Westerns Movie Log Journal & Recommendations

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The Shootist was my first ever tagged review on here. Looking back on it, I definitely think I overrated the movie a tad, as the direction is very pedestrian. Without the knowledge of John Wayne's real-life health issues and the fact that the movie serves as the perfect swan song for The Duke's career, much of the movie's potency would be lost.

Silverado was enjoyable, and it definitely featured a great cast, as you mentioned, but it also felt a little too slick and Hollywood for my taste. Never heard of Tall in the Saddle, but very good, informative review for it. I had no idea that Wayne directed The Alamo (or any film, for that matter). Haven't seen it, but I have seen the remake with Billy Bob Thornton, which was terrible. Also haven't seen The Horse Soldiers or Rio Grande, but I didn't care much for the other two John Fords you loved so much: Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Only thing I remember about McLintock! is all the spanking. Winchester '73 is awesome and will definitely be on my ballot.

I just watched Rooster Cogburn a couple days ago. I liked it more than you did, but I agree that the script is weak and that it's a major step down in quality from True Grit, which I loved. For me, the unlikely chemistry between Wayne and Hepburn saved the film. Overall, though, it was just a watered down repeat of the first film, minus the gravitas and clever dialogue.
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For me the highlight of the movie was the dynamic pairing of two of Hollywood's most colorful stars, Dan Duryea and Shelley Winters.
Talk about similar taste. Have you seen Larceny & Johnny Stool Pigeon? These two characters together always shine. Great observation.



An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is one of the most influential short stories ever written. The 1962 short film is also well known and influential, having won awards at Cannes, The Oscars, and the BAFTAs. Rod Serling liked it so much he aired it only slightly edited as an episode of "The Twilight Zone".

The device of almost the entire narrative taking place in the character's mind in the seconds before he dies has been reused dozens of times in literature and film including Carnival of Souls, Jacob's Ladder, and Donnie Darko, and the ending escape segments of Gilliam's Brazil and Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ.


But An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, as wonderful as it is, is not a Western. It's set in the South during the Civil War.
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Talk about similar taste. Have you seen Larceny & Johnny Stool Pigeon? These two characters together always shine. Great observation.
No I haven't but thanks for mentioning it. I defiantly will watch it one of these days. I had been planning on watching a bunch of film noir...but thought I'd wait until we do a Top 100 Film Noir Countdown



Movie Forums: There's Just No Accounting For Taste
But An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, as wonderful as it is, is not a Western. It's set in the South during the Civil War.
So Drums Along the Mohawk doesn't count because it takes place in New York.



...I didn't care much for the other two John Fords you loved so much: Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon...
I didn't really care too much for She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, I rated it a 3/5 But I did see another John Ford movie last time that I really liked. I'll post about it next.




Wagon Master (1950)

Director John Ford sited Wagon Master as one of the favorites of his own films. He said of it, that the film came closest to what he wanted to achieve in film making.

I found that statement kind of odd as John Ford in the latter part of his career had pretty much full control over his own films. One of the stars Harry Carey Jr., said that Ford would delete scenes and dialogue on almost a daily basis. Often rewriting the dialogue himself or opting to express the sentiment of the scene by visuals alone. Visual story telling was a John Ford strength and a skill he honed in making silent films at the start of his long career. So I wasn't sure why he wasn't able to achieve his vision in other of his films.

But what I think Ford meant by Wagon Master coming closest to what he wanted, is that in this movie there's no leading man to formulate the film around. It's not a typical Hollywood film with the heroic leading man going against the odds. The film is about the moment and the community that existed in this wagon train of Mormon settlers heading to their 'promised land'. Ward Bond, Harry Carey Jr, and Ben Johnson are the lead characters but even they take a back seat to the overall story of the film and neither of them have a more important role than the other, nor does their story get in the way of the film's story.

There's conflict of course with trails and tribulations along the uncharted path. When a family of outlaws, lead by a eccentric uncle crosses paths with the wagon train, the tension rises. But even their story arc is second to the overriding theme of the importance of community, family and belonging.








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Movie Forums: There's Just No Accounting For Taste
It should count, IMO. Maybe ask that question on the Western Countdown thread?
Sure, but if it doesn't count I'm not going to freak out.




Big Jake (1971)

Big deal...this has got to be one of worst films John Wayne made. It's like no one took anything serious and it was about a bunch of John Wayne's friends & two of his sons getting together and having a good time making a movie. Come to think of it, a lot of John Wayne's later films made in the 1970s were pretty silly. The draw I guess was just seeing on the big screen Wayne having fun and doing his Duke character. I mean good for him, he kept making movies even though his health was waning. But his best movies were behind.



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Seen Searchers twice now and it's probably one of the most overrated Westerns for me.
The magnificent final shot is so epic though, I think it almost tricks viewers in believing they saw something 'great' the entire time.
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Seen Searchers twice now and it's probably one of the most overrated Westerns for me.
The magnificent final shot is so epic though, I think it almost tricks viewers in believing they saw something 'great' the entire time.
I like it, but I can understand what you're saying as there are certainly scenes that are much more powerful than say the comedy scenes which are average. Still, I'm sure it will make my ballot.




Ride Clear of Diablo (1954)

Whitey Kincaid: I'm as good as my word... sometimes better!

What a fun movie and that's thanks to a clever script writer who made the antagonist Whitey Kincaid (Day Duryea) a kick in the pants mentor to Clay O'Mara (Audie Murphy). I doubt there's another western like this. Dan Duryea often played tauntingly slimy characters with zesto! He does so here too but also ends up taking a liking to Audie Murphy's character who shows a lot of guts. This isn't a big film, but it's a lot of fun and it has two pretty actresses too. Susan Cabot and Abbe Lane (pictured with Russel Johnson)





and that's just for how fun the picture was!




Ride Clear of Diablo (1954)

Whitey Kincaid: I'm as good as my word... sometimes better!

What a fun movie and that's thanks to a clever script writer who made the antagonist Whitey Kincaid (Day Duryea) a kick in the pants mentor to Clay O'Mara (Audie Murphy). I doubt there's another western like this. Dan Duryea often played tauntingly slimy characters with zesto! He does so here too but also ends up taking a liking to Audie Murphy's character who shows a lot of guts. This isn't a big film, but it's a lot of fun and it has two pretty actresses too. Susan Cabot and Abbe Lane (pictured with Russel Johnson)


and that's just for how fun the picture was!

Ride Clear of Diablo is on my DVR right now, along with a few other Audie Murphy movies. Hopefully I'll find time to watch them this week.

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Ride Clear of Diablo is on my DVR right now, along with a few other Audie Murphy movies. Hopefully I'll find time to watch them this week.

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That's where my avatar came from ( a still shot from the set).





Fury at Furnace Creek (1948)

Victor Mature stars in this lesser known western that starts off with a typical Indian attack but then evolves into a more interesting mystery of who sent false military orders to General Blackwell. The military orders allow a massacre of the fort to happen, this all comes out in a military trail scene that adds that. The film gets cooking when the General's two sons come to clear his name. The son's don't get along and Victor Mature's character is considered to be the 'black sheep' of the family.

I liked the set of the old burnt down Fort Furnace and the shoot out that followed. Overall a fun western.