They’re the snarling thugs behind the mustache-twirling villain. The what’s-his-name-again guys holding prisoner the beautiful cowgirl in distress. The cannon fodder who aim their guns at the well-armed Silver Screen Western Hero. On cue they say “Okay boss,” “Let’s get him!” or just grunt.
Let's get 'em, boys!
Henchmen come in all sizes, most ethnicities, one gender, and . . . → Read More: Zombie Cowboys; or, Why Western Henchmen Never Die
I knew where it was going. Anyone who’s done his or her western homework would.
There are two American archetypes that were sometimes played against each other in old Westerns.
The egghead Eastern lawyer who lacks the skills or stomach for a gunfight is contrasted with the tough Western rancher and ace shot who has no patience for . . . → Read More: Fast Times at Liberty Valance High; or The Reel-Life Politics of Ford’s Anti-Western
Nothing makes my day more than drifting through a town that has mojo already and finding a shrine to the West. Like discovering the Mithraic alter beneath a Roman church, it means that I have uncovered a power so potent it can’t be hidden.
So here was Atlantic City: slots, mobsters, boardwalk, 1940s-sailors-on-leave / bad-1980s-haircut feel.
And . . . → Read More: Wild, 24/7; or The West of Atlantic City
As I was saying before paying work and Valentine’s Day and the call of the West in the form of watching The Stalking Moon, starring Gregory “Awesome Gimlet-Eye” Peck, epic westerns aren’t my cuppa tea. Or joe.
I’d just finished spinning my snark about epic westerns in an earlier post when Nuts4r2 “Awesome Gimlet-eyed Film Reviewer” called . . . → Read More: Et tu, Cimarron?; or More Rules for Epic Westerns
Westerns = Greek drama. And shut up, Aeschylus is so not rolling in his grave.
He’d have appreciated the golden-boy good looks of John Wayne in John Ford’s Stagecoach and the film’s subtle yet sharp critique on so-called civilized society–the stagecoach journey as a vehicle for a development of a humane community that cannot survive in . . . → Read More: Men Will Be Men and Women Will Be Women; or, The Sexual Frontier of Epic Westerns
Just when you thought it was safe to go blog surfing, one more Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Western! Nooooo!
Actually, it’s not too bad. In this flick, Rex and Rinty far outshine the human actors and the ridiculonkulousness of the script. Like their man’s-best-friend comrades in the real world, Rex and Rinty prove themselves to be . . . → Read More: The Animal Hero’s Journey into Serial Darkness; or, Not Another Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Western!?
The woodwinds and brass crescendo, a chorus of voices swells in epic awesomeness. And “epic” is the target word in 1960′s Cimarron, directed by Anthony Mann et al, a frontier saga that swells with its own importance from the opening credits. Full disclosure: I have not yet completed watching this film. Why? Because I have . . . → Read More: Following the Soundtrack of Dreams; or, Franz Waxman’s Cimarron
This Thanksgiving, in between shots of rotgut rye, I gave thanks to all the gods and goddesses of the western world that Flapjack42 has the epic psychic strength to haul the universe into righteousness with the continuing countdown of the top-ten list of the absolute worst animal-as-hero westerns EVER.
Confused by life? Don’t be. Be confused . . . → Read More: Like a Mighty Cannonball; or, Can’t Stay Away from the Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Westerns
Rule #1 for a successful showdown:
You have to be cool, as in gimlet-eyed, emotions-in-check, stone-cold control. Do not speak wildly, spittle flying into everyone’s faces, and do not drag children, animals, or siblings into your altercation (as Brockie does his sister, Jessica Drummond, in Forty Guns).
Little Brockie Drummond is only throwing a tantrum here.
Note . . . → Read More: Rules for a Successful Showdown; or, Staying Cool and Looking Hot
Cowboys have it good. Women swoon in close proximity to them. Gay men do, too. Boot fetishists want to lick their boot soles. Everything about them is beloved, from the ching of their spurs to their slang.
But the real-life historical cowboy wasn’t so lovable. He could be a roughneck, a gangbanger, a kind of ride-into-town-get-drunk . . . → Read More: Shoot Up the Town; or, The Establishing Six-Gun Shot