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Author Topic: Man in the Wilderness (1971)  (Read 7408 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2013, 06:50:07 PM »

I don't think they're all crazy. I think Huston is crazy, and he has an absolutely firm hold over the group; they are all terrified to challenge him. Of course they could have easily taken Harris on that boat being pulled by 22 mules, but that's the thing - Huston is absolutely crazy about that boat (I saw one person describe it as an ark, like he is Noah!): nobody else is allowed to go on that boat (which probably could have carried half the men!), it's Huston's symbol of power. I agree that the flashbacks are useless (with the possible exception of the flashback that tells us he has a son waiting for him at home), I could have done without the whole element of Harris's belief in God; (in general, religion is not my favorite subject in movies). I've never been in the wilderness, but I do suppose that Harris's recovery and chase is not something that is humanly realistic, but for me, it didn't go beyond the realm of normal cinematic suspension of disbelief.
So while I could have done without some of the preaching and flashbacks, I still think this was a very good movie.

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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2013, 08:24:24 PM »

I don't think they're all crazy. I think Huston is crazy, and he has an absolutely firm hold over the group; they are all terrified to challenge him. Of course they could have easily taken Harris on that boat being pulled by 22 mules, but that's the thing - Huston is absolutely crazy about that boat (I saw one person describe it as an ark, like he is Noah!): nobody else is allowed to go on that boat (which probably could have carried half the men!), it's Huston's symbol of power. I agree that the flashbacks are useless (with the possible exception of the flashback that tells us he has a son waiting for him at home), I could have done without the whole element of Harris's belief in God; (in general, religion is not my favorite subject in movies). I've never been in the wilderness, but I do suppose that Harris's recovery and chase is not something that is humanly realistic, but for me, it didn't go beyond the realm of normal cinematic suspension of disbelief.
So while I could have done without some of the preaching and flashbacks, I still think this was a very good movie.

Again, isn't it based on a true story? There must be some historical account about the why it went down like it did, that the screenplay is based on.

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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2013, 11:01:43 PM »

Again, isn't it based on a true story? There must be some historical account about the why it went down like it did, that the screenplay is based on.

Wikipedia says this was based on a true story; see the "Production Background" section here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_the_Wilderness
However, it does not provide any sources

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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2013, 09:23:13 AM »

Yes, the logic seems missed in every occasion in every possible direction, yet, it didn't bother me one bit... I was completely immersed in the story, and the flashbacks were constructive IMO, and I appreciated the whole 'spiritual growing' thing too. Great visuals and touches.


7/10

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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2017, 12:04:06 PM »

Plenty positives for this. Worth checking out now that The Revenant has proved most viable to a modern day audience.

God Made The World!

Man in the Wilderness is directed by Richard C. Sarafian and written by Jack DeWitt. It stars Richard Harris, John Huston, Prunella Ransome, Percy Herbert, Henry Wilcoxon, Norman Rossington and Dennis Waterman. Music is by Johnny Harris and cinematography by Gerry Fisher.

"1820. The Captain Henry Expedition has completed two years of fur trapping in the unexplored Northwest territory. Determined to reach the Missouri River before the winter snows, the trappers and their boat, towed by 22 mules, struggled through the wilderness. Once on the Missouri they could sail south to the trading posts and sell their precious cargo. What occurred on this expedition is historically true."

He was left for dead. He would not forget.

Essentially, Man in the Wilderness is the redemptive tale of Zachary Bass (Harris). Left for dead by his unfeeling Captain (Huston) after being savaged by a grizzly bear, Bass survives the wilds of nature and the threat of man with revenge firmly on his mind. But as he recuperates and adjusts to the spiritualisation that the surrounds brings him, he looks back at his life and beliefs.

It is undeniably a very slow picture, with dialogue appropriately in short supply, but the atmosphere created is perfect for the unfolding events. Strikingly the film also has a surreal quality that really cloaks the story with considerable impact, where deft touches of imagery land firmly in the conscious. The makers slot in some "bloody" moments, backed with tension, such as the well constructed sequences involving the bear attack and a time when Bass has to scare away two snarling wolves so he "also" can feast off of a stricken Bison. The presence of Indian attacks is handled with care by the director, and in fact helps the finale get away with the expected outcome. While strong moments such as two separate incidents involving rabbits really show the makers to have the best of intentions to tell a valid and interesting story. Especially when it's scenes of just Bass and nature at war.

