with blood (?!), thrilling re-creations of Marx’s own Bigfoot sightings, and the “shining eyes of the beast” footage that is obviously someone in the field with some headlights on a battery. Through it all, though, Ivan keeps up his best Marlon Perkins impression, and treats us to some genuinely stunning nature footage, whether his own or stock footage hardly matters. Gorgeous shots of glaciers, rivers, mountains, and swamps, not to mention majestic moose footage, make it worth watching for the slightly-skewed nature enthusiast, as Marx’s narration will not fail to bring a smile. (The love-story narration of a ground squirrel’s plight brought tears to my eyes with its pathos and skillfull editing.)

Marx's theories about Bigfoot’s migration patterns and possible origins is kooky, but all in all I found myself entertained and give it a 1.75. Your smileage may vary.

Bonus: mountain goats committing ritual suicide!

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