Sunday, August 12, 2007


I’m working on a new project. Part of the research has been watching westerns. (I know, a tough job but it has to be done.) Among current actors Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Robert Duvall, and Kevin Costner all do well in the genre. Heck, these men probably were cowboys in their past lives. The superstar among the still-making-movies group, however, is Eastwood. He cut his acting teeth as Rowdy Yates on the 50’s TV series Rawhide. He also made a few unremembered westerns in his youth as well as films like Francis (the Talking Mule) Joins the Navy. But Eastwood’s career took a giant leap in the mid-Sixties. He went to Italy and made a low-budget western with a guy named Sergio Leone called A Fistful of Dollars. Since then he’s been in nine more westerns and one of them won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. Here’s the list (The Beguiled, Paint Your Wagon and Coogan’s Bluff are not westerns really … two of them may take place in the general historical time period but they are not part of the genre. TB is a Civil War moody something and PYW is a bad musical. CB is a modern day western with a cowboy-goes-to-the-city scenario that is better in idea than in execution. The film just doesn’t hold up after all this time .)

Anyway, here’s the Eastwood western list:

A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Hang ‘em High
Two Mules for Sister Sara
Joe Kidd
High Plains Drifter
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Pale Rider

Unforgiven won the awards and may be Eastwood’s last word on the genre (I hope not but then I hope they'll continue Deadwood, too, over at HBO). The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly holds the Number One spot on the IMDb viewers best western list. For me, The Outlaw Josey Wales is my favorite Eastwood western. Even with Sondra Locke in it, the movie is just totally cool.

Josey Wales: When I get to likin' someone, they ain't around long.
Lone Watie (played by the great Chief Dan George): I notice when you get to DISlikin' someone they ain't around for long neither.

Josey Wales: Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy.

Yep …

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