Narratively, however, it is a bit hit and miss. The pertinent question of faith and the use of flashbacks are an uneasy alliance, mostly because the former drapes the film in predictability, and the latter takes you out of the whole "man in the wilderness" struggle that Bass is luring us into. It renders the film far from flawless which is a shame because it has much to recommend a viewing. The Almería, Andalucía location is used to good effect to pass as the Northwest of America, where quite often Gerry Fisher's photography neatly shifts between beauty and the harshness of mother nature. Harris could do this type of role in his sleep, he isn't asked to stretch himself but still leaves a very favourable impression. Huston is up to scratch, but again he doesn't have to do much, while everybody else are giving performances that any other working actor of the time could have given.

A movie of rewards and frustrations for sure, and it's no Jeremiah Johnson, but this is definitely worth a spin for anyone interested in the "Man Vs Nature" sub-genre of period films. 7/10


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« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2017, 03:18:23 PM »

IMO, MAN IN THE WILDERNESS is a lot better than JEREMIAH JOHNSON or THE REVENANT

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« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2017, 09:19:36 PM »

The pertinent question of faith and the use of flashbacks are an uneasy alliance, mostly because the former drapes the film in predictability, and the latter takes you out of the whole "man in the wilderness" struggle that Bass is luring us into.

That's an interesting point regarding the use of flashbacks. It often takes some skillful editing (often considered in advance during the shoot) to prevent any jarring effects.

... it's no Jeremiah Johnson, but this is definitely worth a spin for anyone interested in the "Man Vs Nature" sub-genre of period films. 7/10

IMO, MAN IN THE WILDERNESS is a lot better than JEREMIAH JOHNSON or THE REVENANT

I absolutely loved "The Revenant" due to how incredibly well filmed it was. I remember enjoying "Jeremiah Johnson". I have never seen "Man in the wilderness".

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« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2017, 09:53:47 PM »



I have never seen "Man in the wilderness".

Change that  Smiley

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« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2017, 10:29:24 PM »

This movie recently became available in BRD from Warner Bros. Archive.

As an aside, Searching for the disc now, I think I just came to realize a little something about Netflix that I had never figured out before: (note:  throughout this post, when referring to Netflix, I'm referring to the disc rental only, not the streaming. I never use the streaming.)

I rented this movie on DVD from Netflix - a double-feature DVD, along with another Western called THE DEADLY TRACKERS (which is not a very good movie) - coincidentally, my Netflix history tells me, exactly on this date in 2013  Smiley

But I see now that this double-feature DVD is no longer available from Netflix  Sad And I think that double-feature DVD is only available from Amazon merchants but not Amazon itself.

I think I figured out now now why the DVD is no longer available on Netflix, and in general why discs that were once available on Netlfix suddenly become unavailable: a Netflix operator  once told me that Netflix does not actually own any discs. Rather, they have some sort of leasing agreement for the discs with the studios. So I assume that once a disc goes out of print, the studios pull their copies from Netflix as well. This sucks, because it means that when a disc is out of print, it will not be available for renting on Netflix, either. How did I figure this out? Cuz Recently, I noticed that a bunch of Melville discs I had  once rented from Netflix are no longer available on Netflix, and are also out of print (and therefore very expensive from Amazon sellers). That's probably what happened: once the discs went out of print on Criterion, Criterion also pulled their copies from Netflix. So now, all these discs that I had never bought because I assumed they would be available as rentals forever on Netflix, are no longer available for rental on Netflix, and are also very expensive to buy on Amazon because they are out of print  Cry So When  there is a movie I like, you may as well buy it now; because if it one day goes out of print, it may not be available for Netflix, either.

With the particular case of MAN IN THE WILDERNESS,  it is no big deal: I don't care about the DVD anymore because the Blu-ray is out. It's all buy the Blu-ray and that's it. (I do not think the BRD is available on Netflix; the Archive Collection discs rarely are). But in general, I've learned that Netflix is very good if you want to rent a movie for the first time, so as not to purchase the disc before knowing if the movie is good. But once you like a movie, the safest way is to purchase it; you never know when it may go out of print and the price will shoot up, and at the same time may no longer be available for Netflix rental, either.
 

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« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2017, 07:16:27 AM »

But I see now that this double-feature DVD is no longer available from Netflix  Sad And I think that double-feature DVD is only available from Amazon merchants but not Amazon itself.
Still available on the Jenkins Home Entertainment System, though. And always will be (or until the pry it out of my cold, dead hands).

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So When  there is a movie I like, you may as well buy it now; because if it one day goes out of print, it may not be available for Netflix, either.

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