rohanaka

Western Movie Rambles

8,363 posts in this topic

My main reason for starting this thread is that I just watched The Big Country tonight and did not know where to post these comments....I don't know how to post movie photos on this site, and since I can't classify EVERY western as my favorite (or can I ?) I thought it might be nice to have a place to meander through a few westerns from time to time without having to start a new thread for each one....so taking a cue from our good friend Miss Goddess--I borrowed her "stroke of genius" and decided to open a "Western" movie rambles thread. (April--hope you don't mind-they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!) :-) And if anyone wants to post their movies for discussion on here, you are more than welcome...or if not that is ok too.

 

What did you western fans think of The Big Country? I had not seen this one in YEARS--maybe even decades. In fact, I had the story all mixed up in my head when I first started watching it...but then everything started falling into place.

 

I liked it when Heston's character tried to get Peck to ride "Old Thunder" (the horse who couldn't be broke) and Gregory Peck was smart enough to figure out what was going on. The way Peck's character handled that situation told me everything I needed to know about who he was as a human being and how he was going to conduct himself for the rest of the story....and then later when he came back without the big audience and took the challenge on his terms....that was really one of my favorite parts. And wasn't Jean Simmons just LOVELY-even though she is really not made up to be the "pretty one" compared to Carrol Baker.

 

And boy oh boy--those two old men sure did hate each other. I think one of the most powerful moments was when Heston stood up to the Major and more or less told him he wouldn't be his "bully" anymore and all the men stood with him...and then when the Major rides off alone--one by one--they all show up riding through the canyon behind him--starting with Heston. It was such a powerful moment that said so much about how they all respected the Major-- and yet, all I could do was find myself wishing they were going for a more honorable reason then just the fact that the old man just really hated Burl Ives' guts. (kind of a sad commentary to see so many men display so much integrity for such an unworthy cause) Don't want to say too much more because I probaby am getting too close to "spoiler" territory.

 

I won't go so far as to say this is one of my favorite westerns--but I was really glad to be able to see it tonight. And despite the strong cast and the powerful story, for me the best part of this entire film was the SCENERY!! Que' Bonita!! (By the way--the little ranch hand guy--Ramon--also one of my favorite parts) :-)

 

Thanks for letting me share...Feel free to "Ramble On"

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Good idea. I love westerns so maybe I'll be busy here.

 

I really like this movie. The contrast of Peck's way of handling things versus the west's way is a great outlet for the bigger conflict in the film. Peck proves that he is his own man and he won't be bullied or made to anything he is not ready to do and only for his own reasons.

 

A great cast. Ives and Connors are quite good in their unflattering roles. Jean Simmons and Carroll Baker are as lovely as they come but Baker's character is a little too self centered for my tastes (and Peck's.)

 

It might be a bit long but I think for an epic western it is most enjoyable.

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Hi Kathy! Brilliant! I'm glad you started this "Rambles". :)

 

I LOVE The Big Country, it was always a favorite western from the very beginning because I

practically grew up watching it on TV, along with the Anthony Mann westerns with Jimmy.

 

I think Peck's character is one of the most interesting and admirable in all westerns. And he's

an Easterner! :) (so was Doc Holliday, right?) What I love about him is that in most ways, he

really personifies the individualistic spirit that is such an integral part of the image of the western

Hero, and yet he's in conflict with all these westerners, mainly because he refuses to kowtow

to their notions of how he should behave. Or at any rate, he doesn't want to follow their schedule

for when he should do what he should do or for their reasons. As Jean Simmons alluded to Carol,

he seemed to have an unwavering fear of being accused of boasting.

 

This movie contains one of my favorite Charlton Heston performances. He's a very conflicted man

who comes across, at first, as very simplistic. In fact, I was thinking last night that all the members

of the Terrill household were extremely complex, and also extremely compelling and interesting.

