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Author Topic: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films  (Read 5426 times)

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Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2018, 06:54:11 AM »

John Wayne, Randolph Scott and Budd Boetticher

Speaking of The Tall T... I only recently caught the series of (relatively) low budget Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott westerns (most written by Burt Kennedy) - Started watching them in 2017 and finished up with Westbound last week.

I've also been reading articles about Budd and learned that he directed the first three episodes of the television series Maverick. So that was an interesting connection between the 44th and 43rd films on the list.

And to think the teaming began because John Wayne was committed to the Searchers and couldn't do the other, Seven Men From Now, which he owned the rights to. So he signed Boetticher to direct, under the condition that he use Scott -whose career was floundering- as the lead. The rest was history, and lead to one of the genre's most memorable pairings.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 07:39:40 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2018, 12:04:51 AM »
#41 – MAN OF THE WEST
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34 points on 3 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (George 2.0)

Director: Anthony Mann

Stars: Gary Cooper, Julie London, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Lord

Subgenre: Psychological Western

The last of Anthony Mann’s 1950s Westerns, Man of the West takes up where his earlier films left off: some years after his standard hero/antihero has finally settled into a normal life. Link Jones (Gary Cooper), a reformed outlaw and now family man, takes a trip to hire a schoolteacher for his small Texas town. Circumstances revolving around a bungled train robbery leave him stranded with two fellow passengers and literally lead him to his old gang’s front door. In order to survive and help keep Sam Beasley (Arthur O’Connell) and Billie Ellis (Julie London) from becoming the unfortunate victims of sadistically unhinged leader Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb), Jones assumes his old identity, pretending he just can’t stay away from a life of crime. Top-billed Cooper felt he was too old for the part. At the time he was a 56-year-old man playing someone who was supposed to be 20 years younger. However, his life experience brings an emotional gravitas to the part. Real regret pours through in his portrayal of a man forced to own up to where his missteps have led him on the path of life, and who struggles to stay honorable and true to himself while staring down the sins of his past. Easily the most harrowing and disturbing of Mann’s Westerns, and considered by some critics to be his masterpiece, Man of the West is an underrated jewel, as well as an important precursor to the psychologically compelling Westerns of the ’60s and ’70s. - Joe Petitt Jr, Paste

Trivia:
Gary Cooper was, at 56, a decade older than Lee J. Cobb who played his "Uncle" Dock Tobin. Even with heavy makeup, it is generally agreed that Cobb still looked younger than Cooper, and Cooper was actually about 20 years older than his character was supposed to be. In addition, Cooper and John Dehner talk about being children together, but Dehner was actually 14 years younger than Cooper.

Personal Reflections:
It’s funny that my favorite Mann western isn’t one with Jimmy Stewart, who he’s so linked with, but Gary Cooper, who’s kind of miscast here age-wise. But damn is he great. That scene where he does to Jack Lord, what Jack did to the woman - humiliate him, negate him sexually, is disturbing, but powerful. Probably Mann’s darkest western, and that’s saying a lot.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2018, 12:07:38 AM »
#40 – WINCHESTER ‘73
”You never know when a girl might need a bullet.” - Lola Manners


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34 points on 4 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #11 (George 2.0)

Director: Anthony Mann

Stars: James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally

Subgenre: Psychological Western

Anthony Mann and James Stewart made five Westerns together from 1950 to 1955, starting with Winchester ’73, a movie about a cowboy and his gun. The very image of the cowboy is comprised of totems that range from horse to hat, but these characters generally have very particular relationships with their armaments. A cowboy bereft of his firearm is a man robbed of his lifeline—take away the pistol and suddenly he’s all too vulnerable to harm in hostile lands. The Western canon is full of stories of chases and quests, of people on missions to hunt down either the missing or the absconded, or to make their way to a better place and a better life. Winchester ’73 falls under the former category, except that it’s all about the search for the stolen rifle of the title in addition to the search for its thief. As Stewart’s character labors to track both down, the rifle becomes a kind of plot baton, passing from one party to the next and in doing so sparking strife among undeserving and covetous men. There are bad guys aplenty in this film, but the real villain turns out to be acquisitiveness. - Andy Crump, Paste

Trivia:
At the time of release there was some ridiculing from the press at the idea of James Stewart, the "thin man", playing a tough westerner. (Broken Arrow (1950) had not been released, even though it had been filmed first). Members of the audience were heard to gasp in shock at the scene where Stewart angrily confronts Dan Duryea.

