To the Children – by Denean – Interpreted by Piotr Zylbert
“If the myth gets bigger than the man, print the myth.”
– Dorothy M. Johnson
The lady who wrote Westerns.
And good ones.
Three became films: ‘A Man Called Horse’, ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence’, and ‘The Hanging Tree’. Few authors – Western or otherwise – can claim such success. And at least one ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence’ is considered a Western Classic.
Further, ‘A Man Called Horse‘ spawned two sequel films: ‘The Return of a Man Called Horse‘ (1976) and ‘Triumphs of a Man Called Horse‘ (1983).
A Man Called Horse was originally a short story – published in Collier’s magazine in 1950.
Later adapted to an 1958 episode of the “Wagon Train” TV show entitled “A Man Called Horse.”
Then re-published in 1968 in her book called Indian Country.
In 1957, the Western Writers of America gave her its highest award, the Spur Award, for her short story, Lost Sister, a short story in “The Hanging Tree” collection …
In 2005, a 30-minute documentary film was made of her life by Sue Hart of Montana State University, Billings entitled Gravel in her Gut and Spit in her Eye, and shown on PBS in November 2005.
A Man Called Horse
by Dorothy M. Johnson
He was a young man of good family, as the phrase went in the New England of a hundred-odd years ago, and the reasons for his bitter discontent were unclear, even to himself. He grew up in the gracious old Boston home under his grandmother’s care, for his mother had died in giving him birth; and all his life he had known every comfort and privilege his father’s wealth could provide.
But still there was the discontent, which puzzled him because he could not even define it. He wanted to live among his equals—people who were no better than he and no worse either. That was as close as he could come to describing the source of his unhappiness in Boston and his restless desire to go somewhere else.
In the year 1845, he left home and went out west, far beyond the country’s creeping frontier, where he hoped to find his equals. He had the idea that in Indian country, where there was danger, all white men were kings, and he wanted to be one of them. But he found, in the West as in Boston, that the men he respected were still his superiors, even if they could not read, and those he did not respect weren’t worth talking to.
He did have money, however, and he could hire the men he respected. He hired four of them, to cook and hunt and guide and be his companions, but he found them not friendly.
They were apart from him and he was still alone. He still brooded about his status in the world, longing for his equals.
On a day in June, he learned what it was to have no status at all. He became a captive of a small raiding party of Crow Indians.
He heard gunfire and the brief shouts of his companions around the bend of the creek just before they died, but he never saw their bodies. He had no chance to fight, because he was naked and unarmed, bathing in the creek, when a Crow warrior seized and held him.
His captor let him go at last, let him run. Then the lot of them rode him down for sport, striking him with their coup sticks. They carried the dripping scalps of his companions, and one had skinned off Baptiste’s black beard as well, for a trophy.
They took him along in a matter-of-fact way, as they took the captured horses. He was unshod and naked as the horses were, and like them he had a rawhide thong around his neck. So long as he didn’t fall down, the Crows ignored him. Continue reading
It’s amazing how long you can look at something and not see the obvious.
Then one day …
I am not a Christian and I am not intending to promote Christianity. (Nor am I anti-Christian) I just notice these things. And I thought you might find it interesting.
It’s hard to believe it’s unintentional … but maybe it is.
Leo and the Chinook
I see that Leo Decapprio is sticking with his story about our Alberta Chinook winds as being proof of ‘Global Warming’. Leo experienced the Chinook phenomenon while The Revenant was being filmed in Alberta last winter.
“Chinook winds /ʃɪˈnʊk/, or simply chinooks, are foehn winds in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains meet various mountain ranges, although the original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest.”
Chinook is claimed by popular folk-etymology to mean “ice-eater”, but it is really the name of the people in the region where the usage was first derived. The reference to a wind or weather system, simply “a Chinook”, originally meant a warming wind from the ocean into the interior regions of the Northwest of the USA (the Chinook people lived near the ocean, along the lower Columbia River). A strong Chinook can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperature, often from below -20 °C (-4 °F) to as high as 10-20 °C (50-68 °F) for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels. The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana; the temperature rose from -48 to 9 °C (-54 to 48 °F).”
Some of this information is not quite accurate. Chinooks can easily last a week and I’ve experienced (though rarely) them lasting as long as 2 weeks – or more. The temperature range and change can be great and sudden – spanning an over 80 degree F change in a few hours. They can also occur in any month or season – but are obviously most noticeable in Winter.
These images shows a Chinook Arch – a rather spectacular (especially at sunset) and welcome phenomenon – as the clouds are driven by the West winds over the Rocky Mountains and forms these ‘arches’ that can span hundreds of miles from mid Alberta down into the US.
Chinook Tall Tales:
CHINOOK STORIES http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.fol.006
” … Among the frontier yarns that were spun was the story of the man who hitched his team of horses to a post one snowy evening only to awake the next morning to find his horses dangling from the church steeple. Another often told story describes a horse-drawn sleigh racing a chinook home: as the horses struggled through chest-deep snow, the front runners of the sleigh sloshed through mud while the back runners kicked up dust, Another variant of this story has the man driving the sleigh in front suffering frostbite while his children in back catch sunstroke. … ”
There you go Leo …
Now stop your nonsense!
