Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on December 29, 2004, 04:32:24 AM

Title: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 29, 2004, 04:32:24 AM
Picked this DVD up over the holiday and just watched it last night. A nice transfer and a great western.

This western is part of a triptic its  borrows from The Great Silence and in return Keoma borrows from this film.

This film is a good example of where the western genre could go exploring and be a fresh take.

Basically a stranger McCabe arrives at a new minning camp in the Pacific Northwest. He wears a S&W breaktop revolver and a huge fur coat with a hood, the hood he removes and replaces with a bowler hat out of a hat box when he reaches the town, (this look is straight out of TGS). He is a gambler and rumored to be a gunfighter. McCabe is a buisness man an opportunist. He''s smarter than Sweeney ( the saloon keeper) but not by much. He starts out running games at Sweeney''s but has bigger ideas. He sees that there''s money to be made in a place like this so he imports a few hookers and builds a saloon. His posperity attracts Mrs. Miller (Julie Christy) a very strong female lead a Madam who is a much better buisness man than McCabe. Mrs. Miller is a far stronger female lead than Mrs. McBain (Claudia). Mrs Miller and McCabe go into buisness together he supplies her with half the money for a bath house and high class whorehouse. They are raking it in which attracts outside competition. Its not a big gunfight film. Its in typical Altman style where its almost improve with the minor actors going through side conversations that you hear snatches of as if you are eaves dropping.

So its a whole different angle on the western better than any town themed based western I''ve seen.

This film was shot in British Columbia, and a whole town of actual buildings (that the crew lived in) was carved out of the wilderness to represent Presbyterian Church the name of the minning camp. Its very realistic and this is particularly a Leonesque touch. Looks like a lot of the film was shot in natural light.

I lived for 24 years in this same area about 70 miles south of the border and I know it well.  ;D

I picked it up a a Borders book store $14.99
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 29, 2004, 09:40:48 PM
To me anyway the DVD looks pretty much the waythe film always looked.  And, for those of you not familiar with the Pacific Northwest that''s the way the light is there a good deal of the time, wet, overcast, foggy, almost a greenish tinge to everthing. Think of Lynch''s Twin Peaks for a similar comparison.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: General Sibley on December 31, 2004, 03:54:15 AM
I''ve seen this before, and liked it but was never a big favorite of mine.  I just rented it a few weeks ago and couldn''t get into it - started it from the beginning twice and could only get 20 minutes through.

What completely annoyed me was the goddamn whiny Leonard Cohen theme song.  It''s basically a Cliffs Notes version of the movie.  If you listen to that insipid little ditty there''s no reason to watch the rest of the film - the song gives away the entire plot including any nuance and subsequent character development.  I''m sure they gave him the script and asked him to compose a song for the film, and he was probably lazy and stoned to the gills from that BC ganja and just cranked it out in half an hour. 

Not a big fan of movie soundtracks with lyrics obviously.  Give me WAH-A-WAH-A-WAAAAAAAAAAAA anytime.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 31, 2004, 06:30:34 AM
I forgot, you are not a big fan of Keoma then  ;D
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 31, 2004, 01:00:57 PM
I just rewatched the film with the commentary on I guess Altman wanted every frame to resemble a painting in natural light, the film looks the particular way it does because they used a technique called "flashing" where they expose the negative to light before they develope it. Supposed to give it a sepia toned aged look.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on January 03, 2005, 11:19:49 PM
The reason they did the flashing was since it was done to the negative the studio couldn''t jerk them around there would be no way to change it.

One more thing the very end is a sort of homage to Leone, it has a very close up zoom shot of Julie Christie''s single eye, so close infact that it goes out of focus. This is while she''s zoneing out in an opium den, the out of focus eye refocuses on what looks like a porcelain opium poppy bud that Julie is slowly rotating and it resembles a shot of the earth from space, pretty cool little sequence that Leone fans will appreciate.

Check it out!
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: indio on January 07, 2005, 09:38:44 AM
OK so from what you have all written i can''t really tell if you liked it or not. Should i buy it or not? thumbs up or down!
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on January 07, 2005, 04:12:53 PM
I like it because its as different from what came before as Leone was to the old American Westerns. Its just a different direction and yet has very Spaghetti Like elements.  Just don''t be expecting a shootout every 10 minutes, its a whole different ball of wax but good in its own way.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Nobody on January 07, 2005, 05:08:11 PM
I really like this film, but haven''t seen it in a while. I recently "discovered" how great Altman acually is, so it''s about time I give this another look. Definately recommended. Just don''t go in expecting a lot action.

Also, the Leonard Cohen songs were not written for the film, Altman picked them from Cohen''s earlier albums.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 17, 2005, 11:35:16 PM
The reason they did the flashing was since it was done to the negative the studio couldn''t jerk them around there would be no way to change it.

One more thing the very end is a sort of homage to Leone, it has a very close up zoom shot of Julie Christie''s single eye, so close infact that it goes out of focus. This is while she''s zoneing out in an opium den, the out of focus eye refocuses on what looks like a porcelain opium poppy bud that Julie is slowly rotating and it resembles a shot of the earth from space, pretty cool little sequence that Leone fans will appreciate.

Check it out!
Not sure why we Leone fans should note this. How is this an hommage to the master?

Also, I've heard Altman mention that flashing technique before, and I don't think it fully accounts for the look of the film. He also used flashing on _The Long Goodbye_ a film that has a very different (and Southern Californian) look. Maybe the differences in local had something to do with it, or maybe Altman and his cinematographer improved their technique, but I think M&MM looks terrible and TLG looks great.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on January 18, 2005, 04:56:01 AM
The extreme close up on Julie Christies eye reminds me of the close up on Bronson at the shoot out with Fonda. Its more than just a closeup of Bronson its a close up of man, all of us in a way, our past, our ancestors, our ancient race

In M&MM it starts with a head shot of Christie, she's laying down so its sideways it slowly zooms in on one single eye that eventually turns into the earth. So I look at this one as, so to speak, ancient race woman, turning into Earth Mother, cool stuff, the new widescreen DVD is worth it.

Also Altman in the commentary notes that the music was not written for the film, but he does mention going to a party or something where Cohen was playing and claims that the tunes stuck in his mind and influenced the film. Also he noted that Cohen didn't at first like the film. Interesting stuff.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on July 08, 2005, 03:59:21 PM
they used a technique called "flashing" where they expose the negative to light before they develope it. Supposed to give it a sepia toned aged look.

I've worked a bit as a cinematographer in the past (not on a feature film though, unfortunately). Flashing film stock was a technique a number of cinematographers used in the 1970 with colour stock.

Back then the stuff labs churned out had notoriously poor contrast. If you were shooting in the kind of "naturalistic", low light looks which Coppola, Scorsese and Altman (f'r instance) were after, you ended up with huge slabs of black shadows with a few highlights.

Flashing the stock before shooting meant that you could kick loads more detail and contrast in those shadow areas, improving eye lights etc.

Any sepia look would have been produced during the printing stage, and not in pre production or in shooting, (though filters can be used to enhance this).

Of course Leone shooting in brilliant sunlight in Almeria didn't have any of these worries. By the time he shot ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, film stock latitudes had improved immensely, so there was no need for it.

Going back to MRS MILLER, it seems to me that this film was an enormous influence on ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. Both films have very similar plots, similar sexual dynamics, similar material motivations for the characters, both feature opium dens, etc. Unfortunately, I've only seen MRS MILLER once, many years ago, but I was greatly struck by how much these two films chimed together. I may be wrong, but don't they even end with identical shots?

Leone does use this same shot in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, so this may be Leone quoting Altman quoting Leone. ???

Certainly Leone was an admirer of Altman. What is the name of the store over the road from Fat Mo's? ALTMAN'S.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on July 08, 2005, 07:23:01 PM
Juan, thanks for the info on flashing, and welcome to the board.

OUTIA ends with a shot through lace or some kind of netting of Noodles (De Niro) smiling. OUATITW had the same shot of Jill through the lace of a bed canopy but it was during the course of the film not at the end.  Not quite the same as Mrs. Miller.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 23, 2006, 11:59:26 AM
Its been a miserable cold & rainny weekend here perfect weather to watch this film again, set in a cold rainy Pacific Northwest, you hear the blowing wind even before the credits start. So I'm putting this poll up to gauge the boards familiarity with this Altman film.

I think it deserves to be considered up there with some of the classics. While Leone made a mythic film about the gunfighting gods Altman made this one about us mortals, you can see quotes in it from SW's and its influences, particularly in HBO's Deadwood.

Its another style that really worked well and has a "Great Silence" downer ending, so let us know.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 23, 2006, 12:26:07 PM


Its another style that really worked well and has a "Great Silence" downer ending, so let us know.

well thanks for giving away the ending Joe. >:(


I havent seen it. I hear it is excellent. I have tried looking for dvds of this and have not found any as of yet.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 23, 2006, 04:43:17 PM
 ;D you must be looking in the wrong place:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000063K2Q/qid=1145831942/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-5045187-8116146?v=glance&s=dvd

Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 23, 2006, 06:02:59 PM
;D you must be looking in the wrong place:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000063K2Q/qid=1145831942/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-5045187-8116146?v=glance&s=dvd




well of course you can find just about anything on the internet but I prefer buying stuff in the local Best Buy. It is right down the road and old films are usually really cheap.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 23, 2006, 09:42:17 PM
I found my copy in a Borders Book store for about $12 or $15 check there if you have one near.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 23, 2006, 09:45:06 PM
I found my copy in a Borders Book store for about $12 or $15 check there if you have one near.


