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Author Topic: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021  (Read 1279 times)

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #50 on: March 07, 2021, 12:34:31 AM »
In that photo he looks like he could be Terry Thomas's brother:


smirnoff

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #51 on: March 07, 2021, 06:41:51 AM »
One of the worst westerns I ever watched.
This got me curious, so here they are. The Worst Westerns I Ever Watched.
Quigley Down Under (1990)
The Missing (2003)
Appaloosa (2008), Directed by Ed Harris
A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

I don't have any particular love for The Missing or Appaloosa, but I'm surprised to see them mentioned in the conversation about Worst Westerns. Unremarkable certainly, but worst? We have quiet different ideas when it comes to westerns I think. These titles wouldn't have ever occurred to me.

Quigley is a gem, filled with gem moments. And one of the greatest western scores ever written. I can't hear a word against it. :))

And A Million Ways to Die in the West has one of the most chuckle worthy moments of the decade. I think about this scene all the time and smile. :))


Antares

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #52 on: March 07, 2021, 05:16:49 PM »
(Is John McIntire anyone? I REALLY enjoyed him as the spiritual talisman of the town),
He's one of the best Western character actors. My favorite role is the Indian Trader in Winchester '73. I've seen him in 18 Westerns and 40 features overall, including his final performance in Turner and Hooch, which I recently rewatched.
Heís in a bunch of noir too, most notably The Phenix City Story

Married to Jeanette Nolan and their son was Tim McIntire (Brubaker, American Hot Wax, The Gumball Rally)
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Antares

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #53 on: March 07, 2021, 05:22:22 PM »
One of the worst westerns I ever watched.
This got me curious, so here they are. The Worst Westerns I Ever Watched.
3 Godfathers (1948)
Hondo (1953)
The Shooting (1966)
Firecreek (1968)
Lonesome Cowboys (1968), Directed by Andy Warhol
Quigley Down Under (1990)
Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)
Wild Bill (1995)
The Missing (2003)
Appaloosa (2008), Directed by Ed Harris
A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

My Top Ten worst:

Rio Lobo (1970) 40
The Magnificent Seven (2016) 40
Keoma (1976) 40
Wagons East (1994) 35
Wild Wild West (1999) 30
Three Amigos! (1986) 28
The Villain (1979) 28
Billy the Kid versus Dracula (1966) 28
4 for Texas (1963) 22
Five Savage Men (1970) 10
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #54 on: March 07, 2021, 06:10:40 PM »
Fort Apache

I have so many questions regarding the indigenous people in this film, because I want to believe that this was done with the respect and decency with which it appears it was done. I just can't be sure. It will require research that hasn't been done yet.

Overall, this is rather what you'd like to see in culturally pluralistic cinema from a white man's perspective. If you're white, showing things from a white perspective makes most sense unless you are seriously collaborating with the indigenous and making a film that puts them at the center. At the center here is an American military installation in the Arizonan frontier headed by a man in Lt. Col. Owen Thursday (a bummer way to use Henry Fonda, but he's fine) that sees savagery in every native, while Captain Kirby York (still not a very interesting use of John Wayne, who I think is at his best when he gets to be a little more funny, though he's also fine) seeks to form a lasting peace between them. The treatment of Silas Meachum is particularly interesting, as he's a man whose trading post is blamed for introducing the indigenous to alcohol and turning them into drunken fools, as these characters seem to be often omitted from historical perspectives on the frontier, though if you have spent much time with indigenous people, you'll know this is a legacy that continues to be relevant today. Ultimately, Thursday pays the price for realizing the error in his ways, and York picks up the pieces. A lot of westerns are about the goodness of civilizing forces in the western frontier, usually law and order over lawlessness, as in The Tin Star I saw just the night before, but this is about something different. To me, depending on what further research I do, this is about civilizing the west through ridding itself of white military leaders who see war and see threats when they see the indigenous, and replacing them with men who are capable of putting aside differences to achieve a level of peace. It's a far, far cry from the redface and glib representation of The Searchers, that is for sure. (Unless there is redface of a less obvious manner, in which case, damn me.)

There are other interesting subplots to take up, and one that I did not expect was the overwhelming humor of the film. Fonda's Thursday also seeks to standardize certain military practices to the ragtag group of soldiers he finds on the frontier. Slapstick comedy comes aplenty as the sergeants whip these hilarious, ridiculous, kind of amazing men into shape. There were times Dad and I looked at each other like, this is going on a very long time, this is hilarious, but you know, wtf. This is a film that is thematically about white-indigenous relationships, the folly of white domination, and the disgusting nature of growing up indoctrinated into such gross prejudices of the other, but it's also quite the comedy and the melodrama. That last aspect, eh, not as interesting. I don't think I've ever seen images of Shirley Temple over the age of eight, but the truth is, she is not good at acting, or at least definitely not good here. She's got the whole [look up exactly one second, look away exactly two seconds, look back and lock gaze] thing going on, and it's so phony. The building of the forbidden love between her and Michael O'Rourke is the most disposable aspect of the film, though I'm guessing it's there just to make the rest more accessible to a certain population, as sexist as that feels to type out.

