Thursday, March 20, 2008

I took everyone's advice, and ignored the news and instead watched 3:10 to Yuma on Movies on Demand. First off, I'm new to the whole DVR thingamabob, so the fact that you can pause and stop the movie seems like magic to me . . .

Anywhoo, I grew up watching westerns with my dad and brother, so I appreciate a good oater, and this is one. Russell Crowe is really good as outlaw Ben Wade, as is Christian Bale as good guy Dan Evans. Best line of the movie - Crowe to Peter Fonda's McElroy: "McElroy, I have always liked you, but you talk too damn much. Even bad men love their mothers.'

As a girl, my favorite western was True Grit, except I always had to close my eyes at the scene where the guy gets his fingers cut off.

High Plains Drifter is my favorite spaghetti western by far, and I've always been fascinated by the man with no name. For years I thought it was Marshall Jim Duncan's brother come to avenge his brother's death, but have come to see him as an avenging angel come to wreek havoc on the town of Lago. This idea is suggested at the end of the movie as the stranger leaves town and rides past Mordecai, carving the Marshall's name on a cross marking his grave. "I never did know your name" says Mordecai, "Yes, you do" says the stranger, as the camera pans to Marshall's name on the cross, and the stranger disappears into the horizon.

Apparently, Eastwood himself saw it both ways too: During an interview on Inside the Actors Studio, Eastwood commented that earlier versions of the script made the Stranger the dead marshal's brother. He favored a less explicit and more supernatural interpretation, however.

Eastwood uses the avenging angel/ghost imagery in Pale Rider as well, another of my favorite Eastwood westerns (along with Unforgiven). The idea that the Preacher/Pale Rider is a supernatural being is suggested early in the film when he is shown with six bullet wounds on his back—wounds that a mere mortal could not survive. On the other hand, when has any Eastwood character been a mere mortal? The character arrives riding a pale horse at the same moment that a teenage girl—who had earlier asked help from God—reads from the Bible in Revelations of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse, Death riding on a pale horse. The movie ends with the girl crying out to the stranger as he rides into the hills: "Goodbye Preacher. I love you."

Will 3:10 to Yuma hold up as well as these other westerns have? Only time will tell, but it was a helluva good flick.


Blogger sage said...

I have not yet seen 3:10 to Yuma--the movie theaters here don't keep films very long and it was gone before I got to see it. However, I think it's on my nexflix list.

Back in the summer of '88 and '90, I directed a camp not far from where Pale Rider was filmed. It's been a while since I seen that movie, but I enjoyed it and had forgotten about the reading from Revelation at the beginning...

The genre of "westerns" and its variations including the "anti-westerns" provide for interesting movies.

5:32 AM  
Blogger EditThis said...

I liked 3:10 as well.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

I was never interested in western's, I must admit, but I decided, though, to check out 3:10 To Yuma, and I loved it.

7:57 AM  

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