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Old 24-03-2013, 19:32
scorpionatthepc
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My mum watches a lot of these films on tcm. There doesn't seem to be much of a story to them and mostly consist of the following.

1) Cowboys and Indians fighting in the middle of nowhere.
2) Scenes where cowboys are riding horses with carriages in the wilderness and you never know where they are going.
3) When the cowboys are shooting at the Indians they don't even aim at them with their handguns but still seem to get a good hit.

There's other probably other stuff as well. She also watches a program on tcm called gun smoke with Mr duel man Dennis weaver and that mostly consists of the 3 things above too.

Why do they all seem to have the same kind of storyline?
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Old 24-03-2013, 19:43
stripedcat
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Must admit that I am not really that much of a Western fan - although, I haven't seen that many. I did however, like Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. A superb film. It is about how violence and killing dehumanises people. Not your normal Western.

I also thought that the Coen brothers' recent re-make of True Grit was interesting.
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Old 24-03-2013, 21:23
sheila blige
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I also thought that the Coen brothers' recent re-make of True Grit was interesting.
I really liked the remake of True Grit but if I was asked to choose which I thought was better - I'd possibly choose the original even though I'm not a huge John Wayne fan. I preferred it mainly because - as good as the remake was and it certainly was grittier and grimier than the original - I could barely make out a single word that Jeff Bridges was saying. The girl who played Matty was excellent though and Matt Damon was a far more convincing Texas Ranger than Glenn Campbell was.

Having said all of that - there are some westerns (or anti-westerns as some may call them) that are truly excellent - and they're not all about wagon trains and cowboys 'n indians. Some of the best ones are The Culpepper Cattle Company, McCabe & Mrs Miller, The Ballad of Cable Hogue and the best of the lot - The Wild Bunch - not only a great western but one of the best films ever made.
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Old 25-03-2013, 02:33
Moboloco
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My mum watches a lot of these films on tcm. There doesn't seem to be much of a story to them and mostly consist of the following.

1) Cowboys and Indians fighting in the middle of nowhere.
2) Scenes where cowboys are riding horses with carriages in the wilderness and you never know where they are going.
3) When the cowboys are shooting at the Indians they don't even aim at them with their handguns but still seem to get a good hit.

There's other probably other stuff as well. She also watches a program on tcm called gun smoke with Mr duel man Dennis weaver and that mostly consists of the 3 things above too.

Why do they all seem to have the same kind of storyline?
Watch Once Upon a Time in the West, its probably the best western ever made (Spaghetti Western to be exact) & has an amazingly haunting story that dosn't really include much (if any) of the things you point out about westerns.

The only problem with watching such classics as Once Upon a Time in the West & the fist full of dollars (Dollars Trilogy) is that not many other westerns come close to the sheer brilliance of them. Some perhaps nearly get there such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly but you will never get the quality of those from your average run of the mill western.
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Old 25-03-2013, 05:27
Alrightmate
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I agree with you Moboloco.
In fact I've loved all films directed by Sergio Leone.

The Great Silence by Sergio Corbucci is also a great film. Especially memorable for the ending.
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Old 25-03-2013, 10:17
Fowl Fax
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My mum watches a lot of these films on tcm. There doesn't seem to be much of a story to them and mostly consist of the following.

1) Cowboys and Indians fighting in the middle of nowhere.
2) Scenes where cowboys are riding horses with carriages in the wilderness and you never know where they are going.
3) When the cowboys are shooting at the Indians they don't even aim at them with their handguns but still seem to get a good hit.

There's other probably other stuff as well. She also watches a program on tcm called gun smoke with Mr duel man Dennis weaver and that mostly consists of the 3 things above too.

Why do they all seem to have the same kind of storyline?
I've recently watched quite a few westerns and hardly any of them feature the stereotypes you mention.

Favourite Westerns
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Old 25-03-2013, 10:52
sheila blige
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Watch Once Upon a Time in the West, its probably the best western ever made (Spaghetti Western to be exact) & has an amazingly haunting story that dosn't really include much (if any) of the things you point out about westerns.
I've seen Once Upon A Time In The West (I've actually seen quite a few of the spaghetti westerns) and I didn't really like it. I'm honestly not that fond of spaghetti westerns if I'm honest. I've seen the three Eastwood ones (I was a massive Eastwood fan in my youth - I've actually seen TGTBATU about a dozen times). I think the Italian westerns set down a pattern for others to follow - but in themselves - a lot of them weren't that good at all. The very worst one I've seen is A Fistful of Dynamite (with Rod Steiger overacting as ever) and the very best one being the middle Eastwood film - For a Few Dollars More - but it was Lee Van Cleef who stood out in that (although the baddie Gian Maria Volonte was excellent too).
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Old 25-03-2013, 18:55
Ancient IDTV
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My favourite 10 Westerns:-

Unforgiven (My favourite film of the '90s)

The Outlaw Josey Wales (Don't bother with the 'sequel', though!)

