The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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domino harvey
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#376 Post by domino harvey » Thu May 05, 2011 8:19 pm

Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks 1974) I won't shame whoever said this was making their Top 10 by searching the thread for their identity, but man, comedy really is subjective, huh? I thought this was an embarrassingly unfunny trifle, directed with zero comedic timing by Mel "And... let's slow fade out" Brooks. I actually saw most of this film when I was a kid (didn't care for it much then either, but that doesn't mean anything) and thought I only remembered bits and pieces. Turns out the whole slight film is just those bits and pieces. Cleavon Little is the only redeemable element here, if only for his laid-back approach, a refreshing antithesis to the flop-sweating overactors he's surrounded by. The film is basically the original Chappelle's Show, ie comedians shouting "nigger" at each other under the auspices of satire and everyone but me thinking it's brilliant. The western comedy rule is still alive and well.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill 1969) Well, I enjoyed the occasional wisecrack exchanged between the two affable leads and there are certainly worse ways to pass two hours, especially where this genre is concerned, but here's yet another cultural marker whose continued relevance bewilders me. I thought the twenty minute stretch in the middle when Newman and Redford were being trailed was a stellar peak at a movie this couldn't bother being. And despite the enduring life of the song, the peculiar intrusion of the modern sounding "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" is just beguiling, as is the silly superfluous sepia intro sequences.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#377 Post by knives » Thu May 05, 2011 8:37 pm

I won't be ashamed about saying that I'll likely put BS in my top ten (though I do hope that someone will back me up). As a comedy (which yeah, subjectivity) less than a handful of other films have made me laugh so hard, but what makes it a list contender for me is how it relates to the western. It's clearly jumping on the revisionist bandwagon, but goes the opposite direction than the others. It's silly by design to show the harshness.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#378 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 07, 2011 11:18 am

Three Ford westerns... Glenn Ford

the Desperadoes (Charles Vidor 1943) A film that bothers come up with a great premise and then blows everything: A friendly neighborhood banker arranges for his own bank to be robbed, then offers the citizens back out of pocket half of what they lost to apologize and cement his position as a trustworthy institution. Unfortunately, Columbia approached this one as bland mass entertainment, so we get a lot of gratuitous sets, grating humor, and disappointingly green performances from a quartet that should know better: Glenn Ford, Randolph Scott, Evelyn Keyes, and Claire Trevor. Take Scott out of the equation and you might even have a great noir in there somewhere. You definitely don't have a great western in there, at any rate.

the Man From Colorado (Henry Levin 1947) Another frustrating peak at a potentially great film undermined by execution. The film opens promisingly, with Glenn Ford's officer spotting a Confederacy platoon's white flag and ignoring it, killing a hundred non-combatant soldiers in the process. His right hand man, William Holden, spies the white flag in the midst of the aftermath and covers-up the evidence for his friend. That could be the set-up for a masterpiece. It isn't. Ford is mostly to blame here, though the film does him no favors, as his increasingly loonier commander-turned-judge is such a cartoon villain (and Ford's eyes-bugging-out madness doesn't help any arguments against) that it's impossible to take him and subsequently the film seriously.

Jubal (Delmer Daves 1956) The best western I've seen yet from Daves. More because it plays much closer to his strengths as an auteur (melodramatic teenage romantic notions, juvenile romantic possessiveness) than because it's a good riff on Othello, though. Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger engage in scenery-chewing battles (Marty vs Marty) while Glenn Ford amiably steps to the side, and I can't deny that despite how interminably long the film feels, the viewer certainly gets their money's worth. I just mocked Ford's laughable villainy in the Man From Colorado and while I can't claim Steiger is any more believable here, he at least has the decency to be entertaining and properly motivated.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#379 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sat May 07, 2011 3:45 pm

knives wrote:I won't be ashamed about saying that I'll likely put BS in my top ten (though I do hope that someone will back me up). As a comedy (which yeah, subjectivity) less than a handful of other films have made me laugh so hard, but what makes it a list contender for me is how it relates to the western. It's clearly jumping on the revisionist bandwagon, but goes the opposite direction than the others. It's silly by design to show the harshness.
It's hit or miss for me, but I think what happens with Brooks is that there's no room to watch his movies without laughing- when you're with them, they're killer, and you start noticing how insightful the genre commentary might be because you're completely in the right mindset for the movie. But if anything falls flat, the whole thing becomes almost embarrassing- Brooks and company are always trying so goddamn hard to get a laugh that it gives off a whiff of hackiness when it doesn't work.

