1. Une corde, un colt... / Cemetery Without Crosses (Robert Hossein, 1969)
2. Oh, Susanna! (Joseph Kane, 1936)
3. Heritage of the Desert (Henry Hathaway, 1932)
4. The Thundering Herd (Henry Hathaway, 1933)
5. The Last Sunset (Robert Aldrich, 1961)
6. Il ritorno di Ringo / The Return of Ringo (Duccio Tessari, 1965)
7. The Squaw Man (Cecil B. De Mille/Oscar Apfel, 1914)
8. Deputy Marshall (William Berke, 1949)
9. Great Day in the Morning (Jacques Tourneur, 1956)
10. Posse From Hell (Herbert Coleman, 1961)
11. Lone Wolf McQuade (Steve Carver, 1983) (re-watch)
12. Una pistola per Ringo / A Pistol for Ringo (Duccio Tessari, 1965)
13. The Undefeated (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1969)
14. Navajo Joe (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)
15. Gunfight at Comanche Creek (Frank McDonald, 1963)
16. Rocky Mountain Mystery (Joseph Barton, 1935)
17. Blindman (Ferdinando Baldi, 1971)
18. Rio Conchos (Gordon Douglas, 1964)
19. Prega il morto e ammazza il vivo / Renegade Gun / Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead (Giuseppe Vari, 1971)
20. Friendly Persuasion (William Wyler, 1956)
21. E Dio disse a Caino... / And God Said to Cain
(Antonio Margheriti, 1970)
Excited to see this because of the director, who has become a low-rent favorite for me in much the way Roger Corman has; this is the first of Margheriti's westerns I've seen though, so I didn't know what to expect. As it turns out, the progressive political elements visible in his sci-fi/fantasy stuff are nowhere in evidence here, nor is there really much of the male camaraderie -- but this doesn't matter too much, as this extraordinarily simple revenge western packs plenty of pure entertainment regardless of it's almost content-free and nearly plot-free character. Klaus Kinski gets released after 10 years of wrongful imprisonment, sets out to avenge himself, more or less wipes out whole town. That's it, but the way Margheriti uses the space of the town and Kinski's implacable Terminator-like performance make the film lots of fun if watching a guy shoot up a town for an hour and a half is your thing. I guess it's mine.
22. Classic Hollywood Western Cartoons 64 minutes total
a) Texas Tom
(Hanna/Barbera, 1950) 7m; b) The Gallopin' Gaucho
(Ub Iwerks, 1928) 6m; c) Hare Trigger
(Friz Freleng, 1945) 8 m; d) Buckaroo Bugs
(Robert Clampett, 1944) 9m; e) Posse Cat
(Hanna/Barbera, 1954) 6m; f) Two Gun Goofy
(Jack Kinney, 1952) 7m; g) My Little Duckaroo
(Chuck Jones, 1954) 7m; h) Wild and Woody!
(Dick Lundy, 1948) 7m; i) Deputy Droopy
(Tex Avery/Michael Lah, 1955) 7m
Two things stick out from this batch of cartoons from all the major studios/producers (except the Fleischers) from the era: first, I just can't stand Woody Woodpecker's voice, even if is from the genius Mel Blanc, and second, nobody can make ridiculous repetition work as well as Tex Avery. None of these were terrible, and none stand out as a masterpiece, but Deputy Droopy
gets pretty close to the latter category.
23. Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo / The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
(probably 4th or 5th viewing)
I had to have one truly great watch for this challenge, and it didn't happen with any of the first-time views, so given that I just got the new Koch Lorber 50th anniversary disc, this was an obvious choice. I also hadn't seen it for about 12-15 years, and the last time I watched it I saw the longer Euro cut - which I found a little less impressive than my memories of the 162 minute version. Thankfully the new release has both edits and I chose the shorter, though at some point I'm sure I'll watch both back-to-back just to be able to be fair to both. In any case, I had a blast with this and I won't wait a decade or more for another viewing this time. Eli Wallach's Tucco remains one of the greatest performances/characters in all of cinema - not just westerns - and the film never feels long or flags for a moment thanks to the beautifully choreographed narrative movements between violence, humor and (very occasionally) sentiment and drama. Certainly Leone's funniest film, and probably the high point in the career of Lee Van Cleef, even if neither he nor Eastwood get nearly as many juicy moments as Wallach does. I still prefer the director's next western, and his epic gangster saga, in large part because they are about things beyond themselves; when all is said and done, there isn't a whole lot to think about or take away from this one. A shallow epic, really - but one of the greatest and most stylish shallow epics ever, and even with that significant flaw, a masterpiece.
