Tag Archives: Westerns

Movie Wisdom – Earl Holliman Edition

26 Dec

As Christmas wound down, I turned on the television; flipped through the channels; and came upon The Sons of Katie Elder. This is not one of my favorite westerns, but I was lucky enough to catch the opening scenes, which I have always thought were cool.

As I watched the movie, I realized a couple of things. Martha Hyer, who plays the wholesome love interest of John Wayne, played a completely different kind of role the year before. She was soiled woman in The Carpetbaggers.

Also, I realized that Earl Holliman, who played one of Katie Elder’s sons, shows up in a lot of old movies. That is when I decided to find out if there can be any wisdom found in the movies of Earl Holliman.Earl Holliman

This is what I discovered.

From Broken Lance

Anybody that throws $10,000 in a spittoon makes me nervous.

From Forbidden Planet

We’re all part monsters in our subconscious, so we have laws and religion!

One cannot behold the face of the Gorgon and live!

From Giant

Money isn’t everything.

Just remember, one of these days, that bourbon’s gonna kill you.

From Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

There’s always a man faster on the draw than you are, and the more you use a gun, the sooner you’re gonna run into that man.

Poker’s played by desperate men who cherish money.

From Last Train from Gun Hill

If any of the girls try and tell you how wonderful you are, don’t believe them.

The human race stinks.

Don’t take no guts to kill a man when he’s cuffed!

There you have it. The wisdom of Earl Holliman.

 

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They Say He Wanted to Be a Mountain Man

17 Mar

Jeremiah Johnson is one of my all-time favorite movies. I have watched it so many times that I know what the characters are going to say before they say it. The movie is great on many levels. It has a great story, great scenery and great music. It is the music part that inspired this post.

I have wanted to soundtrack for a long time, but everything I have found is lacking. The music is there but not the words. To me, the narration of Jeremiah Johnson is one of the vital aspects of the movie. The music without the words is missing something.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a copy of the original soundtrack on the Internet and ordered it immediately. Honestly, I paid too much, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. A few days ago, the CD arrived.image

It is more awesome than I thought it would be. It has music, narration and dialogue. Now, I can turn on the old iPod and hear Jeremiah and Bear Claw talking over the spit. Never fear, all of this great stuff has already been uploaded onto the iPod.

The liner notes are also cool and contain details about the people who were involved in the making of the film. There is one part of it that I found very interesting. Some of the people involved felt that Robert Redford played the character in too spiritual of a fashion, and that is something that I have also felt.

A mountain man had a job to do, and that job was to kill animals for large fur companies. They were not there to become one with nature. In Jeremiah Johnson, the main character does a lot of soul-searching and little trapping. He was also a loner, and, from what I have read, mountain men worked in groups.

I have also read that the character of Jeremiah Johnson was based on John “Liver-Eating” Johnson, a mountain man who killed Native Americans to avenge the murder of his wife. As the story goes, he cut out and ate the liver of everyone he killed.

The real Johnson is buried in Cody, Wyoming, and, when I was a kid, we visited his gravesite.

Jeremiah Johnson misses out on a lot of historical accuracy, but it is still a great movie. It may not be accurate, but it is entertaining. That is what I expect from a movie. Oh, there is one final thing. As Del Gue says, “Keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline.”

Movie Wisdom – Lee Marvin Edition

11 Feb

The other day, my dad and I watched a Western that I had never seen before. Seven Men From Now starred Randolph Scott as the hero and Lee Marvin as one of the various villains. After watching the film, I read that John Wayne produced the film and planned on starring in it. However, John Ford wanted him to be in The Searchers.

As it turns out, this was a good move for everyone. John Wayne played one of films most iconic characters in a movie that many feel is the greatest Western ever made. Randolph Scott credited Seven Men From Now as the movie that revitalized his career.

That is a lot of information to throw out without writing about what is really on my mind. Lee Marvin was great in the movie and watching it brought to mind the other great films he was in. That means that we are now going to explore the movies of Lee Marvin to see what words of wisdom we can glean from them.Lee Marvin 2

From The Caine Mutiny

Ninety-nine percent of everything we do is strict routine. Only one percent requires creative intelligence.

From Bad Day at Black Rock

I believe a man is as big as what he’s seeking.

Somebody’s always looking for something in this part of the West. To the historian it’s the Old West, to the book writer it’s the Wild West, to the businessman it’s the Undeveloped West.

It’s gonna take an awful lot of whiskey to wash out your guts.

From Seven Men From Now

A man oughta be able to take care of his woman.

From Raintree County

Greatness? Ha! If that great philosopher, Socrates, were living today, he’d be reduced to sitting on a cracker barrel, chewing tobacco. That’s what America does for greatness.

War is the most monstrous of man’s illusions. Any idea worth anything is worth not fighting for.

The home-grown tomatoes are always best.

From The Comancheros

I got one rule: never go to bed without makin’ a profit.

From The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Credit is cheap.

