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Found 20 results

  1. I'd heard about "Little Big Man" since it was released in 1970, but had never seen it until the past two days. After having seen it through, I can say that it's one of the finest, little-known American films, post-1970, that I'm aware of. It's a magical story, and yes, I truly believe that it was a major inspiration for "Forrest Gump"; I don't see how it could have possibly been otherwise. Dustin Hoffman plays 121-year-old Jack Crabb - the oldest man in the world, and the only white survivor from the Battle of the Little Big Horn, i.e., "Custer's Last Stand." Hoffman's grotesque make
  2. I'd never before seen a single episode of "Gunsmoke," so I thought, well, why not at least watch the pilot, "Matt Gets It." This can be seen, albeit with very poor quality, for free right here on dailymotion.com. Within the first two minutes of the video, you'll notice a couple of remarkable things: * Look who gives the introduction to the series. * Just after the first shot of the cardboard cutout that is Dodge City (a real town in Kansas), Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness) is giving a soliloquy in a graveyard. Keep your eye on the tombstone at the left of your screen (
  3. "For a Few Dollars More" is the second movie in Director Sergio Leone's "Dollars Trilogy" or "Man with No Name Trilogy" (depending on your preference). Unlike its predecessor, "A Fistful of Dollars" (which is completely unrelated in plot), there's a chance you'll recognize an actor other than Clint Eastwood - Lee Van Cleef plays a memorable supporting role as a competing bounty hunter to Eastwood (if - and only if - you've watched "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence," Van Cleef is one of Valence's henchmen in this clip (most noticeable upon exiting the restaurant). Also, instead of two
  4. For those wishing to watch all the films in Sergio Leone's "Man with No Name Trilogy," (or "Dollars Trilogy," if you prefer), all three were released in America in 1967, but they were filmed in Spain in the following order: 1964 - "A Fistful of Dollars" 1965 - "For a Few Dollars More" 1966 - "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" You'll be doing yourself a favor to watch them in order, and to pay close attention to names and faces early on in "A Fistful of Dollars" - Clint Eastwood is quite possibly the only actor or actress you'll know in this film, so it's important to sort things o
  5. Well, it looks like right now, I'm in a minority of one. I did some research into the 'Best Westerns of All-Time," and "Rio Bravo" is on many, if not most, lists. I love John Wayne as an actor in Westerns, and have enjoyed several films by Howard Hawks, notably "His Girl Friday" and "Bringing Up Baby" - two screwball comedies that are archetypes for "rapid-fire dialogue" - a technique that was employed around 1940. After one viewing, this is my least favorite of the five John Wayne films I've written about here on donrockwell.com, but I just can't reconcile my views of this film
  6. With Hollywood westerns, a little bit of research goes a long way - in my lifetime, I've had more success with this genre of movie than perhaps any other, all because I do a little research before choosing what to watch. "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962) is the twelfth of fourteen collaborative westerns with John Ford and John Wayne (the first and ninth, respectively, being "Stagecoach" (1939) and "The Searchers" (1956)). It is perhaps the most beautiful western I've ever seen. Loaded with famous actors, every single major and minor star outperforms in this deceptively sad me
  7. There is a long-forgotten type of Hollywood movie: The Film Serial, popular in the first half of the twentieth century - it was almost like a TV series, except that it took place in movie theaters. One subject was explored, in a series of short films (often 20-30 minutes long), presented as "chapters in a book," so to speak. "Black Arrow" was a film serial released in 1944, and consists of fifteen chapters. The star was Robert Scott, whose real name was Mark Roberts, and "Black Arrow" would be the only starring role of his entire acting career. I watched episode number one: "The City
  8. "Fort Apache" is the first of John Ford's "Cavalry Trilogy," all of which were based on stories by James Warner Bellah. It stars Henry Fonda as a widowed, uppity, West Point-educated Lieutenant-Colonel from back East who doesn't want to be at this frontier post, Shirley Temple, his spoiled - but kind and beautiful - daughter, Philadelphia Thursday, and John Wayne, the savvy, respected Major Captain Kirby York, who was expected to get the job of running Fort Apache, except the telegraph lines were down, and nobody knew that Lieutenant-Colonel Green got the job. There's a wonderful shot of
  9. I recently commented on my seemingly non-stop run of good luck with American Westerns, but I've just come across two-in-a-row that I'd say were of the "good-but-not-great" variety: "The Magnificent Seven" and "Firecreek," and this makes me wonder - have I been good at selecting Westerns, or have I simply been selecting movies involving John Ford and Clint Eastwood? One problem I see in "Firecreek" is that there's no strongman (yes, the same can be said about "Shane," but I also didn't like Shane). The lead protagonist is a 70-year-old Jimmy Stewart, and the lead antagonist is a 73-year-ol
  10. I have every intention to watch the classic, 1954, Japanese film "Seven Samurai" by Akira Kurosawa, and since I've been riding so high in the saddle with American Westerns recently, I decided to watch the classic, 1960 remake first: "The Magnificent Seven," pretty-much knowing that Seven Samurai will be better, and possibly a lot better. Now, that I've watched it, I hope "Seven Samurai" is a *lot* better, because "The Magnificent Seven" was merely a good - not great - American Western, even though you'll hear otherwise from plenty of critics. Perhaps I think so because I've watched *so*
