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Pale Imitation


slaytonf
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I don't mind Clint Eastwood repeatedly remaking For a Few Dollars More. It's a successful formula, and High Plains Drifter is decent. But to have the presumtion to rip off Shane as he does in Pale Rider is inexcusable. I guess it's another indication of his lack of originality. Shane is a monumental statement about human aspiration, courage, the passing of eras in American History, done by one of the great directors. Any attempt to recreate that, or retell it can only cheapen it, and trivialize it. But, as somebody said, you'll never go broke. . . .something, something, something.

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Good point, Slayton...TO a point, anyway.

 

In other words, while yes, this early Eastwood effort IS pretty much a Shane ripoff, I'm going to take exception to this one line of yours here:

 

>I guess it's another indication of his lack of originality.

 

You see, I think Eastwood's masterpiece of a Western, namely Unforgiven, is such a departure from ANY other Western ever made, that it invalidates your sentence.

 

Tell me, what other Western ever made presents all the major characters involved in totally fleshed-out detail, both the good AND bad in all of 'em, and as in real life?

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While I agree that Pale Rider is a rip off of Shane, I also believe that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

 

I don't see how it "cheapen it, and trivialize it". In fact here you are reminding us of Shane.

 

As for Unforgiven; I liked this movie expect the Gene Hackman character and how he plays it. Too one dimensional and just too mean bad. The role is camp in my view.

 

 

 

 

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People don't give horse sweat if Eastwood is copying Shane or not because the man delivers. First he leaves his hat for Stockburn to see and after killing all Stockburn's deputies, picks it up again. Preacher's saying the same thing to Stockburn that the man with no name said to Indio in few a few dollars more...*"Now we start".* That impacts the audience dramatically in a very visceral way and it always carries the day. Kinda like John Elder (Wayne) wackin' George Kennedy in the face with a?...yes, a wooden club in The Sons of Katie Elder. Eastwood's preacher, why he done good. :D

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Wow James, I gotta say Gene Hackman's Little Bill is my favorite of all of 'em in Unforgiven, and here's the reason why. He's portrayed as the most intelligent and knowing character in the movie but has the fatal flaw of being too egocentric and yes, as you noted, much too brutal.

 

Yep, I thought the way Hackman fleshed out this complicated character was magnificent, and evidently so did his fellow members of the Academy, 'cause you may recall that he took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for it.

 

(...of course then again I must admit here that I might be biased, as in my view Gene Hackman can do no wrong, as the guy has been my favorite "modern" actor for years)

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Well we can disagree about Hackman and the Little Bill character. (and I guess I disagree with the majority of the Academy as well). But Hackman is clearly one of the best actors of his generation. I fault the director (yea, that guy), on this one. I assume Clint was going for the contrast in the characters.

 

Someone that brutal, that makes that many enemies, would of been shot in the back by the time he was 40!

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First, I'd like to thank slayton for pointing out the *Pale Rider/Shane* similarities. Everyone I know would look at me funny when I'd mention it. My wife has had it with me yelling "SHANE!" when the girl starts yelling "PREACHER!" at the end!

 

 

I'd also like to remind whoever that "RIDER" is NOT an early Eastwood effort. Not by a long shot.

 

 

I can't disagree that many of Eastwood's westerns are rehashings of some of his earlier works. Or to put it another way, they follow the same formula. But that's true of westerns in general...they're formulaic. It's the FORMULA the western fan loves. How it's used comes second.

 

 

Departing from familiar formula as *Unforgiven* does, I have to agree with James about Little Bill. In real life he WOULD have been shot down early in life. Unless, as was subtly inferred, he was handy enough with a gun to make it near impossible. But the idea was for the audience to HATE Bill, and Hackman certainly achieved that.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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Well part of the standard Western formula is to have the audience hate the bad guy so the hero can even the score in the end. Unforgiven does that in spades. When I see the movie on TV I tend to skip the Little Bill parts (just too brutal for my taste), but I will make sure I'm there for the final killings (yea, revenge is sweet in a western!).