I do thanks Joe ;)

Now I'll have shake away the fact that I know what the ending will be like :(
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Peacemaker on April 23, 2006, 09:49:46 PM

Now I'll have shake away the fact that I know what the ending will be like :(

I had to do the same when I saw TGS for the first time. The ending was no surprise to me at all.  :(
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 23, 2006, 09:51:25 PM
I had to do the same when I saw TGS for the first time. The ending was no surprise to me at all.  :(


got burned by shobary's reviews I suppose?
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Peacemaker on April 23, 2006, 09:56:11 PM
That, and all the reviews at imdb.com and even here! At least here the members just say it's a downer ending. At imdb.com they say Silence is killed and everyone massacred! I knew the ending months before I got it.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 23, 2006, 09:57:00 PM
I didn't tell you all that much, you still will be in the dark  8).

PS don't visit IMDb
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 23, 2006, 09:57:30 PM
I didn't tell you all that much, you still will be in the dark  8).

cool. thanks.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 23, 2006, 10:00:11 PM
I'm really surprized you guys have not seen this.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 23, 2006, 10:01:09 PM
I'm really surprized you guys have not seen this.


trust me its not because I didnt want too.


And I feel the same way about Jeremiah Johnson, why nobody has seen it here is beyond me.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Peacemaker on April 23, 2006, 10:06:34 PM
I saw Jeremiah Johnson. I thought it was ok but alittle overrated. As for McCabe and Mrs. Miller, I am always tempted to rent it at Hollywood Video but it's only available in VHS pan and scan.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 23, 2006, 10:13:33 PM
I saw Jeremiah Johnson. I thought it was ok but alittle overrated.


who over rated this film? It seems to me not many people know about.
I came across it for $9.99 and it looked like a nice slow picture(something I like in westerns) and I bought it blind.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: indio on April 24, 2006, 12:37:51 AM
firecracker, i LOVE jeremiah johnson. i own that bad boy. mcCabe is on my 'list' they keep playing it on TCM and i keep missing it.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 24, 2006, 12:43:40 AM
firecracker, i LOVE jeremiah johnson.


High five brudda!
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 24, 2006, 12:50:33 AM

High five brudda!


and that sound track is awesome isnt it?
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 24, 2006, 05:15:39 AM
I saw Jeremia Johnson when it first came out it was a good flick, now we need the Italian version where we actually get the real story of Jeremia "Liver Eating" Johnson  8)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: indio on April 24, 2006, 11:35:21 AM
yeah its all great
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on April 24, 2006, 01:08:42 PM
*Spoilers below regarding character types in the film*

Only had the chance to see it once so far, and was quite stunned by it. Leone himself seems to reference the film several times in ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, even copying certain shots. Mrs. Miller, like Noodles is an opium addict, but is similar to Max in her rutheless determination to succeed, no matter what the cost.

In contrast MaCabe is just like Noodles, happy to make money, but essentialy a small time guy, content with what falls into his path.

That the film has a downbeat ending should come as a surprise to no one, as every single Altman film of the 1970 has a pretty grim ending, with the possible exception of MASH and THE LONG GOODBYE.

There was another thread on the film last year, where I gave my 2 cents worth:
http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1523.msg18394#msg18394
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 24, 2006, 04:22:23 PM
Its kind of unique if you are not familiar with Altman's style, characters are introduced in a back handed way (its as if you are sitting in the saloon watching the action and trying to figure out the story from overheard conversations), and there are overlapping conversations where you get info and rumors and some stuff not related in any way, its kind of cool, and its not that hard to figure it out, after you watch it a few times you can pay more attention to the other conversations and characters and get just as entertained.

Its similar to the way Leone floods the visual sences with details, Altman does  audio sences with these little character studies of strange weird townfolk that work.

Another great effect is the way the town set is being built before your eyes, just as if it was a real boom town,  in one scene you see a bridge half built with a single long plank at the unfinnished deck end, so that the characters can cross to the bank, then ten minutes(days in the story) later the bridge is completed, same with some of the buildings.

Its worth getting just for its unique contribution to the genre. But that said there isn't very much shooting so don't expect that type of film, if you like HBO's Deadwood then this is for you. Andyou'll see the influences it gave to Keoma.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 24, 2006, 04:23:35 PM

Its worth getting just for its unique contribution to the genre. But that said there isn't very much shooting so don't expect that type of film, if you like HBO's Deadwood then this is for you. Andyou'll see the influences it gave to Keoma.



I dont like Deadwood.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 24, 2006, 04:31:17 PM
Quote
I dont like Deadwood.


well tell us why?
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 24, 2006, 04:33:31 PM


well tell us why?


oh I am so sorry ;D

My mistake.

um...
I honestly just dont think it is exciting. There I am waiting for some fabulous gunfight and it just never happens. All the grittyness is built up to nothing. Just a lot of cussing and blow jobs. People start threatening others in the show constantly but it just leads up to nothing.

Sorry I cannot elaborate more.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 24, 2006, 04:45:59 PM
Quote
I honestly just dont think it is exciting. There I am waiting for some fabulous gunfight and it just never happens. All the grittyness is built up to nothing. Just a lot of cussing and blow jobs. People start threatening others in the show constantly but it just leads up to nothing.

Ok good i'll rephrase it then, its like Deadwood with a great payoff at the end.   8)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 24, 2006, 04:46:44 PM
Ok good i'll rephrase it then, its like Deadwood with a great payoff at the end.   8)

Sounds interesting then.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: indio on April 25, 2006, 12:15:04 AM
deadwood is my favorite tv show. ian mcshaine is amazing.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 25, 2006, 10:01:39 PM
I'm really surprized about how few of you have seen this film.

Anyway its a must for fans of the Western Genre, haunting and memorable, a cold rainy day snapshot of life in the Pacific Northwest.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on April 26, 2006, 05:59:35 PM
Anybody who loves movies full stop has to check out almost all of Robert Altman's work from this period. He was making some of the most exciting films in the world, in the world's most exciting period of film making.

For me, THE LONG GOODBYE, 3 WOMEN, M*A*S*H, IMAGES and NASHVILLE are all essential works of 1970's American cinema. His two Paul Newman vehicles from that decade are interesting too, QUINTET and BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS, but remain flawed curiosities.

(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3.jpg)
3 Women
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 26, 2006, 07:09:31 PM
I've not seen Three Women, Quintet or Images, but I will.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on April 26, 2006, 07:41:28 PM
3 WOMEN actually has a lot of western genre content in it Joe. Here's my review of it from the Brit horror board.

(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3women8.jpg)
Not British, I know, I know. Is it even horror? I will say that it's a rare film indeed that can freak me out quite as much as this one. Robert Altman has been responsible for some very odd cinema in the past, but his 1977 piece 3 WOMEN really pushes the boundaries of strangeness. Allegedly based on a nightmare Altman had, it stars Shelley Duvall (his favorite actress at that time), Sissy Spacek and Janice Rule.

Despite it's title, the movie is basically a two hander between Spacek and Duvall, who created much of  her character Millie herself. Millie is a gawky, vapid beanpole who wanders around  holding constant, one sided conversations about  men and food, while roundly ignored or mocked behind her back. She makes the most horrendous food this side of FELICIA'S JOURNEY, but considers herself to be an accomplished cook, with a chic look and sophisticated take  on life. A fag is constantly glued in her hand, which she waves around as a fashion accessory.
(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3women7.jpg)
One morning at the geriatrics spa she works in, she has to show round a new employee, Pinky, played by Spacek as an impish, shy, awkward, decidedly weird and unfinished character. She instantly latches on to Millie, follows her around, appropriates her opinions, and becomes her new flat mate. Once installed in Millie's house, she begins to secretly read her diary and borrow her clothes.
(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3women2.jpg)
Millie takes her to a run down Wild West bar called Dodge City, her favorite hang out. It's owned by the 3rd woman, the heavily pregnant Willie (Janice Rule in an almost dialogue free role) and her childish husband Edgar, a former stunt man. Willie is an artist, and her frightening murals adorn the bottom of a swimming pool at Dodge City and at Millie's apartment block, also owned by Willie and Edgar. The paintings themselves depict hideous, lizard like creatures, with the females tearing each other apart as a rampant male looks on.
(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3women5.jpg)
Pinky embarrasses Millie by telling Willie she likes her paintings. Indeed almost everything Pinky does seems to embarrass Millie, wounding her sense of her own dignity. When Pinky apparently ruins a party Millie has organized (“I'm famous for my dinner parties.”), she storms out, gets drunk and brings home Willie's husband Edgar. A shocked Pinky begs her not to sleep with the man, prompting Millie to tell her to get out. Distraught, Pinky leaps into the swimming pool in an attempt to kill herself, but is rescued by Willie who sees her husband leave Millie's apartment. Pinky falls into a coma, and the relationship between Millie and Pinky begins to fracture and fragment in a whole series of new and bewildering directions.
(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3women4.jpg)
This sense of a fractured self is all invasive through out the film, as Altman keeps his camera almost always on the move, slowly tracking, zooming in and out, panning and tilting. Mirrors and reflective surfaces abound, further cracking up the scope image. The first third of the film is dominated by pastel blues and pinks, but on Pinky's move into Millie's apartment, the palate changes to an alarming mix of yellows and purples. Several sequences are shot through one of those water and oil filmed tanks which rock from side to side, distorting and dividing the screen even further.
(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3women3.jpg)
Altman returns to the murals again and again, which seem to depict some horrendous and never ending primal battle, a series of unconscious, aggressive emotions ruling the world of the film. These bizarre forces eventually influence the movie's climax. This birth sequence is the most distressing and nasty Altman ever produced, creating yet another series of identity swaps among the women. It's a film that's difficult to talk about and analyze, as much of it seems to work in that space where meaning is conveyed by something other than language. Martin Scorsese once wrote that for him, watching a film was like dreaming, and he often found it difficult to “shake off the dream”. This is certainly my experience with 3 WOMEN, whenever I've watched it. Altman's nightmare film imparts grim feelings difficult to escape.
(http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a190/Tarkyhitch/3women1.jpg)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on April 26, 2006, 07:50:55 PM
Thinking of Altman's films, what do any of our US members make of Altman's SHORT CUTS, and Raymond Carver's writings about fishing and the American outdoors life?
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 26, 2006, 09:25:18 PM
well what do ya know? Shelly Duvall ACTUALLY looks attractive in a movie.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: indio on April 27, 2006, 12:30:47 AM
i've just bought mccabe and mrs miller.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 27, 2006, 04:48:03 AM
well Indio add your review when you can, we'll be looking forward to it. 8)

Three women sounds pretty good, I'll see if the local rental place has it.

