i wrote recently about the reason for watching paul verhoeven's erotic thriller basic instinct  because poet michael lally had had a role in the film. i remembered the movie as being bad; watching it again not only confirmed it but tattooed that god-awfulness on my grey matter. no fault of lally's, as he is a good actor, as most of the actors in the film did a pretty damn good job given the crappy writing, goofy direction and chocolate frosting-like photography.
i wondered about poets and acting. there are a few poets who also developed careers in front of a camera. there is one poet who was a one-shot actor in a film based on his own novel. james dickey portrayed the sherrif of aintry, a soon-to-be submerged town, in the movie deliverance , a film that has become so iconic that even a humming of a few bars of its signature theme song 'dueling banjos' conveys danger and dread.
as far as i know dickey's oeuvre as an actor is limited to these couple of minutes of screen time. what a couple of minutes! dickey plays the sherrif as a smart man who grasped the depth of the horrors by his grin. a marvelous performance that makes me wish the oscars -- broadcast this sunday -- should have sub-categories for acting poets. i love dickey's face in this clip. when ned beatty speaks behind the sheriff the reaction, how dickey moves his glance from beatty back to jon voight, is a miracle of minimalism.