Author Topic: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films  (Read 6128 times)

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Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #75 on: October 11, 2018, 11:11:11 PM »
#21 – TOMBSTONE
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55 points on 5 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #2 (CJones)

Director: George P. Cosmatos or Kurt Russell?

Stars: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliott, Michael Biehn, Powers Boothe, Stephen Lang, Charlton Heston, Dana Delany, Jason Priestley, Robert John Burke, Billy Zane, Jon Tenney, Thomas Haden Church

Subgenre: Outlaw Western

The gang’s all here, perfectly cast, in this revisionist telling of the events leading up to carnage at the O.K. Corral and its aftermath. Kurt Russell is outstanding as barely retired lawman Wyatt Earp, who moves to the film’s namesake mining town. There he reunites with his brothers (Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton) and Val Kilmer’s superbly iconic Doc Holliday, partnering to open a gambling saloon before a band of outlaws threatens the peace. Though George P. Cosmatos was credited as director after screenwriter-initial director Kevin Jarre was fired (Jarre’s work is seen in the scenes with Heston), Russell has since said he himself handled the bulk of the duties. Whoever had the ultimate word, the result is a thrillingly old-fashioned Western tweaked for modern audiences. The extensive A-list ensemble includes Robert Mitchum as the film’s narrator, Harry Carey Jr. as Marshal Fred White and Charlton Heston as ranching tycoon Henry Hooker. - Amanda Schurr, Paste

Trivia:
The story behind the production of “Tombstone” is a twisted, convoluted tale on it’s own. And started with screenwriter Kevin Jarre and actors Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner developing a movie about Wyatt Earp. Costner wanted the emphasis on Wyatt Earp, the other two disagreed. Costner left the project and hired director Lawrence Kasadan to do his version of the tale. (The rivalry between the 2 productions heated up when Kevin worked to see that the competing film would not get a major distribution deal.)

Meanwhile, on the Tombstone project, a tug of war between Russell and Jarre (who was slated to direct) began over details of the script. Jarre lost that fight and was fired and Cosmatos was brought in, though it’s rumored that he only followed Russell’s day by day shot lists. It’s said that Kurt also edited his own scenes and gave the other actors expanded screen time.

Despite the turmoil and all those cooks in the kitchen, Tombstone was triumphant. It beat Costner’s film to the theater by a year, and earned better critical notices and box-office dollars.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #76 on: October 11, 2018, 11:12:55 PM »
#20 – THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES
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56 points on 5 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #10 (Travis)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, John Vernon, Paula Trueman, Sam Bottoms, Sheb Wooley, Royal Dano, Will Sampson

Subgenre: Outlaw/Revisionist Western

A strong prelude to the elegiac mastery of Unforgiven, this biting, intelligent, intense Western from Clint Eastwood, both as actor and, after he fell out with and fired writer-director Philip Kaufman, director, pitches the virtuous man against the corrupt government as if the Man With No Name possessed a soul. The journey of Josey Wales is from the disillusioned loner, striking out for empty territory, who becomes the father figure again, picking up a band of misfits along the way. - Ian Nathan, Empire

Trivia:
This movie received a lot of high praise among Native American viewers for its non-stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in the film.

John Landis cast John Vernon in Animal House (1978) after seeing him in this movie.

My Reflections:
Yeah Clint is cool, but Chief Dan George steals every scene he’s in, and gets some of the best lines. This is one of my mothers favorite films, and George is a big reason why.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #77 on: October 11, 2018, 11:14:26 PM »
#19 – JOHNNY GUITAR
”A man can lie, steal... and even kill. But as long as he hangs on to his pride, he's still a man. All a woman has to do is slip - once. And she's a "tramp!" Must be a great comfort to you to be a man.” - Vienna


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59 points on 3 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #4 (Edward J. Grugg III)

Director: Nicholas Ray

Stars: Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Ward Bond, Ernest Borgnine, John Carradine

