Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hollywood at close to its Best

Its best is likely 'Casablanca', but I am enjoying 'The Magnificent Seven' on Moviepix again. To be honest I do not think I have ever seen Kurosawa's original 'Seven Samurai'. In a way this makes my views on this film more straightforward. I did see 'Yojimbo' and found it amusing. But to be honest the cowboy myths have a stronger hold on me than the Samurai ones do (and let's log that the Brokeback guys tend sheep, not cattle, though it likely makes no difference).

A stunning cast, great music, and a plot that poses its questions well. I just watched one farmer character talking to the McQueen character about fear. And the tough question of when you decide to stand up and fight rather than submit to oppression. Robert Vaughn plays brilliantly against character from his other roles. There is beautiful play on career progression. there is good humour. And there is a rightly inspiring story.

And the story is forced to a resolution. It is a wonderful tale of mercenaries doing the right things.


At 2:14 PM, Blogger Martin said...

This IS a great western. the music the cinematography, the faces, the setting. There are so many characters you end up caring about in the film. And you are right that it poses many deep questions which seem not to get in each other's way. I think of the Wild Bunch in the same way.

Does it matter that the broke back guys tended sheep?
Well from my understanding of history, developed through watching westerns, I think it may. Weren't the sheep herders always trying to fence off their land so the cattle ranchers couldnt count on being able to let their cattle roam free? THis made the mortal enemies in some westerns. Was Heaven's Gate based on that animosity?

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Alan Adamson said...

Indeed Heaven's Gate was centred on that. A much better film, I always thought, than it seems to be remembered as.
Also, Annie Proulx, according to what I have read, made a point of their tending sheep and not cattle, as these guys are meant to be somewhat downtrodden. And the movie trailers I have seen clearly show sheep, so thre reference to gay cowboys (and I am sure there were some of those!) has always seemed odd to me.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Martin said...

I was told by a friend that I would otherwise have called a cowboy, the the term cowboy is defamatory. He is from Colorado and perhaps the connotations of the term vary depending on where one is from...but cowboys to him were wastrals, shiftless and untrustworthy. He was a self declared range hand.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Alan Adamson said...

I bet that is true - the words have regional emotional force. To be honest, I think shepherds are cool.


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