A miscellany of weekly ramblings on comics, art and film by Ted Mathot, storyboard artist and writer/artist/self-publisher of graphic novels and comics
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Western Inspiration


I didn't realize I'm a fan of western films until just recently...I had made a remark here at work a couple weeks back that I had only seen 3 or 4 in my life and was interested in seeing more. Fellow storyman Jim Reardon was quick to respond by giving me twelve of his favorites to watch in specific order (top to bottom in the picture above).

It's been a great experience so far. I have made my way from Shane through Winchester 73, and I have a newfound appreciation for westerns. Shane is so incredibly simple and effective; Jack Palance is terrifying just sitting at at table, saying nothing, doing nothing. And when he speaks...bone chilling. My Darling Clementine is an awesome character piece, beautifully directed by John Ford and Henry Fonda is awesome.

These films are having an effect as I continue to work on Rose and Isabel. More analysis to come as I make my way through the list...

in order from top to bottom:

Shane
My Darling Clementine
Red River
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
Winchester 73
High Noon
The Searchers
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Once Upon a Time in the West
The Wild Bunch
Unforgiven

12 comments:

Louie del Carmen said...

My faves are "High Noon" and "Magnificent Seven" which is a remake of Kurusawa's Seven Samurai... The theme to M7 eventually became the theme to all those Marlboro Cig commercials in the 60's and 70's....

Louie

Luxo Jr. said...

Hmmmm, never actually really watched a western but i hear that some of those movies are great so i might watch them.

Jamie Baker said...

I also recommend the other SERGIO LEONE westerns A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE. He gets a lot of atmoshphere in his movies, lots of craggy faces, everything covered in dust.

A guilty pleasure (because it's a weird cross cultural mish mash rather than a TRUE western) is RED SUN, starring TOSHIRO MIFUNE as a samurai lost in the west, who teams up with CHARLES BRONSON against a gunfighter played by a cold-eyed ALAIN DELON.

Louie del Carmen said...

Another one I ended up liking is "Open Range" with Costner and Duvall. It's new for a western but not bad especially the final shootout. It also has a surprisingly simple but effective romantic plot.

Jamie Baker said...

OK, now I've had time to think about it, here are some more:
THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES
takes place just AFTER the civil war with Clint Eastwood as a REB, who becomes a bandit. Its got some great secondary characters.
JEREMIAH JOHNSON
starring Robert Redford.
MISSOURI BREAKS.
Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando as a VERY creepy bad guy.

MANDREWS said...

UNFORGIVEN, and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, are a couple of my favorites. Others that I cant get enough of is the SEARCHERS by John Ford. And jesus the LONG RIDERS the best right up there with the WILD BUNCH. awesome

Guilty pleasures would include TOMBSTONE, QUIGLY DOWN UNDER and dont forget young guns ( notice its not capitalized.)

mandrews out

MANDREWS said...

Oh yeah I forgot SILVERADO- my wife reminded me by smacking me upside the head with her Spencer rifle.


Mandrews ouch!

J said...

All the Leone ones are pretty awesome. There is a series I found recently starring Franco Nero, who is apparently the Italian equivalent of Eastwood, named Django. He drags a gattling gun in a coffin behind him everywhere he goes. I don't think I need to say anymore.
j

Jamie Baker said...

hah hah I LOVE the Django movies, but got mauled pretty badly by some pals I recommended those to who HATED them, so I was afraid to mention them here. But Im glad someone else did and you can take the bullet for it this time.. awesome.

Monkeyfeather said...

Some great selections. The SEARCHERS is a phenomenal film, I also love Sergio Leone's westerns, my favorite being ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. His compositions and staging are gorgeous, and Henry Fonda is a BAD @$$ in that movie. Who knew Charles Bronson could act?

UNFORGIVEN is great as well, I have a soft spot for that one since it was shot near where I grew up.

Hoffman

TSM said...

Wow, it's awesome to read all you guys' recommendations and favorites. I watched THE SEARCHERS over the weekend and it was amazing in so many ways. Phenominal. I had never seen HIGH NOON either, that was incredible too. Makes me regret my ignorance of westerns up until this point.

Mister Tan said...

My Name Is Nobody, this is the movie that you all need to see- Produced by Leone- and also directed a nice sceen in a bar- staring Henry Fonda- this is a good comedy/western- it just came out not long ago...

curses on Django- and El Topo