Subgenre: Film Noir Western

When you think of Western movies, you probably picture the grandeur of the American frontier: big, open expanses of land capped off with an endless blue sky, a rugged panorama rife with as much danger as opportunity. You probably don’t think of intimacy of setting. In that respect, Johnny Guitar is an anomaly of sorts in a genre that is routinely vast in its physical scope and scale: The film takes place almost exclusively in a saloon that stands just two stories high. You can chalk all of this up either to invention or, more realistically, to budgeting snafus, but Johnny Guitar’s small stature doesn’t hold it back from being a solid Western. Ever notice the homoerotic tensions that crackle between the good guys and the bad guys in Western films? Johnny Guitar plays with that by channeling the energy back and forth from Joan Crawford to Mercedes McCambridge—their characters loathe each other, but not as much as Crawford loathed McCambridge and vice versa. That little reversal is enough to make the film feel special despite being so scant. - Andy Crump, Paste

Trivia:
Crawford was a real, nasty diva on set. Flying into jealous rages against McCambridge, stressing out Ray… Sterling Hayden said: "There is not enough money in Hollywood to lure me into making another picture with Joan Crawford. And I like money."


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #78 on: October 11, 2018, 11:18:20 PM »
#18 –DJANGO UNCHAINED
“Our mutual friend has a flair for the dramatic.” - Dr. King Schultz


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59 points on 4 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (PsychoGoatee)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Stars: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, Walton Goggins, James Remar

Subgenre: Spaghetti-style Western set in the Southern frontier

Vocal fanboy Quentin Tarantino paid blatant homage to Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 masterpiece in this solid revisionist saga. Christoph Waltz is marvelous as Dr. Schultz, an erudite, gentlemanly but deadly bounty hunter who enlists the film’s enslaved namesake (a never better Jamie Foxx) to help him track down a trio of outlaws. As usual, Tarantino’s casting is canny, from Don Johnson’s Colonel Sanders-esque plantation boss Big Daddy to Leonardo DiCaprio as the repellent owner of Django’s wife to Samuel L. Jackson as DiCaprio’s equally racist house servant—who has to be heard to be believed, if not at all understood. The relationship between the newly liberated Django and his now colleague Schultz is a pleasure to watch; the horrifying “Mandingo fight,” not so much. Django Unchained is sickening satire, bloody, uneasily hilarious and entertaining in that Tarantino fashion that squarely divides audiences. - Amanda Schurr, Paste

Trivia:
Dr. King Schultz says he wants to re-name Eskimo Joe, the Mandingo fighter he tries to purchase, "Black Hercules". This was the real-life nickname of Ken Norton, the actor and boxer who starred in Mandingo (1975).



Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2018, 01:53:19 AM »
I've seen all of these except Tombstone.

JOHNNY GUITAR is the only one to make the list though. I've watched it several times in the last couple of years and my appreciation for it only grows. Joan Crawford is truly amazing in it.
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Offline PsychoGoatee

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2018, 03:57:42 AM »
Django Unchained is cool... and entertaining...! - PsychoGoatee (box cover quote)


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2018, 03:21:56 PM »
I honestly thought Tombstone would rank higher.


Offline Russoguru

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2018, 04:00:01 PM »
I may have said this before and I'm sorry Psycho Goatee but... I can't stand Django Unchained. There were some things about it that left me feeling very annoyed. I don't care how silly or cheesy it is, Tombstone is much better. Yeah, yeah, I know... blasphemy!


Offline PsychoGoatee

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2018, 04:00:51 PM »
Thats okay!


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #84 on: October 12, 2018, 06:39:05 PM »
For me, Christoph Waltz makes Django great. When he's gone, and Tarantino goes off the rails with the ending, in that self indulgent way of his. It kind of loses me. But when Waltz was around it was golden.