24. Back to the Future Part III
(Robert Zemeckis, 1990) (9th viewing or so)
I re-watch the BTTF series every couple of years or so; used to do it every year on the 4th of July - nothing from my young adulthood represents modern Americana better to me - but I've fallen off the last few years and this was my first viewing since the summer of 2015. I don't know about everybody else but I'm often a little afraid of re-watching old favorites, afraid that they won't have that magical spark this time, or that I'll just be thinking, best to retire this for a long while. But that hasn't happened yet with these films and didn't happen this time I'm happy to say. I always one or two new things on each viewing and this time it struck me that the sequence where Marty walks into town, looking at all the sights around him, bears some resemblance to a similar scene near the beginning of Dead Man
. Was this something conscious on Jarmusch' part when he was making that film? Probably not, and I wouldn't be too surprised if he hadn't seen Zemeckis' film, but it's an interesting point of comparison, and I'd imagine there are other similar moments in earlier westerns where the rube/greenhorn/outsider takes a stroll down Main Street and begins to see that he's in a different world now. Of course the most obvious antecedent is Jill's arrival in town in C'era una volta il West
, but that scene has a very different emotional resonance, and Jill is riding in a buggy, not walking. But in any case I wonder how many westerns - particularly westerns made before the 1968 Leone film - have used this specific way of introducing a protagonist to the West?
More on this in next week's weekly thread if I have the energy to write it.
25. Way of a Gaucho
(Jacques Tourneur, 1952)
Rory Calhoun is the title character - if the title refers to a character at all, and not the character of the Argentinian cowboy in general, and one interesting element of this film is that this is never really settled. Calhoun's extreme independence and stubbornness in trying to keep to the old way of life - and never giving in even when tortured, imprisoned, and/or threatened with death is contrasted with the relentless pursuit of his army superior and later obsessive policeman Richard Boone, as well as his well-meaning but perhaps weak adoptive father Hugh Marlowe. And of course there's the woman, there's always a woman in an outlaw tale, here played by Gene Tierney who unfortunately doesn't get as much development as the three males. One of the better outlaw-on-the-run films I've seen lately, and especially notable for it's fairly nuanced appreciation of the challenges for both extreme isolation/independence, and conformity/acquiescence to the norms. Filmed mostly in Argentina, apparently, and probably quite beautiful in a good print, but the rip I saw was just OK and dark enough in some indoor scenes to be hard to watch.
26. Se sei vivo spara / Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!
(Giulio Questa, 1967)
This has a reputation as one of the weirder and wilder spaghettis, and I suppose it is, though it's moments of surrealism and what the...? moments really don't do much to disguise the fact that it kind of boils down to another Yojimbo
rip-off, only with our hero the stranger (Tomas Milian) this time getting three rival factions to wipe each other out, not just two. Oh and it's also a revenge - maybe revenant - story as our hero was apparently killed for gold and has come back, with the help of a Greek chorus of two enigmatic Indians to help him in his quest to get back the gold or at least kill those responsible for his death and those of his fellow workers - all Indians and half-breeds. So there's a racial component here two, as the three greedy leaders of the various groups that have taken (or are trying to take) the gold are all white, but not a lot is done with this. More colorful than most Italian westerns, and quite dynamic in it's action scenes and surreal flashbacks, this nevertheless feels a little long (in the almost 2-hour Italian cut I watched) and it doesn't quite add up to what initial scenes seemed to promise. Still a lot of fun and one of the better spaghettis I watched this month.