Friday, June 17, 2011

Movie Collection Highlights: Westerns

ShaneLast week was Kurosawa films, this week I've chosen westerns to focus on. And while Mantor might not have a tremendously deep western collection, I do think we have some gems:
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance--John Ford directed it, and it stars Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne. "A senator, who became famous for killing a notorious outlaw, returns for the funeral of an old friend and tells the truth about his deed."
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly--The Clint Eastwood classic. It brings shifty eyes to a whole new level of zen. "A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery."
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid--Paul Newman and Robert Redford should have been in 20 movies together. At least. But at least they were together for this one. "Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close."
  • Rio Bravo--Howard Hawks was another big figure in early westerns. This is a great example of why. John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and Dean Martin help, too. "A small-town sheriff in the American West enlists the help of a cripple, a drunk, and a young gunfighter in his efforts to hold in jail the brother of the local bad guy."
  • The Searchers--Another Wayne/Ford classic. "As a Civil War veteran spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians, his motivation becomes increasingly questionable."
  • Stagecoach--The movie that put John Wayne on the map. "A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process"
  • Shane--You'll be saying "Shane!" over and over for at least the next three days. Probably more. "A weary gunfighter attempts to settle down with a homestead family, but a smoldering settler/rancher conflict forces him to act."
  • Unforgiven--Eastwood returns to the western genre, older and possibly wiser. "Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man."
  • The Wild Bunch--Well known for bringing gore and brutal violence to the genre. "An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them."
  • High Noon--Some fine suspense, and Gary Cooper. "A marshall, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him."
There are some more in addition to that, but I didn't want to give them all away--some of the fun of a library is the joy of discovery, after all. Anyway--how about it? Are we missing any complete and utter classics that you're abhorred we've forgotten? Make a suggestion! I'm always listening. How  many of these have you seen? I'm 9/10. I haven't gotten around to The Wild Bunch yet, but I will.

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