  11. "Broken Arrow" (1950) is Director Delmer Daves' Western in Technicolor, Starring James Stewart as Tom Jeffords and Jeff Chandler as Cochise, the Chief of the Chokonen Band of the Chiricahua Apache Tribe. Though clearly Hollywood-ized, it's also based on a true story, and if the viewer is willing to do some digging, can learn quite a bit from it. I have mixed feelings about watching old Hollywood Westerns for obvious reasons, but for me it's easy, because I generally pull for the Native Americans, and look at any type of "loss" as a tragic element - plus, I learn something, no matter how s
  12. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** "True Grit" is a continuance of 'Hollywood Classics which I've never before seen.' It begins with a surprise murder by Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey), then a distressingly *non*-surprising gathering at the Courthouse, where they're going to be hanging three men that day. Why people have always wished to gather to witness others being violently killed is beyond my capability of understanding. And in case you think our species has evolved since the days of the Wild West: Aug 14, 2014 - "20,000 Watched the Last Public Hanging 78 Years Ago" by Mark Murrmann on moth
  13. Let me address this first: There is overt racism in "The Searchers," manifesting itself the most in the lead character, Ethan Edwards, portrayed by John Wayne. If you can't look past Wayne's hatred of the Comanche nation, you will not enjoy this film - for you to watch "The Searchers," you *must* look at the Comanches as "a bear" (you can pick your own bear, but you absolutely must be able to think of them as, simply, "the bad guy"). If you are able to do that, then you're faced with one of the greatest Westerns I've ever seen in my life. You know, maybe I've gotten lucky, because the fir
  14. Yes to Stagecoach! I love westerns too much to pick a top one, or five, or even ten, but Stagecoach is right up there for me, not Shane. I like elements of the Shane story better in Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood, Carrie Snodgrass, Michael Moriarty, and Sydney Penny. I like the supernatural element in Pale Rider.
  15. After reading rave reviews from critics and seeing "Shane" listed as one of the best films ever made, I decided to watch it, with high expectations. I was disappointed. It seemed corny and dated, and several of the actors seemed miscast to me. Am I missing something? I realize it was filmed in 1953, and a lot of Westerns that have come along since may have been inspired by it, but I recently saw "Stagecoach," filmed 14 years earlier, and I think it is a much better film.
  16. "Bone Tomahawk" is a 2015 Western "Horror" film - and I use that term in quotes - which was released late in the year. Its one attribute is Kurt Russell as Sheriff Franklin Hunt. How they got Kurt Russell to star in this film is beyond me, but they did. I wish there was something - anything - else about it that I could recommend to you, but it is pretty much 130 minutes of poorly crafted boredom - at least it's free on Amazon.com, but I can pretty much promise you that your time is worth more than investing 2+ hours of in this movie. It's a very simple story - it was filmed on a $1.8 mill
  17. I've never been a fan of Quentin Tarantino because I'm very much against the use of gratuitous violence in film. That said, I've only seen "Pulp Fiction" and (probably all of) "Reservoir Dogs," which are 12 and 14 years old, respectively: There's something about "Django Unchained" which called out to me, despite me suspecting it would probably be Tarantino-esque; violence was terribly real in the days of slavery, and so here was a film in which I could perhaps justify it - perhaps even enjoy it, in a vengeful sort of way - depending on how it was used, and for what purposes. I also had a
  18. The Shootist begins with a combination of montages and credits as follows: Dino De Laurentis Presents A Frankovich/Self Production The team of Mike Frankovich and William Self lasted just over a year, and produced only 2 movies, both in 1976: "The Shootist" (John Wayne's final film) and "From Noon Till Three" (with Charles Bronson). John Wayne [as J.B. Books: "The Shootist"] Lauren Bacall [as the widow Bond Rogers, The Innkeeper] "in a Siegel film" Don Siegel only worked on several major movies, and was the Director of "The Shootist" THE SHOOTIST The film starts with a mont
  19. I saw this movie when it first came out, and didn't give it much thought; I saw it again (after having recently watched "Unforgiven" (1992) and "Dirty Harry" (1971)), and *loved it*. I don't know when Malpaso Productions (Clint Eastwood's company) became essentially "Clint Eastwood," but this was clearly part of, if not after, Eastwood's breakout, and I'm only beginning to fully realize just what a megastar he is in Hollywood. "Pale Rider" is based on one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and has religious motifs and sub-motifs throughout. It is a deep-thinking, reflective "Western
  20. I've seen "Unforgiven" only once, perhaps when it was released in 1992 (when, to my surprise, it won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman), and Best Film Editing (Joel Cox). At the time, I liked, but did not love, the film, and was surprised when it won the Best Picture Award. Nevertheless, Terry Theise, a devout lover of film, raved about Unforgiven as much as he did "The Natural" (Terry is also a hardcore baseball fan), and I've done very well over the years following his recommendations in both film and literature Also, I remem
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