I have a Shelly Duval story, when my son first saw The Shinning he thought Shelly was the scariest person in the film, lol.

I did like Short Cuts, and enjoy Raymond Carver in small doses, (he get a tad bit depressing).
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 27, 2006, 10:01:47 AM


I have a Shelly Duval story, when my son first saw The Shinning he thought Shelly was the scariest person in the film, lol.




I agree with your son!
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 27, 2006, 06:09:07 PM
Quote
I agree with your son!


lol, her hysterics were over the top, lol
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on April 27, 2006, 06:51:37 PM
Kubrick quite viciously bullied Shelley Duvall into this performance by shooting 50 or 60 takes of her more extreme scenes with Jack Nicholson, and as an actress willing to go the extra mile for a director she admired, she went for it. A thankless task. In a way Duvall's career post THE SHINING has suffered from the impression she makes in this movie.

From Shelley he wanted an absolute punchbag, a woman who seemed weak and at the same time, so we would see her from Jack's point of view, shrill, drab and even annoying. This makes her and Danny's victory seem all the more surprising.

From Nicholson he basically wanted a cartoon looney, hence his driving Jack to do 50 or 60 takes of the same scene, with different results from what he was getting from poor Shelley. It's Kubrick's reading of Jack's character which is the film's major flaw for me. Kubrick is trying to play the thing as a comedy, but the only person in on the joke is himself.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 27, 2006, 08:40:42 PM
Kubrick quite viciously bullied Shelley Duvall into this performance by shooting 50 or 60 takes of her more extreme scenes with Jack Nicholson

Not only that but he treated very badly when filming. You can see for yourself on the dvd extras in a documentary Kubrick's daughter filmed while shooting.


I am sure this was a tactic  by Kubrick to try and get the best performance out of Duvall.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 28, 2006, 03:57:03 PM


From Nicholson he basically wanted a cartoon looney, hence his driving Jack to do 50 or 60 takes of the same scene, with different results from what he was getting from poor Shelley. It's Kubrick's reading of Jack's character which is the film's major flaw for me. Kubrick is trying to play the thing as a comedy, but the only person in on the joke is himself.
Kubrick really didn't believe in the material and was taking the piss out of it. Another example of this is the way he treated "the shining" itself, the telepathic link the boy is able to establish with Scatman Crothers. Scatman gets the distress "call", makes the difficult journey across the country and then up to the snowbound lodge, rushes indoors to the rescue, and is instantly killed by the ax-wielding Jack. So the boy's supernatural powers count for nothing. What a joker, that Kubrick. I guess he enjoyed himself making it, but he kind of let his audience down with that picture (not that it isn't beautiful to look at....).
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on April 28, 2006, 03:59:14 PM
Scatman gets the distress "call", makes the difficult journey across the country and then up to the snowbound lodge, rushes indoors to the rescue, and is instantly killed by the ax-wielding Jack. So the boy's supernatural powers count for nothing.
yeah that always did seem like a bit of a waste. but it made his death all the more shocking. In the book Scotman's character lives.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on April 28, 2006, 05:25:25 PM
Kubrick really didn't believe in the material and was taking the piss out of it.

Odd that he spent so many years of his life working on a project he was ambivalent about. I used to have the odd beer or ten with Gordon Stainforth, who was assistant editor on THE SHINING, and edited Vivian Kubrick's documentary about her dad's film.

As such, he saw all the rushes, and said that in the early printed takes Nicholson is serious, intense and quite deranged. However, it was the later takes when Jack was playing it for laughs that Stanley prefered, and had pushed him into performing. Indeed, since Gordon had the job of making up rough scene workprints, he naturally used what he thought were the more "evil" Jack takes, only to be told to do them again with "funny" Jack.

The rare scenes where you see Nicholson's prefered reading of the character are those in which he appears in the same shot as little Danny Lloyd, playing his son. Due to child labour laws, and children's natural lack of concentration, Kubrick has been forced to do just a tiny handfull of takes. The intensity of Nicholson in these few scenes is quite startling, and utterly at odd's with his character in the rest of the film. I can't help thinking that if the whole film had been like this, Kubrick might have made the greatest movie of his career.

As it is, he probabaly did, only to chuck it away on the cutting room floor.

Sorry to vere off topic, but few seem to have seen Altman's wonderfull film. :(
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 28, 2006, 09:09:27 PM
Quote
Sorry to vere off topic, but few seem to have seen Altman's wonderfull film.


Yea its kind of strange that not many have seen it, it did push a few boundaries at the time with the Western. Just not the same boundaries as a Leone or a Peckinpah. 8)

One of my disappointments is that there is no official soundtrack for this film. The score was actually heard at a party that Altman had attended, and they used three cuts songs from I think it was  Leonard Cohen's debut album.

The film version of "The Stranger" looses some stanzas and has a great instumental bridge. But the song itself is sort of mesmerising and slightly mystical sounding, timeless, which is good, since a lot of contemporary scores otf that time period seem very dated now. "Winter Lady" and "The Sisters of Mercy" also fit very well.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 29, 2006, 05:10:48 AM
Some screen shots that are on the web


(http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/1710/mccabe6xs.gif)

(http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/1406/mccabe28gu.jpg)

(http://img83.imageshack.us/img83/2083/mccabeundmrs031201137652mx.jpg)

Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 29, 2006, 10:36:21 AM

Yea its kind of strange that not many have seen it, it did push a few boundaries at the time with the Western. Just not the same boundaries as a Leone or a Peckinpah.
Not everything set in the West need be considered a Western, and I'm not sure I'd call McCabe one. Invoking genre raises certain expectations, expectations Altman has no interest in meeting. One need only consider his Hollywood Trilogy (M*A*S*H, The Long Goodbye, The Player) to understand the contempt Altman holds for film genres.

Nonetheless, McCabe would make a good double-bill with Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid........
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Juan Miranda on April 29, 2006, 05:14:33 PM
the contempt Altman holds for film genres.

He doesn't show contempt, but he is interested in transforming generic conventions to create something new. As you've noted, he takes the war film and creates M*A*S*H (he cut his teeth as a director on TV directing episodes of COMABAT). He takes film noir and makes THE LONG GOODBYE. The musical and NASHVILLE. Gangster films and THIEVES LIKE US. Sci-fi and QUINTET. Psychological horror and 3 WOMEN. Kid's films and POPEYE.

He did make one other "western" in the '70's, BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS, with Paul Newman as manifest destiny's haunted victim, William Cody, but it's one of Altman's less successful movies.

His films do come accross at times as smart assed (something his Marlowe is constantly accused of being in THE LONG GOODBYE), but he remains a great and unique American artist.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 30, 2006, 03:41:06 PM
He doesn't show contempt, but he is interested in transforming generic conventions to create something new.
No, I'd say he wants to trash genre conventions to create something new. Part of his techinque (taken, perhaps, from Godard) is to highlight conventions in purple and red crayons before exploding them. He wants the audience to conciously recognize his desire to leave genres behind. And the contempt is there: this is why he ironically uses "Hooray For Hollywood" at the beginning and end of The Long Goodbye.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on April 30, 2006, 06:45:45 PM
dave jenkins, have you seen McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 01, 2006, 07:41:49 AM
More than once, Joe. Because of this thread, I rewatched the DVD just the other day.

I haven't voted because my choice isn't up there ("Seen it and am rather ambivalent about it").
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on May 01, 2006, 09:36:06 PM
its there now
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 08, 2006, 04:16:43 AM
Okay, I voted.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: indio on May 08, 2006, 11:57:47 PM
I watched this film at the weekend. god it reminded me of keoma , the feel of it that is. then it became the great silence.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on May 09, 2006, 06:03:28 AM
 shuuuuuuush, don't say no more you'll spoil it for Firecracker  8)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on June 27, 2006, 08:13:44 PM
Watched Three Women tonight and it was like watching a disturbing dream.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: KERMIT on June 27, 2006, 10:22:50 PM
Watched Three Women tonight and it was like watching a disturbing dream.
yea, looks very interesting joe .
is this w. shelly duval and sissy spacek ?

i was watching "two women" last night on TCM.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on June 28, 2006, 03:37:35 AM
yes & I recorded Two Women  ;D
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: titoli on June 28, 2006, 03:21:43 PM
Altman was one of my favourite directors in the '70's. Still I saw this movie only once, in the early '80's on TV, because it was very difficult to find even in art cinemas programs (what do the younger generation know about film-viewing before vhs?).
He said, introducing the movie for italian tv viewers, that he had wanted to make a movie out of the LC's album that he found so extraordinary. I can't but agree with him, all the more so as of a rule I am not particularly fond of folksie albums like that. Still  I found the movie too slow, as many of the lesser Altman's (of whom I adore Nashville, his masterpiece; Mash, The Long Goodbye and California Split ) like Three Women or Thieves Like Us. Like with Cassavetes movies, you think that the movie could last half an hour or 5 hours and you wouldn't have lost anything anyway. So I prefer to listen to Cohen's LP (well, it's been maybe 15 years sinvce the last time I've heard it, mebbe 20, but I know it by heart) or, even better, the songs I like the best which happen, BTW, to be the same 3 Altman included in the movie.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on June 28, 2006, 04:02:46 PM
Yes Titoli, but in the film Cohen removed a few stanzas and included a long instumental section. On Cohen 's album,  "The Stranger" does not include that instumental, it would have been nice to have both versions.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: titoli on June 28, 2006, 05:19:51 PM
Frankly, I don't think any song by Cohen is worth an instrumental version, not even for a soundtrack.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on June 28, 2006, 06:58:09 PM
Quote
Frankly, I don't think any song by Cohen is worth an instrumental version, not even for a soundtrack.

