Saturday, January 21, 2017

Movie Mail Bag

With some Christmas $s, I decided to fix a few holes in my Western collection. Some of them I specifically plan to review (Johnny Guitar, The Shooting, High Plains Drifter - a list that should make it pretty obvious I'm partial to the odder films). Others, I'm not sure about. I known I'll review at least one of the Jimmy Stewart/Anthony Mann movies, but which one I'm not sure of yet. If memory serves me right, they're all pretty good - maybe as good as the Randolph Scott/Budd Boetticher collaborations. 

The five Stewart/Mann pictures were Winchester '73, The Man from Laramie, The Naked Spur (which I already have), The Far Country, and Bend of the River. Now I'll have 'em all. Oh, and Night Passage was supposed to be directed by Mann as well, but he dropped out because he didn't like the casting of Audie Murphy.

Keith West reminded me of Clint Eastwood's fairly psychotic, nearly Gothic, supernatural revenge Western (enough adjectives for you?), High Plains Drifter. Clint has never had trouble playing an ambiguous "hero," and his gunslinger in this one might be the most so. There are scenes of psychological and moral degradation that might make the most jaded viewer's skin crawl.

And the set includes Stewart's early pairing with Marlene Dietrich, Destry Rides Again

Finally, low-budget genius Monte Hellman's two Westerns. Both feature young, yet-unmannered Jack Nicholson, and Millie Perkins. Ride in the Whirlwind also has Harry Dean Stanton. The Shooting is one of Warren Oates' best performances. The latter film was described thus:
Imagine a Spaghetti Western written by Rod Serling, adapted from a Samuel Beckett play. Throw in the following: the great Warren Oates, an evil Jack Nicholson, a bitchy Millie Perkins, some hellish desert locales, and a truly bizarre ending -- a definite must-see.


  1. What, no Sam Peckinpah!
    The Wild Bunch, Major Dundee, Pat Garret and Billy The Kid, Ride the High Country!!??!

    Come on Wasp, if you're going to do it, do it right. ;-)

    1. Dude, I already an all those and more. Most of they'll get reviewed. Ride the High Country might be the best Western ever.