I have to add that, while I hold Peck and Jean Simmons characters to be the nobler and more

exemplary of the entire story, they are rather dull really in comparison. For the first time, too,

I even considered maybe Peck was wrong to dump Carol. Not for his own sake, I think he'd

be more content with Jean, but for the sake of dramatic storytelling for once I'm glad we didn't

have to see them from the start as a couple. His and Caroles' complete mutual incomprehension

of one another is so fascinating to find within a western! They were so happy and in love when

she was wherever they met (back East?) but as soon as he showed up in her territory all

their differences suddenly sprang up in sharp relief.

 

One of my favorite exchanges is at the engagement party in the Terrill house when one of the

guests makes the oft-repeated observation to Peck that "it's a BIG country" and then asks

him if he's ever seen anything as big? To which Peck replies "Yes" and the guest is astonished

and asks "What?" "One or two Oceans." It's as if he insulted him by claiming anything could

be as big as their land (I suppose it's Texas, that's certainly Texas talk :P ).

 

Wonderful film about which I continue to find new things to admire. But then, I feel that way

about several of Wyler's best movies. Too bad he returned so seldom to the western genre that

started him out in his directing career.

 

GregTheBigCountry.jpg

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"One or two Oceans

 

I about busted up laughing when he said that-I'd forgotten all about that part, its been so long since I saw this film. The poor fella just didn't quite get the response he was expecting. And you know-if I have to criticize anything I think it would be the OVER use of the phrase 'it's a big country"....I lost count of how many times it was repeated....but it may have been an attempt to insert a bit of comedy because the more times McKay heard it the quicker he started to respond because eventually he got to where he would just interupt people when they tried to tell him about it and say..."I know...it's a big country"

 

I liked Heston too. He turned out a lot better than I first thought he would. I think he could have maybe gone on to maybe work for Peck someday (but then again, maybe not) (again--it's been so long since I saw this--I couldn't even remember which character he was) And this character would be a perfect "grey guy" kinda role..caught between the two ideals.

 

And I too wondered about the whole Baker/Peck romance history--how could they be so caught up in each other at the beginning and still be so clueless about one another. I can maybe see that out of her character... but it seemed to be a bit thoughtless on his part. Surely he'd seen these "spoiled" tendencies in her before....maybe it was a case of love being blind. :-) Personally, I'd have probably thrown something at the tv if he'd taken her back.

 

Another thing I noticed watching this time out too was that I didn't totally disagree with either of the two patriarchs....they both were right in some respects about each other and about their situations...but it was just a case of how much more wrong they were in the other things. And I have to admit (though grudgingly) a certain amount of respect for Ive's character and the fact that his concept of honor was superior to Terril's. He was right about the fact that you don't go dragging women and children into stuff like that (although he did sort of overlook that thought when he decided to have Jean Simmons brought out to his ranch for a "visit") and they way he handled that duel between Peck and Connors was very telling of how he really understood how WRONG some of his ways (and his family"s ways) actually were. But boy, could he be a mean old you know what....when he answered his son ( who asked " Did you want me Pa?" ) with " I did before you were born"...not hard to tell how Connors ended up like that with such a hard hearted guy for a role model.

 

(Chris--I agree-these roles were VERY "unflattering" for a couple of guys I love to think of as the "Friendly Snowman" of beloved children's holdiay programming and the guy known most popularly as "The Rifle Man") :-)

 

Glad you guys think this thread will work out....hope to read lots of interesting posts from everybody!! :-)

 

Message was edited by: rohanaka

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I think this movie may have contained Chuck Connors' best work as an actor. He's unbelievably

slimy as Ives' son. Since I watched this movie from childhood on and only came to discover

"The Rifleman" recently, I always had the "Bad Chuck" image in my head, never the "good Chuck"

I would discover later on. What a switch! Of course, I prefer him as the good guy. But now

I can see why his good guys are more interesting---they have an edge and that's also why he

played baddies so well. He's a bit like Robert Ryan in that respect. They both had an almost

unbelievable capacity to show rage and threat and so they got typecast. Connors was not

as typecast because of his TV show.