Courage can be purchased at yon’ tavern!

As for you, Old Man: go West and grow young with the country!

From The Dirty Dozen

I never went in for embroidery, just results.

From The Big Red One

Surviving is the only glory in war.

From Death Hunt

Well, I just figure any man who risks his neck to save a dog’s life isn’t going to kill someone for gold teeth.

All of that and more can be learned by watching more Lee Marvin movies.

It Was A Very Good Year

3 Feb

Due to events out of my control – namely, a trip to Cancun and the start of school – I never got around to analyzing my year-end fireworks show and review. As Frank Sinatra sang, it was a very good year.Frank Sinatra September

It was also a very interesting year because only one of the top five posts was written in 2013.

Into the Sunset (April 2013) is the one that got Freshly Pressed. If you ever wondered what happened to the cowboy after he rode into the sunset, then you may want to check it out.

Movie Wisdom – Burt Reynolds Edition (May 2012) is the first in a series of posts about bits of wisdom to be found in movie dialogue. You would be surprised at how many people want to know what Burt Reynolds had to say. That is especially true for one line in Smokey and the Bandit.

Listeria – Gunslingers Edition (November 2012) is exactly what the title says – a list of the great gunfighters of the West. It probably gets attention because of all the names tagged in it. However, the best part can be found in the comments. Somebody wanted me to know that I had the death date of Jesse James wrong. He faked his death and lived to be an old man.

Listeria – Western Actors Edition (October 2012) is also what the title says – a list of the great actors known for the Western genre. It also gets attention because of the names that are tagged. Check it out. If you can think of something who should be on the list, then let me know.

The Problem With Gas Pumps (November 2011) is one of the first posts I ever wrote. For a long time, it dominated the stats of the blog. For a while, it was like everyone was searching for gas, gas pumps, gasoline pumps or pictures of gas pumps. Its rule over the SBI world has faded, but it will definitely be the first inductee into my personal Blogging Hall of Fame.

The annual report also lists the top commenters of 2013. Feedback is important, and I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read and comment. These are the ones who commented the most.

Dying Note has been commenting on this blog almost as long as there has been a blog.

Marilyn over at Serendipity is someone I always like to hear from.

Manu Kurup is a frequent commenter and great blogger.

Front Range Scribbles posts great comments and has introduced new music to an old music lover like me.

My Favorite Westerns is a great place to go to learn about that movie genre, but a lot of great comments about other subjects also come from there.

Oh, you might like to know the top search terms for 2013. I wonder who many blogs have Johnny Ringo and Porno as the top two search terms. If you find one, then let me know. I would like to read it.

The Westerns of Dean Martin

11 Jun

I have been reading about the Rat Pack and the exploits of its members – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Together, they were legendary. However, I have been thinking about their individual careers.

Obviously, Frank Sinatra is one of the most famous performers of all time.

Sammy Davis, Jr. also had a great career.

Peter Lawford is probably best known as a Kennedy in-law.

I’m not sure what else Joey Bishop did.

Dean Martin, though, is my favorite. He sang great songs and made great movies. Some of the best movies were Westerns. For a cool crooner, Martin was pretty handy on a horse and with a gun.

In my mind, his best Western was Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. Here’s a trivia question. How many people in Rio Bravo had records that reached Number 1? The movie is about a sheriff who has arrested the brother of a wealthy rancher. He and his deputies have to fight to keep him in jail and to stay alive. Martin plays Dude, a deputy who doubles as the town drunk.Dude

Another great thing, Rio Bravo was filmed at Old Tucson Studios, one of my favorite places to visit.

5 Card Stud is another good one. Martin plays Van Morgan, a gambler who has to solve a series of murders before he becomes the next victim.5 Card Stud

Everyone who is killed was playing in the same card game. It also stars Robert Mitchum and Inger Stevens but suffers from what I call the “law of diminishing suspects”. There are so few suspects that solving the mystery is too easy.

Bandolero! pairs Martin with James Stewart as brothers who have taken different paths but find themselves in trouble together.Bandolero

Along the way, they take Raquel Welch hostage.

My least favorite Dean Martin Western is The Sons of Katie Elder. It stars John Wayne and has the makings of a great story, but the “sons” are mismatched. The youngest “son” is way too young to play the part. I hate to say that a Western starring John Wayne and Dean Martin is bad, so I will say that it’s not very good.

Martin is the gambling brother, Tom Elder, and he follows older brother John in trying to figure out who killed their father. One of the best scenes has Martin playing a “fake eye” trick in a bar.The Sons of Katie Elder

Dean Martin made other Westerns, but these are the ones I have seen. Honestly, I don’t think I could make it through the comedy ones with Frank Sinatra.

Into the Sunset

1 Apr

It’s a cliché of the western movie genre. The hero has lived through some adventure, and, when it’s over, he gets on his horse and rides into the sunset. I have watched that scene dozens of times, and it fascinates me every time.

