Western

William A. Fraker – Monte Walsh (1970)

Synopsis:
Monte Walsh (Lee Marvin ) and his pal Chet Rollins (Jack Palance) are two over the hill cowboys seeking work in the town of Harmony, Arizona in the final days of the Old West. As barbed wire and railways steadily eliminate the need for the cowboy, Monte and his friends are left with fewer and fewer options. New work opportunities are available to them, but the freedom of the open prairie is what they long for. Eventually, they all must say goodbye to the lives they knew, and try to make a new start. Read More »

Hugo Fregonese – The Raid (1954)

A group of confederate prisoners escape to Canada and plan to rob the banks and set fire to the small town of Saint Albans in Vermont. To get the lie of the land, their leader spends a few days in the town and finds he is getting drawn into its life and especially into that of an attractive widow and her son. Read More »

Sergio Leone – Per un pugno di dollari AKA Fistful of Dollars (1964)

Synopsis:
The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood) enters the Mexican village of San Miguel in the midst of a power struggle among the three Rojo brothers (Antonio Prieto, Benny Reeves, Sieghardt Rupp) and sheriff John Baxter (Wolfgang Lukschy). When a regiment of Mexican soldiers bearing gold intended to pay for new weapons is waylaid by the Rojo brothers, the stranger inserts himself into the middle of the long-simmering battle, selling false information to both sides for his own benefit. Read More »

Sergio Leone – C’era una volta il West AKA Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Synopsis:
There’s a single piece of land around Flagstone with water on it, and rail baron Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti) aims to have it, knowing the new railroad will have to stop there. He sends his henchman Frank (Henry Fonda) to scare the land’s owner, McBain (Frank Wolff), but Frank kills him instead and pins it on a known bandit, Cheyenne (Jason Robards). Meanwhile, a mysterious gunslinger with a score to settle (Charles Bronson) and McBain’s new wife, Jill (Claudia Cardinale), arrive in town. Read More »

John Huston – The Misfits (1961)

Synopsis:
The final film of stars Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe is an elegy for the death of the Old West from writer Arthur Miller and director John Huston. Gable stars as Gay Langland, an aging hand traveling the byways and working at rodeos with his two comrades, Guido (Eli Wallach) and young Perce Howland (Montgomery Clift). The three men come up with a plan to corral some misfit mustangs and sell them for dog food, but Gay’s new girlfriend Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe), a high-minded ex-stripper who has just divorced her husband Ray (Kevin McCarthy) in Reno, is appalled by the plan. Although both Guido and Perce are also in love with Roslyn, she stands by Gay, sure that in the end he will do the right thing, even as he and his pals begin their planned roundup.
— Karl Williams Read More »

John Sturges – The Magnificent Seven [+commentary] (1960)

Synopsis:
A remake of “The Seven Samurai.” Seven men are picked to defend a Mexican village from banditos that come every now and then to take whatever the town has grown since their last visit. When they are hired, they go to the town and teach the villagers how to defend themselves. When the leader of the bandits comes, they fight him and his men off. The second time he comes, the villagers give the seven to them, due to a heated argument. The leader of the bandits takes their guns and throws them out of town. He gives them horses and gives their guns back to them when they are far out of town. The seven decide that they aren’t going to run, and head back to the village for a final showdown. Read More »

Frank Perry – ‘Doc’ (1971)

New Beverly Cinema writes:
Director Frank Perry deconstructs the legends of Doc Holliday (Stacey Keach) and Wyatt Earp (Harris Yulin) with a vengeance in this superb revisionist take on what went down in Tombstone at the OK Corral. Alcoholic former dentist and gunslinging gambler Holliday settles in Arizona to help treat his tuberculosis, wins one of the Clanton gang’s wives, Kate (Faye Dunaway) in a game of poker and runs into old friend, Wyatt (Harris Yulin). Keach hits just the right tone with his portrayal of the dissolute idealist who is alternately at odds with those closest to him but also a loyal friend. Yulin’s Earp is a conflicted, ambitious man, believing in the rule of law, but also a calculating politician campaigning for sheriff, ready to go up against the most powerful interests in town – which just happen to be the Clantons. Read More »