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Author Topic: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)  (Read 5937 times)
cigar joe
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« on: January 15, 2006, 06:45:53 PM »

Director John Huston.

Rented & watched this flick and it is basically a light comedy/action western. Its got some cool sequences for sure but for me a film should be either one or the other, if it was played straight it could have been a truely great one, if it went all comedy you could say the same, instead its a mishmash, wobbling like a drunken sailor from one to the other and ending up as a "cute" film. Now I don't know about you guys but "cute" is not one of the appelations you want to bestow upon a western. It even has a musical interlude "a la" Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, sung by Andy Williams. I found it more entertaining and liked it a bit better than "The Westerner" that had Walter Brennan in the part along with Gary Cooper, and had the old settlers vs. cattlemen subplot.

It wasn't a waste of a few hours but from the director of Treasure of The Sierra Madre you would have expected a had hitting western masterpiece, instead you get a tame bear, a silly black clad albino outlaw named Bad Bob, and Rowdy McDonald as the main heavy. Its in the tradition of Cat Ballou, Support Your Local Gunfighter/Sheriff, etc., etc.

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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2006, 07:36:13 AM »

Thanks for the review Joe, I hate cute westerns, in fact I'm not particulaly in favour with westerns of an overt comedy style to them. I like my raw, ruggered and with a small sprinkling of black humour  Grin

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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2006, 09:36:23 PM »

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Thanks for the review Joe, I hate cute westerns, in fact I'm not particulaly in favour with westerns of an overt comedy style to them. I like my raw, ruggered and with a small sprinkling of black humour


Here, here, Oh I remembered the name of the song by Andy Williams "Marmalade, Molasses, & Honey" god what utter drivel.... Grin

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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2006, 10:44:08 PM »



Here, here, Oh I remembered the name of the song by Andy Williams "Marmalade, Molasses, & Honey" god what utter drivel.... Grin
you're joking, right ? remember walter brennan,s JRB
w/ gary cooper in "the westerner" ? i think they should have named the numan version of the judge "once upon a time in the waste"

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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2006, 06:00:25 AM »

My problem with Walter Brennan is I used to see him all the time as a kid as Gramdpa Amos on the "Real McCoys" so that sort of colored all his other performances for me.

Also I saw the Huston film first when it first came out and the Brennan flick for the first time just a few years ago.

I don't know Kerm suppose I should give the Brennan flick another look.  Grin

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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2006, 09:30:02 AM »

My problem with Walter Brennan is I used to see him all the time as a kid as Gramdpa Amos on the "Real McCoys" so that sort of colored all his other performances for me.

Also I saw the Huston film first when it first came out and the Brennan flick for the first time just a few years ago.

I don't know Kerm suppose I should give the Brennan flick another look.  Grin
i got the same grandpappy amos fixation. i would check out "the westerner" again. JRB wants to hang gary cooper
cooper out cools, and out thinks the judge by joining up w/ the judge's quest to see lilly langtree perform. there's no tinge of grandpappy amos. just the law, west of the pecos, mad as a hatter, lol

« Last Edit: January 17, 2006, 10:04:52 AM by Kermit » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2009, 11:13:17 AM »

This is something of a mixed bag; Paul Newman is very good as the eccentric judge but besides him there's not much here for Western fans to be enjoyed. Of the smaller roles, IMHO, only Anthony Perkins deserves to be mentioned. So, weak movie, John Huston should have known better.


4.35/10

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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2009, 03:05:24 PM »

Review:

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We shall end August with another John Milius effort - this time his collaboration with legendary director John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre). The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) is a colorful, episodic revisionist Western that has the makings of a great film but can't quite achieve take-off vleocity. Perhaps it's the director, the script, the plodding pace, the nonexistent plot full of digressions, but the movie just isn't the sum of its parts. Too bad, as it has the makings of a great Western; all it needed was better execution.

Roy Bean (Paul Newman) is a two-bit outlaw who arrives at a West Texas outpost, narrowly escaping death at the hands of some sneak thieves. Bean cuts a swath through the local gutter trash, shacks up with a pretty Mexican girl (Victoria Principal) and establishes himself as the "Law West of the Pacos" - a self-appointed judge who rules over a patch of West Texas with a huge arsenal, a lawbook, a gang of crooks-turned-lawmen, and his bizarre love for New York actress Lillie Langtry (Ava Gardner). Bean and his men effectively dispense the Judge's peculiar brand of justice and build up the town of Vinegaroon, but sleazy Eastern businessman Frank Gass (Roddy McDowell) arrives and slowly undermines Bean's authority, ultimatley booting him out. Twenty years later, Gass has turned the town into a den of depravity and corruption - and Bean, his old gang and daughter Rose (Jacqueline Bisset) strap on six guns to beat Gass at his own game.