Overall, I think it's an OK-to-good film. It's bizarre the way that it shifts from serious western/military drama to slapstick comedy, but it works in certain passages. The ending just about plays like a revisionist western, where, sure, Thursday gets his due, but only after we see how savage and disorganized the indigenous are not. They only respond when their backs are to the walls, but when they do, they make it count, as one should expect. I do think it wastes Fonda's charm on a one-note, serious character. I've seen him play good guy and bad guy, and he's got the chops for both, but he also deserves, and could definitely handle, quite a bit more nuance. I think I have to know more about this film before I can make any sort of evaluation that will stick, but it was an interesting watch.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 02:43:04 AM by etdoesgood »
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1SO

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #55 on: March 07, 2021, 10:47:29 PM »
The Tin Star
Getting back to our conversation, this is another fine example of a film where the smart, sharp dialogue carries me along. I have two posts - one and two - where I quote dialogue, but here's another post where I praise the framing. I like the sheriff's office with a window that looks down the street of the town. Shows the danger outside and demonstrates how easy a target the sheriff makes.

Have you seen Winchester '73? I know I just mentioned it for John McIntire. Same director, James Stewart instead of Fonda and a better film. (Top 10 Western of All Time for me.)




Fort Apache

Overall, I think it's an OK-to-good film. It's bizarre the way that it shifts from serious western/military drama to slapstick comedy, but it works in certain passages. The ending just about plays like a revisionist western, where, sure, Thursday gets his due, but only after we see how savage and disorganized the indigenous are not. They only respond when their backs are to the walls, but when they do, they make it count, as one should expect. I do think it wastes Fonda's charm on a one-note, serious character. I've seen him play good guy and bad guy, and he's got the chops for both, but he also deserves, and could definitely handle, quite a bit more nuance. I think I have to know more about this film before I can make any sort of evaluation that will stick, but it was an interesting watch.
Fort Apache. is one of those films I wouldn't call Great, but it's a key part of the genre because it's kind of a main artery where other films branch out and do their own thing, while at the same time it has so much going on tonally that I've seen the film four times and find myself drawn to and repelled by different things each time. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is John Ford's masterpiece and I've watched it about a dozen times, but I tend to get the same general satisfaction from it, while I continue to drill deeper into its themes. (My Darling Clementine is a similar experience.) Fort Apache has enough dependable Western and John Ford tropes to fill a bingo card, and it doesn't feel cliche so much as the place where all cliches got their ideas from. But my mood going into watching Fort Apache changes the experience, even the basic level of engagement. (Am I in the mood for them songs?) It's a film of just enough plot and a whole lot of subplot, which is typical of Ford.

I also like funny John Wayne. He's the one tough guy who can punch holes in his own persona by overinflating it just the right amount.
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1SO

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #56 on: March 07, 2021, 10:51:52 PM »
Quigley is a gem, filled with gem moments. And one of the greatest western scores ever written. I can't hear a word against it. :))
A lot of discussion this year has been pushing me towards giving Quigley another shot.


And A Million Ways to Die in the West has one of the most chuckle worthy moments of the decade. I think about this scene all the time and smile. :))
There's a lot about the film that seems like it would've read funny, but Seth MacFarlane is such a vanilla ice cream presence he made everything bland. If he made that same script with someone else in the lead, I probably would've liked it at least twice as much.
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1SO

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #57 on: March 07, 2021, 10:57:02 PM »
My Top Ten worst:

Rio Lobo (1970) 40
The Magnificent Seven (2016) 40
Keoma (1976) 40
Wagons East (1994) 35
Wild Wild West (1999) 30
Three Amigos! (1986) 28
The Villain (1979) 28
Billy the Kid versus Dracula (1966) 28
4 for Texas (1963) 22
Five Savage Men (1970) 10

Some films are so far from the genre I didn't include them in my list. Billy the Kid versus Dracula and WWW would be two. Also, The Terror of Tiny Town.

John Wayne films worse than Rio Lobo:
Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)
Chisum (1970)
The Big Trail (1930)
The Cowboys (1972)
3 Godfathers (1948)
Hondo (1953)
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #58 on: March 08, 2021, 03:43:00 AM »
Why does it not surprise me that there are 2 other people on this site who have seen Billy the Kid versus Dracula.

1SO

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Re: Once Upon a March in the West - 2021
« Reply #59 on: March 08, 2021, 10:14:12 PM »

The Wife's Wild West


The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969)

Flagg: You gave me your word not to try anything, and the minute I turned my back you almost took my head off.
McKay: I didn't give you my word - I gave you my promise.
Flagg: It's the same thing!
McKay: No it ain't - one's my promise, and the other's my word!

For me, this was another re-visit with Director Burt Kennedy, but for Mrs. 1SO this was about Robert Mitchum at his peak. Late 60s Mitchum is where you start to see the wrinkles and the stomach, where the charm and charisma surpass his rugged, boyishness. The surprise though is George Kennedy. Someone who always looks and acts like his hobby is turning the horses he rides into jerky, here playing a bandit whoís getting aged out, he gets to be likable and brings a vulnerable side thatís not in the dialogue.

The heart of the film is the older sheriff, retired by the town against his wishes, finding common ground with his lifelong adversary. To someone who dabbles in Westerns, this section must drag, but for a fanatic, itís what gives this picture its unique flavor. The scenes leading to this middle will remind you of Support Your Local Sheriff, especially in Mitchumís negotiations with the town Mayor (Martin Balsam), and the end gets too broadly comic, with a chase that involves horses, wagons, cars, a train and a handcar. Still, this is a case where The Good far outweighs The Bad.
RATING: ★ ★ ★ - Good

NOTE: Mitchum and Burt Kennedy have another film from this year, Young Billy Young. It's not supposed to be good, but I should find out for myself.
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