Jane Got A Gun Reviews
After 3 years of tumultuous production troubles, Jane Got a Gun finally hit the theatres on January 29.
Reviews are a bit mixed and I haven’t seen it yet, but the movie appears to be a straight up Western revenge story. Nothing wrong with that. We don’t always have to save the universe.
And despite all difficulties, Bravo! to Natalie Portman for trying to take destiny into her own hands and make her own movies.
I hope to see it shortly.
Coming Back to Me / written by Paul Kantner and Marty Balin
(March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016)
Jefferson Airplane photographed by Herb Greeneat at The Matrix club, San Francisco, in 1966.
Top row from left: Jack Casady, Grace Slick, Marty Balin; bottom row from left: Jorma Kaukonen, Paul Kantner, Spencer Dryden.
Wikipedia: “PAUL KANTNER and MARTY BALIN founded JEFFERSON AIRPLANE in 1965. THE AIRPLANE were the biggest rock group in America during the 1960s and the first San Francisco band to sign a major record deal, paving the way for other legends like GRATEFUL DEAD & JANIS JOPLIN. They headlined the original WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL in 1969 and like THE BEATLES with whom they are critically compared, lasted a mere 7 years … though their influence and impact on rock music continues well into the 21st century. In 1974 Mr. KANTNER created JEFFERSON STARSHIP and again enjoyed chart-topping success. PAUL, & JEFFERSON AIRPLANE were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.”
Surrealistic Pillow is regarded as one of the greatest Rock albums of all time. Two hits came from that album “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” – the anthem of the 70’s Drug Culture. But I have selected two other songs – two ballads – from this album that you would not expect to hear from the premier group of the Acid Rock generation, but which clearly show that these were musicians were genuine artists of great talent: ‘Today’ and ‘Coming back to Me’ – two songs that anyone should be able to appreciate and admire.
Today / written by Marty Balin
In the sixties, amongst stagnation, something incredible occurred – something truly mind altering – a Renaissance Period – Exploded – and then flooded across this planet like an unstoppable Tsunami. Visible in many ways, it was very obvious in Music. In midstream, Dylan and The Beatles spearheaded popular trends and the explosion lasted well into the 70’s – for which this world would never be the same. Wave after Wave: The Folk Era, The British Wave, the San Francisco Sound … At the vanguard of the San Francisco Sound was the Jefferson Airplane.
A very interesting thing about most of the musicians of this era is this: very few were trained musicians or had studied music. Most came from garage bands or were street buskers before they went on to Fame.
A Man Called Horse / 1970
“The Sioux gave him a choice, live like an animal
or die like one.”
“A man called “Horse” became an Indian warrior
in the most electrifying rituals ever seen.”
Five years after Major Dundee, Harris appeared in his second Western: A Man Called Horse. This time he was at the top of the Bill – and Starring in one of the most controversial Westerns ever made – and of which, much of that controversy is still intact and relevant – over 45 years later.
But first let’s look at some media:
Several depict one of the films controversial features:
The very graphic Native American initiation ceremony –
Hard to watch even to this day.
Sometimes I don’t even have a ticket.
Major Amos Dundee (Heston):
“You surveyed this whole area with Grant in ’47, didn’t you?”
Capt. Benjamin Tyreen (Harris): “Yes, the tequila was excellent.”
My Major Dundee cast Bio on Charlton Heston was turning into an encyclopedia – so I’m taking a different tack and sliding over to Major Dundee Trivia.
Trivia, of course, is often not a very credible source of information – and is sometimes just gossip. We may assume it has credibility, but … in the case of Major Dundee, the trivia is hardly trivial, and may indeed be very telling about what really happened on this project.
Let have a peek:
- Although Major Dundee was originally said to be based on a true story, it was actually just loosely based on historical events. (Can you imagine an opening screen saying: “Based loosely on historical events”?
- Major Dundee was Peckinpah’s first big budget film. (Luckily it wasn’t his last)
- John Ford was originally approached to Direct the movie, but he was busy at work on Cheyenne Autumn.
- Columbia cut short the film’s shooting schedule and kept reducing the running time from over four hours (!!!) to 156 minutes, 136 minutes at its initial release, and finally 123 minutes. Columbia added more stress to the production by moving the wrap date up a full month. Sam Peckinpah wasn’t pleased. (But REALLY Sam!? 4 hours?)
- Heston signed on the film to work with Sam Peckinpah, having really enjoyed Ride the High Country (1962). But he later cited that Major Dundee began filming without a properly finished script and that none of the major parties involved had agreed on what the film was truly supposed to be about. Heston later regretted breaking his own rule of never participating in any film where the script wasn’t finalized. However Peckinpah was famous for re-writing scripts and making things up as he went along anyway – so it might not have mattered. For instance: The main character in the original script was Trooper Ryan, but Peckinpah guided script changes and re-writes to make Major Dundee the focus of the story.
