January 4, 2006
Westerns Worth Watching!
I enjoy posting about movies on this blog because of the great comments from you-all, my fellow movie-lovers. One of the leading movie commenters on this blog is Pat Patterson, who wrote today with recommendations for alternatives to a-certain-movie-about-cowboys. As a completely unreformed childhood reader of Zane Grey, I’m going to have to add these to the “must-see/re-see” list.
So without further ado, I give you Pat’s list of Westerns Worth Watching:
The Searchers-Wayne’s character pretty much exhibits most of the Biblical sins. He refuses to acknowledge the end of the war by obeying a legitimate order. He is a racist, a misogynist, a thief and even a would-be adulterer. Yet when he rises above these evils, he surprisingly receives neither grace nor redemption. He ultimately did the right thing selflessly.
The Outlaw Josey Wales-The flipside of The Searchers in that Josey is a brutal murderer but achieves redemption by making a family out of all the elements that Wayne’s character was intent on destroying.
High Noon-The struggle between duty and matrimony (I have to admit when I saw this one in the theater I thought Cooper was nuts for not leaving with Grace Kelly).
Red River-Another Wayne film where his character had become embittered by loss and leads a surrogate family simply by theft and brute force. He becomes more of a man by surrendering some of his authority and being reconciled with his adopted son.
Tom Horn-Not a great film, but certainly one of the best McQueen did in the few years he had left. Horn was a murderer for hire, working for cattle interests to keep homesteaders off open range. A more contemporary film would have shown Horn as simply a thug, but in the guise of a Western he becomes the iconic loner framed against the setting sun. This film, I think, forces the viewer to judge whether to admire a sympathetic and familiar figure that is revealed to be the antithesis of the honorable and honest cowboy.
Any others we need to add to the list?