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Author Topic: Jason Robards  (Read 20658 times)
General Sibley
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« on: November 23, 2003, 04:25:09 AM »

Been enjoying the DVD this weekend, awesome!  I saw OUATITW widescreen at a rerelease six or seven years ago, which was amazing.  This DVD is beautiful, really does justice to the movie. Would love to see the rest of his films treated with the same attention to detail.

But one thing that strikes me is, just my opinion mind you - but I think Jason Robards is miscast as Cheyenne.   Shocked

Sergio's casting choices are usually right on perfect, but Robards just isn't very convincing in a western.  If Harmonica or Frank or Tuco or Angel Eyes would walk into a room, I would soil my trousers just at the sight of them.  But Robards?   C'mon, tell me you don't think you could kick his "midtown sitting in a booth at Elaine's" behind?  I'd grab him by those stupid whiskers and toss his martini in his face.

He doesn't convey nearly enough menace IMHO.  This guy is supposed to be the leader of a vicious group of bandits?  He comes across as the leader of a Chelsea glee club.

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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2003, 05:18:51 AM »

Been enjoying the DVD this weekend, awesome!  I saw OUATITW widescreen at a rerelease six or seven years ago, which was amazing.  This DVD is beautiful, really does justice to the movie. Would love to see the rest of his films treated with the same attention to detail.

But one thing that strikes me is, just my opinion mind you - but I think Jason Robards is miscast as Cheyenne.   Shocked

Sergio's casting choices are usually right on perfect, but Robards just isn't very convincing in a western.  If Harmonica or Frank or Tuco or Angel Eyes would walk into a room, I would soil my trousers just at the sight of them.  But Robards?   C'mon, tell me you don't think you could kick his "midtown sitting in a booth at Elaine's" behind?  I'd grab him by those stupid whiskers and toss his martini in his face.

He doesn't convey nearly enough menace IMHO.  This guy is supposed to be the leader of a vicious group of bandits?  He comes across as the leader of a Chelsea glee club.

I don't know if you were supposed to be afraid of Cheyenne.  Anyways, I thought Robards did an excellent job myself.

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« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2003, 10:11:17 AM »

He has a doomed/melancholy quality about him as a charactor, Hes a man with a bad past whos tired of running, wants to be left alone.
The 3 charactors (Morton/Cheyenne & Frank) know they will not survive at the end of this movie, just Cheyenne has given in before its started.

But hes still a dangerous man if cornered.  Wink

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« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2003, 04:36:25 PM »

I thought his casting was inspired. He certainly added an aspect to the film that was more real. I've been a fan of his since seeing this film. He was incredible in Magnolia as well and was certainly an actor that should have been featured more in the movies he was in.

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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2003, 07:20:19 AM »

I'm not saying he's a bad actor, I just think he was miscast as Cheyenne.  He's too much 20th century, he just brings this modern sensibility, his acting is too mannered.  I thought he was great as Al Capone in "St. Valentine's Day Massacre", so it's not that he can't play a bad guy well.  I just don't find him very convincing as a western desperado.

I think he would have been a much better choice to play Morton - the modern age bad guy infecting the new world with a new smallpox, a different kind of ruthlessness and violence.  

For me, the scenes with Cheyenne are nowhere near as powerful as the scenes without him.  Compare the tension when Frank and Harmonica share the frame to when Cheyenne and Harmonica are on screen.  

Take the first scene where they meet in the trading post.  Is it anywhere near as intense as the Frank scenes?   Or, God forbid, the opening showdown at Cattle Corner?  Even Morricone's score soaring and the great shot with the lantern being shoved down to reveal Harmonica doesn't lift that scene to the magnificence and grandeur of the other confrontations.

Tell me that scene isn't flatter than the others?  It's Robards.

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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2003, 09:51:25 AM »

I'll go so far to say that Robards is a bad actor, or at least a flat  actor.   I had to see the 1971 Julius Caesar for High School English and I'm not sure there ever has been a more uninspired performance than Robards as Brutus.

I actually don't think he is too bad in OUTW, Leone obviously wanted that type.  You couldn't have cast anybody too big in the role since you didn't want to distract attention from Fonda.  No one on the Robards level of fame in 1969 comes immediately to mind.  How about Gig Young?  He did They Shoot Horses Don't They at about that time and he might have been a little more antimated than the sleep walking Jason.

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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2003, 12:04:38 PM »

Imagine how Eli Wallach would have made those scenes crackle?  Compare Tuco bursting through the window in first scene of GBU to Robards bursting through the door of the trading post. But you couldn't use Tuco again for obvious reasons.

It's a showy role in the right hands.  Leone made long careers for a lot of his actors, Robards dropped the ball.  Probably too hungover.

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And what if your hand should shake a little?  And that Gringo so fast on the draw.
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2003, 01:40:58 PM »

robards very effective as capone in st. valentines day massacre, especially when he whipped out the baseball bat.  
a lot of tippling going on w/ robards an film crew who found this american actor the easyiest to get along w/ .




