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Largo's Shark
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:04 am

The only Mann worth your time.
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The White Tuxedo
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:30 am

Largo's Shark wrote:
The only Mann worth your time.

I like his films.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:33 am

The White Tuxedo wrote:
Largo's Shark wrote:
The only Mann worth your time.

I like his films.

Yes. Anthony Mann was a great director, but was he a great Mann?
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:34 am

I like his granddaughter, Aimee. However, Magnolia was not a Western. Also she may not be related to Anthony at all. Or Michael for that matter. So my remark is irrelevant.

Goodnight, sweet ladies, goodnight, goodnight.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:03 pm

The White Tuxedo wrote:
Erica Ambler wrote:
Just rewatched The Far Country. What a terrific film it is.

The most enjoyable Mann/Stewart Western for me. Love John McIntire in it.

Oddly enough, I just watched Mann's THE TIN STAR. Hadn't seen it in nearly a decade. Terrific pairing of Fonda and Perkins, with one leading the other along to stand up and kick ass as Sheriff. Pretty atypical Mann Western in many respects, though Fonda has a little of the "haunted past" thing going on.

I really enjoyed "The Far Country"
I also love "Tin Star", which I think is under rated
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:09 am



Midget western. Had to post it.
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hegottheboot
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:19 am

The masters of this are Leone and Peckinpah. I've always felt Ford to be a bit overrated, but then again he did help to essentially build most of American film grammar.

Here is how my tastes stand. As a child, and for most of my life I couldn't stand Westerns because of their poor staging, pitiful over-use of every cliche possible etc. before discovering that there were actually some that meant something.

The best American Western is The Wild Bunch. Hands down. No contest.

The best overall are (in a very loose ranking)
1.For a Few Dollars More
2.The Good The Bad and The Ugly
3.The Wild Bunch
4.Once Upon a Time in the West
5.A Fistful of Dollars
6.Duck, You Sucker!
7.Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Peckinpah's cut)
8.Ride the High Country
9.The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:12 am

that midget western looks awesome, do you know what it's called?
laugh

hegottheboot is clearly a fan of the later more violent brand of western, generally of the spaghetti variety

I love those two, but I equally love the earlier American morality tale westerns, like "Shane" and "My Darling Clementine"

and the occasional comedy western, like "Destry Rides Again" (Jimmy Stewart version) or "Cat Ballou", although this is a sub genre that is more often bad than good

you always have to make allowances for the different taste, expectations and restrictions of the times when watching older movies

(by the way, "Duck You Sucker" and "A Fist Full Of Dollars" are the same movie)
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hegottheboot
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:41 am

I think you may be thinking of the DYS alternate title for the US market, Fistful of Dynamite. The studio did that to try and tie it into the Dollars films' success and did a drastic re-cut to tone out Leone's intent.

There are great lighter Westerns, or comedies and I'll admit that most Westerns, even simple ones have their respective merits. But for me, it's the films that take more risks and dare to be a bit grittier that make the landscape come to life, much more like the actual time period was.

Liberty Valence is a favorite because it is the one Ford film that feels like it was made by a wiser older man, who had learned a great deal about life and was trying to get at something beyond a mere Western. Plus it has the best Wayne performance, and I adored/cheered/admired what happened to his character.

As for the violence, it isn't always necessary to tell a good tale, as your mentions of Clementine and Shane demonstrate perfectly. But when the notion of violence is present, it adds immeasurable intensity to scenes, and a film like Pat Garrett is more about the small scenes of reality in the lives of violent men who have no souls left.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:22 am

hegottheboot wrote:
I think you may be thinking of the DYS alternate title for the US market, Fistful of Dynamite. The studio did that to try and tie it into the Dollars films' success and did a drastic re-cut to tone out Leone's intent.

There are great lighter Westerns, or comedies and I'll admit that most Westerns, even simple ones have their respective merits. But for me, it's the films that take more risks and dare to be a bit grittier that make the landscape come to life, much more like the actual time period was.

