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 on: January 15, 2018, 07:03:16 AM 
Started by PowerRR - Last post by PowerRR
I saw it again, this time blown up to 70mm. Looks gorgeous.

Unlike most PTA movies, I don't think my opinion changed on a repeat viewing. I think this is a solid 8/10 and certainly better than his weaker half of works (Hard Eight, Inherent Vice, Junun). It has it's flaws and could benefit by being a bit shorter, maybe a bit more generically 'romantic' at times, with a bit more exploration into the past of the two main characters (Woodcock & his mother, Alma at all). Needless to say I see myself watching this many times.

I think it's more technical merits are really where it shines. The camerawork and on-screen movement feels controlled in a good way, the music and its use is gorgeous (The OST is out now!), the photography is unique and beautiful. A+ acting all around.

One of the better movies all year, and somewhere in the lower middle of PTA's filmography IMO.

 on: January 15, 2018, 02:26:52 AM 
Started by PowerRR - Last post by XhcnoirX
Noose For A Lady (1953): Pamela Alan is sentenced to death for killing her husband, but her stepdaughter Rona Anderson and cousin Dennis Price believe in her innocence. They have a week to try to find new leads and suspects before Alan will be executed. Decent murder mystery with the typical gathering of suspects finale. 6/10

Watched this on the Network UK DVD. Good quality, altho I wish they'd include subtitles more often.

 on: January 15, 2018, 01:47:11 AM 
Started by Spikeopath - Last post by kjrwe
Thanks for refreshing my memory on those three titles.  Afro

I think I've seen a couple of the films you recommended, but I can't recall them. Maybe they didn't make much of an impression on me, although I'm sure that I would have noticed Robert Ryan's acting.

Robert Ryan vs Humphrey Bogart? They were both fantastic, talented actors. They just had very different styles and they played different sorts of characters. Hard to compare the two of them, in my opinion.

 on: January 15, 2018, 01:24:13 AM 
Started by Moorman - Last post by noodles_leone
The list could change if you ask me the same question tomorrow, especially since I have the feeling I'm forgetting a couple of important ones.

1 - Once Upon a Time in the West
2 - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
3 - Little Big Man
4 - The Wild Bunch
5 - For a few Dollars more
6 - The Searchers
7 - My Name is Nobody
8 - Unforgiven
9 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
10 - Jeremiah Johnson
11 - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
12 - Pat Garret and Billy the Kid
13 - Dance with the Wolves
14 - The Great Silence
15 - Pale Rider
16 - Cheyenne Autumn
17 - Rio Bravo
18 - High Noon
19 - High Plains Drifter
20 - A Fistful of Dollars

Almost made it:

The Professionals
Josey Wales
The Stagecoach
My Darling Clementine
Ride the High Country
True Grit (2010)

 on: January 14, 2018, 04:58:41 PM 
Started by Moorman - Last post by Moorman
Haven't done this in a while.  My latest list.  (disclaimers) I intentionally left off westerns made after 1970.  High Plains drifter, Unforgiven and a few others i really like). Also, these are the top westerns i have seen soo far.

1. Once Upon a Time in the West.  One of the all time best movies across any genre.

2. The Oxbow Incident.  Another masterpiece.  Subject matter keeps this movie low profile.

3. My Darling Clementine.  A movie i didn't particularly care about at first. Then i watched it a second time.  A masterpiece.

4. High Noon.  The simplicity of the plot. The tension. The cinematography.  The music.  My favorite Gary Cooper performance.

5. For A Few Dollars More.  Captain Mortimer. Indio.  My favorite of the 3 Eastwood sphagetti's made with Leone.

6. The Wild Bunch.  The realism of the action in this movie seperates it from every western ever made.

7.  3:10 to Yuma. (1957). My favorite performances from Van Heflin and Glenn Ford. A excellent plot and cinematography make this a masterpiece.

8. Red River.  The cattle drive. John Wayne. Walter Brennan. Montgomery Cliff. The cinematography.  Another masterpiece.

9. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  I love the different moral lessons touched upon in this movie. Great performances from Wayne, Stewart, Strode and Marvin.

10. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.  Great western. Great performances. Felt it was too long and had some implausible moments.