What happens when they disappear over the horizon? What happens after the “The End” placard covers the screen? Does the hero take time off before finding another adventure? Does he die of wounds suffered during the movie? Does he live happily ever after in some frontier town?

All of those questions go through my mind because I have to know the rest of the story. It doesn’t matter how bad the movie is. I still want to know what happens after the credits roll. However, something else goes through my mind, as well. The “into the sunset” scene isn’t always the same.

One of the greatest “into the sunset” scenes doesn’t even have a horse. In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards spends years attempting to rescue his niece from her Comanche captors. When he returns with her, everyone goes into the house except for him. He turns and walks into the desert as the door closes behind him.The Searchers

Where did Edwards go? Did he leave because most of his family was dead? Did he wander because there was no purpose in his life? All of the wars were over. Or, did he think back over the past years before turning around and coming back?

John Wayne walked away in The Searchers, but Clint Eastwood could be the king of “into the sunset” rides. In The Outlaw Josey Wales, he is bleeding as he rides away. Does he live? If so, then does he go back to the friends that he has gained throughout the movie? Or, does he disappear from history?

Sometimes, he completely disappears because we really don’t know what he is. In Pale Rider, Eastwood evaporates from the scene. Is he some kind of spirit or is he just a mysterious gunman?

Those were great, but my favorite Eastwood ending comes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Blondie leaves Tuco with a noose around his neck and gold at his feet. After an impossible rifle shot to save Tuco, Blondie rides away to one of the greatest movie scores of all time.

A more recent western has an “into the sunset” scene at the end. The difference is the adventure that precedes it. In Cowboys and Aliens, James Bond defeats aliens with the help of Indiana Jones. Oh, Boyd Crowder helps out, too. This time the hero is truly a loner. His wife is dead. His alien love interest is dead. He is considered dead. Heck, the dog doesn’t even go with him. In this one, the hero probably went somewhere and cried.

The cool thing about “into the sunset” scenes is that they are no longer reserved for westerns only. Remember what happened at the end of The Dark Knight? He agrees to be the fall guy and live life as a villain. Then, he hops on his jacked out motorcycle and rides into a tunnel. There is no sunset, but there is a cool speech and some kind of light up ahead. I hope it’s not a train.The Dark Knight

Everybody knows what happened to him after that because we have sequels now. There should not have been a sequel to this one. Wondering what happened to Batman was a lot better than knowing that he faked his death and ended up with Catwoman.

Ok, so John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Bond and Batman all have had great scenes to end movies. However my favorite “into the sunset” scene comes from a movie that isn’t very good. At the end of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Don Johnson, as Marlboro, goes back to his roots and enters a rodeo. At the same time, Mickey Rourke, as Harley, rides his motorcycle into the sunset with an 80s vixen on the back and Black Eyed Susan playing in the background.Harley Ending

Why is that my favorite? Because it’s the only one that seems like a happy ending. He’s not alone. He’s not wounded. And, there is no doubt that something good is going to happen further down the road.

Listeria – Western Actors Edition

24 Oct

I know that this edition of Listeria is coming along soon after the last edition of Listeria, but I went overboard on my last trip to the magazine stand. Besides, this one covers one of my favorite subjects – Western movies. I grew up watching them with my dad, and that experience played a role in my interest in the history of the West.

American Cowboy published a special issue called “Legends of Western Cinema” and listed the 20 greatest Western actors. However, there is one problem that needs to be addressed before I begin. When people think about Westerns, or the history of the West, they think about cowboys first. Some of the greatest Westerns don’t involve cowboys at all. They involve mountain men, Native Americans, cavalry and all sorts of characters. In the real West, not everyone were cowboys. A good way to see this? If there are no cows around, then there are probably no cowboys around.

The rant is over, so here we go with the list. These are the 20 greatest Western actors according to American Cowboy in the order that they have listed. I will list my favorite movie of each and add the actors that I believe should be included.

John Wayne – The Searchers

Gary Cooper – High Noon

James Stewart – The Far Country

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West

Clint Eastwood – The Outlaw Josey Wales

Steve McQueen – The Magnificent Seven

Kirk Douglas – There Was a Crooked Man

Robert Duvall – Open Range

Ben Johnson – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Lee Marvin – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Sam Elliott – Tombstone

Tom Selleck – Quigley Down Under

Charles Bronson – Once Upon a Time in the West

Woody Strode – Sergeant Rutledge

Gregory Peck – The Gunfighter

Paul Newman – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Tom Mix – Riders of the Purple Sage

Glenn Ford – 3:10 to Yuma

Tommy Lee Jones – No Country For Old Men

James Garner – Duel at Diablo

That’s the Top 20. I could name a bunch that belong on the list, but I will limit myself to five.

Randolph Scott – Ride the High Country

Kevin Costner – Silverado

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud

Robert Redford – Jeremiah Johnson

Richard Widmark – Broken Lance

There is the list. Who else should be included? Who should be omitted? What are your favorite movies? Let me know.