Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

Western Roundup Part 3

May 20th, 2010

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Monday 5-10-10
Oklahoma! (1955)
Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Written by Sonya Levien & William Ludwig, from the musical by Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein II, who adapted it from a play by Lynn Riggs
Starring Shirley Jones, Gordon MacRae, Rod Steiger, Eddie Albert & Gloria Grahame
Everything you need for a great Western – cowboys, horses, guns, knives and ballet. It’s about a love triangle, and another, smaller love triangle. That’s it – not a whole lot of plot here. I don’t generally like lavish Broadway musicals, and this one is no exception.
The main reason I watched it is because of Gloria Grahame (but there’s a big difference between this Gloria and the one in “In A Lonely Place” or “Crossfire”).
2 out of 5 stars

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Wednesday 5-12-10
Appaloosa (2008)
Directed by Ed Harris
Written by Robert Knott & Ed Harris, from the novel by Robert B. Parker
Starring Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger & Lance Henriksen
Harris and Mortensen tame the town of Appaloosa with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns along the way. I thought I’d like this more, but whenever Zellweger is on screen she grates on my nerves.
3 out of 5 stars

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Thursday 5-13-10
Man of the West (1958)
Directed by Anthony Mann
Written by Reginald Rose, from a novel by Will C. Brown
Starring Gary Cooper, Julie London & Lee J. Cobb
A homesteader finds himself stranded after the train he’s on is held up. He hooks up with his old outlaw gang and starts to revert to his dark ways while trying to protect a dancehall girl and a con-man. This movie didn’t hold my interest. I can’t really say anything was bad, it was all just dull. #53 on the Western Writers of America list of the Top Westerns of All Time.
2 out of 5 stars

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Friday 5-14-10
Pocket Money (1972)
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Written by Terrence Malick & John Gay, from a novel by J.P.S. Brown
Starring Paul Newman, Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, Wayne Rogers & Hector Elizondo
A modern day (well, 1972) western where Newman plays a mentally-handicapped debt-ridden cowboy who agrees to bring two-hundred head of cattle up from Mexico for a crooked rodeo supplier. A little dull – not too many surprises, pretty much lays out what’s going to happen then follows through. A good, humorous performance from Lee Marvin. And I swear Raul Julia is in this, even though he’s not listed on IMDb.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

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Sunday 5-16-10……DOUBLE FEATURE – EASTWOOD BACK FROM THE DEAD
Hang ‘Em High (1968)
Directed by Ted Post
Written by Leonard Freeman & Mel Goldberg
Starring Clint Eastwood, Pat Hingle, Inger Stevens, Ed Begley & Ben Johnson
Eastwood goes after the nine men that tried to lynch him. This movie didn’t work quite as well as it could have, mainly because it was all over the place – it’s fast moving but unfocused. A great one-minute performance by Dennis Hopper.
3 out of 5 stars
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High Plains Drifter (1973)
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by Ernest Tidyman & Dean Riesner
Starring Clint Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis, Verna Bloom & Billy Curtis
I’ve seen this one before, but not in about 15 years. Eastwood agrees to protect a town from three bad guys that are on their way. Along the way he shoots several citizens, rapes a couple women, burns down a few buildings and gets a bath from a midget. A dark, twisted film. #84 on the Western Writers of America list of the Top Westerns of All Time.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Monday 5-17-10
Duck, You Sucker (aka A Fistful of Dynamite) (1971)
Directed by Sergio Leone
Written by Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati, Luciano Vincenzoni, dialogue adapted by Roberto DeLeonardis & Carlo Tritto
Starring James Coburn, Rod Steiger, Antoine Saint-John & Romolo Valli
And I wrap it up with Epic Spaghetti. Steiger recruits ex-IRA member into the Mexican revolution. Some scenes go on a little longer than they need to, but it has great action, great performances and great explosions.
3.5 out of 5 stars

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So that’s it! 18 horse operas watched over a period of 20 days, 16 of them new to me with the standouts being “The Beguiled” and “Navajo Joe.” The To Be Watched Shelves are a little bit lighter… Of course I still have a list of about 25 film noirs to get through!

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