Liberty Valence is a favorite because it is the one Ford film that feels like it was made by a wiser older man, who had learned a great deal about life and was trying to get at something beyond a mere Western. Plus it has the best Wayne performance, and I adored/cheered/admired what happened to his character.

As for the violence, it isn't always necessary to tell a good tale, as your mentions of Clementine and Shane demonstrate perfectly. But when the notion of violence is present, it adds immeasurable intensity to scenes, and a film like Pat Garrett is more about the small scenes of reality in the lives of violent men who have no souls left.

Doh! must be Monday morning (re Fist full of...)

I guess I've just had enough of movies about men with no souls left lately, everyone seems to be making them these days, although they are not westerns, these days it's sub James Bond hit men and and assassins, Brad Pitt is "Killing Them Softly", George Clooney is "The American", Ryan Gosling in "Drive", The Rock in "Faster"

I prefer somehing more hopeful, like "Liberty Valance" which as you say has one of the best John Wayne performances

as you say, the threat of violence is an essential ingredient, however in a spaghetti western there is always actual violence at more regular intervals than in the old Hollywood ones, and that's not always necessary

I believe the actual level of killing in the old west was much more in line with that of a traditional America western than that of a spaghetti western
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:18 pm

I'm not posting the movies I watch much anymore, but I did see a Western. John Sturges' ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO (1953).

It's a fairly satisfying way to spend 98 minutes, but nothing too special. Unless I'm missing something. I'm a big fan of William Holden, and he's fine here, but I kept thinking this maybe should have been a John Wayne movie. Wayne might have filled the role more.

But the story is interesting enough, and John Forsythe and his voice are always welcome. It's got a really terrific climactic sequence where the main characters are all pinned down and surrounded by Indians. Then the Indians unleash volleys of arrows like artillery. It's pretty cool.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:05 am

Going to bump this thread to ask you all for your favorite recent westerns.

I would say that roughly any western of the past 15 years applies.

The discussion of classics is of course still very welcome, but I would hope to discover some (semi-)recent gems that I might have missed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:15 am

Damn, I still gotta see DEADWOOD.

I haven't seen many westerns from the past decade.  I enjoy older westerns in part because a lot of them have a colorful spirit.  The JESSE JAMES film looked great, and I liked a lot of the cast.  But I don't imagine sitting down and watching it again any time soon.  I do remember OPEN RANGE being pretty enjoyable.

Is the 310 TO YUMA remake worth seeing?  I've not seen the original yet either.

I've heard a few good things about MEEK'S CUTOFF.

I've been watching (and re-watching) some older ones these days.  I liked DEVIL'S DOORWAY pretty well.  An Anthony Mann western I hadn't seen yet.

EDIT: I forgot TRUE GRIT.  I've only seen it once and it didn't make a huge impact.  But I'd like to see it again.  Still haven't seen the original or it's follow-up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Western_films_of_the_2000s
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Western_films_of_the_2010s

I guess I can count SERENITY as a "space western".  Sue me, it's a fun movie.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:22 am

I specifically asked for modern ones because I'm fairly convinced I have seen the large majority of what are considered the older, classics of the genre.

The 3:10 to Yuma remake is worth the watch, even though I wouldn't necessarily claim it is superior to the original.

Meek's Cutoff is very good, though not a western in the classic sense. It's more a slice of life set in the American West, with an unorthodox narrative structure.

The Coens True Grit was alright I suppose, though I didn't really like Damon in his role. Some faces just don't work in westerns and his is one of them. 

The wiki lists are interesting, thanks for those.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:35 am

Have you seen 'Living in Harmony', the Western-themed episode of The Prisoner that was banned in America?



An interesting spin on what had become a formulaic show, and certainly one of the few attempts to film a Western in England.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:56 pm

I have actually been meaning to revisit the Prisoner, so that might be a good recommendation.

I went over Tux' list in more detail, it's a bit of an underwhelming read. Some of the titles on there are only westerns if you apply a very broad definition of the genre.

And even then, there are very few memorable movies amongst them.

