Last night I watched Viva Zapata . . . Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn (won an oscar). It got me thinking about “westerns” set in Mexico, some during the Mexican revolution (1908 – 1920). While these films sure look and feel like westerns they aren’t the “westerns” about the pioneers who came west to settle Utah, Arizona, Oregon, California, etc.
Here are some titles:
Valdes is Homing
The Wild Bunch
One Eyed Jacks
In the most reproduced scene from the most popular Western of all time the cowboy hero known only as the Virginian confronts the cowboy villain Trampas across a poker – when Trampas calls the hero “you son of a . . . “ the Virginian menacingly tells him “when you call me that smile”.
here’s the scene from the 1929 movie
In researching films for the next series of Westerns in the Fall I came across this fascinating story . . .
Films about the west, cowboys, buffaloes, indians, infnatry, rustling cattle; Roy Rogers, Hoot Gibson, Tom Hix, Clint Eastwood, Barbara Stanwyck, John Wayne, Shelly Winters, John Huston, John Ford . . . . the list goes on of the great who’ve made and appeared in westerns. We’ll watch 6 films during the series beginning on April 18 at the Palm Theatre in SLO.
The hardest part of this process (picking the final six) is narrowing down the list of great films to just a few.
Here are the titles of films on the short list, if you have an opinion, let me know.
|Destry Rides Again ’39
|Winchester 73 ’50
|The Plainsman ’36
|Ride the High Country ’62
|Four Faces West ’48
|Last Train from Gun Hill
|My Darling Clementine ’46
|The Good The Bad The Ugly ’67
|Forty Guns ’57
|The Unforgiven ’46
I hope everyone is looking forward to seeing the first six movies starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the greatest dancing partnership Hollywood has ever seen. We’ll start with “The Gay Divorcee” on Wednesday, January 10 at 12:30pm at the Palm Theatre in downtown SLO. This was not the first time they appeared in film, that was in the movie “Flying Down to Rio”. This is depression pre Hays Code film making and you can watch one of the most amazing scenes here on youtube.
Hitchcock was a classical technician in controlling his visuals, and his use of screen space underlined the tension in ways the audience is not always aware of. He always used the convention that the left side of the screen is for evil and/or weaker characters, while the right is for characters who are either good, or temporarily dominant. Consider the scene where Guy is letting himself into his Georgetown house when Bruno whispers from across the street to summon him. Bruno is standing behind an iron gate, the bars casting symbolic shadows on his face, and Guy stands to his right, outside the gate. Then a police car pulls up in front of Guy’s house, and he quickly moves behind the gate with Bruno; they’re now both behind bars as he says, “You’ve got me acting like I’m a criminal.”
So many genres in the fear film category: Sci Fi, atomized insects, people being turned into animals, ghosts, zombies, haunted houses, monsters . . . . but whoever thought about hillbillies?