Author Topic: This is the West, sir.  (Read 20618 times)

Devil

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 06:29:54 PM »
Unforgiven is certainly a must see for the genre. Also agree with those who said The Tall T, The Proposition(almost made my Top 100), Winchester '73, Tombstone and The Good, The Bad and The Weird

I'd also recommend The Wild Bunch, Django, and Open Range
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Antares

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 08:10:01 PM »
Feels like a lesser Rio Bravo, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It's basically Mutiny on the Bounty out on a cattle drive.
            
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Antares

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 08:13:51 PM »
Canyon Passage (Antares recommended)

This wasn't me, I've never seen this film.
            
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roujin

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 08:14:22 PM »
Well, I recommend it :D

Sandy

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2012, 10:38:12 PM »
Oops! Sorry about that Antares. I'm trying to think where I got Canyon Passage from, but since roujin comes to the rescue, I don't have to change the list. :)

Thanks for the titles Devil. I'm keeping them on file. :)
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Sandy

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2012, 02:49:21 AM »
Once Upon a Time in the West



I'll be on the lookout for East and West Mitten Buttes sightings throughout the marathon.



It's the darndest thing. I don't know if I've ever had such a strange experience viewing a movie before. I got OUaTitW almost two weeks ago; just about the time when my house guests arrived and holiday crunch time began. I was able to watch it in a few sittings over the course of the first week, but with a lot of distractions, so I decided to take any small moment when I was alone and watch the scenes one by one. Those moments were few and far between, but kept the film always in the back of my mind throughout the holiday. Little pieces would linger, like the lantern's swing revealing Harmonica's eyes, then hiding them again under the shadow of his hat brim. Details like that bring me to my next thought.

I realized early on that it was probably not a great idea to start the marathon with this movie. I knew it as soon as the pink tickets flew at the camera in the first scene. How was I going to build on something so mind-blowing as what kept playing across the screen? I consoled myself with the idea that I now get to look for some of the building blocks that may have been influential and if any movie was going to get me enthusiastic to watch a whole passel of other movies from the same genre, this was it.




"You wake up one morning and say, "World, I know you. From now on, there are no more surprises." And then you happen to meet a man like this."



and this:




I am surprised. I wasn't expecting so much depth. These men begin enigmatically, but slowly reveal their code of conduct scene by scene. Western code of conduct is a mysterious thing. It's there and even though some of it varies from man to man, the rules are taken very seriously. My job is to figure out what kind of man each is, by the rules he keeps. The movie tries to trip me up early on with a few head scratching scenes, but then character starts to peak out with a look or a line. Ha! What a game this becomes. I don't want to be spoilery, so I'll just say that by the end, I have two fully fleshed out characters to... shoot, can't do it. I have two fully fleshed out characters to admire.

While I'm occupied with the character game, I'm bombarded with sight and sound stimuli. So many transition shots use both, like a gun firing and smoke, followed by a train whistle and smoke. I could take a screen shot of Frank and his men at the homestead, but it would miss the movement of the dust streaming horizontally past and the men appearing choreographically and their dusters flapping. It also can't capture the electric guitar, harmonica and then the strings. How do I explain the opening train station scene where the wood planks are as important a character as the four men?  Or how about the puddle/ocean? Or the lengthy shot all around the other train station platform and up over the roof that reveals the town, all timed with a crescendo that's backed by a woman's descant? This is impossible. :) The only solutions is, if you haven't already, go see the movie.

I'll end with a few words about Jill McBain. I don't think I'm going to see many female characters like hers in this marathon, which is a shame. She's womanly, maternal, pragmatic, domestic, dauntless, compassionate... could learn a lot from her.
"Don't be shy. You learn to fly and see the sun when day is done. If only you see."

sdedalus

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2012, 03:16:31 AM »
You'll see tons of women like her in John Ford and Howard Hawks movies.
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verbALs

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2012, 03:39:49 AM »
I made the point, recently that only this film and 2001 are as good cinematically as they are musically, for me, perhaps the reason they are top 5. I can't comment on their operatic quality since I know bugger all about opera, but opera is that art form that intends to marries drama and music? It was Drive and The Good The Bad and The Ugly that I was thinking start quite as musically dynamically, but don't hold up that standard. Close Encounters closes as strongly- those notes turning into an orchestral sweep as the film closes. 2001 is interesting for the abrupt/ long/ excruciating silences. OUATITW for the explosion of, normally, tiny sound effects.

The musical device (shoving the harmonica into Frank's mouth, the discordant note of resignation/realisation) is so powerful, as if to say, "that's why we had the music to the fore, ta da!". The gunfight/ Harmonica backstory may be my favourite section in any film, certainly the one I watch back the most. Then I spend days whistling/humming the music.

"Glad you liked it" doesn't really cover it. ;D
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1SO

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2012, 09:43:25 AM »
Love that you mentioned the warped wood planks from the opening. This film is full of these great details. There must be a paper somewhere about the authenticity of the production design and the theatrical way the scenes are shot. What do you think about Henry Fonda? The nicest, most warm-hearted presence this side of James Stewart (and we've seen Jimmy lose his temper a few times). He comes on all mean and leathery, and if you're still not buying it there's his shocking act of murder.

Also interesting that you responded to Jill McBain the way you did since Bronson, Fonda and even Robards at the end mostly respond to her on more sexual terms. ("Can't imagine how happy it makes a man to see a woman like you. Just to look at her. And if one of them should pat your behind, just make believe it's nothing. They earned it.") With Bronson it's more of a grey area. He comes on like a rapist, but ultimately in his own wordless way is telling her that to survive she needs to drop the lace fringe.


And sdedalus is correct. Strong female role models are constant in John Ford films. From Maureen O'Hara to Shirley Temple. Hawks' women prove their worth by being just as capable as the men, whether through work or verbally sparring.


To verbALs point, Sergio Leone's collaboration with composer Ennio Morricone is one of the greatest screen partnerships ever. The dollars trilogy will show you what I mean. 


BTW, have you considered watching The Quick & The Dead? Sam Raimi's western tribute is a whole lot of fun and puts a woman right into the center of the action.

Antares

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Re: This is the West, sir.
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2012, 09:44:27 AM »
I realized early on that it was probably not a great idea to start the marathon with this movie.

It probably wasn't, because it's now all downhill from here. And I don't mean that successive films won't be good, but Leone reach the ultimate strata with this film.
            
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