Its not a full instumental, just sort of a "bridge" between the lyrics that are used, it just adds to the bleak setting in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

Of course its not Morricone, and the music and lyrics were already composed and just tweeked to fit the film. sp its not really in the same class.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 26, 2006, 05:38:27 AM
Here is a trailer I found during todays trailer quest for McCabe & Mrs. Miller (it doesn't show any of the action sequences though so you can't judge it by that), enjoy.

http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/trailer.html?v_id=31953
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on February 27, 2007, 11:39:26 AM
I just had the opportunity to finally watch this film and let me tell you I was blown away. It's one of the most atmospheric westers I have ever seen. Is it just me, or did you see a lot of "Spaghetti Western" similarities? Please, comment on this.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on February 27, 2007, 04:58:16 PM
I think that this film is as different from previous AW's as Leone's SW's were, it showed another direction that the Genre could go, its direct decendant is Deadwood.

Its the story of an Iconic Gambler/Business man, and an Iconic Madam, in a raw wilderness boom town, its as powerful as AFOD, FAFDM, and GBU, in its own way

I did a post or two on this film before. Here's one:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=3271.0

here is the other:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1523.0

Read them and lets discuss the film ;)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on February 27, 2007, 05:12:46 PM
Do you want to talk about the film on this thread, or yours cigar? I just read your first thread and voted. I think it's a masterpiece.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on February 27, 2007, 05:15:42 PM
Another thing I noticed while watching the movie...the last ten minutes or so, it's snowing. Is it me or did the snow look very fake during some scenes? Was it fake, or was it just the problem with the lighting? What's your opinion.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on February 28, 2007, 05:36:40 AM
They did have to enhance the snow in some of the scenes for continiuty purposes since it actually snowed.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on February 28, 2007, 09:25:43 AM
They did have to enhance the snow in some of the scenes for continiuty purposes since it actually snowed.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I mean it's not a real problem but it's totally noticeable.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on February 28, 2007, 04:20:34 PM
Lets talk about it here since its already started.

Not everyone out West was a gunfighter and this film is a good example of what you can do with a meer Iconic "mortal". John "Pudgy" McCabe is as human and fallable as Tuco Ramierez, which I think is why most of us can relate to Tuco on a mortal level, Blondie & AE are gunfighting Gods.  McCabe is not  a crack shot, but a somewhat more intelligent businessman gambler with an easy going demeanor and a scence of humor and he's superior in a way more so than the rest of the residents of the town of Presbyterian Church. Only Mrs. Miller is quite a bit more savey than him but he at least recognizes that fact and accepts the partnership.

Its a good film and everyone on this board should give it a look-see.  O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on February 28, 2007, 09:53:11 PM
I personally think most of everyone on this board would love this movie in my opinion. It's a gem that should not be missed by any western film fan. I was blown away and I'm just upset I didn't watch it sooner. I've been meaning to watch this for years and just put it aside, boy, what a mistake that was! I love films like this. Their's a lot to break down and discuss because so much is left unsaid. In your opinion cigar, do you think McCabe and Constance loved eachother or was it just a business relationship? Personally I thought McCabe had those feelings for her, but wasn't to sure if Constance did or not. At times it seemed like it, and others it just seemed like a business relationship.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on March 01, 2007, 09:30:58 PM
You'll be surprized how many on this board haven't seen this film, I think the poll I posted got maybe 5 who have seen it. But then its not like its on TMC or AMC a lot a lot of the 70's Westerns are hardley ever on basic cable.

I know what you mean, I felt the same way for not seeing Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia until just recently.


Quote
In your opinion cigar, do you think McCabe and Constance loved eachother or was it just a business relationship? Personally I thought McCabe had those feelings for her, but wasn't to sure if Constance did or not. At times it seemed like it, and others it just seemed like a business relationship.


I definitely think McCabe fell for her, and she was comming around him too until the attempted buy out, then I think she realized that he already made a fatal mistake by not consulting with her and as a result he was already lost to the wheels he set in motion so rather than get emotionally gutted she retreated to the escape of the opium den.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on March 01, 2007, 09:48:06 PM

 

I definitely think McCabe fell for her, and she was comming around him too until the attempted buy out, then I think she realized that he already made a fatal mistake by not consulting with her and as a result he was already lost to the wheels he set in motion so rather than get emotionally gutted she retreated to the escape of the opium den.
[/quote]

*SPOILER*



Yeah, the ending was so powerful in my opinion. The shot of Constance in the opium den, with McCabe in the snow. Oustanding ending in my opinion. So sad, yet so powerful.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on March 01, 2007, 10:05:54 PM
Its a film that should be seen and experienced multiple times to get all the nuances of the background actions and the "over heard conversations" style story lines.  O0

Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on March 01, 2007, 10:21:49 PM
Its a film that should be seen and experienced multiple times to get all the nuances of the background actions and the "over heard conversations" style story lines.  O0



I plan on watching this many more times to catch all the nuances as you say. I can only imagine some of the things I didn't pick up the first time around. I'm gonna watch it again very soon. I can't wait.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on October 24, 2007, 11:04:57 AM
Well I popped this in and watched it again on a dreary rainy day here in NY. 

It starts with the sound of the wind as the Warner Brothers Logo appears, then we see through a rain squall a typical autumnal Pacific Northwest hillside of douglas firm, hemlock, & pine, tree tops bending with the gusts. Leonard Cohen's iconic/hypnotic "The Stranger" begins to play as we see a hooded rider in a great grizzley bear coat picking his way down a muddy trail a pack horse tied off to the rider's horse's tail follows.

I think Altman was really fortunate in finding the Cohen music (the story is that he and some other involved with the film were attending a party and Colen's new lp was playing and just grabbed Altman's attention and since it also was eerierly close to the subject matter of the film, dealing with a stranger who was a gambler.

The song "The Stranger Song" if you haven't heard it is sort of Dylanesque in its verbal iconography, and it becomes sort of mesmerizing almost akin to a chant. Its part of Cohen's "Songs of Leonard Cohen" and his big hit "Suzanne" was on this same album/CD (its available). The the three songs used in the film "the Stranger Song", "Winter Lady", and "The Sisters of Mercy" all are copyrighted 1967.

However the difference with the films version is that some of the verses are left off and a wonderful instumental interlude take their place. Cohen must have recorded this but it have never been released on any thing that I know of.
The rest of the lyrics show up when the song is reprised later on in the film.

The effect contributes what Leone called 40% of the magic of this film and to think that it was luck that brought it together is just short of amazing. The rest of the soundtrack is period type fiddle tunes and hand crank music box brass disc & comb "records" (its like a hand crank juke music box).

Anyway to tell more would be teasing see it for yourselves it should be available on Netflix. O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Tucumcari Bound on October 24, 2007, 01:30:38 PM

Here is where we agree cigar. McCabe is a gorgeous piece of work. One of the most haunting and masterful films ever made. I can't get over how masterful the atmosphere is created by Altman. For this reason alone, it should not be missed.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on October 25, 2007, 07:24:27 AM

possible spoilers!




McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)


Roger Ebert / November 14, 1999
 

It is not often given to a director to make a perfect film. Some spend their lives trying, but always fall short. Robert Altman has made a dozen films that can be called great in one way or another, but one of them is perfect, and that one is "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" (1971). This is one of the saddest films I have ever seen, filled with a yearning for love and home that will not ever come -- not for McCabe, not with Mrs. Miller, not in the town of Presbyterian Church, which cowers under a gray sky always heavy with rain or snow. The film is a poem--an elegy for the dead.

Few films have such an overwhelming sense of location. Presbyterian Church is a town thrown together out of raw lumber, hewn from the forests that threaten to reclaim it. The earth is either mud or frozen ice. The days are short and there is little light inside, just enough from a gas lamp to make a gold tooth sparkle, or a teardrop glisten. This is not the kind of movie where the characters are introduced. They are all already here. They have been here for a long time. They know all about one another.

A man rides into town through the rain. He walks into a saloon, makes sure he knows where the back door is, goes out to his horse again, comes in with a cloth, and covers a table. The men are pulling up chairs before he has settled down. He is a gambler named McCabe (Warren Beatty). Somebody thinks they heard that McCabe once shot a man. In the background, somebody is vaguely heard asking, "Laura, what's for dinner?"

This is the classic Altman style, which emerged full-blown in "MASH" and can be seen in "3 Women," "Thieves Like Us," "Nashville," "California Split," "The Long Goodbye," "The Player," "Cookie's Fortune" and all the others. It begins with one fundamental assumption: All of the characters know each other, and the camera will not stare at first one and then another, like an earnest dog, but is at home in their company. Nor do the people line up and talk one after another, like characters in a play. They talk when and as they will, and we understand it's not important to hear every word; sometimes all that matters is the tone of a room.

The town of Presbyterian Church is almost all male, and most of the men are involved in building the town. It looks like a construction site, holes half-dug, lumber piled up waiting to be used, an old painted door joined to a raw new frame. Apart from work, there is nothing to do but drink, gamble and hire the pleasures of women. McCabe takes his winnings and purchases three fancy women--not as entertainment, as an investment.

They're not too fancy; one is fat, one has no teeth, they all look scrubbed with too much cheap soap. His plan is to open a whorehouse and saloon, with a bathhouse in the back.

Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie) arrives in town and wants to become his partner. She is a Cockney who has long since ceased to be interested in her own beauty, except for what it will earn her. She explains to McCabe that he knows nothing of women, cannot see through their excuses, cannot quiet their fears or see them through female troubles, does not even know enough to keep the whole town from being clapped out within a week. She will import some classier women from San Francisco. They will do better than he can do on his own. He has to agree.