The Wild Bunch (Just great)

The Sons of Katie Elder (I like these Wayne/deano match-ups!)

Rio Bravo (Ditto)

The Big Country (Gregory Peck's best performance imo)

Red River (weak ending, but still very good)

True Grit (John Wayne. Rooster Cogburn isn't a bad film, either)

The Shootist (Wayne's last film. Very well made.)

High Noon (Most stylish western imo.)


I need to re-watch Once Upon A Time In The West. Only seen it once, many years ago.
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Old 25-03-2013, 19:36
Eddie Badger
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My favourite 10 Westerns:-

Unforgiven (My favourite film of the '90s)

The Outlaw Josey Wales (Don't bother with the 'sequel', though!)The Wild Bunch (Just great)

The Sons of Katie Elder (I like these Wayne/deano match-ups!)

Rio Bravo (Ditto)

The Big Country (Gregory Peck's best performance imo)

Red River (weak ending, but still very good)

True Grit (John Wayne. Rooster Cogburn isn't a bad film, either)

The Shootist (Wayne's last film. Very well made.)

High Noon (Most stylish western imo.)


I need to re-watch Once Upon A Time In The West. Only seen it once, many years ago.
I don't think anybody bothered with the sequel

A very good list there.

I'd add The Magnificent Seven
High Plains Drifter
Open Range
Tombstone
The Searchers (the only one of that lot that involves Indians)
Hour of the Gun (John Sturges' sequel to Gunfight at the OK Corrall with James Garner and Jason Robards as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and the events that followed the gunfight)
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Old 25-03-2013, 23:27
gemma-the-husky
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that's what westerns were. there used to be loads of western series, and stacks of western films - eg randolph scott, audie murphy, henry fonda and many more.

a few tv series

gunsmoke
gunlaw
sugarfoot
cheyenne
wagon train
rawhide
man from laramie
bronco
wells fargo

etc etc

and then the family ones
bonanza
big country
high chaparral

etc etc

then they started doing more cop shows, and westerns dropped out. I suppose westerns dated back to 1860's to 1880's, so in the 50's and 60's there would have been many people whose parents maybe, and certainly grandparents would have lived thorugh these times. I expect the familiarity was part of it.
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Old 26-03-2013, 01:02
Alrightmate
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I'm not sure if it would be strictly classed as a Western, but I guess it is, a film starring Clint Eastwood.

The Beguiled.

It's almost a psychological horror film of sorts.
Great film that I'd recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it.
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Old 26-03-2013, 01:53
Takae
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Can these be counted as part of the western genre?

Heaven's Gate
Giant
Electric Cowboy (John Travolta)
McCabe (Warren Beatty, Julie Christie)
The Assassination of Jesse James etc.
The Claim (Peter Mullan)
Legends of the Falls (Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins)
City Slickers (Billy Crystal)
Backbroke Mountain
There Will Be Blood (Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano)
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Carradine)
Days of Heaven (Sam Shepherd, Richard Gere)

I don't know much about the western genre, let alone what defines it. So I'm never sure how to classify these films. Most reviews and film databases conflict with each other.

If those aren't western films, how would you classify them?
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:45
gemma-the-husky
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Westerns = horse operas, I think.

once you have motor ve-hicles, you don't got a Western.
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:49
gemma-the-husky
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My mum watches a lot of these films on tcm. There doesn't seem to be much of a story to them and mostly consist of the following.

1) Cowboys and Indians fighting in the middle of nowhere.
2) Scenes where cowboys are riding horses with carriages in the wilderness and you never know where they are going.
3) When the cowboys are shooting at the Indians they don't even aim at them with their handguns but still seem to get a good hit.

There's other probably other stuff as well. She also watches a program on tcm called gun smoke with Mr duel man Dennis weaver and that mostly consists of the 3 things above too.

Why do they all seem to have the same kind of storyline?
re Gunsmoke (also called Gunlaw in the UK)

Weaver was not that short, but the sheriff (called Matt Dillon in the show) was played by a guy called James Arness, who was over 6'6" tall. - and Weaver's part was played for laughs a bit, I recall "Mr Dillon, Mr Dillon"


wow - I just looked here - over 600 episodes of this!!!

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/gunsmoke.htm
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Old 26-03-2013, 17:04
Eddie Badger
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re Gunsmoke (also called Gunlaw in the UK)

Weaver was not that short, but the sheriff (called Matt Dillon in the show) was played by a guy called James Arness, who was over 6'6" tall. - and Weaver's part was played for laughs a bit, I recall "Mr Dillon, Mr Dillon"


wow - I just looked here - over 600 episodes of this!!!