Someday I'd like to read a good analysis of why our culture lost interest in a genre that so defined the earliest decades of the medium.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:42 am

Because the Western ceased to be relevant in the post-industrial age?
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:59 am

Salomé wrote:
Someday I'd like to read a good analysis of why our culture lost interest in a genre that so defined the earliest decades of the medium.

That's something I've given a lot of thought to. I'm leaning towards the idea that a change in attitudes means that the loner who rejects conformity and wider society is someone to be feared rather than admired. 

Many people are pathetically grateful to be wage slaves today and not keen to be reminded that there is an alternative.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:23 am

On the Wiki lists, wonder why so many of the people involved in Westerns in this decade now have non-existent Wiki pages? :suspect:
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:25 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
Salomé wrote:
Someday I'd like to read a good analysis of why our culture lost interest in a genre that so defined the earliest decades of the medium.

That's something I've given a lot of thought to. I'm leaning towards the idea that a change in attitudes means that the loner who rejects conformity and wider society is someone to be feared rather than admired. 

Many people are pathetically grateful to be wage slaves today and not keen to be reminded that there is an alternative.

I'd say it's probably more what Sharky said.  I think we've come so far from the Old West and anything like that way of life in America.  A lot of people probably find it alienating, plus the whole "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" kind of attitude has faded away.  I'd say it's cultural more than anything else.

Plenty of people would go for the loner/non-conformist figure, but they'd rather worship someone like that idiot Christopher McCandless.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:55 pm

FWIW, one of the most underrated Westerns ever made - LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, deals with that very theme of the borderless loner, hunted down and persecuted by modern man. It was adapted from Edward Abbey's novel by the legendary Dalton Trumbo, and remains Kirk Douglas personal favourite of his own films. Brit filmmaker Alex Cox has also praised it - "there is no greater western, and certainly no more tragic one."

I'd probably agree.

Also check it out for an early Jerry Goldsmith score.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:05 pm

Many of the classic westerns explore that very theme.
"Shane" is more or less the perfect example of this.


Quote :
Shane: I came to get your offer, Ryker.
Ryker: I'm not dealing with you. Where's Starrett?
Shane: You're dealing with me, Ryker.
Ryker: I got no quarrel with you, Shane. You walk out now and no hard feelings.
Shane: What's your offer, Ryker?
Ryker: To you, not a thing.
Shane: That's too bad.
Ryker: Too bad?
Shane: Yeah, you've lived too long. Your kind of days are over.
Ryker: My days? What about yours, gunfighter?
Shane: The difference is I know it.
Ryker: All right. So we'll all turn in our six-guns to the bartender. We'll all start hoeing spuds. Is that it?
Shane: Not quite yet.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:54 am

Having given the question more thought, I perhaps have found another reason why the genre has hit upon such hard times.

Many (if not most) of the pre-Spaghetti westerns were in essence studies of masculinity, which sought out to answer the question "what does it mean to be a man?" in all its facets. This was true for masculine characters in all their possible roles: fathers (Red River), sons (Red River), husbands (Shane, Comanche Station), brothers (Pursued) and male camaraderie in general (too many to possibly list here).

Part of the death of the genre must be attributed to a lack of interest in this topic amongst modern day audiences. It also ties in rather nicely with the decline of the real noir, which boasted a similar fascination with its male protagonists.

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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:15 am

I think for many the genre was simply played out. It had been a very popular genre for awhile and then after that long period many simply lost interest, filmmakers, audiences, ect. It's only every once in awhile we get a western that audiences embrace, but there's also stuff like THE LONE RANGER not helping matters. To reassure our resident Ambler, don't worry, the same thing will happen with the superhero genre. ;)
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:26 am

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Well, that was a surprise. Sat through a family screening this evening expecting to find nothing to like except Ruth Wilson’s demonic eyebrows and instead found a film that has much to commend it.

Yes, it’s mass market fodder, but there are obvious nods to Morricone, Once Upon A Time in the West and The Searchers that will please the Western fan, and while it sags badly in the middle, this is an ambitious film that’s going to be reassessed in the next few years. I suspect it got slaughtered at the US box office because it tells uncomfortable truths about how modern-day America was forged.
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