We get to know them in half-seen, half-heard moments. There is a time when he gets into bed with her and we realize with a start that the movie has not established that they are sleeping with one another. Later it doubles back to reveal that she charges him, just like all the others. She gets $5, top price. McCabe spends a lot of time talking to himself, muttering criticisms and vows. He says to himself what he would like to say to her: "If just one time you could be sweet without money to it." And, "I got poetry in me!" His soliloquies are meandering, rueful, oblique. His most sustained burst of conversational energy is a joke he tells about a frog; he does it in dialect, and I think it's a private joke, since he sounds uncannily like Gene Hackman's character Buck in "Bonnie and Clyde."

There is always money involved. One day a man named Bart dies, and they bury him. At the funeral, Mrs. Miller and Bart's widow (Shelley Duvall) make eye contact. That night they are talking. The widow will have to become a whore. She knows it, Mrs. Miller knows it, the whole town knows it. How else can she support herself? "It's what you were doing before with Bart," Mrs. Miller explains, "only now you can keep some of the money for yourself."

Men arrive from a big mining company to make McCabe an offer for his holdings. Full of beans, he rejects their offer and names his price, much too high. That night he brags to Mrs. Miller, whose face shows what a mistake he has made. The men are gone by breakfast time. McCabe rides into town to try to accept their offer, but is too late to find them. He knows the company will send someone to kill him.

All of this unfolds mostly indoors, in dark rooms lit by lanterns and log fires. Episodes are punctuated by Leonard Cohen songs, sad frontier laments. The cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, embraces the freedom of the wide-screen Panavision image (this was before screens got narrower again to accommodate home video). He drowns the characters in nature. It is dark, wet, cold, and then it snows. These are simple people. There is a moment when two couples are dancing to a music box in the whorehouse parlor. It comes to the end of a tune, and all four cluster around the box, bending low, peering at its mechanism, poised in suspense. The next tune begins and they spring up, relieved, to dance again.

Life is cheap here. The film shows one of the most heartbreaking deaths in the history of the Western. A goofy kid (Keith Carradine) has ridden into town and visited all the girls in the house. Now he has started across a suspension bridge. A young gunslinger approaches from the other side and cold-bloodedly talks him into being shot to death. The kid knows he is going to get shot. He tries to be friendly and ingratiating, but the time has come. The town looks on, impassive. You don't want to be caught on a bridge facing a guy like that. We realize at the end of the film that this episode on the bridge is the whole story in microcosm: Some people are just incapable of not getting themselves killed.

Snow falls steadily all through the closing passages of the film. There is no musical soundtrack, apart from the Cohen songs. McCabe is tracked through the town by three hired killers, including the young gunslinger. The snow falls so heavily, blowing at a slant, it is like unheard music. In some movies, the hero gets killed, and then there is a shot of his woman, looking sad. Here we see Mrs. Miller looking sad even before McCabe meets his fate. She is in the opium den down in the Chinatown end of Presbyterian Church. Her attention is focused on pretty colors and surfaces. This time and place are so dead for her that she simply shuts down her mind.

Study the title. "McCabe & Mrs. Miller." Not "and," as in a couple, but "&," as in a corporation. It is a business arrangement. Everything is business with her. What sorrows she knew before she arrived in Presbyterian Church are behind her now. Everything else is behind her now, too, the opium promises. Poor McCabe. He had poetry in him. Too bad he rode into a town where nobody knew what poetry was but one, and she already lost to it.

Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on October 29, 2007, 06:46:28 AM
Was thinking again about Altman's masterpiece and came to the conclusion that the Leone film that "McCabe & Mrs Miller" is closest too in mood is actually "Once Upon A Time in America" it is a film about melancholy & regret.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 29, 2007, 08:58:32 AM
And opium use. :D
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on October 29, 2007, 09:23:13 AM
Quote
And opium use.


Oh yes and opium use as well.

I surprized by the poll that still many have never seen this film.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on October 29, 2007, 09:56:24 AM
Great news (maybe) lol, anyway just checked the mailbox & lo & behold a used book of "McCabe" by Edmund Naughton has arrived in a 1991 reprint of the 1959 issue, cool.

Now I can expound upon this subject for all who care.  O0

Anyway here is Edmund Naughton's bio:

Edmund Naughton was born in 1926 in New York City, the son of two New Yorkers. He attended parochial school in New York, then Jesuit schools in New England, and graduated with an MFA from Fordham in 1953.

He went to Louisville, Kentucky to work as a police reporter, where he stayed for 5 years on the police beat, which he worked down to an average of an hour & a half's work per day. The rest of the time he spent playing cards and drinking beer with poliecemen. Once he went on an actual manhunt with them.

He wrote McCabe in 1957-1958, largely out of his experience on the poliece beat, transposing his characters to the West. the Film McCabe & Mrs. Miller was made in 1971, the same year his second book, The Pardner was published. There ahve been American, English & French editions of both books. His third book A Case in Madrid (Curtis) and the fourth The Maximun Game (Warner) were both published in the US. The books which followed, Wild Horses, and White Man, Black Man, were both published in French by Gallimard.

In 1958 he moved to Paris on the advance of McCabe. He landed a job with the Herald Tribune and decided to stay in Paris, where he has lived ever since working as both a journalist  (part time for The New York Times) and as an English Teacher. he also spent about five years in England..
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Jill on October 29, 2007, 10:43:58 AM
Well, I saw it first after the first watching of TGS, saying: Let's see two "snow westerns" in one night. It was too much. TGS is so sad and this, too. I was totally depressed.  ;D

The ending showdown is brilliant, but the whole movie is not so typical "western-ish". It's very dark and hopeless, and Mrs. Miller is soooo irritating.







SPOILER











Poor anti-hero dying in the snow alone and the whore is very happy with the opium... this was really sad.







SPOILER END
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on October 29, 2007, 12:54:18 PM
Its a dreary melancholy and depressing masterpiece.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on October 31, 2007, 09:12:51 PM
Well Finished "McCabe" by Edmund Nuaghton tonight, and surprizingly Altman followed the book pretty close, even the setting in the original story was the Pacific Northwest, and though it never specifically mentions any state or territory in the book the mining company that tries to buy out McCabe is the Snake River Mining Company which would locate the action close to the Western Idaho/Washington border area.

I'll go into more details of the story in the next few days but here are some quick points:

The Bill Roundtree incident is well detailed.

Mrs. Miller in the book is not into opium but goes on binges.

Sheehan in the book is more involved with Butler & the hired killers.

The shootout in the book took place in the rain just like Altman originally wanted to shoot it.

Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 31, 2007, 10:45:12 PM
The shootout in the book took place in the rain just like Altman originally wanted to shoot it.
A happy accident, then. To my mind, the best part of the film is the final sequence, and the snow is largely what makes it special.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 01, 2007, 11:19:29 AM
Ok I'll give a more in depth chapter by chapter synopsis of the 1959 book. Its a paperback, 190 pages, cover (I'll scan it for you later) shows McCabe with a handlebar moustache, derby hat, suit with an ashcot  with a revolver in his hand seated in the street of a typical Western town (too built up and finished looking for the story) with Mrs. Miller standing beside him leaning her elbow on his shoulder with a typical Marylin Monroe facial pose in a red bustier and pantaloons.

Across the top it says "A Classic of its Kind" - The New York Times, below that the title "McCabe" and below that it proclaims "The bestselling Western that inspired the hit movie "McCabe & Mrs. Miller"

The first chapter takes us to the belfry of the church as McCabe watches for Butler, the Kid, & the half Breed so it takes us right to the final showdown at the git go its raining & its windy he hears shots comming from his place. He lights a cigar & waits.

Chapter 2 gives us the intro of McCabe to the town of Presbyterian Church four years before (the original title of the film was to be "The Presbyterian Church Wager") He rode up to it from Bearpaw (a company town, he didn't like company towns) he liked small towns because he could set up the biggest game and didn't have to cut anyone in. He rides up past canvas tents always a signal of a new camp & up to Sheehan's Hotel & Saloon just like in the film.
The film here follows the book closely, McCabe's conversation "You don't know nothing about me, and I don't know you. Lets make this a nickle game..." is right out of the novel.

But then we get more info direct info than we get in the film, Sheehan introduces himself and says he owns the place and McCabe says he's "John McCabe" Sheehan asks "You ain't Pudgy McCabe?" and McCabe nods. "The gunfighter?" McCabe answers "that will beat any other opinion. Sheehan, "You the one that killed Bill Roundtree"? McCabe, "the very same".

Then Sheehan says as in the film "That man's got a big rep boys, he's got a big rep".

We find out that after Sheehan asks "you don't look pudgy to me" that McCabe says he's "been in this country a long time, enough to thin any man out".

As the chapter continues we find out that they mine zinc in Presbyterian Church, with two pretty good deposits up in the hills, and that the local miners prospect for new strikes whenever they can. McCabe & Sheehan strike a bargain & McCabe begins to run a 12 hour game every day at Sheehan's. The town grew Germans & Swedes came to work the steady deposits and Chinese also came to work the ore. The town grew enough to build a second saloon and McCabe built it. Sheehan felt that McCabe had tricked him and went about telling the town folk that McCabe would fail, and he would have if it wasn't for the opium McCabe sold the Chinese, McCabe figured that they would get it anyway, and he became an interpreter and protector for the Chinese. Edit 12/10/10 - The film actually alludes to/mentions the Chinese opium trade, I never caught it before but it comes up in a conversation between McCabe & Sheehan outside Sheehan's soon after he sets up the poker game (at Sheehan's). McCabe asks Sheehan who handles the "mud" for the Chinese and Sheehan basically indicates he's not interested and doesn't know, where upon McCabe laughs at him in effect relating that, as a business man, he's completely missing a big money opportunity in Presbyterian Church

Then McCabe advertised that he was going to build a genuine whore house and Mrs. Constance Miller comes to Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Millers is described as "...a pretty woman.  About 31, slim, not exactly small. She had eyebrows that accented the blueness of her eyes, high cheekbones, and a finely cut nose. Her face was narrow her throat long. The body in the tight dress was small and her breasts seemed to be small too, but from the way they moved as she leaned back they weren't nothing but hers". She wears a wedding band that she takes it off and plays with when she's nervous but she tells McCabe that she's never been married. She wore the ring because it gave her a respectable tone.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller strike a 50/50  bargain on the house and a carpenter from Bearpaw comes up and builds it from an Eastern magazine a heavy building with frills on the eaves. In the book she uses the line "You ought to use something besides that cheap Jockey Club Cologne, if you want to make out your a dude". thats used in the film.