 

I like Ives' character, I must admit. He's less of a hypocrite than Bickford's character, it's

true. But he certainly didn't bring up his kids as well. It's significant, I think, that both men

are apparently widowers. I wouldn't be surprised if living with them is what killed their wives! :P

All of this reminds me a bit of Anthony Mann's *The Furies*. Especially the Terrill father/

daughter relationship. Has anyone noticed the similarities? It's as if Carole was so

attached to her father that no other man could measure up---except maybe Heston if she

could get over her class consciousness.

 

I wonder if _Bronxgirl_ has seen this?

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April:

 

You bring up an interesting point about the men being widowers but who is the woman who is at the Hannassey place when Bickford comes over the first time after Peck gets roughed up? My initial thought is that it is Mrs. Hannassey because Bickford asks for Rufus rather than Mr. Hannassey.

If she is the wife then she completely disappears through the rest of the film.

 

It's been a few years since I've seen "The Furies" but didn't Stanwyck do something to upset her father or was she a little nasty to everyone else?

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You're right, Chris, there was a woman who I think was Mrs Hennessey---I totally forgot

about her, poor thing. She seemed kind of "faded", deliberately so I think on the director's

part. Maybe Wyler had in mind to comment on the hellish life she led there.

 

Stanwyck's daughter character was more conflicted with her father than Carroll Baker's. In The

Furies she's almost as much a competitor with her father as she is a daughter but where

the women are similar is that both clearly have their father in mind as the "ideal man"

and any potential lover would have to match up with him. As I see it, *The Furies* is more

focused on psychological complexity where any such issues are spread out in the canvas that

is The Big Country.

 

Director William Wyler on the set of The Big Country

WillieWyleronTheBigCountry.jpg

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Whoa April--these are great songs! I especially loved the Rio Bravo tunes-- I think I like the Rifle Pony Song best myself--although my daughter is watching this all with me and hasn't stopped singing "Cindy--Cindy" since I played that one....she's sitting here singing it over and over...and then she belts out a great big.."I'll marry you some TIIIIIIIME!" I think you have a winner! :-)

 

Rio Bravo is one of my favorites. I always enjoy Walter Brennan and he makes this move so much fun...plus I think Martin did a great job and of course you can't go wrong with the Duke. :-)

 

These songs all make me want to spend the weekend watching some good old westerns...hmmm. :-)

 

I haven't seen The Furies, but I think this is one you mentioned to me before because it is on my list already. Will keep a watch out for it. :-)

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"Git along home, Cindy, Cindy, git along home, Cindy, Cindy...." Love it. Your daughter

has great taste! ;) You know, in Raoul Walsh's *The Tall Men* they use a song that sounds

awfully close to this one, Jane Russell sings it and it's really cute.

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Your daughter has great taste!

 

She is quite the little music lover. I think we spent about 30 minutes checking out all the Youtube stuff with the other songs listed around all the ones you posted...she REALLY liked the Cary Grant ones they had when we checked out your post over on that other threatd--Kind of a Drag and You're Just to Good to be True were probably her favorite. If you didn't have time to check out some of the other ones--you ought to go back in there sometime...there's some good "oldies" tunes in there (and the Cary Grant videos are pretty cool.)

 

I believe there may be a couple of different versions of the "Cindy Cindy"song and the tune also gets used with other words too---I think it was a popular song back in the day.

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I noticed that CGMTV guy who made the Only Angels Have Wings tribute made several other

videos, too, and I peeked at one with clips from Suzy (with Jean Harlow). He does good work

matching up movies to the songs. I will look at some of the others---it's so interesting how

much classic movie related stuff there is on YouTube!

 

By the way, I think it's so wonderful you're sharing this stuff with your little girl, believe

it or not, she's never going to forget it, not really.

