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Acid Westerns


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I think this is a very interesting term. Here's what wikipedia says:

 

...a sub-genre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, like Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the 1960s counter-culture.

 

This said, the Encore Westerns Channel is airing two highly acclaimed acid westerns by director Monte Hellman this month. Both were filmed in Utah in the mid-60s and star Jack Nicholson and Millie Perkins.

 

- RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND...Nicholson wrote the screenplay and co-produced with Hellman. It airs on January 23.

 

- THE SHOOTING..with costars Warren Oates and Will Hutchins. It airs on January 28.

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>Those are two fascinating (and very similar) existential westerns -- no other pictures are quite like them. "Waiting for Godot" on the prairie.

 

I am eager to see RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND today. Maybe I will be disappointed, but everything I have read about it has sure whet my appetite.

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Just finished watching RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND. In this case, a low budget works well to tell a simpler story. I read that Millie Perkins complained that she was not able to wear the kind of make-up she was used to wearing in films. But when you think about it, women on the range in the 1880s really should look more plain and less made up. She looks perfect in this production-- nice touches of realism throughout.

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Watched THE SHOOTING. Terrific ending! Reminded me of the Zapruder film on JFK. I love how they used the western genre to re-present these ideas in a fictional film. And it was just three years after the president had been killed...so it seems much more timely and relevant than Oliver Stone's later long-winded treatment on the subject.

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  • 4 years later...

Jack Nicholson wrote several screenplays, though he is not often known for this skill. And Monte Hellman yeah...spearheaded 'acid' films of several varieties. He's a favorite of many cult flick fans; his rep is legendary. These two particular movies are very storied in the Nicholson canon. Made right after 'Head'? As I recall? Anyway.

I am a big fan of 'The Shooting' and rank it in my top twenty westerns of all time. The sub-genre is indeed a fine one. Oh and thump-a-thump (goes my heart) for smokin' hot Millie Perkins. Zowie.

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