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titoli
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« on: May 24, 2010, 04:36:09 AM »

I read only criticisms against this movie. Possibly the reason being that the names given to the protagonists (Buffalo Bill And Wild Bill Hickock. There's also Jim Bridger) bear no relationship whatever to their historical models. But that shouldn't have any importance whatever because the movie is fast moving, beautiful visually with great landscapes and two pretty females who do not slow down the action. So I give it the 7\10 is worth.

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stanton
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 12:44:03 PM »

This is a good little western full of verve with some fine action scenes and an awesome Charlton Heston in the lead.

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titoli
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 04:28:57 PM »

This is a good little western full of verve with some fine action scenes and an awesome Charlton Heston in the lead.

A Hembus disciple, I see.

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stanton
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 02:37:11 AM »

A Hembus disciple, I see.

Somehow yes, the Hembus book is very good, despite the fact that the SWs are clearly underrated in it. Hembus was able to write beautiful things. And he had the talent to capture a film in one sentence, in which of course every single word is precious. His early death in an avalanche was a great loss.
But I also often disagree with him, but still enjoy his writing.

So you understand German very well, Titoli?

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titoli
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2010, 03:14:55 AM »

Somehow yes, the Hembus book is very good, despite the fact that the SWs are clearly underrated in it. Hembus was able to write beautiful things. And he had the talent to capture a film in one sentence, in which of course every single word is precious. His early death in an avalanche was a great loss.
But I also often disagree with him, but still enjoy his writing.

So you understand German very well, Titoli?

I can only read it, alas. Strange though that you refer  only to a single book by him (I presume you mean his Lexikon) when he published other 3 ones on western, expecially the one on the western of the 30's and 40's (western vom gestern) where he claims that the SW took up the heritage of the action western which were superseded in the 50's by the so-called "adult" western.

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stanton
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2010, 06:02:22 AM »

The Lexikon is the main book for me. The one about the history (from 1560 to 1894) is also very interesting. There was a 3rd book announced which should write the history of the western films, but that was never completed.

I don't care for the 30s/40s serial westerns, so I never was very interested in the book about Der Western von Gestern.

He also wrote in the early 60s a legendary analysis of the German film with the title Der deutsche Film kann gar nicht besser sein (The German film can't be better). Which tells you why the German film was so uninteresting since 1933, and especially why it didn't get better in the 50s and was still bad at the time of the writing of the book. I think this book didn't made him friends in the German film industry.

His articles in the Lexicon about The Searchers or OUTW belongs to the best I have ever read about film.

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titoli
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2010, 10:10:22 AM »

I have other books by him, e.g. the one on post-war german movies but still have to read it because first I want to watch most of the movies he discusses.  He also wrote the introduction to the collection of photo-articles on american western movies published in the Film-Buehne magazine: beautiful book. I meant this as a third.

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Spikeopath
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2017, 08:57:47 AM »

Adding.

Almost, nearly...

Directed by Jerry Hopper and starring Charlton Heston, Forrest Tucker and Rhonda Fleming, Pony Express is adapted from a story written by Frank Gruber. It revolves around the birth of the Pony Express and how it linked California to the rest of the United States, thus preventing it from becoming a separate republic. Buffalo Bill Cody (Heston) and Wild Bill Hickok (Tucker) are the principal characters in the formation of the St Joseph-Sacramento speed run that has long since passed into folklore. Very much a fictionalised account of the "Express" and its principals, this tale deals in an attempt to form a separatist movement from the Union and the trials and tribulations that Cody & Hickok go thru in order to successfully launch the "Express". Cue Indian attacks, with the Indians being armed by corrupt business men, and sinister plotting by the seemingly affable Hastings siblings (Michael Moore & Fleming).

A loose remake of the 1924/25 silent film of the same name, Hopper's movie suffers from being overlong and for spending too much time with the Hastings sub-plot. It's only when we get to the last quarter that the film gathers apace, until then we are left with only Heston's gusto and Fleming's sexuality to hold our attention. Director Hopper struggles to craft any energy from the number of dialogue driven set-ups, and even a Mano-Mano fight to the death between Cody and Yellow Hand (Pat Hogan) is undeniably flat. Thank god then for Heston giving it brio. A few years away from career defining roles, he seems to be enjoying himself and puts ebullient life into the film when it starts to sag. Fleming too is a highpoint. When not asked to lead off awful films like Bullwhip, Fleming was a more than capable actress, helped enormously by her sexiness and ability to own her scenes. She raises temperatures here considerably with one particular scene as both Jan Sterling (as Tomboy Denny) and herself each take a bath.

Thankfully the finale doesn't follow suit with what has gone before it, with Hopper gaining a little redemption with this action quarter. The momentum is built up as we approach the first "Express" run, a gunfight is well staged and the shots of the horses bolting along the plains are a joy; in particular one shot as man and beast speed off under a blood red sky (well done cinematographer Ray Rennahan). Then it's the inevitable showdown where Heston flexes his gun toting muscles and a surprise development earns the picture an extra plaudit. So a real mixed bag for sure then. Well worth a watch for Heston purists and Fleming lusters. And indeed for Western fans who are versed in the lower grade genre entries so prominent in the 1950s. But it clearly doesn't fulfil its potential and the snippets of good only further make one feel a touch annoyed once the end credit booms out from the screen. 5.5/10

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