The film features some of the classic tropes of American cinema, most obviously from the road-trip movie and the ill-assorted buddy movie, but this familiarity belies a more substantial story about fathers and sons, as well as a deeper literary tradition that goes back to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. A young man, Jake (Brittain), leaves his home after the return of his errant father, lighting out for the territory of California. But down on his luck, he finds himself joining forces with the older Smitty (Morshower), a ne’er-do-well con-artist who is estranged from his own son.
Director Claude Green came to full-time filmmaking relatively late in life after a successful corporate career. Aged 57 he decide to go to film school, where he studied both feature and documentary filmmaking, having been a keen amateur since his youth. He started working on the script of The Doo-Dah Man with his co-writer Jack Ballo, also an accomplished documentary filmmaker, in 2009. It was shot in the summer of 2014 in Texas and played at film festivals in 2015, winning a number of awards (it also subsequently played on Sky Cinema in November 2017).
“The lead actors are excellent. Morshower’s Smitty can easily charm the birds from the trees, and Brittain does a credible job transforming Jake from an angry youth to a self-assured conman. Director Claude Green and co-writer Jack Ballo’s screenplay doesn’t pass judgment on either of them, and that’s what makes it work so well.” Kurt Gardner, Arts Beat LA