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Author Topic: The Cowboys (1972)  (Read 3098 times)
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« on: September 25, 2008, 05:01:15 PM »

This was mentioned in many topics so I watched it again and is even better of how I remembered it. The screenplay is perfect until Wayne's death. The way the boys act their revenge I find, well, childish. But the movie regains momentum with the arrival in town. The confrontation between Wayne and Dern is one of the strongest of american cinema because Wayne was never treated like that. Really, for a fan like me it is no so easy to go through it.
The acting is perfect both for Wayne and Dern and Brown (but this last character is too positive, almost unreal. And he's always sermonizing, though the actor is excellent) but expecially for the boys.
Rydell demonstrates he's well above the level of hack like MacLaglen, his direction is of a high level.
The music is excellent but don't ask me to whistle a single note. Strange that here, like in LoA, you have a overture and an intermission. The movie was taken seriously.

9\10

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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2008, 05:07:08 PM »

This was mentioned in many topics so I watched it again and is even better of how I remembered it. The screenplay is perfect until Wayne's death. The way the boys act their revenge I find, well, childish. But the movie regains momentum with the arrival in town. The confrontation between Wayne and Dern is one of the strongest of american cinema because Wayne was never treated like that. Really, for a fan like me it is no so easy to go through it.
The acting is perfect both for Wayne and Dern and Brown (but this last character is too positive, almost unreal. And he's always sermonizing, though the actor is excellent) but expecially for the boys.
Rydell demonstrates he's well above the level of hack like MacLaglen, his direction is of a high level.
The music is excellent but don't ask me to whistle a single note. Strange that here, like in LoA, you have a overture and an intermission. The movie was taken seriously.

9\10

If I'm not mistaken, John Wayne had a dispute on to whether his character died or not with Rydell during shooting. I think they shot both sequences but Rydell went with the version he wanted as you see in the film. I actually think the film works better with Wil Anderson dying. It just makes the hate of Dern's character even more so.

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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 05:13:32 AM »

I haven't read the novel it was based upon,




http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-William-Dale-Jennings/dp/999740338X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222426857&sr=1-2



but I presume the boys revenge was there. Still it doesn't fit in the movie the way it was arranged because the way they defeat Dern's gang  looks like it was taken out of a Disney movie. Suffice to see the way the cook escape death before the hanging (most of the boys or all of them had said to Wayne they had never shot a gun before; here they don't miss a shot).
I think they could have exacted their revenge (they way they go for it reminds one of the same decision in M7) but the screenplayers should have thought up a more elaborate way to get it.







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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2008, 11:42:14 AM »

I haven't read the novel it was based upon,




http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-William-Dale-Jennings/dp/999740338X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1222426857&sr=1-2



but I presume the boys revenge was there. Still it doesn't fit in the movie the way it was arranged because the way they defeat Dern's gang  looks like it was taken out of a Disney movie. Suffice to see the way the cook escape death before the hanging (most of the boys or all of them had said to Wayne they had never shot a gun before; here they don't miss a shot).
I think they could have exacted their revenge (they way they go for it reminds one of the same decision in M7) but the screenplayers should have thought up a more elaborate way to get it.








You do have a point about the way the ending played out. I would have liked an even more brutal ending. The kids made it look so easy. haha.

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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 12:28:52 PM »

Quote
The Cowboys (1972) is among John Wayne's best late-career films. The Duke gets to stretch his acting talents to the limit, playing one of his most complex and tragic characters, elevating a modest oater into something special.

Wil Andersen (John Wayne) is an aging rancher whose cowhands desert him for a gold rush, just as he needs to bring his herd in. Andersen reluctantly signs up a gaggle of teenaged (and younger) boys to help, with grizzled cook Nightlinger (Roscoe Lee Browne) in support. Andersen's tough management style grates on the boys at first, but they gain a respect for Anderson and Nightlinger as the drive goes along. They're forced to prove themselves when a scurvy rustler (Bruce Dern) shows up to steal the herd.

The Cowboys is fairly routine plot-wise, but brought off extremely well. The film is best-remembered as the movie where John Wayne gets shot in the back, but it's a bit more than that, with strong dialogue and characterization. The kids are anything but cutesy, and the plot develops believably, with a minimum of cliche or extraneous action. The climax is predictable and a bit hard to swallow, but otherwise it's a solid piece of work.

Director Mark Rydell provides a fine production. His direction is unflashy but delivers some strong visuals, courtesy of veteran photographer Robert Surtees, and the movie unfurls at a brisk clip. And the film's big scenes are brought off well, especially the Duke's showdown with Bruce Dern's nasty baddy. John Williams contributes a subdued early score.

John Wayne gives one of his top three performances. His nasty demise, being shot repeatedly in the back, would alone make this a memory, but the Duke provides an excellent turn to match. Wil is a tough guy but no man of action, with a troubled past and uncertain future, and Wayne plays him with marvelous subtlety and nuance. He's believable as the weather-beaten rancher, the reluctant father figure and the old man at the end of the line, and it's hard not to be affected by his farewell.

Roscoe Lee Browne (Topaz) is superb, mixing dignity and wit for a wonderfully unique character. Bruce Dern (Family Plot) makes an especially hateful bad guy; you think a likeable fellow could take down the Duke? Notable among the cowboys are Robert Carradine (The Long Riders), Alfred Barker and A Martinez. Colleen Dewhurst has an excellent cameo, and Slim Pickens (Dr. Strangelove) and Matt Clark (Jeremiah Johnson) put in brief appearances.

The Cowboys is a must-see film for John Wayne fans and Western buffs. Well-made, interestingly-plotted and impeccably acted, it's definitely the best film Wayne made in the 1970s. 8/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/05/cowboys.html

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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 12:03:19 PM »

This one really caught me off guard by its high quality. I liked it so much that I went out and bought the bluray when the dvd stopped working more than halfway through. It was 8 bucks, so a great purchase on my part. The PQ was great.

This movie feels modern. It doesn't quite fit in with the revisionist 70s western nor does it resemble the stubborn, passe works from the period that resisted change.

Wayne is fantastic, and this shows he would have thrived in any era. It's one of his best performances, for sure.

My only complaint is the score, which I found too upbeat for the material. The end battle is okay with me, but could have been much better plotted. I completely agree with that.

I couldn't imagine how audiences in 1972 reacted to the Wayne-Dern confrontation.

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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 09:35:47 PM »

Very good movie -- I rate it an 8/10 -- but I would have to disagree with Groggy's assertion that this is the best Wayne film of the 70's. That honor goes to The Shootist

« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 05:09:16 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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