Tombstone? Personally I think the 21st slot is too generous. I mean it's a goodie, but there are better films listed behind it. (Hell, there's a masterpiece directly behind it)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 06:41:08 PM by George-2.0 »


Offline CJones

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #85 on: October 12, 2018, 07:21:16 PM »
For me, Christoph Waltz makes Django great. When he's gone, and Tarantino goes off the rails with the ending, in that self indulgent way of his. It kind of loses me. But when Waltz was around it was golden.

I had Django Unchained on my list, but I can agree with you there. It kinda looses me towards the end.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #86 on: October 12, 2018, 11:14:24 PM »
#17 – RED RIVER
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61 points on 4 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #6 (Travis)

Director: Howard Hawks

Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan, Harry Carey, John Ireland

Subgenre: Cattle Drive Western

Howard Hawks’ first Western pitted seasoned rancher John Wayne against his adopted son Montgomery Clift in what screenwriter Borden Chase described as Mutiny on the Bounty with saddles and stirrups. Wayne’s Tom Dunson is a tortured, stubborn antihero, whose early decision to leave his ladylove results in her death, and a lifetime of regret. He takes a young boy, the sole survivor of the Indian attack that claimed his sweetheart, under his wing and, accompanied by his wagon master, continues on, spending almost 15 years growing a cattle empire in South Texas. Following the Civil War, Dunson figures its time for a thousand-mile drive north—with some 10,000 cattle on what would be known as the Chisholm Trail—but the taskmaster’s grown son (Clift) comes to challenge his authority, to mounting peril.

A divisive climax notwithstanding (Chase and Clift hated it), Red River is the quintessential Western, marked by a colonial “tough shit” approach to how Dunson takes his territory and a Shakespearean scope. It’s a grand journey rooted in the most deep-seated of human drama. In his first screen role, Clift exudes an intense, neurotic charisma that pushed Wayne to newfound complexity on screen—the tension between generations, values, notions of masculinity and acting methods is palpable, to the film’s benefit. Cinematographer Russell Harlan expertly stages such majestic set pieces as the epic stampede, and Dimitri Tiomkin’s classic score swells. Expansive, enduring filmmaking. - Amanda Schurr, Paste

Trivia:
Blink and you'll miss a couple of future stars in bit parts. Shelley Winters can be glimpsed as a dance hall girl in the second wagon train. Richard Farnsworth plays one of Dunson's men. He was also a stuntman on the picture. Harder to recognize is Glenn Strange, who appeared in 16 of John Wayne's earlier films; this was their last picture together.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #87 on: October 12, 2018, 11:15:35 PM »
#16 – THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
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68 points on 4 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #1 (CJones)

Director: John Sturges

Stars: Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, Horst Buchholz, Robert J. Wilke

Subgenre: Revisionist Western remake of The Seven Samurai

Even if you know nothing about The Magnificent Seven, I’d bet money you can hum its theme song. Outside of the title track to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, the theme from The Magnificent Seven is one of the most recognizable theme songs from a Western, if not from movie music period. It’s fitting that such an enjoyable and seminal film would have a great soundtrack. From its origins as a straight-up remake of Akira Kurosawa’s epic, The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven evolved into something else, a fitting homage to its source material, but also a classic in its own right. The basic story is fairly simple: A group of handpicked gunfighters is hired to protect a small town from a gang of marauders led by the flamboyant and dangerous Calvera (Eli Wallach, in his first Western role). Making it clear they are only in it for the paltry cash, the mercenaries, led by Chris Adams (Yul Brynner), slowly grow to admire the peasants of the small Mexican village, and ultimately find a greater moral purpose in defending the town from the bandits. The highly stylish film was a major boost for the careers of several cast members, including Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn. Its swaggering action sequences, majestic choreography and use of the more cynical plot point of “hired guns defend a town” over the more traditionally acceptable “one man stands alone to uphold justice” set the basic template for the Western for the rest of the ’60s onward. - Joe Petitt Jr, Paste

Trivia:
Composer John Williams was a member of the orchestra that recorded Elmer Bernstein's score; he played the piano.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #88 on: October 12, 2018, 11:17:10 PM »
#15 – THE WILD BUNCH
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69 points on 4 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #3 (Travis)

Director: Sam Peckinpah

Stars: William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sánchez, Ben Johnson, Emilio Fernández, Strother Martin

Subgenre: Revisionist Western Set in Mexico

It’s hard to believe that just seven years had passed between ‘Ride the High Country’, Peckinpah’s daring, heartfelt but still resolutely old-school western masterpiece, and the game-changing hot blast of new-wave revisionism that was ‘The Wild Bunch’.