11. The Westerner.  Walter Brennan as a bad heavy was impressive in this one. I loved Cooper in this also. Great ending.

12. Stagecoach. A masterpiece. What else needs to be said?

13. Rawhide.  A greatly underrated western.  Probably the best western that shows how the old stagecoach stages worked.  My favorite Jack Elam western.  Very well done.

14. Death Rides a Horse.  This is the best non Leone sphagetti western i have seen thus far.  Its the closest to what he did. The tone and everything matched up. If Eastwood had played the part that John Phillip Law did, I'm certain this would have been considered a greater film than it already is.

15. The Gunfighter.  My favorite Gregory Peck film.  I love simple plots. Another great tension film.

16. The Big Gundown.  I didn't particularly like Tuco in GBU, but if Eli Wallach had played Tomia's part ( I like Milan though), this one would have been a more well known western).

17. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. If not for the 3rd wheel romance that i felt bogged the middle of the movie down, this could've been a top 10 western.

18. Ride the High Country.  I may be rating this lower on my list than i should. This is the ONLY Randolph Scott western i like. Joel McCrea was good here too.

19. The Big Country.  Peck, Ives, Connors, Heston. This was a epic western that was pretty good.

20. The Fastest Gun Alive.  A plot very similar to The Gunfighter. A great western.

Honorable mention:

A Fist Full of Dollars.  Leone was learning with this one. Still a great movie.

Barquero.  This movie might need to be higher on my list.  One of Warren Oate's best films.  Reminds me of High Plains Drifter.

The Professionals.  This movie might need to be higher on  my list.

Winchester 73.  A very well done western.  One of the two westerns i like that Stewart made.

Gunman's walk. I liked this western. Another underrated one.

The Man from Laramie. Very good western by stewart.

Yellow Sky.  ( haven't finished watching this one, but it has signs of maybe pushing into my top 20).

Sabatha.  Take the Wild West West stuff out of this film and replace it with a more straight forward tone and this would've been a great Van Cleef film.

The Baron of Arizona.  Saw the last few scenes. I know this will be higher once i get to review the whole film.

 on: January 14, 2018, 04:03:53 PM 
Started by Silenzio - Last post by Moorman
Excellent interview. Lee Van Cleef sums up WHY i don't like most of the " circus " sphagetti westerns.  He said they were spoofs of westerns. Thats exactly the tone i get from the majority of the non Leone Italian westerns.   

 on: January 14, 2018, 03:57:55 AM 
Started by PowerRR - Last post by cigar joe
Mudbound (2017) Story of a Black man and a white man who return home from World War II to work on the same farm in rural Mississippi, watchable but it's been seen before in various guises. 7/10

 on: January 13, 2018, 10:49:47 PM 
Started by drinkanddestroy - Last post by drinkanddestroy
The Phillips Collection in Washington, which owns Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party," just had a big exhibit surrounding that painting.

I saw the painting when I was in Washington last January for the inauguration (eat your heart out, n_l), but wasn't there in the past few months and did not see the exhibit, which ended last week.

Here is the link to the exhibit, which is interesting

 on: January 13, 2018, 10:40:02 PM 
Started by bal162 - Last post by drinkanddestroy
[WSJ review ctd.]

Moralists since Plutarch have argued that biographical legends can have an improving effect on those who consume them. Ms. Schoenberger puts herself in the Plutarchian tradition by making the case that the wayward men of today are lost in part because they no longer have John Wayne as a guide to behavior. But how useful is that model, really, if it was fiction?

Wayne was married three times and aged into a parody of himself, playing slight variations on the same role while in his political life spouting Bircher-ish nostrums about patriotism as compensation for his guilt over not fighting in the war. Ford, the brilliant co-creator of the Wayne legend, was in his own real life even worse: a mean, abusive, alcoholic, rampantly unfaithful S.O.B.—“a cruel father and a neglectful husband who almost always preferred the company of men over time spent with his family,” according to Ms. Schoenberger.” Neither was an avatar of ideal male comportment.

Though the western retains a hold on the American cultural imagination, its reign was brief: In 1959, 26 westerns were airing on prime-time television, featuring such examples of masculine heroism as James Garner (“Maverick”), Steve McQueen (“Wanted: Dead or Alive”), Clint Eastwood (“Rawhide”) and Ronald Reagan (“Death Valley Days”); after 1969, it would be years before any new TV westerns aired.

