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A Lady's Choice-: 2 Westerns To Die For-- Two Rode Together & Red Sun


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Of all the genres in classic film I think the one I like the least is the Western. But the westerns that I love I'm very loyal to. Two of my favorites are Broken Lance and Alvarez Kelly.


This week wasn't even my birthday but I was lucky to get to see two more favorites-- Two Rode Together and Red Sun.


I have criteria for what makes a good Western for me personally--


* I have to believe that the starring actors are worth watching.

* I have to see some challenging and non-stereotypical roles for women.

* I have to see the issue of racism handled in an honest manner.


But most of all I have to make sure that John Wayne's name is not in the credits.


Having said all that, I have nothing against John Ford. I like the movies Cheyenne Autumn and Mary of Scotland -- two of my favorites.


Well, with all the western stuff they're showing on TCM I had to go to Get TV to see Two Rode Together.


When you remember how much you loved it as a kid, you really wonder if you're still going to like it as an adult. Well if it's a John Ford film, it's gotta hold up. And as an adult I can understand the content a lot better.


Initially I watched the film to see Richard Widmark and Jimmy Stewart interact and what kind of synergy they have. That is still there.


But seeing it as an adult woman, I was blown away at how diverse John Ford painted these women in this movie. How you can see their individuality. How

Women from different races, cultures and classes were able to have a voice in this film.


Yet, Ford still had time to show Andy Devine in some comic relief that was a hark back to those old days. Ford knew how to direct, he knew how to cast, he knew how to make movies.


Which takes me to Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa's favorite director is John Ford. Kurosawa discovered and developed a great actor named Toshiro Mifune.


Toshiro Mifune was a versatile actor, but he is renowned for his legendary Samurai roles. Comparisons between the samurai genre, jidaigeki, and westerns have been noted. This must be how he ended up in Red Sun.


The Red Sun is an ideal Western for me because it brings together two top International Stars-- one from Japan, Mifuni, and the other from France, Alain Delon-- to star in a western taking place in America with American Star Charles Bronson. The female star is the Swiss Ursula Andress, who plays a dominating and forceful character in this movie.


What I like about all of these stars from different countries is that you have a wonderful opportunity not just to see how people of different cultures work together, but to see exactly what happens with diversity-- as you see racial and sexist stereotypes interacting and imploding in such a situation.


This whole thing was produced by a conglomeration of French, Italian and Spanish producers and filmed in Spain by Terence Young-- the same director who directed Ursula Andress in the first James Bond movie Dr. No.


Young, who was British, delivered an American Western shot on location in Spain with an international cast all speaking in English. Believe it or not it does work. I hope you had a chance to see it.


I, for one, never get tired of looking at Toshiro Mifune or Alain Delon.

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