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LawrenceA

Recently Watched Westerns

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"The Cowboys" - 1971 - directed by Mark Rydell and starring John Wayne -

It's an extraordinary Western in which an aging man is forced to hire boys to get his cattle to market - the environment poses many difficult problems, especially for the boys who are trying to grow up and for Wil Andersen (Mr.Wayne's character) who is trying to protect the boys, especially from a group of low-lifes who want to steal the cattle - Mr. Wayne is at his very best, because he pulls no punches and the boys are able to convery their awkwardness and confusion - the ending, which is highly unexpected, is, in its' way, perfection - this film should be both famous and celebrated - it's an unusual achievement for a Western - but then this one is far more than a Western.

 cowboys_group.jpg



 

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Broken Arrow (1950) is a gorgeously photographed Technicolor Western, and as noted by Ben Mankiewicz in his introduction, the film marked the start of Hollywood portraying Native Americans as human beings rather than crude caricatures.  Jimmy Stewart, one of cinema's great humanists, plays a white man who, against the advice of skeptical white settlers, sets out to forge a lasting peace between the settlers and the Apache, who are led by Cochise, played with gravitas and nobility by Jeff Chandler, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role. 

The only flaw, and it's a minor one, is the familiar Hollywood plot device that has Stewart's character falling in love with a much younger Indian woman, played by Debra Paget. But the acting is effective enough to make this relationship quite touching. Director Delmer Daves maintains a seamless pace, allowing the characters to take center stage.  Broken Arrow has everything you want in a Western: action, pathos, and the added redemptive understanding of two cultures bound by a common humanity.

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7 hours ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

Broken Arrow (1950) is a gorgeously photographed Technicolor Western, and as noted by Ben Mankiewicz in his introduction, the film marked the start of Hollywood portraying Native Americans as human beings rather than crude caricatures.  Jimmy Stewart, one of cinema's great humanists, plays a white man who, against the advice of skeptical white settlers, sets out to forge a lasting peace between the settlers and the Apache, who are led by Cochise, played with gravitas and nobility by Jeff Chandler, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role. 

The only flaw, and it's a minor one, is the familiar Hollywood plot device that has Stewart's character falling in love with a much younger Indian woman, played by Debra Paget. But the acting is effective enough to make this relationship quite touching. Director Delmer Daves maintains a seamless pace, allowing the characters to take center stage.  Broken Arrow has everything you want in a Western: action, pathos, and the added redemptive understanding of two cultures bound by a common humanity.

The problem I had with this film was that Stewart and Paget shared no discernible chemistry. In fact LGBT critics could argue he had more chemistry with Chandler. It threw the whole thing off for me. 

Re: Ben's comments, it seems as if he's never seen MASSACRE (1934) which is in the TCM library. Richard Barthelmess plays a native man separated from his people who finds his way back to them and an appreciation of what his culture means. It's definitely not your typical Injun caricature.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_(film)

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I had never thought bout the lack of chemistry between Stewart and Paget.  Maybe it's because I'm so fond of those two actors that  I didn't even think about that.  Of course the age difference is obvious, but maybe it was common back then.  But no one can deny that it's a very enjoyable Western and the acting is great.  And it must have been a thrill for Ms. Paget to have a starring role like this so early in her career.  

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