In retrospect, 1962—the year of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”—was probably the year that “John Wayne” as a plausible ideal of manhood expired. Ford’s heroic vision curdled into the gothic sensibility of the Spaghetti westerns and their offshoots. By 1970 the western as valorizer of the white-hatted masculine hero was effectively dead.

Yet at this moment of reckoning for men, maybe there remains some benefit to resuscitating the ideal that John Wayne, at his most mythical, represented. Ms. Schoenberger’s affection for him, and for her own war-hero father, is palpable. And no less gimlet-eyed an observer than Joan Didion, writing in 1965, offered up Wayne as her romantic beau ideal.

So OK, then: Print the legend.

— Mr. Stossel is the editor of the Atlantic magazine and the author of “My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind.”

 on: January 13, 2018, 10:39:16 PM 
Started by bal162 - Last post by drinkanddestroy
New book: Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero, by Nancy Schoenberger. Review in WSJ by Scott Stossel

Nancy Schoenberger’s timing is fortuitous. As pungent effusions of “toxic masculinity” waft across America, with revelations of men behaving badly proliferating, Ms. Schoenberger, a professor of English at the College of William & Mary, has published a paean to the masculine virtues—toughness, loyalty, honesty, duty and sexual probity, among others—embodied by John Wayne. More precisely, it’s a paean to the celluloid ideal of “John Wayne,” the legendary figure created jointly by the real, corporeal John Wayne and his longtime collaborator and tormentor, the film director John Ford.

“I think some of the confusion today about masculinity stems from the fact that we no longer grow up watching Westerns,” she writes in “Wayne and Ford”; American men, she quotes Camille Paglia as saying, have been left with “no models of manhood.” Maybe so. But the reality is more complicated, and more interesting, than that.

For starters, there never was a “real” John Wayne—nor, for that matter, was there a real John Ford. Rather, there was Marion Morrison, born in 1907, a farm boy from a struggling family in Glendale, Calif., who was rechristened “John Wayne” by a Hollywood filmmaker; and there was John Martin Feeney, from Portland, Maine, who adopted “Jack Ford” as a professional name while working in film production for his brother Francis during World War I.

Ford discovered Morrison in 1928, when Morrison’s football coach at USC got him a summer job moving props for Fox Studios. Ford caught sight of the burly offensive tackle herding a flock of geese and cast him as an uncredited extra in two silent films. In 1930 Ford promoted him from prop man to stuntman for his film about life on a submarine, “Men Without Women”—which, come to think of it, could have been the title of Ms. Schoenberger’s book.

After promising to pay $75 for every dangerous stunt, the director stiffed him, issuing only $7.50. “I should have complained,” Morrison said later, but “I was still a shy, timid person, always embarrassed about speaking up for my rights.” What a delectable, cognitively dissonant notion: John Wayne—even if not yet officially John Wayne—a “shy, timid person”!

Fortunately for the bashful Morrison, the director Raoul Walsh noticed him one day carrying an overstuffed chair over his hefty right shoulder on a set at Fox Studios, shirtless in the heat. “He had a certain western hang to his shoulders,” Walsh recalled. Assigning Morrison his new moniker, Walsh cast him as the lead character in “The Big Trail” when Gary Cooper was not available, and John Wayne, movie star, was born. Or rather, as it seemed at the time, stillborn. “The Big Trail” bombed, nearly bankrupting Fox—and Ford, resentful of having had his protégé stolen by Walsh, refused to speak to Wayne for two years. This was standard operating procedure for Ford, who was forever breaking with friends and collaborators for years, even decades, before eventually making up and working with them again.

For the next nine years, Wayne toiled in “purgatory,” as Ms. Schoenberger puts it, making 58 (!) B-movies—low-budget “horse operas” aimed at young boys attending Saturday matinees. Wayne used the time to cultivate a new persona. “When I started, I knew I was no actor, and I went to work on this Wayne thing. It was as deliberate and studied a projection as you’ll ever see. I figured I needed a gimmick, so I dreamed up the drawl, the squint, and a way of moving”—the “most beautiful walk in movies,” as director Curtis Hanson once put it.