So I don't much care for Blazing Saddles, but I fall down laughing at Young Frankenstein, even though I'm not convinced the one is inherently any better than the other- if Blazing Saddles clicks for you, I can certainly see how it would be a high list candidate.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#380 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 08, 2011 1:44 pm

Little Big Man (Arthur Penn 1970) Kind of remarkable that this is as good as it is given that it's a film that falls under several of my least favorite subgenres: Liberal Western, Indian-Centric Western, and, yes, Western Comedy. And it's a great example of all three (A great western comedy, isn't that a sign of the apocalypse?). The film is wittily paced and executed, and is filled with the novelties necessary to get through an epic of this length without feeling weighted down. Chief Dan George steals the movie as Old Lodge Skins in what might be the warmest and most memorable cinematic indian chief I've yet encountered. So glad I didn't put this one off 'til it was too late to chart on my list.

the Missouri Breaks (Arthur Penn 1976) Late-period Marlon Brando preening has derailed many a potentially good film, but in a film as awful as this, his eccentricity is a godsend. Before he comes on the scene a third of the way into the film, the movie is already on a collision course with disaster of the dullest kind. I cannot understand why this film sounded like a good idea to anyone familiar with western tropes. We all know by now that the lowest form of life in the western is a horse thief. So why in the world are a group of filthy, uncharismatic horse thieves our "heroes"? Who cares about Jack Nicholson romancing some uptight broad who secretly wants it like all uptight broads ("progressive" feminist politics, dude!)? What satisfaction is there to gain from an ugly film like this except that found in Brando's overweening desire to entertain himself amongst the dregs of his material? Brando's certainly poisoned his share of cinematic wells, but this time out he's the only one who didn't.

Comes a Horseman (Alan J Pakula 1978) I have no idea what drew so many talented people, most at the height of their careers, to this exercise in nothing. Between Jane Fonda and Jason Robards coming off Julia, and Pakula sandwiching this in between two of his greatest films, All the Presidents Men and Starting Over, rarely has such a confluence of potential been squandered. I can't even tell you why this film exists: Something about Fonda being a strong woman who isn't nearly as strong as she thinks, thus she needs Jimmy Caan to work for her and under her. Oh and Robards hates banks and hates oil drilling and hates Fonda, but he underplays (!) everything so hard that I'm really only sussing these emotions out from the the plot mechanics. The hoary "action" finale would not even stand up to the standards of a hokey western serial sixty years prior. No wonder this genre is dead.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#381 Post by Yojimbo » Sun May 08, 2011 2:21 pm

domino harvey wrote:Little Big Man (Arthur Penn 1970) Kind of remarkable that this is as good as it is given that it's a film that falls under several of my least favorite subgenres: Liberal Western, Indian-Centric Western, and, yes, Western Comedy. And it's a great example of all three (A great western comedy, isn't that a sign of the apocalypse?). The film is wittily paced and executed, and is filled with the novelties necessary to get through an epic of this length without feeling weighted down. Chief Dan George steals the movie as Old Lodge Skins in what might be the warmest and most memorable cinematic indian chief I've yet encountered. So glad I didn't put this one off 'til it was too late to chart on my list.

the Missouri Breaks (Arthur Penn 1976) Late-period Marlon Brando preening has derailed many a potentially good film, but in a film as awful as this, his eccentricity is a godsend. Before he comes on the scene a third of the way into the film, the movie is already on a collision course with disaster of the dullest kind. I cannot understand why this film sounded like a good idea to anyone familiar with western tropes. We all know by now that the lowest form of life in the western is a horse thief. So why in the world are a group of filthy, uncharismatic horse thieves our "heroes"? Who cares about Jack Nicholson romancing some uptight broad who secretly wants it like all uptight broads ("progressive" feminist politics, dude!)? What satisfaction is there to gain from an ugly film like this except that found in Brando's overweening desire to entertain himself amongst the dregs of his material? Brando's certainly poisoned his share of cinematic wells, but this time out he's the only one who didn't.