 

Message was edited by: MissGoddess

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sharing this stuff with your little girl

 

We have a lot of fun. She already knows who John Wayne is by sight- (poor kid--she hasn't had much choice in that one) but she also knows his voice. She really liked that recording thing that Bronxgirl posted a while back..I saved it and every now and then I will say something to her with it (usually the "baby sister" one) And she cracks up everytime She is getting to where she also recognizes some of Mama and Daddy's other classic movie favorites. She sort of knows who Cary Grant and Gary Cooper are and she certainly recognizes Maureen O'Hara (She knows TQM is my fave)

 

Whenever she sees me on here she wants to know who I am talking to--she knows your name and Jack's and Bronxgirl too. She's only 5 but she reads at about a 3rd grade level (yes I am bragging just a little) and so she knows everything I am saying when she watches me type. The other day she asked me who April was and I told her your TCM name was MissGoddess....and she said--why does she have two names?? :-) Oh--and she thinks Laffite's name is pronounced "Laff--Ite" (Long I sound) I was posting a reply to him the other day and she happened to walk by. Too funny.

 

I don't always have her in here with me when I am on here because she probably has more keeping her busy than I do--but she is "in the room" sometimes if I am on here in the afternoon or early evenings. Usually she has school work or other things keeping her busy--and she and daddy do a lot of "outdoors stuff" during the summer. So occassionally I get to have a moment to myself...and other times being on here is a "family project" :-)

 

Who knows... maybe someday she will become some sort of classic film historian or something and write a book and dedicate it to her old mom....right after she gets done being a ballerina, a princess, a doctor, and a veterinarian. :-)

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That's so sweet, Kathy---you're girl sounds like a very smart little cookie, but that's not

surprising. ;)

 

I can think of lots of classic movies that have princesses (Shirley Temple's, A Little Princess), ballerinas (Leslie Caron in The Glass Slipper, and of course, The Red Shoes), and

even doctors (Kay Francis played them a couple of times and Barbara Stanwyck did, too) but I'm

stuck to think of a single veterinarian---at least not a female one! I can only think of *Dr Doolittle*. :)

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Dr Doolittle

 

April, she would probably enjoy all these movies--but so far the only one she's seen is the newer version of Dr.Dolittle w/ Eddie Murphy. I can't remember too much about the one w/ Rex Harrison but they are very different movies....as much as she likes animals, I might have to go find that Harrison one--she'd probably enjoy the music too. ( I can just hear her now..."what's a push-me-pull-you???" )

 

I have decided after your duke cowboy music posts last night--to check out some of those OLD movies that are on that DVD package we've been talking about... (did you get yours delivered yet??) They are all only about an hour a piece, maybe can find some time to view at least a few of them this weekend. I don't know about you, but I don't think that I have even heard of a lot of these titles...so will have to see what they are all about. I'm sure some are better than others. Let me know if you have any "recommendations".

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I have decided after your duke cowboy music posts last night--to check out some of those OLD movies that are on that DVD package we've been talking about... (did you get yours delivered yet??) They are all only about an hour a piece, maybe can find some time to view at least a few of them this weekend. I don't know about you, but I don't think that I have even heard of a lot of these titles...so will have to see what they are all about. I'm sure some are better than others. Let me know if you have any "recommendations".

 

I did receive it and hope to get to the documentary this weekend. i don't know when I may get around to the movies---Angel and the Bad Man is on there, isn't it? I can recommend that one it's a sentimental favorite of mine. It was the first one Wayne produced for Batjac and then, of course, it's got dear old Harry in it.

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Yep-Angel and the Badman is in there....that and McClintock are really the only two films most folks would consider "big name" on there and they were the real reason I bought this set since the whole thing only cost 5 bucks....but there's a whole bunch of little 50-55 minute movies....I am sure they were all made before the Duke became a household name....and I am sure that some are pretty forgettable....but I bet there are some gems in among all the other little "stepping stones" . Will have to watch and see.

 

Here are the other titles--maybe someone else has watched them and would know. These were all made in the 1930's (and all have running times between 50-60 minutes)

 

The Dawn Rider

The Desert Trail

The Lucky Texan

'Neath Arizona Skies

Rainbow Valley

The Trail Beyond

Texas Terror

The Star Packer

Paradise Canyon

Riders of Destiny

West of the Divide

Winds of the Wasteland

Hell Town

The Lawless Frontier

The Man From Utah

Randy Rides Alone

Blue Steel

Sagebrush Trail

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AHHHHH! I was just "flipping through" the TV channels and....RIO BRAVO is on AMC!!! (and April after you just posted that YouTube stuff last night) You'd think I would just break down and buy a stupid tv guide or something once in a while so I could keep better track of this sort of thing!! I already missed the first 45 minutes or so...plus I am going to have to leave and run some errands here in a little while any way....so I am calling this one a miss!! :-( I have got to get more of these favorites on tape or DVD so this doesn't keep happening to me!!!!!!!!