In 1938, Ford ran into his estranged stuntman fishing off Long Beach Pier and invited him onto his boat; reconciled, the two became drinking buddies. That summer, as Ford prepared to film “Stagecoach,” his first western “talkie,” a producer proposed Gary Cooper for the lead role. But Ford worried that Cooper was too old and expensive, so he screen-tested his old prop boy, who he believed had aged out of callowness and acquired a certain physical gravitas. For the second time, Wayne ended up taking a role that could have gone to Cooper.

Released in 1939, “Stagecoach” was the first of Ford’s films to be shot in what came to be his signature location, Monument Valley, stippled with imposing rock formations along the border of Arizona and Utah. “Stagecoach” was also the beginning of a 23-film collaboration between Ford and Wayne that included, by Ms. Schoenberger’s reckoning, seven canonical westerns: “Stagecoach,” “Fort Apache” (1948), “3 Godfathers” (1948), “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949), “Rio Grande” (1950), “The Searchers” (1956) and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962). These films established the genre, for a time, as the paradigmatic expression of the ideal of American masculinity.

Ms. Schoenberger identifies in each of the seven canonical films, as well as in several others, key elements of that ideal. In “Stagecoach,” Wayne’s Ringo Kid is the “good bad man,” the outlaw who protects a prostitute (and then falls in love with, and marries, her) and avenges his family’s honor by killing the men who murdered them. Ford invokes the genre’s classic dialectic between the constraints of “civilization” and the freedom that lies beyond it. The director’s sympathies, at this point, lie with the forces that civilization cannot contain: The most attractive characters are an outlaw and a prostitute, while the fussy Ladies’ Temperance Society is an object of ridicule and the superficially gallant Southern gentleman Hatfield, a Confederate veteran played by John Carradine, is a creepy cad who once shot a man in the back. “Stagecoach” ends with Ringo and his girlfriend heading off to Mexico for their projected happily ever after. But in subsequent Wayne-Ford films, women recede from the foreground, as romance gives way to homosocial bonding.

Joanne Dru, the co-star of “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” said that in real life Ford “really didn’t relate to women. I’ve often thought that [Ford] had tremendous insecurities—never regarding his talent, but as a man. He surrounded himself with these big, strong bruisers.” Ford’s grandson Dan Ford observed that “he was a man’s man—hard drinking, carousing—and he enjoyed the company of men over women. That’s the way men were supposed to be in his day.” True enough. But Ford may have also preferred the company of men for other reasons, too. In her 2004 memoir, actress Maureen O’Hara, Wayne’s frequent co-star, recounted walking in on the director in an intimate embrace with a male actor.

Ford tortured Wayne. During the filming of the 1945 war film “They Were Expendable,” according to the author, “Ford constantly insulted and picked on Duke, pointing out he didn’t even know how to salute properly.” Another actor who worked on that film recalled that Ford’s bullying made “a quivering pulp” out of Wayne. Yet out of this stew of sadism, closeted homosexuality and antediluvian notions of machismo came some great art. “The Searchers,” released in 1956, has been ranked by the American Film Institute as the greatest western ever and is reckoned by many to be one of the top 10 or 20 movies of all time. Wayne’s Ethan Edwards has deeper, and darker, depths than any character he had played previously.

To my mind, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” may be his the finest Western Ford made. Wayne delivers a sadness-tinged performance as the rancher and gunman Tom Doniphon—despite being relentlessly abused by Ford during the making of the film. Pouring salt on a suppurating wound, Ford would say to the Air Force veteran Jimmy Stewart, within earshot of Wayne, “How many times did you risk your life over Germany, Jimmy?” and then turn to Wayne, who had not fought in World War II, and ask: “How rich did you get while Jimmy was risking his life?”

As everyone who has seen the film knows (spoiler alert!), the man who shot and killed the evil Liberty Valance was not the man who became famous for it—Sen. Ranse Stoddard (Stewart)—but rather Doniphon, who saved Stoddard’s life despite having lost his beloved Hallie ( Vera Miles ) to Stoddard. Stewart’s character represents a less macho and arguably more enlightened form of masculinity than Doniphon, but Stoddard comes to be plagued by the knowledge that his reputation is based on a lie. Years later, he confesses the entire story to a reporter for the local newspaper, and the editor declines to publish it—saying, in one of American film’s most famous lines, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

[ctd. next post]

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