Taglines: There’s a dark horse in the American Dream.
A down on his luck, former Green Beret captain (David Carradine), freshly discharged from the Vietnam War, drifts into Drury, Kansas. There he finds a derelict merry-go-round that he decides to restore. “The symbolism of a man wanting to build something joyful after being part of the carnage and destruction of war,” surmised film critic, Charles Champlin.
The people of the town have mixed reactions: some support his efforts while others hinder them. Among his supporters are two local business men: a hardware store owner, played by Barbara Hershey’s father, Arnold Herzstein, and Mike, a gas station proprietor played by Michael Greene, who had guest-starred on two episodes of Carradine’s television series, Kung Fu. Both men supply employment to the veteran as well as parts and tools for his endeavour.
Another helpful character is a young local girl, who watches the reconstruction efforts from afar, and scampers off when she is seen. The girl, played by Carradine’s real life domestic partner, Barbara Hershey, provides a tool box and some food. Detractors of the veteran’s efforts include a band of local teenagers, one of whom is played by John Blyth Barrymore, a personal friend of Carradine’s and a frequent guest star on Kung Fu. The protagonist is also harassed by the town’s sheriff, played by Carradine’s brother, Bruce.
Americana is a 1983 American drama film starring, produced, edited and directed by David Carradine. The screenplay and story, written by Richard Carr, was based on a portion of the 1947 novel, The Perfect Round, by Henry Morton Robinson. The novel’s setting was originally post-World War II, but the screenplay involved the post-war experiences of a Vietnam War veteran, obsessed with restoring an abandoned carousel.
In 1981, the film, won The People’s Choice Award at the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. Financing the movie himself, Carradine shot most of the footage for the film, which was co-produced by Skip Sherwood, in 1973 with a band of 26 people, mostly his family and friends, over the course of 18 days. Problems with financing and distribution kept the film from being released until 1983. The film was well received by audiences, but met with primarily negative criticism.
Directed by: David Carradine
Starring: David Carradine, Barbara Hershey, Michael Greene, Arnold Herzstein, Sandy Ignon, John Blyth Barrymore, Glenna Walters
Screenplay by: Richard Carr
Production Design by: Rick Van Ness
Cinematography by: R. Michael Stringer, Robert E. Collins
Film Editing by: David Carradine, David Kern
Costume Design by: Patti Denney
Set Decoration by: Sandy Ignon
Music by: Craig Huxley
Distributed by: Crown International Pictures
Release Date: October 21, 1983