Posts Tagged ‘Western movie’

Short takes: ‘Stagecoach’ and ‘The End of October’

July 8, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
July 8, 2020

Many years ago, a textbook for my college film course contained a very enthusiastic passage about Stagecoach, John Ford’s 1939 Western. I have only the vaguest recollection of what it said (although it’s possible I still have the text somewhere — locating it is a project for another day). I think the author or authors were enthusiastic about the movie’s tight pacing, its character-driven plotting, and some well-executed action sequences.

I got around to watching the movie a few days ago when I noticed that it’s available on one of the streaming services I use. My reaction to the picture was… different from that of my textbook’s author(s).

The tale is set in the Arizona territory perhaps a decade after the end of the Civil War. The picture opens with a brief prologue in which some Army officers establish that Native American warriors led by Geronimo are raiding white settlers. Then we see the titular stagecoach arrive in a dusty town. As the horses are changed out, passenger Lucy Mallory (Louise Platt) and driver Buck (Andy Devine) disembark to develop the plot.

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At times graphic ‘Bone Tomahawk’ pits four men against a hostile environment and relentless foes

January 31, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 31, 2018

Author’s note: This post describes a horror movie that’s suitable for adult audiences only; consequently, sensitive or younger readers are advised to avoid this blog entry. MEM

Bone Tomahawk is an intense 2015 Western about a quartet of men who set out to rescue a man and woman who have been kidnapped by cannibals.

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Eastwood survives lynching, but ‘Hang ’Em High’ leaves me cold

October 2, 2012

Many many (many many) years ago, when I was a student, my college had a film program called Sunday Night Flicks. (Films were also shown with varying frequency on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday nights, but be that as it may.) The movies were a mix of recent hits, usually light fare, and classics.

One of those classics was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the seminal 1996 “Spaghetti Western” directed by Sergio Leone and memorably scored by Ennio Morricone. It was a gritty but humorous adventure film, and — for a few hours, at least — it kindled some interest in me about Westerns.

The star of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, of course, is the iconic actor Clint Eastwood. A celluloid immortal for his performances as a Western white hat and later as Dirty Harry, the violent San Francisco cop, Eastwood has also crafted an impressive career as a director, with 35 films to his credit. (He starred in many but not all of those movies.) Eastwood’s odd ad-libbed speech at this year’s Republican National Convention, of course, also secured the former California mayor a permanent footnote in the annals of American politics. 

But that’s a post for some other blog. In a recent canvass of second-hand bookstores, I came across a Clint Eastwood Western twofer DVD and snapped it up. The first of the films that I watched on the disc was a 1968 Eastwood picture I had never seen before, Hang ’Em High. (In truth, I’ve seen very few of his movies.)

Eastwood stars here as cowboy Jed Cooper, who has just driven a newly purchased herd of cattle across a river when he is accosted by a posse. They accuse him of killing the cattle’s rightful owner and rustling the herd; Cooper, a former lawman, protests his innocence. He produces a bill of sale and describes the man who sold him the herd. But the description doesn’t match that of the dead man, and the posse strings up Cooper. Read the rest of this entry »

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