Archive for category: Westerns

Blu-ray: ‘The Big Gundown’

20 July, 2014 (10:15) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Sergio Leone is unarguably the godfather of spaghetti westerns. He directed its first international smash of the genre, defined the spare, savage style and mercenary sensibility, and made stars of journeymen actors Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. But he was far from the only director who made his mark in the genre. Among the […]

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Review: Winterhawk

23 June, 2014 (10:28) | by Rick Hermann, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 46, December 1975] Most of what is at all worthwhile in Winterhawk has little to do with Winterhawk (Michael Dante), a mysterious Blackfoot leader who captures a white woman and boy and asks that he be given smallpox remedies in exchange for their return. No smallpox remedies are ever forthcoming; […]

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Videophiled: ‘The Big Gundown’ and ‘Nightmare City’

31 December, 2013 (09:57) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Horror, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

It’s hard to believe that The Big Gundown (Grindhouse, Blu-ray+DVD Combo), easily one of the best spaghetti westerns ever made, has never been on home video in the U.S. in any legitimate form before. It features Lee Van Cleef in a rare heroic role as Jonathan Corbett, a dogged lawman without a badge who applies […]

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Videodrone: The adult westerns of Delmer Daves

15 May, 2013 (11:47) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

“Jubal” (Criterion) “3:10 to Yuma” (Criterion) Delmer Daves was a Hollywood pro with a long career and an impressive filmography. He established himself as a screenwriter with a series of light comedies and romantic melodramas (including the original 1939 Love Affair) before stepping behind the camera with the World War II adventure Destination Tokyo. Like […]

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DVD/Blu-ray: ‘Johnny Guitar’

4 August, 2012 (07:09) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Johnny Guitar, an operatic western centered around two powerful female characters who are more masculine than the men around them, is one of the most unusual westerns of its era, or any era for that matter. Dense with psychological conflicts and political suggestions, including a not-so-veiled allegory for the McCarthy witch-hunts in Hollywood, which both […]

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Review: The Missouri Breaks

14 December, 2011 (10:02) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 51, August 1976] I was prepared—by Tom McGuane’s insipid earlier scripts and by Brando’s increasingly self-indulgent performances in recent years—to dislike The Missouri Breaks, and so was considerably surprised to find myself enjoying it. Now I’m just as surprised to find that I am relatively alone in having liked the […]

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Götterdämmerung in Technicolor: Fritz Lang’s ‘Rancho Notorious’

19 September, 2011 (05:51) | by Richard T. Jameson, Essays, Westerns | By: Richard T. Jameson

O listen … listen well: Listen to the Legend of Chuck-a-Luck, Chuck-a-Luck, Listen to the song of the gambler’s wheel, A souvenir of a bygone year, Spinning a tale of the old frontier And a man of steel, And the passion that drove him on, and on, and on. It began, they say, one summer’s […]

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Review: The Outlaw Josey Wales

15 September, 2011 (05:43) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Robert C. Cumbow

[Originally published in Movietone News 52, October 1976] It isn’t too likely that a U.S. Senator would arrange the mass murder of several bands of Confederate renegades after their postwar surrender; less likely still that he would himself be present at the grisly deed; and least likely of all that the ex-Confederate officer charged with […]

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“Meek’s Cutoff”: Lost on the Trail

14 September, 2011 (11:57) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Kelly Reichert’s Meek’s Cutoff (Oscilloscope) opens without preamble. We are given a place and a year —”Oregon, 1845,” stitched into a piece of homespun embroidery—and then dropped in the high desert to observe three frontier families ford a river. They wordlessly, almost morosely, march across, then take the opportunity to fill canteens, wash and check […]

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Review: The Outlaw Josey Wales

31 August, 2011 (13:06) | by Rick Hermann, Film Reviews, Westerns | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 53, January 1977] Clint Eastwood’s latest movie covers a lot of territory and glimpses a large enough cross-section of Western character types, Leone-ish villains, and just plain folks to fill an album of rare and intriguing daguerreotypes. People getting mixed up with and along with one another travel through raw […]

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Blood and Ashes

22 August, 2011 (05:19) | by Rick Hermann, Film Festivals, Westerns | By: Rick Hermann

[Originally published in Movietone News 53, January 1977] Don Siegel, a man with an impressive history of making competent, toughminded, fast-moving films, admits that he’s trying to alter his “image” as an action director. In his most recent film, The Shootist, we can feel the tug between action and reflection, violence and elegy, present and […]

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After Sunset

15 August, 2011 (05:16) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Horror, Westerns | By: Robert C. Cumbow

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Take out the word “Chainsaw” and it could be the title of a Western. And what do you know? It is. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes place over one day, from sunrise after a night of grave desecrations to sunrise after a night of unspeakable murderous horror. Sunset comes not at […]

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A Great Adventure: 59 Seconds of “True Grit”

6 June, 2011 (04:08) | by Robert C. Cumbow, Essays, Westerns | By: Robert C. Cumbow

Great film making, they say, is supposed to be invisible. It takes repeated viewings to root out—and become increasingly touched by and attached to—those special moments that make a film come together in a way that delivers aesthetic frisson and confirms cinematic greatness. But every once in a while such a moment announces itself on […]

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Talking and Doing in “Rio Bravo”

10 March, 2011 (06:23) | by Richard T. Jameson, Essays, Howard Hawks, Westerns | By: Richard T. Jameson

[Written for a November 14, 1972 showing of the film in a University of Washington Office of Lectures & Concerts Film Series on Howard Hawks. Reprinted in an all-Westerns issue of the film journal The Velvet Light Trap.] I can remember my reaction to Rio Bravo upon its initial release in 1959.  I liked it, […]

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Stagecoach arrives in a new Criterion edition, plus No Orchids for Miss Blandish and Silver Lode – DVDs of the Week

25 May, 2010 (02:06) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, John Ford, Westerns | By: Sean Axmaker

Stagecoach (Criterion) DVD and Blu-ray John Ford’s classic western is a landmark of the genre for so many reasons: mature, classically constructed and superbly directed, it made a star of John Wayne, revitalized the western genre and introduced Ford to the breathtaking landscape of Monument Valley, which would become the mythic backdrop of his west. […]

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