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Written by Timothy Sexton
"Squeal like a pig!"
While walking along the marble floors through the fur-lined walls of the Great Hall of Movie Quotes, “squeal like a pig!” is not prominently displayed with all the majestic solemnity afforded to such legendary lines as “Rosebud” or “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.” Instead, this quote is stuck into the most unassuming little dark corner of the Great Hall reserved for some of the other lines of dialogue from the history of movies that become memorable in part because they make us so uncomfortable. Few scenes in a major Hollywood movie starring major Hollywood players have succeeded in creating a degree of discomfort among viewers the equal of the backwoods sexual assault sequence that becomes the turning point of the plot in Deliverance. In the wake of the decades that have passed since audiences were first presented with authentically disquieting portrait of one of the few fears shared across the entire spectrum of the human species, the tension and anxiety that should be a natural emotional response to any representation of sexual assault has been shamefully anesthetized by filmmakers utilizing it for purposes ranging from codifying the genre of the slasher film to outright comedy. Such is the lasting and remarkably unnerving power of the delivery of the line “squeal like a pig” by actor Bill McKinney and the equally powerful performances of the far more recognizable actors sharing the screen with him that watching the scene even today is all that is needed to shock a viewer right out of that state of sedation.
"Sometimes you have to lose yourself before you can find anything."
Lewis hardly seems the most philosophical of the four suburbanites from Atlanta who head out to the backwoods of Georgia to test their mettle against the river rapids. Lewis is big, physical and very aware that of the four, he is the one who seems least out of place in a conflict pitting man against nature. And yet, it is Lewis who delivers the most philosophical line of dialogue in the movie. As it comes very early on in the narrative, this also proves to be a quote of dreadful foreshadowing of the horror that may be part of the process of losing yourself.
"Say, mister, I love the way you wear that hat."
Bobby—the suburbanite who will later be directed to squeal in the manner of a pig—makes this comment to one of the first backwoods character introduced in the film. The line is delivered without any overt sarcasm or overly obvious attempt at mockery, but the ridicule intended is nevertheless painfully obvious and further cements the cultural divide between the four men form the city who are painfully oblivious to the self-harm they are committing through their snobbish behavior.
"Machines are gonna fail and the system's gonna fail...then, survival. Who has the ability to survive? That's the game - survive."
Lewis once again proves surprisingly philosophical with his acute insight into the future, but dangerously deficient in prophetic abilities in his lack of realizing that the future he is philosophizing about is nearer than he thinks. Deliverance is a film all about the survival of the species and is highly suspicious that survival and civilization go hand-in-hand
"Let's just wait and see what comes out of the river."
One of the city boys has died on the canoe trip, one of them has murdered a hillbilly and then gotten his leg broken and one of them was raped. None of the details involved in their adventure in the backwoods gets shared with the authorities and, unfortunately for them, the story they have concocted contradicts what evidence has so far been found above the surface of the water. The Sheriff’s words are heavy with doubt and import and serves to intensity the paranoia already threatening to tear the remaining three suburbanites apart.
"Don't ever do nothin' like this again. Don't come back up here."
The parting words of the Sheriff hardly needed to be said. The only thing capable of bringing back the three surviving friends from Atlanta to those backwoods would be the rise to the surface of the body of a hillbilly showing evidence that an arrow passed through his entire body. The Sheriff may not know exactly what happened in the woods, but he’s smart enough to know that those three city boys are not the only ones who hope they don’t ever have to come back up there again.
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