In between, he’d faffed about with Charlton Heston in the disappointing ‘Major Dundee’, done a fair amount of screenwriting and TV work, drank a bit and broodingly plotted his next big move. It’s safe to say no one was expecting this. Theses have been written about the meaning of ‘The Wild Bunch’, its relations to Vietnam and the cultural revolution, the death of censorship and the awakening of social conscience. But, with all of this firmly in the past, what remains is a portrait of desperation, of men so locked into one way of living that the only way out is to die. Peckinpah was undoubtedly a consummate self-mythologiser, and he loved to propagate an image of himself which tallied with the hard-living, hard-drinking characters he wrote about. But it’s hard not to see ‘The Wild Bunch’ as evidence of a man willingly, enthusiastically, foolishly sowing the seeds of his own self-destruction. - Tom Huddleston, Time Out

Trivia:
Robert Ryan's incessant complaints about not receiving top billing so annoyed director Sam Peckinpah that he decided to "punish" Ryan. In the opening credits, after freezing the screen on closeups of William Holden's and Ernest Borgnine's faces while listing them, Peckinpah froze the scene on several horses' rear ends as Ryan was listed.


Offline George-2.0

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Re: LoC #112 -Top 50 Western Films
« Reply #89 on: October 12, 2018, 11:19:56 PM »
#14 – TRUE GRIT (2010)
”They tell me your a man of true grit.” - Mattie Ross to Rooster Cogburn


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72 points on 5 of 13 lists - Highest Ranking: #6 (Johnny Unusual, CJones)

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld, Barry Pepper, Domhnall Gleeson, J. K. Simmons

Subgenre: Traditional Western

Girded by strong performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and lifted by some of the Coens' most finely tuned, unaffected work, True Grit is a worthy companion to the Charles Portis book. - Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

True Grit is a 2010 American Revisionist Western film directed, written, produced, and edited by the Coen brothers and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the second adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel of the same name. In it, feisty 14 year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Steinfeld) hires Cogburn, a boozy, trigger-happy lawman (Bridges) after an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Brolin) murders her father. The bickering duo are accompanied on their quest by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Damon) who has been tracking Chaney for killing a State Senator. As they embark on a dangerous adventure, each character has his or her "grit" tested in different ways. - Wiki

Trivia:
The movie was nominated for ten Academy Awards failing to win any and going down in film history as one of the most ever nominated films to not win an Oscar.

In the original True Grit (1969), Rooster Cogburn wears his eye-patch on his left eye. In the remake of True Grit (2010), the eye-patch is worn over Cogburn's right eye.

My Reflections:
I was at first a little pissed when talk of a remake surfaced. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it, as I feared I’d have my memories trampled on. But I did go, and loved it. Aside from a man dressed as a bear, the Coen’s actually played this straight, less quirky than I expected, which I appreciated. And Steinfeld was a revelation. Just perfect, the right age, the right attitude.

It’s actually kind of a reversed photo negative of the first flick in many ways. (scars and eye patches seen on opposite sides for one). It’s truer to the novel, though that’s not always a good thing. I actually prefer not knowing what became of Mattie. I liked leaving that to my imagination.

Oh, and I disagree with Wiki, while grittier, this isn’t a revisionist western. The appeal of True Grit for me, was that it was one of the last of the old fashioned traditional westerns, in a sea of revisionist, psychological, or European fare. T.G. in ‘69 or 2010 was a refreshing trip back to the genre’s roots.