Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
When I was younger, I wasn\'t a fan of Westerns. When I was growing up, they didn\'t make all that many. On TV, the movies that showed were usually old black-and-whites of low quality. Generally you would see massive Indian attacks that were happening for no reason, and a few white guys would pick them off. I did like Bonanza and The Big Valley. But oddly, from what I can remember, I probably didn\'t really think of them as Westerns. Maybe for me it was just a movie category back then.
I found when new ones were made, I liked them. Then more recently, say 15 years ago, I began to rent older ones. Now it\'s a favorite genre.
In the past year, I have rented the following: The Wild Bunch, The Ox-Bow Incident, Ride the High Country, The Man from Laramie, Ride with the Devil, Duel in the Sun, and Winchester 73. Most were excellent. I probably resonated least with The Wild Bunch and Ride the High Country, both made by Sam Peckinpah. Some of what he does appeals to me, but some doesn\'t. My inner Ayn Rand was telling me what she hated about the movie and wondered why I didn\'t turn it off. Well, a few scenes of beauty in the Wild Bunch made me think perhaps his cynicism was to make room for real goodness. I was misled. (I\'m starting to wonder if the presence of William Holden isn\'t a sign that a movie is going to bother me on this score.) There\'s a large element of brutishness in his movies. This is different from just having rough characters. I also think Westerns are best when they are exploring justice, rather than its absence. The Ox-Bow Incident was a real treat on this score. The characters were gritty, but the exploration it made was intelligent. The world it portrayed reminded me a lot of 3:10 to Yuma (the old one) on the outside. And I immediately knew it was going somewhere I wanted to follow.
Anyone else have some old favorites? And reasons for why? What draws you to this genre of movie?
10:32 am Pacific Standard Time