Reading over the plot, and looking at the talent involved, one would think the success of Roy Bean is all but assured. Indeed, in parts, the film is brilliant. There are individual set pieces that soar - Bean's introductory scene, his encounter with a wandering preacher (Anthony Perkins), the summary execution of a vagrant (Neil Summers) who shoots a poster of "Miss Lillie", a showdown with psychotic outlaw Bad Bob (Stacey Keach). Milius's dialogue, as with the far-better Jeremiah Johnson, is appropriately rustic and colorful, with lots of great quotes; the art direction is fine and Maurice Jarre contributes a lively score. The movie's atmosphere is playfully irreverent, sending up many a Western cliche, and the film is certainly fun up to a point. However, despite all of its positive attributes, the movie repeatedly drops the ball.

The movie's biggest failings are that it can't decide on its tone, and the narrative is lost in a series of needless digressions. It has the look and feel of a gritty Peckinpah or Leone Western, but incorporates the cutesiness of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - and ultimately it fails as both. An episodic plot would be fine but the film doesn't pull it off; there's no real rhythym, rhyme or reason for development of scenes. The scenes with Bean's pet bear are just silly - particularly an asinine musical interlude reminiscent of Butch Cassidy. The bit with Bad Bob is amusing but arrives curiously late in the film, and nothing comes of it. The would-be mythic ending, with Bean and his old colleagues smiting crooked modern business, is a good (if obvious) idea that falters in execution. And the coda with Lillie visiting Bean's old place is just lame. The good parts of the film occur moment by moment, and never amount to a great film.

Paul Newman carreis the film, giving a strong, pitch-perfect performance as Bean, the gruff, vulgar and violent yet curiously romantic man. The distinguished supporting cast is mostly reduced to cameos, some effective, some not. Victoria Principal is lovely and vibrant as Bean's love interest. Roddy McDowell seems out of place but comes off well-enough as the sleazy lawyer who undermines Bean's power; coming off less well is Jacqueline Bisset as Bean's daughter. Ava Gardner's cameo is quite a let-down after a movie's worth of build-up; Stacey Keach has fun as an albino gunslinger but he's in the movie for all of two minutes. Anthony Perkins gives a memorable one-scene performance as an incredulous preacher who stumbles across Bean. Director Huston comes off well in a small but colorful role, but Tab Hunter and Anthony Zerbe are wasted. Better are the bit actors like Roy Jenson, Steve Kanaly, Matt Clark, Bill McKinney and Ned Beatty, who make an impression despite remaining in the background for most of the film. Like Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (which it strongly resembles in its langourous pace and episodic, scattershot narrative) it enlists a top and gives them next to nothing to do.

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is a flawed, sporadically-interesting movie that never quite congeals into a coherent whole. There are great scenes and ideas that stand out on their own, but Huston and Milius can't quite make it work.

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2009/08/life-and-times-of-judge-roy-bean.html

Just FYI, I've recused myself of ratings for films in my reviews, hopefully you'll be able to infer my opinion from the writing.

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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2011, 12:17:32 AM »

I know am alone there but I have always thought that, with the exception of Maltese Falcon, all of the Huston filmogragraphy is a mixed bag, there's not a single movie which is absolutely great. Maybe Red Badge could have been another one but we know what happened. This is entertaining, but one major flaw is Newman who is not adequate for the part: he's too slick for it and in facts he always tries to make his voice sound raw with expected results. The finale could have been cut without any damage: actually it would have been better. Instead the italian dvd (and the italian version) is missing the Williams song (and sequence?). 7\10

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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 12:21:21 PM »

There's this stiff quality about Huston films that I don't really like. He's made some really good movies that I might think more or less highly of on my next view; Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon and The Asphalt Jungle come to mind. Though I think really highly of the latter movie.

The thing with this movie is that this doesn't have that stuffy quality of his previous work. It's freer or more liberated, but the problem is that the script is a bit of a mess (which I hate saying because I love John Milius). Normally, episodic plots drive me insane but there's enough here to keep things moving, but the last 15 mins are a mess. The passage of time needed to be handled way better. They should have done something like start the movie with the final poker game, for a lack of a better phrase.

With that said, I was thoroughly entertained by this movie, regardless of how silly it got at times. The stuff with the bear was ridiculous, as was Bean's obsession with the stage actress. It was way too over the top, the comedic elements just didn't really click. Maybe that would change if I saw this on the big screen though. 'Roy Bean' is highly flawed but it's entertaining, unique and really good in spots.

Even though I enjoyed Newman's performance, I feel like this part would have been absolutely perfect for Sterling Hayden.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 01:02:53 PM by T.H. » Logged


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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 04:51:55 PM »

when mentioning Huston films, don't forget Key Largo - a very good movie.

I just saw Under the Volcano ... I am still not sure what to make of it ... still thinking about it ...

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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2016, 12:49:01 PM »


I just saw Under the Volcano ... I am still not sure what to make of it ... still thinking about it ...
Yeah, me too. After 30 years . . . .

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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2016, 11:27:50 AM »

This film is one of the few American Westerns that I actually like.
Sure, it's not in the league of McCabe & Mrs Miller (imo) but I thoroughly enjoy the silliness much like MY NAME IS NOBODY.

His last film THE DEAD is his greatest achievement as far as I'm concerned.
It's not a Western though.

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