« Last Edit: November 24, 2003, 01:42:31 PM by KERMIT » Logged
General Sibley
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2003, 02:51:46 PM »

Kermit, you think he would've made General?

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And what if your hand should shake a little?  And that Gringo so fast on the draw.
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2003, 07:54:50 PM »

I'll go so far to say that Robards is a bad actor, or at least a flat  actor.   I had to see the 1971 Julius Caesar for High School English and I'm not sure there ever has been a more uninspired performance than Robards as Brutus.

I actually don't think he is too bad in OUTW, Leone obviously wanted that type.  You couldn't have cast anybody too big in the role since you didn't want to distract attention from Fonda.  No one on the Robards level of fame in 1969 comes immediately to mind.  How about Gig Young?  He did They Shoot Horses Don't They at about that time and he might have been a little more antimated than the sleep walking Jason.

Needless to say I wholeheartedly disagree.  Robards was fantastic in "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre", "Tora Tora Tora", and especially "All the President's Men" (which I just finished watching about ten minutes ago, LOL).

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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2003, 02:23:08 AM »

about 1/2 way through seeing clint for the firt time in a rawhide episode leone stood up and walked out. " this man w/ the vacant look on his face, in an unwatchable film about cows".
 
robards performance of an outlaw knowing his number is up a good choice made by leone. general, who else would have been better ?



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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2003, 10:35:59 AM »

I think Robards was a fine actor.  He came across as very dangerous, especially in the bar scene where he buffaloes the washing dude.  Yes, he looks tired, but he still has menace.  If Frank were and animal he would be a rattlesnake.  If Cheyenne were an animal, he would be a badger or even a wolverine.  You just don't mess with them.

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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2003, 04:02:50 PM »

I think Robards was a fine actor.  He came across as very dangerous, especially in the bar scene where he buffaloes the washing dude.  Yes, he looks tired, but he still has menace.  If Frank were and animal he would be a rattlesnake.  If Cheyenne were an animal, he would be a badger or even a wolverine.  You just don't mess with them.

Yeah, he was more of a character actor than a real star.

But Cheyenne was definitely dangerous.  Just because he had a nice personality doesn't mean that he can't be a gunfighter.

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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2003, 09:40:09 AM »

Been enjoying the DVD this weekend, awesome!  I saw OUATITW widescreen at a rerelease six or seven years ago, which was amazing.  This DVD is beautiful, really does justice to the movie. Would love to see the rest of his films treated with the same attention to detail.

But one thing that strikes me is, just my opinion mind you - but I think Jason Robards is miscast as Cheyenne.   Shocked

Sergio's casting choices are usually right on perfect, but

I totally agree and have always thought the same myself.  To me, Robard's just some old man who looks like he should be working in a horse stable.  But maybe Leone meant it that way.  After all, listen to Cheyenne's music.  Not as dark as Harmonica's or Frank's.

I would have preferred a more menancing Cheyenne.  I think the scene where he's introduced: enters the swinging doors and slowly looks up, eyes shifting, is silly.  The way he drops his shoulders and raises his head looks fake.

That said, however, could the movie have handled three hardened personalities?  Was Cheyenne there to lighten it up in places?  

« Last Edit: December 03, 2003, 09:47:06 AM by ellisc » Logged
James C Gutierrez
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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2003, 12:19:30 PM »


That said, however, could the movie have handled three hardened personalities?  Was Cheyenne there to lighten it up in places?  

That's right. Consider: Aside from some tricked up shooting on the side of a train which doesn't count in my opinion, we don't see Cheyenne fire a gun conventionally even once! (am I remembering right?)

We just hear one of his confrontations and he Enters...preceded by his reputation.

That's it in the violence department for Robards (I suspect we don't see him taking on the Choo Choo Morton gang because Robards was simply not a robust and credible enough pistolero to make it worth Leone's while). And there's even less riding for him  than Van Cleef in the Dollars Films.

He's all character and connecting tissue between the other characters. He's the only truly three dimensional, human person in the movie after Brett McB's demise. Notice that he takes on a potential resemblance to McBain in widow Cardinale's eyes. She can picture him as the same irascible,. kindly, strong willed, slightly clownish type of protector and provider. A good man. Something you can't say about Harmonica and Frank, surely.

Robards is the one observing, puzzling out, explaining and philosophizing, and fanning some warmth into rather chilly and self-sufficient Harmonica and Jill (like breath on that Coffee campfire) through his encounters with them.

He's the battered soul of the west, and the film.

I can not imagine Tuco Wallach in this part, nor do I want to: "Reemember my friend, if you are going to play the false notes to Cheyenne Gutierrez you had better play them reely FALSE!" I love  Wallach, but he's not right here. He's too much the bantam weight, fidgety, chomping at the bit, hopping about.

Cheyenne has to be slow, slow, slow: the life sighing out of the legends, and soulful, self-deprecating, foolishly wise. Robards has the eyes and the tempo for that and the beautiful voice for some of the best written speeches in any western ever.Only he could live and die that way on screen.


« Last Edit: December 05, 2003, 12:22:28 PM by James C Gutierrez » Logged
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