Comes a Horseman (Alan J Pakula 1978) I have no idea what drew so many talented people, most at the height of their careers, to this exercise in nothing. Between Jane Fonda and Jason Robards coming off Julia, and Pakula sandwiching this in between two of his greatest films, All the Presidents Men and Starting Over, rarely has such a confluence of potential been squandered. I can't even tell you why this film exists: Something about Fonda being a strong woman who isn't nearly as strong as she thinks, thus she needs Jimmy Caan to work for her and under her. Oh and Robards hates banks and hates oil drilling and hates Fonda, but he underplays (!) everything so hard that I'm really only sussing these emotions out from the the plot mechanics. The hoary "action" finale would not even stand up to the standards of a hokey western serial sixty years prior. No wonder this genre is dead.
Agreed about everything about 'Comes a Horseman ' which was a massive disappointment for me, and Brando's importance to the Missouri Breaks
I can't quite remember what my overall verdict on 'Little Big Man' was, though; probably an overlong 'curate's egg', I suspect.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#382 Post by Yojimbo » Sun May 08, 2011 4:07 pm

knives wrote:I won't be ashamed about saying that I'll likely put BS in my top ten (though I do hope that someone will back me up). As a comedy (which yeah, subjectivity) less than a handful of other films have made me laugh so hard, but what makes it a list contender for me is how it relates to the western. It's clearly jumping on the revisionist bandwagon, but goes the opposite direction than the others. It's silly by design to show the harshness.
watching the Boetticher-Scott Westerns recently I was regularly put in mind of BS' reverential "Ran-dolph Scott!" gag! :)

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#383 Post by knives » Sun May 08, 2011 4:16 pm

Yes, I nearly brought that up myself. How can you not love that joke. As to matrixschmatrix, I'm really the opposite with those two where I respect YF a grand deal, but I find it's joke to run time ratio to be drastically smaller though I carry it higher in my heart than BS because of The Ritz.

This is a tad off topic but in the '70s Brooks could do no wrong for me and every joke hits it's mark. BS just has so many more jokes to the point where I can't laugh at all of them simply because there is so many. Stuff like 'My name is Jim, but you can call me Jim," may be a tad corny but they work so well that I wind up dying from them. Really anything Wilder did across those three films is hall of fame worthy.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#384 Post by Yojimbo » Sun May 08, 2011 4:30 pm

knives wrote:Yes, I nearly brought that up myself. How can you not love that joke. As to matrixschmatrix, I'm really the opposite with those two where I respect YF a grand deal, but I find it's joke to run time ratio to be drastically smaller though I carry it higher in my heart than BS because of The Ritz.

This is a tad off topic but in the '70s Brooks could do no wrong for me and every joke hits it's mark. BS just has so many more jokes to the point where I can't laugh at all of them simply because there is so many. Stuff like 'My name is Jim, but you can call me Jim," may be a tad corny but they work so well that I wind up dying from them. Really anything Wilder did across those three films is hall of fame worthy.
Brooks films were huge events here, starting with 'Blazing Saddles'.
I still have an affection for it perhaps mainly now for nostalgia reasons, but I don't think it will be in my list; most likely 'Buchanan Rides Alone' will be the only vaguely comic Western that will be
(btw, speaking of the latter I was also reminded of Slim Pickens' character's relationship with 'Hedley Lamarr' when observing Amos Agry's relationship with his smarter older brother)

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#385 Post by knives » Sun May 08, 2011 4:36 pm

I would like to keep up appearances and not have it on my list (let alone however high it will end up), but than I remember all of my favorite gags like the blink and you'll miss it pun of a man on a horse being hung and I have to treat it like the best deconstructive western out there.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#386 Post by Yojimbo » Sun May 08, 2011 4:45 pm

knives wrote:I would like to keep up appearances and not have it on my list (let alone however high it will end up), but than I remember all of my favorite gags like the blink and you'll miss it pun of a man on a horse being hung and I have to treat it like the best deconstructive western out there.
yeah, I loved that one too, and the 'Hey, you can't park here' gag, and the 'beauty slaying the beast' one, with Mongo reduced to a quivering, slobbering wreck by Lily,....and the loud 'gong', every time the lookout tries to 'warn' the townsfolk about the sheriff....etc, etc.
But I think it belongs more to the 'comedy' list