Chapter 3 starts with the relationship between McCabe & Mrs. Miller and what the towns people speculated about them & how Mr. Elliot the preacher looked down upon them. McCabe spent more time in Mrs. Millers bedroom than anyone else and they begin to develop a sometimes rocky relationship despite neither of them wanting to at first. Constance Miller tells McCabe her sad life story and the times that they fight over things ends with her calling him a "son of a bitch" and her going on a "toot" for a week at a time. Now the film portrays her as an opium addict rather than an alcoholic. Wether this was an editorial decision when the book was published that changed back to its original manuscript when the book was filmed, would be interesting to find out.  McCabe falls in love with Constance despite all and in this chapter we have his bringing her flowers, his soliloquy in the film about him having "poetry in me" and the line about "couldn't you one time be sweet when there wasn't no money around".

We also learn about McCabe the gunfighter, he uses in the book a specially tuned Colt Peacemaker that has a stronger spring and no trigger, so that he just thumbs back the hammer and lets go to shoot. We also read about him being a great shot. In the film his status as a gunman is always left ambiguous.

Chapter 4, we begin to learn that the Snake River Mining Company wants to buy out the town cheap. We get various rumors and such from the different townsfolk, a railspur will be built, the company will hire as many men as it takes to kill everyone and take the town over and that they own the courts and that you can't fight them. Sheehan begins to turn from just being McCabe's competion to a threat with his decision to sell out to the company when they make their move. He starts to advise the townfolk & the miners to also sell out. The townfolk begin to look at McCabe as their protection.

Chapter 5, Constance & McCabe fight about the position McCabe is in vs the Mining Company, she wants him to be smart & sell out. The Company man arrives in Presbyterian Church with Sheehan. The Company man, Sheehan & McCabe have a business meeting at the Hotel about the buy out. McCabe turns down the Company offer.

Chapter 6, Constance & McCabe again fight this time about his turning down the company offer. Constance worried wants him to see a lawyer in Bearpaw.

Chapter 7, McCabe heads to Bearpaw to see the lawyer (in the film he's shown trying to find the company man and reconsider the offer before seeing the lawyer) on the way he's on guard for bushwhackers. The lawyer in the book has practically the whole chapter, the gist of it is that he wants McCabe to sign out a warrent against Sheehan & file a suit against the company. The purpose is to have McCabe as a martyr, a rebel who took a stand, one man who was able to stand against the company. The warrants & suit is so the company can't deny he ever existed. When McCabe asks the lawyer what do you think is going to happen the lawyer replies "I told you you are going to die... everybody does, achieve  more dignity doing it than you have any right to expect".

Chapter 8, Here arrives the threat in the form of the Cowboy who turns out is just looking for the whore house, the Carradine part in the film. He has with him a banjo which he tries to pluck out "Golden Slippers".

to be continued
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 01, 2007, 11:20:21 AM
Chapter 9, Is the arrival of the hired killers, Butler, the half breed & the Kid.. We get the first confrontation in McCabe's saloon, which is a standoff McCabe has a revolver on them the whole time. (in the film we get the confrontation in Sheehans, and the Butler line "that man never killed anyone") Here end of the standoff has McCabe declaring to Butler "that kid can put down any times he wants....but the second he does I guarantee you a new asshole".

Chapter 10, The killers impress the town for a week with gunplay. Constance & McCabe's relationship is again dealt with. And we get the wager sequence of which the original working title of the screen play was based on. Unarmed Sheehan, Butler The kid & the Half Breed with a crowd of townies enter McCabe's Saloon. Sheehan declares "Boys, There'll be a new day and a new way of doing things in this town, and you better get on the right side now."
McCabe answers "I wouldn't put too much money on that". Sheehan answers "I suppose you think you'll come out alive".  McCabe declares "odds are 15 to 1 against me". So they make a bet on McCabe's life.

Chapter 11, Here finally Constance & McCabe finally admit to each other that they are in love and they make love.

Chapter 12, During the night McCabe has a dream and in this dream we get the Bill Roundtree story.

Chapter 13, Rain falling hard 3AM, McCabe wakes up gets his clothes and quietly leaves Constance's bedroom. He goes over to his saloons kitchen and here he has a three raw egg & whiskey breakfast, the first time in the book. In His office he finds the lawyer sleeping at his desk, he wakes him him up and tell him to leave but before he does he signs the papers the lawyer has brung. McCabe arms himself with his revolver and a second regular revolver that he keeps in a brace that he won in a poker game. Then McCabe heads to the livery stable to get a ladder to put his plan in action. The ladder he takes to the church so he can get up into the steeple to watch for the killers.

Chapter 14, we are back to where we left off after the first chapter, the killers leave McCabe's saloon and split up. Once McCabe sees where they are going he puts he plan in action. Rain still falling he follows behind the kid as he makes his way up the street, careful to try and stay upon hard ground when he gets within range he aims at the kid's back as he does so his boot finds a soft spot in the mud and when he pulls up his foot the boot makes a sucking sound that that kid hears. He whirls around with both guns blazing but McCabe 's shot is true and he falls, but not before he hits McCabe in the thigh. McCabe runs limping into the General Store and sits in barber's chair near the back with a clear shot to the front of the store.

Butler comes around the corner and sees the dying kid he tries to get the kid to tell him where McCabe is hiding but the Kid just wails that he's dying and wants a doctor. McCabe can't get a good shot a Butler and Butler moves off down the street while the Breed comes up the street from the opposite end.  McCabe is watching across the street in the storefront windows reflection and sees the Breed. The Breed walks up right in front of the General Stores window, he's watching the dying Kid instead of for McCabe. McCabe shoots him through the glass and he falls into the plate glass.

Butler runs back sees  the Breed laying across the broken window and figures that McCabe is in the General Store. He cuts through an alley to get to the back of the store in time to shoot the escaping McCabe in the back as he  trys to get to cover behind a zinc ore wagon. McCabe's momentum carries him into a ditch on the far side of the wagon. Laying in the runoff water he's fighting to stay conscious. Butler waits a bit but decides he wants to get to McCabe before he dies so that Butler can see the reaction in McCabe's eyes that Butler is about to kill him.  As Butler gets to the ditch he gets the fist bullet in his neck the next in the chest, the forth shot went into his side, the fifth through his temple.

Mrs. Miller holding her skirt with one hand and McCabe's shotgun in the other comes around the corner and sees Butlers Body. She reaches McCabe who's barely alive and and she comforts him as he dies, his last words to her were "Tell them for me ...I loved you".

Mrs. Miller hears someone calling out, it was Sheehan he was calling Butlers name. She cocks both barrels on the shotgun, and here are the last lines of the novel "she leaned against the wagon wheel with the shotgun in the folds of her skirt. She though she should wait until Sheehan got real close. The wind shifted entirely into her face and she heard the cowboy as she waited. He was playing Golden Slippers on his banjo again".

The End.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 01, 2007, 07:35:20 PM
Quote
A happy accident, then. To my mind, the best part of the film is the final sequence, and the snow is largely what makes it special.
 
 

I can definitely agree with that. Its also a fortuitous that he was able to get Leonard Cohen for the sound track but the fact that the three original songs used were very appropriate to the story lines, was miraculous.  I think this is another case where the soundtrack is 40% of the film.
 
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 03, 2007, 07:21:27 AM
So now comparing Novel & Film some of the screenwriters additions and deletions are: 

The more detailed original whore aquisition & later whorehouse subplots,  the enlargement of the Cowboy (carradine) character and the addition of his death, the addition of the Shelly Duval sequence, the addition of the Mrs. Miller opium subplot, the fogging of Sheehan's involvement with the Company and McCabe's actual prowress as a gunfighter, the addition of the church fire, the deletion of the wager (which the original screenplay was to use in its title "the Presbyteruian Church wager").
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on January 06, 2008, 05:36:39 PM
Don't know why, but the Beaver has just now finally reviewed the DVD: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews34/mccabe_and_mrs._miller.htm
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on January 06, 2008, 09:57:29 PM
A couple of additional observations:

The Leonard Cohen "Songs of Leonard Cohen" album that had three cuts used for the soundtrack matching at all with the action in the film was nothing short of miraculous, though "The Stranger Song" was modified a bit with a long instrumental bridge between lyrics.

Altman's concept for the film was to use "Beautiful Dreamer" which is actually used in the "arriving whores/bathouse sequence".

The novel "McCabe" by Edmund Naughton actually uses a theme song of sorts also, the music box (featured in the movie) in the novel is in McCabe's Saloon, and it plays "Golden Slippers" the Cowboy (Kieth Caradine's part) arrives in Presbyterian Church with a banjo on his back upon which he plucks out "Golden Slippers" in a few spots on the novel, and notably at the end.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Peacemaker on January 10, 2008, 07:14:27 PM
Just watched this last night and found it enjoyable. Great set designs, really gave you a feel of the old west.