My Reflections:
Johnny mentioned digging Leone, and judging by his list, Edward has a fondness for Ford, Me, I lean toward Mann. I think it’s the psychology, I seem to be drawn to that characteristic in movies. Whether it’s psychological horror (ala Hammer’s Paranoiac, Hitch’s Psycho), or the Freudian aspects found in Bunuel’s (and other surrealists) work. And that quality in the Western is sure to win my favor.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 12:17:36 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #33 on: October 07, 2018, 12:08:42 AM »

#39 – THE PROFESSIONALS
”Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning, the good guys against the bad guys. Question is, who are the good guys?” - Bill Dolworth


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36 points on 2 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (Cole Stratton)

Director: Richard Brooks

Stars: Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Jack Palance, Woody Strode, Claudia Cardinale, Ralph Bellamy

Subgenre: Action/Adventure Western

A dream team of tough guys is enlisted by a rich old Texan to abduct the millionaire’s young wife back from a former Mexican Revolutionary in this spirited, star-studded adventure. Each hired hand has a specialized area of expertise: Army vet Lee Marvin knows weapons, Burt Lancaster does explosives, Robert Ryan wrangles horses, and Woody Strode is a skilled tracker. But as the mercenaries pursue Jack Palance’s bandit across the border, along with that paycheck from Ralph Bellamy’s tycoon, they learn that the particulars of the job are not as they seem. It’s a simple hook, thrillingly—and violently—executed. There’s terrific chemistry among the leads, Oscar-nominated writer-director Richard Brooks’ dialogue crackles, and fellow nominee Conrad L. Hall’s Technicolor images of the Southwest—practically the entire film takes place outdoors—are unsurprisingly exquisite. At one point, Bellamy’s wealthy jackass curses Marvin, “You bastard,” to which the professional replies, “Yes, sir, in my case an accident of birth. But you, sir, you’re a self-made man.” Part caper, part chase film, part traditional Western, The Professionals is fast-paced, action-packed fun. - Amanda Schurr, Paste

Trivia:
When Columbia first bought the rights, they planned for Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra and Robert Mitchum to star.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #34 on: October 07, 2018, 12:09:33 AM »
#38 – THE OX-BOW INCIDENT
”Hangin' is any man's business that's around.” - Gil Carter


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37 points on 3 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #9 (Johnny Unusual)

Director: William A. Wellman

Stars: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Harry Morgan, Anthony Quinn, Jane Darwell, William Eythe

Subgenre: Psychological Western

In discussing classic films that involve Henry Fonda as he struggles against a rash legal decision, 12 Angry Men is more than likely the film that instantly enters one’s mind. Fourteen years prior, however, Fonda starred in a significantly bleaker version of a similar story. Based on the novel of the same name by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Ox-Bow Incident serves as a dark voyage into the dangers of mob mentality and what happens when human emotion supplants the justice system. Fonda plays Gil Carter, an aimless traveler in the 1880s who—along with his companion Art Croft (Harry Morgan)—ends up riding into the wrong town at the wrong time. A local rancher has apparently just been murdered and the hunt is on to find those responsible—by whatever means necessary. Clocking in at a sparse 75 minutes, the film serves as a master class in dramatic escalation, with Gil and Art first joining the posse as a means of self-preservation only to watch as events mount beyond anyone’s control. Though now more than 70 years old, The Ox-Bow Incident’s portrait of a community driven to its worse self by fear and distrust is sadly more relevant than ever. - M.R., Paste

Trivia:
Although made in 1941, this sat on the shelf for two years as 20th Century-Fox had no idea how to market a film with such inflammatory politics.

This was the last movie ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture which received no other Academy Award nominations.

My Reflections:
It starts off rather humorously, then slowly and surely steamrolls to it’s heartbreaking end. It’s exquisitely orchestrated in script, direction and performance. I’m shocked it only earned a single Oscar nod. In my Alt-Oscar Blog I named Dana Andrews my Best Supporting Actor, I feel it’s one of his 2 finest efforts (the other, was for Best Years of Our Lives… Oscar didn’t nominate him for that either… he was the only male lead in Best Years not to garner a nod. Shame on you Oscar!)
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 12:41:03 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #35 on: October 07, 2018, 12:21:57 AM »
MAN OF THE WEST, WINCHESTER ‘73 and THE OX-BOW INCIDENT are more movies I've not gotten to yet, but, finally, one of my picks has made the list!

I was the other voter for THE PROFESSIONALS, which is just a tremendously fun movie.
FINE


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2018, 12:31:05 AM »
Yeah I remember enjoying the Professionals, and it's another with a stellar cast. I didn't write a reflection because it's been so long since I've seen it that I couldn't think of anything to add.

(And the answers to the "firsts" teaser was of course - Anthony Mann... James Stewart & Henry Fonda... and the Professionals.)


I'll be back early Monday with 4 more. Then I'll have to get back to working on writes ups for Tuesday (I have 2 of the 4 finished). 

Night all.