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#387 Post by knives » Sun May 08, 2011 4:51 pm

I'll have it on both since it serves both genres so well.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#388 Post by knives » Sun May 08, 2011 5:50 pm

Anyone know if this DVD is of reasonable quality? After the Noir list I'm willing to risk anything with Lerner.
Finally got to Backlash and I'm in Seventh Heaven. It's basically just 80 minutes of Widmark hanging out in the old west hanging out doing what he likes. There's a few moments of genuine drama, but even there I was laughing out of entertainment that film is so willing to have fun with his personality. I also really like that when one story begins to bore him he just hops right to whatever will interest him next as if he had a remote or something. Personality is what the film seems to only be about and it has that in spades. Thanks Dom for this one too. (this also means that now I can make a comfortable fifty with some slight wiggle room)

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#389 Post by PillowRock » Mon May 09, 2011 2:41 pm

Yojimbo wrote:But I think it belongs more to the 'comedy' list
I've never believed that movies needed to be limited to only one genre. If fact, I think that most good movies fit into more than one.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#390 Post by domino harvey » Mon May 09, 2011 8:19 pm

Glad you've taken a shine to a couple of my favorite discoveries, knives-- gives me hope that more of my lovelies will be spared orphan status!

Sergeant Rutledge (John Ford 1960) John Ford also-ran that alternates between outrage baiting, creaky courtroom histrionics, and generic western action, with only the latter moments not inspiring the viewer to grab anything sharp to stick in their eyes as this precious liberal western of the worst kind plays out in a sort of real time (I mean, the movie is actually nine hours long, right? Because it feels it!)
SpoilerShow
This movie doesn't even have the decency to make sense as a courtroom drama-- why would the father of the dead boy say anything at all if he was guilty, since it seemed pretty obvious that the tide was turning against Woody Strode's character when he decided to speak up? Also apparently in the midst of the million things we're told you can't do in a court martial hearing, violently punching a witness in the head is A-OK!
the Horse Soldiers (John Ford 1959) Well, Sgt Rutledge was, like Gentleman's Agreement, a well-made but stupid film, but this a poorly-made stupid one. John Wayne has rallied against some crazy things in his films, but really, doctors? We're really gonna sit here and watch the Duke say ignorant shit about doctors for a couple hours? And though Ford's women are never as easily pegged as Hawks', God only knows what he saw in Constance Towers that led him to cast her back to back here (same question goes for Fuller, sorry). This is not a particularly visually arresting western, either, so its surprise Blu-ray upgrade by Fox really is a shocker (though I was still glad I put off watching my non-anamorphic old MGM disc).

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#391 Post by zedz » Mon May 09, 2011 8:41 pm

I watched The Horse Soldiers a little while back and was similarly unimpressed - though I also concluded that it was a Civil War movie rather than a Western proper. I concede that's murky territory! That doctor grudge thing really was run into the ground, way past the point of plausibility (though if you want to see it pushed as far as it can go and then some you should watch the ridiculously entertaining Abominable Dr. Phibes, domino).

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#392 Post by domino harvey » Sat May 14, 2011 5:22 pm

A trio of '70s Westerns

Posse (Kirk Douglas 1975) Usually when actors direct, they either frontload a bunch of actorly scenes for themselves, hire a bunch of colleagues to showboat, or overcompensate in artsiness to hide their greenness. Douglas just gives us a mediocre western that is sold as being a hell of a lot more subversive than it ever can be bothered to be. Disappointingly, the only sin Douglas' politician commits is that of being a politician, and so whatever wretched post-Watergate social commentary the film thinks it's furthering is just, well, lame. "Lame" is kind of the watchword here. The finale, if you can even call it that, merely plays up the one-note, hopelessly cynical idea, one that's perhaps fit for a short film but dead on arrival as a feature.

