When Burt Reynolds died earlier this month at age eighty-two, I went directly home to watch Navajo Joe. Not Deliverance. Not White Lightning. Not even Smokey and the Bandit, which Amazon Prime loaded up only the week before. Nope, none of the classics. Instead, I went to a 1966 Italian Western that Burt Reynolds rarely had anything positive to say about.
When he hit the talk show circuit in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Reynolds liked to joke about Navajo Joe as a movie only shown in prisons and on airplanes because the audience couldn’t walk out. He often told a story about how he thought he was signing up for a film directed by Sergio Leone when he accepted producer Dino de Laurentiis’s offer, only to discover it was Sergio Corbucci. “Wrong Sergio,” he’d crack.