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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2018, 05:27:12 AM »
I like to consider myself in the know with most movies but the Ox-Bow Incident is the only one of these I've heard of, so far.  It really is good though, and benefits greatly from it's short run-time.  It's a tight, heart-breaking film about the poisonous nature of the mob mentality.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2018, 05:48:52 AM »
I like to consider myself in the know with most movies but the Ox-Bow Incident is the only one of these I've heard of, so far.  It really is good though, and benefits greatly from it's short run-time.  It's a tight, heart-breaking film about the poisonous nature of the mob mentality.

Really? You need to get on some Anthony Mann then, pronto!  ;)




Offline PsychoGoatee

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2018, 05:57:27 PM »
It sounds cool! And I dig Henry Fonda, he's on my list a couple times.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2018, 11:55:33 PM »
#37 – TRUE GRIT (1969)
”Fill your hand you son of a bitch!” - Rooster Cogburn


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37 points on 3 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #8 (George 2.0)

Director: Henry Hathaway

Stars: John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Jeremy Slate, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Strother Martin, Jeff Corey

Subgenre: Traditional Western

When you think of The Duke, what’s the first image that pops into mind? I’ll bet you he’s wearing an eye patch and a cowhide leather vest. Rooster Cogburn is arguably John Wayne’s most iconic role. The crusty, hard-drinking, hard-living, one-eyed U.S. marshal was launched into the Western film lexicon in 1969 in Henry Hathaway’s classic adaptation of Charles Portis’ classic novel. Chances are pretty good that Wayne’s portrayal will remain the definitive characterization despite an admirable and brilliant turn by Jeff Bridges in the 2010 remake by the Coen brothers.

At times woodenly acted (Glen Campbell) and downright dated by modern standards, the 1969 True Grit nevertheless has a primal power. It’s a coming-of-age story for young Mattie Ross (Kim Darby), a sharp-tongued quick-witted teenager, on a quest for revenge for her murdered father. She hires Rooster Cogburn to track down his killer, who has fled into Indian territory. Rooster admires her spunk, seeing reflections of himself in her stubbornness. Despite their prickly off-camera relationship, Wayne and Darby put aside those challenges and let the characters do the talking. Much of the movie’s beauty is in the deepening of their relationship, in Rooster’s protectiveness toward “Little Sis,” his appreciation and downright enjoyment of her pluck, and in Mattie’s wide-eyed admiration for her champion, a man with true grit. Never mind the many times he lets the bottle let her down. By the time Cogburn hauls snake-bitten Mattie on a desperate all-night journey through the wilderness, it’s hard not to be touched by his devotion and sheer determination to save Miss Ross’ life.

The remake is a fine movie in its own right. It has a smoother flow, is truer to the spirit of the novel, and feels grittier to our modern sensibilities. Yet at its best, it can’t escape the shadow of the original and often feels like it is emulating its elder. Isn’t that the sincerest form of flattery, though? - Joe Petitt Jr, Paste

Trivia:
Behind the scenes, everybody seemed to hate everyone in this movie. Wayne didn’t like Duvall, neither Hathaway nor Wayne liked Darby, Hathaway hated Campbell, and almost everybody hated Hathaway. Amazing the movie works as well as it does.

Personal Thoughts
I enjoyed the remake, in many ways it is the better film, and Hailee was a treasure. But there are still things the original does better. Like the relationship between Rooster and Mattie, you can see that he comes to genuinely care for her in a fatherly way. Or Cogburns cat (General Sterling Price) - as Chris Cabin from Collider stated, excising the General from the remake was a major misstep in detailing Cogburn’s pickled perspective and unpredictable empathy. And as great as Bridges is, his marble mouthed, limp delivery of the “Fill your hands” line made me sad. When the Duke delivered that quip the theater exploded into cheers, laughter and applause. (yes I’m old, I saw both in theaters. My dad took me to see the original… even though he wasn’t a fan of Wayne’s, he put up with him for the sake of his son. And despite his chuckling every time Glen Campbell attempted to act, we had a great time. It’s one of my fondest memories)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 12:06:30 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2018, 11:59:48 PM »
#36 – LONESOME DOVE
[after beating a man nearly to death for hitting Newt he climbs on his horse and looks at the horrified towns people] “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it.” - Woodrow Call


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38 points on 2 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Cole Stratton)

Director: Simon Wincer

Stars: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Robert Urich, Frederic Forrest, D. B. Sweeney, Ricky Schroder, Anjelica Huston, Chris Cooper, Timothy Scott, Glenne Headly, Barry Corbin, William Sanderson, Steve Buscemi