Ulzana's Raid (Robert Aldrich 1972) Another political 70s western. This one's about Vietnam, I'm sure. I'm not so sure how successful the film's occasional forays into graphic splatter-violence are, as sequences like the religious foreigner praising God's grace right edited directly to the discovery of his tortured and mutilated body (complete with the severed tail of his loyal dog stuffed into his maw-- how cute) are just sick jokes out of a slasher film. As a western, it's a better than average entry that sets up some salient jabs but fails to tie them together into any recognizable thesis by the end. As political commentary, the film is a failure in its message or lack thereof-- is it against the war because of all the losses at the end? For it, since "our" side is victorious? What differentiates ambiguity from sloppiness?

Lawman (Michael Winner 1971) As knives has already observed, this (thank God) doesn't feel like a '70s western, but yet another riff on codes of honor and conduct, one of the keener recurring motifs of this genre. Burt Lancaster has the right collective image to pull off a single-minded character like this, but such an adherence leaves him wholly at the film's mercy, with little chance to share his winning charm. Robert Ryan here yet again plays Robert Ryan (he's even surnamed Ryan!) and it's another good portrayal of a skilled man of principle who's long since given up on being like Lancaster's titular character. As for that code of honor, well, it's hard for me to reconcile how one fleeing character meets his end at the hand of Lancaster with Lancaster's overall holier-than-thouness... if the film even seemed to notice or question this discrepancy, I'd be more inclined to accept it as intentionally contrary commentary. As is, it is surely a misstep. Unrelated, but as a side note-- boy, the cinematographer really liked moving that camera, huh?

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#393 Post by Nothing » Sun May 15, 2011 1:04 am

domino, Ulzana's Raid is a failure if you look for a moral message, let alone a coherent subtext about the American geoncide in Indochina/Vietnam. Stepping back from that however, I find it to be a uniquely honest portrayal of a specific time and place in America's history, a film that panders neither to classical rightwing fantasies nor liberal cliches (eg. the idea of the noble savage) and the scenes depicting the aftermath of brutal violence and torture are an integral part of that rich, ambiguous tapestry. Worth a second viewing, imho.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#394 Post by zedz » Sun May 15, 2011 7:35 pm

The True Story of Jesse James

Well, Nicholas Ray makes some fabulous use of the Cinemascope frame throughout, but the film shoots itself in the foot in too many ways for that to matter.

There's the (presumably artsy) multiple flashback structure, which just comes off as contrived and arbitrary, since exactly the same material could just as well have been presented as a single flashback or no flashback at all.

There's Robert Wagner's awful central performance, which vacillates between an inept James Dean impresonation and a really inept John Wayne one. The overall impression is of vacuous vanity. It must be said that the same limitations worked quite well in Gerd Oswald's A Kiss Before Dying, but here it's completely inadequate. Jeffrey Hunter's dull competence looks like some kind of genius by comparison - and really, how bad do you have to be to be shown up by Jeffrey Hunter?

But, oh my, despite Wagner's teak-like presence, the acting dishonours really have to go to Hope Lange, who made me want to cry "Come back Karen Steele, all if forgiven!" Did she learn her lines phonetically or something? Every line reading is an affront against verisimilitude, and she's a nothing character to boot. When she's on screen 'acting' against Wagner, all the energy drains from the film.

Even without those demerits, there's no new angle or interest to the tired old story, and I'd much rather be watching the movie about the hunt for the James Gang that gets abandoned after the first ten minutes.
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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#395 Post by domino harvey » Sun May 15, 2011 7:39 pm

Agreed. It's the worst Jesse James film, and Ray's worst film. I think Rivette called it a masterpiece? Go figure! I didn't even remember that Hope Lange was in this, but she's generally quite good (Esp the Best of Everything-- and Peyton Place, of course)

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#396 Post by domino harvey » Mon May 16, 2011 10:55 pm

Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (Robert Altman 1976) A peculiar film, one competently furnished and seasoned with droll humor, but essentially an exercise in... I don't know how to finish this sentence, because why does this movie exist? It can't be so as to further the nth "Print the legend" diatribe. And it sure isn't to tell a story, as there is none. An excuse for a bunch of stars to parade around in western garb and talk over one another? I'm not an Altman disciple, and while this one fares better than most, I can't really hang this entertaining diversion on anything beyond the fleeting immediacy of what it presents. A film should have a better defense for having been made.