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/gunsmoke.htm
His height helped him get one of his earliest "starring" roles - as the monster in The Thing.
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Old 27-03-2013, 11:40
barbeler
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The Unforgiven.
I'd never been aware of a sequel to The Outlaw Josie Wales.
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Old 27-03-2013, 17:53
Eddie Badger
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The Unforgiven.
I'd never been aware of a sequel to The Outlaw Josie Wales.
It's a pretty obscure movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0331327/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2
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Old 27-03-2013, 17:59
Stan Marino
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Adding my support to The Outlaw Josey Wales. Clint's best film IMHO, and shows a western is a genre you can use to tell a variety of stories - Josey Wales is about a man who loses his family and place in the world and finds a new. I'm not a fan of "run of the mill" westerns - just a matter of taste I suppose...

Best western film I think is Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid - if you can get to see the director's cut or something close to it.
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Old 31-03-2013, 03:25
stripedcat
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I'd add Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to my list. Not your typical Western. Yes, it has elements of a buddy movie with Newman and Redford, but the notion of the outlaws being on the run and the bleakness to it adds to the film's appeal.
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Old 31-03-2013, 09:22
Ted Cunterblast
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Can these be counted as part of the western genre?

Heaven's Gate
Giant
Electric Cowboy (John Travolta)
McCabe (Warren Beatty, Julie Christie)
The Assassination of Jesse James etc.
The Claim (Peter Mullan)
Legends of the Falls (Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins)
City Slickers (Billy Crystal)
Backbroke Mountain
There Will Be Blood (Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano)
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (Vanessa Redgrave, Keith Carradine)
Days of Heaven (Sam Shepherd, Richard Gere)

I don't know much about the western genre, let alone what defines it. So I'm never sure how to classify these films. Most reviews and film databases conflict with each other.

If those aren't western films, how would you classify them?
I think you are getting two different movies mixed up.

The Electric Horseman was a movie with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, where he plays a washed out, ex rodeo player and 'celebrity cowboy', hired to promote a breakfast cereal...but he realises the company are drugging the horse he uses and decides to steal it. It's a kind of David and Goliath story, with Redford finding redemption and eventually sobering up, and also having a romance with Fonda's new reporter. Dated fare, but wathable.

Urban Cowboy with John Travolta is probably the film you are thinking of. It stars Debra Winger and Scott Glenn and revolves around the lives and loves of people in a western themed bar. Some very good C and W music and even some greats like Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Daniels and Johnny Lee. It's a love triangle of sorts, but the plot also revolves around a mechanical bull contest in the bar. Reasonably entertaining, Travolta sort of dances in it, and Scott Glenn is very good.
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Old 31-03-2013, 09:28
Ted Cunterblast
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Duel at Diablo...James Garner, Sidney Poitier, Dennis Weaver, Bill Travers, Bibi Anderson

It was a rather unconventional, 'modern' western for the time, Garner played a scout whose former Indian wife had been killed, Andersen coming to terms with her baby being fathered by an Indian brave, plus Poitier as a black gunfighter.

Like I say...not quite your conventional western. Plus the score was somewhat more modern and kind of jazz-tinged for a western.

But the overiding impression of my first viewing back in the 70's on tv was of something a lot more adult, serious, grown-up than you had seen before.

One scene really left a strong inpression on me...Weaver's character is captured by the Indians, and you hear his screams from afar as he is being tortured all night long, though you never actually see it.

Next day, his colleagues find what's left of him..still alive, tied to a wagon wheel, and apparently tortured by having every every inch of his body burned slowly. You never really get told of this, and you don't really see the results of the torture, but it's the description and reaction of the other characters that convey the horror of what has happened...

Of course, he is released from his agony...but the very thought of what the character went through was enough to give me nightmares for a while!
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Old 31-03-2013, 12:50
JMTD
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re Gunsmoke (also called Gunlaw in the UK)

Weaver was not that short, but the sheriff (called Matt Dillon in the show) was played by a guy called James Arness, who was over 6'6" tall. - and Weaver's part was played for laughs a bit, I recall "Mr Dillon, Mr Dillon"


wow - I just looked here - over 600 episodes of this!!!

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/gunsmoke.htm
Airs everyday on TCM, was massive in the US and one of the longest running shows in US history ('55 to '75).

Watched Destry Rides Again for the first time the other day, bloody brilliant. Dietrich does such a brilliant job here.
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Old 31-03-2013, 17:43
Takae
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I think you are getting two different movies mixed up.

The Electric Horseman [...]

Urban Cowboy [...]
You were right. I was thinking of both films when I did the list, but ended up treating them as a single film. I stand corrected. Thanks.
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Old 31-03-2013, 22:40
gemma-the-husky
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Airs everyday on TCM, was massive in the US and one of the longest running shows in US history ('55 to '75).

Watched Destry Rides Again for the first time the other day, bloody brilliant. Dietrich does such a brilliant job here.
The sequel, Destry, with Audie Murphy as Destry's non gun-toting son was really good, too.
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