I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but it is better than the average AW.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on January 11, 2008, 08:57:10 PM
Its as innovative albeit in a different direction as Leone's and Peckinpah's films in changing AW's
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: titoli on July 31, 2008, 09:48:30 PM
It seems like the book's first edition is deemed by the owner to be a rare piece:

http://www.amazon.com/McCabe-Novel-West-Edmund-Naughton/dp/B0012TVDWC/ref=sr_1
_83?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217565794&sr=1-83
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on July 31, 2008, 11:09:29 PM
 :o :o :o
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on August 01, 2008, 03:29:10 AM
Oh yea they are impossible to find in a hard cover version, I've seen some paperbacks advertized for $100, the paper back 1991 edition I picked up for $20 cost $3.50 new.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on August 01, 2008, 02:22:44 PM
Wow.  And it was a library copy.  ???
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Amaze on November 08, 2008, 01:22:18 PM
Mccabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) 5/6
great movie all around. had lots of atmosphere, it was almost like being there in person. it was low on action but it didnt really matter.
I had heard that deadwood had been inspired by this movie, and there's no doubt they have a lot in common.
the only big flaw that I can think of is the main theme that plays throughout the movie. I dont like being told what is happening and what is going to happen by a song. in my opinion they should have used the instrumental part of the song as the theme and then used the lyrical parts when mccabe is sitting in the snow and mrs. miller is lying in the opium den.
imagine if they had played "riders on the storm" in the beginning of The Hitcher. ye, not a good idea.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 08, 2008, 01:54:11 PM
McCabe & Mrs. Miller

The "Stranger Song"song wasn't written for the film, it was out along with "Winter Lady" and "The Sisters of Mercy" on Leonard Cohen's Songs album,  I believe two years before the film was made. 

So though the lyrics may fit somewhat they're just really coincidental. In fact during the opening sequence there is an instumental section that is not in the original song with just a guitar solo that leaves out the lyrics that don't quite fit.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: T.H. on November 08, 2008, 02:24:50 PM
the only big flaw that I can think of is the main theme that plays throughout the movie. I dont like being told what is happening and what is going to happen by a song. in my opinion they should have used the instrumental part of the song as the theme and then used the lyrical parts when mccabe is sitting in the snow and mrs. miller is lying in the opium den.
imagine if they had played "riders on the storm" in the beginning of The Hitcher. ye, not a good idea.

Songs of Leonard Cohen was released in 67. Any similarities in the lyrics, like Joe said, are purely coincidental. I don't understand how the inclusion of a Leonard Cohen song can hurt a movie? Sorry, I just don't buy your reasoning.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Amaze on November 08, 2008, 02:44:45 PM
coincidental or not, it gives away some of the plot before it happens. not in specifics but you get the jist of it. I didnt care for it.


btw, if you havent seen the behind the scenes featurette I can probably throw it up on google video. its short but very interesting.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 08, 2008, 07:39:29 PM
I've seen it, thanks
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: titoli on November 04, 2009, 02:15:38 PM
Re-saw the movie after so many years and I liked it better than the first time. Still there are two minuses. Beatty doesn't know how to act now and he did even les at the time of McCabe. Newman should have been the man. And I'm still not so sure that Cohen's songs are a good choice for those who, like me, knew them before watching the movie. Still the movie is very, very good (but I have to correct cj: I think that in OUTA is Leone homaging Altman. The opium den scene. And Altman I think was at the time rendering homage  to Kubrick's 2001 in the final shot). The gunfight sequence is masterful. And I couldn't help thinking about Eastwood's cheapie sets that look both cheapie and and sets while this is part of the story. 8\10
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 04, 2009, 03:43:06 PM
Quote
And I'm still not so sure that Cohen's songs are a good choice for those who, like me, knew them before watching the movie.

For me that wasn't the case the only Cohen song I was familiar with from that album was "Suzanne" which played on the radio.

Your other point are valid also.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: titoli on November 04, 2009, 06:44:02 PM
I bought the first 3 Cohen albums in London in 1978. As said, I watched the movie on tv with a series of other Altman movies in the early '80's. I think the Buffalo Bill was his last good one. I saw other ones following that one but he had lost his touch by then. His masterpiece is maybe Nashville. But almost all the ones made in the '70's are worth watching. I like The Long Goodbye, California Split, Mash are 8-9\10. That Cold Day in the Park, Images, Thieves Like Us, Brewster MacCloud about 7\10.

I was wrong when I wrote in a former post that the best songs were in the movie. Actually my favourite one of the entire album is Master Song.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on November 05, 2009, 03:32:30 AM
I like Altman's Short Cuts also, its not bad, if you are familiar with the Raymond Carver short stories its based on.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: titoli on November 05, 2009, 04:20:13 AM
I like Altman's Short Cuts also, its not bad, if you are familiar with the Raymond Carver short stories its based on.

I saw it on the big screen and I wouldn't give it more than 6\10. It is a movie like other less talented directors could have made. His great movies nobody else could have.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 10, 2010, 04:20:18 AM
I added an edit to the Chapter by Chapter comparison upon a re-watch last night:

here it is if you don't want to go back through the pages,

The film actually alludes to/mentions the Chinese opium trade, I never caught it before but it comes up in a conversation between McCabe & Sheehan outside Sheehan's soon after he sets up the poker game (at Sheehan's). McCabe asks Sheehan who handles the "mud" for the Chinese and Sheehan basically indicates he's not interested and doesn't know, where upon McCabe laughs at him in effect relating that, as a business man, he's completely missing a big money opportunity in Presbyterian Church
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on December 10, 2010, 06:17:13 PM
I don't care for Altman but love McCabe and Mrs. Miller.
The gunfight is fantastic but isn't the first time we've seen the "hero" sneak around a town and shoot his opponents in the back.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 13, 2010, 05:43:14 PM
Well John Wayne sort of shoots Liberty Valence almost in the back in TMWSLV no?
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: stanton on December 14, 2010, 05:15:55 AM
In Rio Bravo he also shoots an escaping rider from a long distance in the back.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Groggy on December 14, 2010, 10:06:29 AM
Don't forget Futterman in The Searchers.

So where did Wayne's bitching about having to shoot a guy in the back in The Shootist originate, anyway? Senility? Denial?
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: The Firecracker on December 15, 2010, 12:22:26 AM
Well John Wayne sort of shoots Liberty Valence almost in the back in TMWSLV no?

Yes, from the shadows as I remember.
But I was citing something a bit more specific.
The first three Stranger pictures, with Tony Anthony, devote the whole climax to Tony sneaking around town and shooting badguys in the back or through walls, windows and floorboards.
Much like McCabe.

Two of those films were released nearly 5 years before Altman's with the third being made in 1968 but not released until '74.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 15, 2010, 04:16:36 AM
I see what you are getting at thanks for clarifying.

and upon further thought what JW does in Liberty Valance I think is termed "dry gulching"  O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Groggy on December 15, 2010, 07:30:20 AM
Let's not forget Hombre, either. I recall Newman delivering a shotgun blast in the back to Richard Boone, who was unarmed at that!
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Dust Devil on December 15, 2010, 08:17:17 AM
Let's not forget Hombre, either. I recall Newman delivering a shotgun blast in the back to Richard Boone, who was unarmed at that!

Things like that make you a star sooner or later! :P
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on December 29, 2010, 05:26:24 PM
One of the 25 films named to the National Film Registry for 2010: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-273.html
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 18, 2011, 08:19:35 PM
just saw McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Blown away  O0 O0 one of those films that you just don't stop thinking about for like a week after you watch it, and real sad.... terrific film
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on June 19, 2011, 01:25:03 AM
 O0 O0 O0 and the songs of Cohen (which don't quite fit) actually give it a surreal quality. Its a case where everything clicked into place.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 19, 2011, 08:31:09 AM
I did not like the choice of using the Cohen songs for the film; perhaps my only criticism of the movie
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 01, 2011, 10:47:58 AM
Just saw the movie for the second time.

This is one of my five favorite AW's of all time.

My only criticism of the movie is Altman's choice of the Songs by Leonard Cohen as the sole soundtrack for this movie. To be sure, the songs do capture [and/or create!] the mood of the movie, but I still wish it hadn't been used as the score. Hard for me to explain in words precisely why, it just seemed to me a bit strange to have these 60's songs as the soundtrack for a Western. Perhaps if they had just used the melodies as the score, minus the words, that would have been good. But using the songs throughout annoyed me; I found myself forwarding the movie every time the songs came up. The melodies are good, but I just don't like when lyrics are used as a soundtrack. Feels a bit too 60's (somewhat similar criticism that I have with  the choice of music for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).  Anyway, that is my only criticism of a spectacular movie.

This movie is as anti-Western as they come! Beatty and Christie were great. The production design was terrific. The movie is so melancholy; it makes you FEEL how depressing and cold living in that town was; yet the saloons and whorehouse are so cozy, makes you feel you are snuggling up by the fire. Reading Roger Ebert's review, I was particularly struck by the following lines:

"All of this happens in an indoor sort of a way, and by that I don't mean that the movie looks like it was shot on a sound stage. The outdoors is always there, and people are always coming in out of it and shaking the rain from their hats, and we see the trees whipping in the wind through the windows.

But it's a wet autumn and then a cold winter, so people naturally congregate in saloons and grocery stores and whorehouses, and the climate forces a sense of community."


and in his Great Movies section:

"Few films have such an overwhelming sense of location. Presbyterian Church is a town thrown together out of raw lumber, hewn from the forests that threaten to reclaim it. The earth is either mud or frozen ice. The days are short and there is little light inside, just enough from a gas lamp to make a gold tooth sparkle, or a teardrop glisten. This is not the kind of movie where the characters are introduced. They are all already here. They have been here for a long time. They know all about one another."

Watching this movie is one of those rare experiences in life that don't come around often enough :)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Richard--W on December 01, 2011, 02:26:58 PM
(http://i1035.photobucket.com/albums/a432/Richard--W/McCabeMrsMiller1971-WB-half.jpg)

I haven't read through the entire thread, but I rate McCabe & Mrs. Miller at the top. My father took me to see it in 1971, and it haunted me for years. I went to see the re-release in 1974, many times. There were occasional repertory screenings in the 1980s, before Parallax became Landmark. I remember how dark the film was. Not dim or murky like movies today, but dark as in exposure dark. The film brightened up gradually as it progressed, letting us in. This was deliberate. There is so much detail in the distant dark and just on the edge of the frame, one starts peering into the film, looking harder so as not to miss anything. On the big screen, it was like participating in something larger than yourself, as if you're on the frontier with these hard, desperate people. On the DVD, this effect is lost, but it's still a coldly intimate and beautiful film.