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Ha! Don't worry, AMC airs Rio Bravo quite often. Duke seems to be the one classic actor they haven't bailed on, yet.

 

I'm ashamed to admit I haven't got the dvd yet---they keep releasing new version! The "Essential" version, the "Deluxe" version, the "Ultimate Collector's Edition" version and of course there will be BluRay if there isn't already.

 

Encore Westerns has been advertising that they are airing the new restored version of HOW THE WEST WAS WON. I've seen tons of ads but no movie. I like the movie and am curious to see it without those annoying lines but not enough to buy it. It's so long and my favorite part really is the little bit Pappy directed.

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HOW THE WEST WAS WON

 

I love this movie...I haven't seen it in years. Believe it or not, the first time I ever watched it was when I was in the 7th grade...they showed it during study hall....for like an entire week or so...it was a lot of fun. That is also where I saw "The Omega Man" for the first time too--(HA! I can't imagine anyone ever thinking that was a good movie for kids that age to watch in a school setting...but it was the mid 70's and maybe they just didn't think about parental ratings and such as much as folks do nowdays...either that or maybe I just think about it more than most people do nowdays....any way--I'm kind of a stickler for not letting kids just watch anything and everything.) (Call me Mama Killjoy.)

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>>Encore Westerns has been advertising that they are airing the new restored version of HOW THE WEST WAS WON. I've seen tons of ads but no movie. I like the movie and am curious to see it without those annoying lines but not enough to buy it. It's so long and my favorite part really is the little bit Pappy directed.

 

You won't see the lines because Encore only airs pan-and-scan films anyway. I'm being sarcastic here.

 

Judging by the promo on TCM's Classic Movie Report, the lines are still there, but they aren't as apparent since the color in the different panels matches up better now.

 

I like the scenes with villainous Walter Brennan and the ending on the train is spectacular. Yvonne DeCarlo's stuntman husband was severely injured filming that and to help her out financially, the Duke gave her a role in "McLintock."

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Rohanaka:

 

I don't know of any cable or dish company that doesn't have a 'reminder' type of setup on their system. Look it up in your book, or call the cable/dish company, they will usually walk you through the details of the timer. Also, your TV doesn't need to be on in order to tape or DVR. I do a lot of my taping during the night and catch it the next day.

 

Good luck

 

Anne

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I have seen most of those Wayne "Z" westerns. They are for the most part basically the same. Some have a group called "The Three Mesquiteers." One is a ventriloquist. He's (Max Terhune) is the goofball of the group. "Randy Rides Alone" passes Wayne off as a singing cowboy.

 

The highlight of any of these movies is the stunt work. Yakima Canutt was prominent in many of these so the action is the highlight. Also, it is fun to see some very young actors who you might recognize.

 

An ok way to kill an hour if you are wondering what people were seeing in 1934 on a Saturday afternoon.

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Hi Anne

 

I don't know for sure about a schedule reminder on the cable we have..it's pretty basic. I did however look up some of my faves on TCM's database and ask for email reminders so I would be able to remember to catch them when they're on. I used to do a lot of recording on our old VCR but it bit the dust, and I got a new vcr/dvd combo thing from my dad earlier this summer. But the first time I tried to record anything on tape with it, I could not figure out how to set the stupid channel--you may not have seen my other posts, but I am a self proclaimed "technophobe" :-) I got the instuction book out the other day to see how to set it up and am hoping to figure it out for the next time I want to record something.

 

Will see what I can find out about the schedule reminder. Sounds like it would come in handy. Thanks.

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Randy Rides Alone

 

A singing cowboy! Now that bumps this one up to the top of my list....I am hoping to catch at least 3 of these later tonight or maybe tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for the info!

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