 

 

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> I guess it's another indication of his lack of originality.

 

I don't think there's been any originality in movie making since [Fred Ott sneezed|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wnOpDWSbyw].

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>Well part of the standard Western formula is to have the audience hate the bad guy so the hero can even the score in the end. Unforgiven does that in spades. When I see the movie on TV I tend to skip the Little Bill parts (just too brutal for my taste), but I will make sure I'm there for the final killings (yea, revenge is sweet in a western!).

 

Ya see James, THIS right here is why I think Unforgiven is a standout and original Western...the exact opposite what you've just stated here.

 

First, Eastwood's Will Munny is anything BUT a "hero" or even a very "admirable" protagonist in this film. And, even given the brutality which Hackman's Little Bill exhibits in this story, there IS something about his character which someone can find "admirable"...such as his belief that a revenge seeking vigilante such as Munny has no place in the soon-to-become modern West.

 

In other words and bringing this back to my earlier point that this film and how it so effectively shows all the major characters' good and bad aspects of their personalities and doesn't fall back into the old "White 10 gallon hatted good guy vs the black 10 gallon hatted bad guy" cliche, is what elevates this Western to the top or near top of all Westerns ever made.

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jamesjazzguitar, imitation is the sincerest form of thievery. Reminding one of Shane does not necessarily reflect well on the one doing the reminding, because they may suffer by the comparison. I do not like to spend a lot of time discussing why a not-so-good movie is so, becasue I'd rather spend it discussing why a fine film is so. But I will give you an example to show you what I mean when I say Eastwood cheapens Shane in his poaching on it. Starrett's vision in Shane is to establish a stable civilized life based on farming families. The placer miners are portrayed as desiring the same thing in Pale Rider. Yet it is impossible to base a stable society on placer mining as it is the most transient of economies, making a mockery of everything the miners are striving for. This outrageous irony was evidently lost on Eastwood.

 

As for The Unforgiven, I have to say first, I only saw it once a while ago, and I don't remember it so well. Still, I can't see why people praise it so highly. Not that it's bad. It follows the standard formula Eastwood uses for most of his westerns, and many of his other movies: man comes to town, man kills everyone, man leaves. I'm not damning him by this, it's a formula used successfully by many others. I've heard it described almost as an un-western, a movie debunking the glorification of violence commonly associated with westerns. Hard to see that, seeing how much of it there is in the movie. Characters go around saying how killing someone is really a bad thing, and it's really bad for you (let alone the one you kill). But that doesn't seem to keep them from going ahead and killing people. And I don't see in what way they suffer from it. Doesn't Eastwood's character go off to California and open a mercantile store?

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Dang, as soon as I posted this I felt I should of said something like 'so called hero' because Munny wasn't a white hat hero. But he was still the guy we knew would win in the end so there was no surprise the way the story ended. Thus I still say it was a very standard western. I also don't find Little Bill 'admirable' in the least (but I see you do put that in quotes like I should have with 'hero').

 

Note that here again Eastwood barrows from prior westerns like Liberty Valance and Red River (classic Wayne hero anti-hero roles).

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Clint's mysterious, no name, no background, ultra reticent, maybe

beyond human shtick is so well established that it really doesn't bother

me much.One sort of expects it. Yes, there's a lot of "borrowing" from

Shane, but to me that's no big deal either, though the teenage girl didn't

even get any hard candy like Joey. It's fairly entertaining, even with the

been there, done that feeling, and the hero killing dozens of folks without

getting a scratch. Again, one sort of accepts that from this type of

western. On a personal note, if I had found a big old chunk of gold like

that one miner did, I wouldn't go around waving it in the air to everybody

in the vicinity. I would have kept it very very close to my vest, literally.

He paid the price for his carelessness.

 

 

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