Subgenre: Traditional Western

Yes, Lonesome Dove was a network television event, but this Peabody-awarded adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a justified exception to the big-screen rule. Take its development: McMurtry’s original tome was based upon a 1972 screenplay he had co-written with Peter Bogdanovich for a film that was to star John Wayne, James Stewart and Henry Fonda; the project fell apart when John Ford advised Wayne against it. The author eventually bought back his script, penned the 800+-page book (which both John Milius and John Huston then tried to adapt as a feature), and in 1989 the six-hour epic was broadcast over four evenings, resurrecting the then-dormant Western (not to mention miniseries) and boasting an A-list cast of movie stars that was rare prior to the current golden age of TV: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane and Anjelica Huston, along with up-and-comers like Chris Cooper and Steve Buscemi. Lonesome Dove is a nostalgic yet matter-of-fact look at the rigors of the unforgiving wilderness, a soapy, satisfying romance and, most poignantly, a portrait of lifelong friendship. Aussie director Simon Wincer (Quigley Down Under) helms the saga of two former Texas rangers, Augustus McCrae (Duvall) and Woodrow Call (Jones), who decide on one last adventure, a treacherous cattle drive from the titular Texas border town to Montana in the late 1800s. Duvall and Jones turn in career-best performances. The sheer breadth of the storytelling on display here, and that masterful acting, makes you glad what could’ve been a feature film had the time to unspool on the small screen. - Amanda Schurr, Paste

Trivia:
Despite the huge ratings, and massive critical acclaim, it lost the 1989 Outstanding Miniseries Emmy Award to War and Remembrance (1988).

My Reflections;
Our second minseries: I remember thinking it a bit corney with the way it handled the western tropes at first. But I stuck with it, and it drew me in and I was hooked to the end.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 12:08:41 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2018, 12:01:19 AM »
#35 – THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE
”I know what gold does to men's souls.” - Howard


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38 points on 4 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Johnny Unusual)

Director: John Huston

Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

Subgenre: Psychological Western

Greed is a recurring theme throughout the Western, whether in the scheming cynicism of Vera Cruz, the landowner conflicts of Once Upon a Time in the West and Shane, or in The Naked Spur, where greed is a divisive force. In John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, greed is corruptive. Greed corrodes your soul and poisons you against your comrades. Greed persuades you to yank your prospecting partner out of bed and shoot him in the dead of night. All that and more for bags of gold that wind up being tossed to the wind like so much chaff. It isn’t all ugliness and gloom—in one particularly noble gesture, Walter Huston’s Howard saves a kid’s life—and there are even a few laughs along the way (most of them Huston’s), but The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’s morality tale about the taint of avarice is deeply sobering as an anti-capitalist screed. - Andy Crump, Paste

Trivia:
Walter Huston, father of director John Huston, won the Academy Award for best supporting actor. John won for best direction. This was the first father/son win.

In his Oscar acceptance speech, Walter Huston said, "Many, many years ago, I brought up a boy and I said to him, 'Son, if you ever become a writer, try to write a good part for your old man sometime'. Well, by cracky, that's what he did!"

My Reflections:
I always laugh at the scene when Howard keeps insisting that the other 2 men eat some beans… “Hey you fellas, how 'bout some beans? You want some beans? Goin' through some mighty rough country tomorrow, you'd better have some beans.” only because it makes me think of that scene in Blazing Saddles. How ’bout more beans, boss… I think you boys have had enough!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 09:22:59 AM by George-2.0 »


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2018, 12:03:31 AM »
#34 – BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III
”Great Scott!”


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38 points on 4 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Linzoid)

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson, Lea Thompson

Subgenre: Sci-Fi Comedy Western

Back to the Future Part III is a 1990 American science fiction Western comedy film and the third and final installment of the Back to the Future trilogy. The film continues immediately following Back to the Future Part II (1989); while stranded in 1955 during his time travel adventures, Marty McFly (Fox) discovers that his friend Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, trapped in 1885, was killed by Biff Tannen's great-grandfather Buford. Marty travels to 1885 to rescue Doc.

Back to the Future Part III was filmed in California and Arizona, and was produced on a $40 million budget back-to-back with Part II. Part III was released in the United States on May 25, 1990, six months after the previous installment. Part III earned $244.5 million worldwide, making it the sixth-highest-grossing film of 1990. - Wiki

Trivia:
Marty uses a "Frisbie's" pie plate to knock a gun out of Mad Dog's hand. In 1871, the Frisbie Pie Company started in Connecticut. Their pie pans were thrown on the campus of Yale, and this eventually lead to the invention of Frisbees.


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2018, 03:35:42 AM »
I was the other person with Lonesome Dove. I saw that when it originally aired. And by saw that I mean my Mom saw it and I also happened to be there. I was 13, and to be honest, I barely remember the plot. However, it still sticks in my mind as one of the best mini-series I've ever seen. I should watch it again.