I got the impression the song lyrics inspired the filmmakers as much if not more than the novel did. I love the music, although it does take some getting used to.

I wish McCabe hadn't died at the end.

I don't think of it as an anti-western. I think of it as an historically accurate and emotionally authentic period drama of the American west. It's like life. It's in a class by itself.

(http://i1035.photobucket.com/albums/a432/Richard--W/McCabeMrsMiller1971-WB-advance.jpg)

Altman's next venture in the genre, Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976), is something else again. Brilliant and dazzling in many ways, but it's view of history is misinformed and misguided. The film is an insult and not very entertaining.

Richard
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on December 01, 2011, 04:55:38 PM
I like that original title poster  O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 16, 2015, 11:26:22 AM
http://thedissolve.com/features/movie-of-the-week/774-the-making-and-unmaking-of-mccabe-mrs-miller/
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2015, 05:46:39 PM
http://thedissolve.com/features/movie-of-the-week/774-the-making-and-unmaking-of-mccabe-mrs-miller/

thanks
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2015, 11:37:01 PM
http://thedissolve.com/features/movie-of-the-week/774-the-making-and-unmaking-of-mccabe-mrs-miller/

Thanks  O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on May 17, 2015, 03:21:58 AM
For those that read the article here is the chapter by chapter breakdown of the novel.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1523.msg101259#msg101259 (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1523.msg101259#msg101259)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Groggy on May 17, 2015, 07:10:22 AM
http://thedissolve.com/features/movie-of-the-week/774-the-making-and-unmaking-of-mccabe-mrs-miller/

Excellent find. O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Novecento on May 17, 2015, 01:42:27 PM
Yes thanks  O0

When is this going to get a BD release? Zsgimond commented last year on "an amazing print" he had the opportunity to watch:

http://filmmakermagazine.com/87150-old-faded-pictures-vilmos-zsigmond-on-mccabe-mrs-miller/#.VVj8Lxfncfo
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 17, 2015, 03:36:24 PM
Huh, watching the DVD last night, I could see where getting a good HD transfer might be difficult. The phony snow falling in front of the lens looks, well, phony. Probably any kind of clean-up program would read the phony snowfall as scratches and missing info and try to fill it in. Or maybe it might just shut the system down. Then there's the whole issue of flashing--it obscures detail to such an extent, maybe an HD transfer wouldn't look like much of an improvement over SD. And there must be a whole host of other problems, even WITH a great print as a starting point. So, somebody may be working on it, but I'd expect it to take more time than just about anything else.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 17, 2015, 08:15:05 PM
Huh, watching the DVD last night, I could see where getting a good HD transfer might be difficult. The phony snow falling in front of the lens looks, well, phony. Probably any kind of clean-up program would read the phony snowfall as scratches and missing info and try to fill it in. Or maybe it might just shut the system down. Then there's the whole issue of flashing--it obscures detail to such an extent, maybe an HD transfer wouldn't look like much of an improvement over SD. And there must be a whole host of other problems, even WITH a great print as a starting point. So, somebody may be working on it, but I'd expect it to take more time than just about anything else.

with the whole flashing business, do you even know what is a "mistake" and what is "it's intended to look like that"? When I watch this movie, I just assume everything is intended as is. The snow at the end is atrocious – the one thing that jumps out at me as a glaring error. However, I believe the snow is actually real – they filmed the movie in sequence, by the time they were up to the final scene it had started snowing. So why does it look fake?   - did they add in fake snow cuz the real snow wasn't thick enough or consistent enough? Or did this crazy photographic process just make real snow look fake? I don't know ...
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2015, 02:58:41 AM
If I remember right it was because it wasn't consistent enough for the continuity, here is a great book on the film "Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller Reframing The American West" by Robert T. Self
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 18, 2015, 05:06:59 AM
with the whole flashing business, do you even know what is a "mistake" and what is "it's intended to look like that"? When I watch this movie, I just assume everything is intended as is. The snow at the end is atrocious – the one thing that jumps out at me as a glaring error. However, I believe the snow is actually real – they filmed the movie in sequence, by the time they were up to the final scene it had started snowing. So why does it look fake?   - did they add in fake snow cuz the real snow wasn't thick enough or consistent enough? Or did this crazy photographic process just make real snow look fake? I don't know ...
The snow on the ground is real (the production got lucky). However, it all came down at once and stopped. They still needed to film most of the end and so did so with phony snow falling.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 18, 2015, 05:07:54 AM
If I remember right it was because it wasn't consistent enough for the continuity, here is a great book on the film "Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller Reframing The American West" by Robert T. Self
Thanks!  O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 17, 2016, 04:29:17 AM
August:
Quote
SPECIAL FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• Audio commentary from 2002 featuring director Robert Altman and producer David Foster
• New documentary on the making of the film, featuring actors René Auberjonois, Keith Carradine, and Michael Murphy; casting director Graeme Clifford; and script supervisor Joan Tewkesbury
• New conversation about the film and Altman's career between film historians Cari Beauchamp and Rick Jewell
• Featurette from the film's production, shot on location in 1970
• Q&A from 1999 with production designer Leon Ericksen, hosted by the Art Directors Guild Film Society
• Archival footage from interviews with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, in which he discusses his work on the film
• Gallery of stills from the set by photographer Steve Schapiro
• Excerpts from two 1971 episodes of The Dick Cavett Show featuring Altman and film critic Pauline Kael
• Trailer
• PLUS: An essay by film critic Nathaniel Rich
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: T.H. on May 18, 2016, 08:09:48 AM
It's going to be interesting to see how this transfer turns out since McCabe relied so much on soft focus. I have little doubt that it's going to be the definitive version to own but I'm still really curious. I actually thought this was announced earlier, I guess it was one of those clues thingies that leaked.

On the subject of the August criterion releases, I'm surprised and a little disappointed that only Woman in the Dunes is receiving an upgrade and not the other two movies in the previously released Teshigahara trilogy. I know the deformed once-beautiful woman subplot in The Face of Another is a little heavy-handed and pretentious, but I think it's some kind of masterpiece in spite of that. Pitfall is also a really worthy movie as well.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Novecento on May 18, 2016, 11:17:47 AM
It's going to be interesting to see how this transfer turns out since McCabe relied so much on soft focus. I have little doubt that it's going to be the definitive version to own but I'm still really curious. I actually thought this was announced earlier, I guess it was one of those clues thingies that leaked.

When Criterion released Heaven's Gate with its gorgeous cinematography by Zsigmond, there was a huge debate about how accurate the color scheme was. Personally I loved the Criterion release. Unfortunately Zsigmond is of course no longer with us.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on May 19, 2016, 04:58:52 AM

On the subject of the August criterion releases, I'm surprised and a little disappointed that only Woman in the Dunes is receiving an upgrade and not the other two movies in the previously released Teshigahara trilogy. I know the deformed once-beautiful woman subplot in The Face of Another is a little heavy-handed and pretentious, but I think it's some kind of masterpiece in spite of that. Pitfall is also a really worthy movie as well.
I don't care much for Pitfall, but I am fond of The Face of Another. But what's that other Teshigahara from that era that Criterion never released? A Ruined Map? I've never seen it. That's the one I really wish they'd bring out.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Rojo Ramone on May 20, 2016, 01:17:20 PM
August:


So this is coming out on BD? :o
This might be my favorite AW.

I'm aware that the film was shot in soft focus but if memory serves the DVD showed artifacts of a low bit rate.
It would be great to be assured that the next release was as good as it gets.

About Cohen...I think his music is essential to the down-beat vibe of the film...it wouldn't be as great without it.
After my last viewing (a few years ago) it occurred to me it must have inspired the odd music in KEOMA.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: cigar joe on May 21, 2016, 03:02:22 AM


About Cohen...I think his music is essential to the down-beat vibe of the film...it wouldn't be as great without it.
After my last viewing (a few years ago) it occurred to me it must have inspired the odd music in KEOMA.


It did, it's mentioned in one of the commentaries  O0
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: T.H. on May 21, 2016, 08:33:31 AM
I don't care much for Pitfall, but I am fond of The Face of Another. But what's that other Teshigahara from that era that Criterion never released? A Ruined Map? I've never seen it. That's the one I really wish they'd bring out.

I'd like to see that one as well, and I wonder if his other stuff is worth exploring. I've heard mixed things and may have seen something years ago without subs that I barely remember.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Rojo Ramone on May 21, 2016, 12:27:14 PM
It did, it's mentioned in one of the commentaries  O0

Cheers, CJ.
I assume you're talking about a KEOMA BD/DVD commentary.

I never understood the musical choices in KEOMA until I last revisited McCabe.
I felt like I found the smoking gun. :)
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on July 29, 2016, 04:46:49 PM
BD street date has moved to Oct. 11. That is all.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Novecento on July 30, 2016, 10:08:43 AM
BD street date has moved to Oct. 11. That is all.

I wonder if the delicateness of Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography is proving to be more than they bargained for...
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: dave jenkins on July 30, 2016, 01:19:04 PM
More likely the delay is caused by one or more of the supplements.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Novecento on July 31, 2016, 11:28:42 AM
Yup - probably. I hope they do a good job with this one.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Rojo Ramone on July 31, 2016, 12:57:28 PM
This was on TCM last week.
Unfortunately my provider doesn't offer the channel in HD so I didn't check it out.

This will hopefully be the best release of the year for me.
Title: Re: McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Post by: Novecento on July 31, 2016, 07:15:45 PM
My understanding is that TCM HD is usually more like an enhanced SD anyway. I used to have "TCM HD" when I lived elsewhere with a different provider, but now only have the SD option. With full-screen (1.33:1) it makes no difference really. With anything wide-screen, the most annoying thing is having to zoom in on the image - that is what really degrades the quality. Having said that, it is still eminently watchable.