Hombre (Martin Ritt 1967) Ritt directed Paul Newman six times (and with this film I've now seen 'em all!), but Newman's indian-raised white man gets overshadowed by two far more compelling screen figures (at least in this film). I noted earlier the thankless roles women tend to get themselves into in this genre, and here again we have a bootstrap woman who survives on her pluck and backbone. I've also mentioned that this, too, it one of the common archetypes women are reduced to, but Diane Cilento gives a grand and immensely likable portrayal of such a strong woman in this film that she finds herself becoming the quintessential example. Her boardinghouse director is more or less the only thing the film has going for it in the first twenty or so minutes, until the film's virtuoso stagecoach office sequence.

Even if the entire film were shit (and it's not), it'd be worth a watch just for Richard Boone, scary as hell, walking into a stagecoach waiting area and feeling out potential victims for his intimidation as the onlookers refuse to get involved. It's a masterful and unnerving scene, and it addresses the "mind your own" mentality many western figures embody. This is a movie about the folly of getting involved in the affairs of others (and the ending I think actually backs this up rather than disproves it, regardless of intent) and there's something to be said for the ballsiness of moments like Boone's gunmen threatening to kill Barbara Rush and Newman shrugging and telling them to go ahead. This is not a film without faults, but it runs by them so fast with so much that is good, its easy to forgive.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#397 Post by Yojimbo » Mon May 16, 2011 11:16 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Hombre (Martin Ritt 1967) Ritt directed Paul Newman six times (and with this film I've now seen 'em all!), but Newman's indian-raised white man gets overshadowed by two far more compelling screen figures (at least in this film).

Even if the entire film were shit (and it's not), it'd be worth a watch just for Richard Boone, scary as hell, walking into a stagecoach waiting area and feeling out potential victims for his intimidation as the onlookers refuse to get involved. It's a masterful and unnerving scene, and it addresses the "mind your own" mentality many western figures embody. This is a movie about the folly of getting involved in the affairs of others (and the ending I think actually backs this up rather than disproves it, regardless of intent) and there's something to be said for the ballsiness of moments like Boone's gunmen threatening to kill Barbara Rush and Newman shrugging and telling them to go ahead. This is not a film without faults, but it runs by them so fast with so much that is good, its easy to forgive.
You've almost redeemed yourself for previous indiscretions with this comment, Dom.
But has Boone not dominated any and every scene he's in?
(a boyhood favourite from his 'Have Gun Will Travel' days)

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#398 Post by knives » Mon May 16, 2011 11:20 pm

You're description of Boone does seem to apply to every film he wasn't the star of (just saw Kremlin Letter for the first and was scared as shit for example).

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#399 Post by Nothing » Tue May 17, 2011 2:45 am

zedz wrote:Nicholas Ray makes some fabulous use of the Cinemascope frame throughout, but the film shoots itself in the foot in too many ways for that to matter.
Out of interest, how is this any different from Ride Lonesome? All the defenses of the film focus aoround Boetticher's use of space, his influence on Leone, etc, ignoring the underdeveloped and unconvincing screenplay, the almost-comical sexism and reactionary Indian bashing, the flawed structure that only allows the film to come alive in its last 15 minutes, as if the former wipes out all of the latter.

On second viewing, I'm actually coming around to Decision at Sundown and Buchanan Rides Alone. These films, especially Decision at Sundown, have a theatrical, 'hang-out' quality and subtly subversive approach to genre that prefigures, perhaps in someways even eclipses, Rio Bravo. And I was already a fan of The Tall T, thanks to the Leonard story. But, to be honest, I think I even prefer Westbound and it's maddening theme song to Ride Lonesome and Commanche Station, despite these being Boetticher's best shot films.

Incidentally, just out of interest, does anyone know what Boetticher did during the war? Whilst great claims are made to his manliness (mostly centering around the killing of wounded animals and cheating on his wives), this particular subject is skipped over in all the documentaries.

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Re: The Western List Discussion and Suggestions (Genre Proje

#400 Post by Richard--W » Fri May 20, 2011 9:06 am

redacted
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