- The romance with Teresa (Senta Berger) was added by the studio – and was not in the original script.
- Also the original script written by Harry Julian Fink contained a great deal of violence and profanity – which would have been forbidden in any screenplay for a film made during the mid-’60s.
- It’s said the original budget was $4.5 million and scheduled for 75 days of principal photography. But only two days before start up, a change in the top brass at Columbia occurred, and the new regime cut the budget down by $1.5 million, and the schedule down by 15 days. Peckinpah considered this an act of extreme betrayal. Shooting was also ended early by studio executives, in the interest of controlling costs, and before some important scenes were filmed. Then, after the success of Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969), Columbia Pictures told him they would allow him to re-shoot parts of Dundee that had been cut from the released version. Peckinpah declined.
- Apart from Peckinpah’s constant battles with the studio over the film’s shooting schedule, budget, content, and length, he was drinking and often absent from the set – as well as sometimes antagonizing his film crew and Cast. Peckinpah fired at least two dozen crew members in screaming fits of rage, drank all night and patronized local brothels, paid for out of the film’s budget. At one point during a shoot an enraged Heston allegedly threatened Peckinpah with a saber. Heston later said this is only time he’d had such in incident in his film career.
- It’s also noted that Heston and Richard Harris didn’t get along – but that Harris simply did not get along with anyone due to his rebellious nature. Heston later insisted that things weren’t as bad as reported, but it’s well documented that Harris liked to party and was often drunk, hung over, and late to the set – the exact opposite of Heston. (MFW: You’d never know it by Harris’ performance on screen though – which was great) Yet Heston did lodge a formal complaint about Harris‘ behavior with producer Jerry Bresler.
- In the end, Heston was reportedly more or less directing the film to complete it since Peckinpah often wandered away from the set in a drunken haze. Heston, however, gave up the salary for the film in order to appease studio executives into keeping Peckinpah at the helm.
- Ultimately, Columbia more or less broke its contract and edited the film itself instead of leaving it to Peckinpah. A film cut close to what it’s believed Peckinpah wanted(?) wasn’t released until 2005, and even then it’s largely guesswork. Prior to DVD release, much restoration was needed for the original film reels, and many cut scenes were reinserted. This includes an opening scene which makes the overall story much easier to follow. Fact is however, that Sam’s real film is lost for good.
- Several slow motion scenes (Sam’s specialty) in tribute of Seven Samurai, an inspiration for many Western movies, were filmed, but later cut.
- Many of the actors in Dundee, came to be known as the “Sam Peckinpah Stock Company” because they later appeared in Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) and other films. They included Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones, Dub Taylor, Aurora Clavel, Enrique Lucero, R.G. Armstrong and several others …
- The role of Captain Tyreen (Harris) was intended for Anthony Quinn, who pulled out.
- James Coburn role of scout Samuel Potts was initially offered to Lee Marvin, but he demanded too high salary. It was Marvin’s own agent who suggested Coburn for the role. Coburn then went on to Star in Peckinpah’s, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973).
- Woody Strode was considered for the part that went to Brock Peters.
There’s more … but that’s plenty enough.
Stunning. Shocking. Grown men with millions of (other people’s) dollars in their hands – and other people’s livelihoods, careers etc. – behaving worse than kids.
And yet … somewhere, somehow a movie finally emerges. 2 Versions. A bad one – and a not too bad one. Neither is what was initially intended. But still worth watching.
Welcome Michealoh. . Glad you liked some of the Posts and Pages. I cherish all my followers, but I’ve rarely had more than a hundred at any time. My problem is I don’t post enough. So people come and go. Occasionally I have a great day and over 500 people will view the Blog. But I’m happy if I get 300.
I’m always working on several things at once, and some of it takes more time than I figured. I’d really like to post something every day, but …
Right now I’m still working on Major Dundee – the Cast. And a great Cast it is. This guy Charlton Heston is a huge topic all by himself. – and I have too much material …
What amazes me most however, is how Richard Harris just seemed to come in out of nowhere and was brilliant in his part – an equal to Heston. I haven’t figured out how he pulled that off. But he did. I think I would be scared out of my pants.
I should have something shortly though …
Stay with me … I’ll break out again.
David Bowie / Heroes
Diablo (2016) / A Review … sorta
Another Western that will make you wonder if you’re watching a Western.
Scott Eastwood is good though. Has the Star Power to carry the movie.
Danny Glover does his usual good work in a small support role.
Walton Goggins makes a good Badguy. ?
The cinematography is excellent …
… Alberta looks great.
But it’s a movie that won’t likely suit the palate of most Western fans.
Winner, Best Feature, San Diego Film Festival
This is Scott Eastwood’s first western.
Nice to see Danny Glover still getting some work.
Filming Locations: Alberta, Canada
Scott Eastwood Filmography
Live by Night (filming)
2016 Suicide Squad (post-production)
2016 Snowden (post-production)
2016 Overdrive (filming)
2016 Mercury Plains
2015 Walk of Fame
2015 Taylor Swift: Wildest Dreams (Video short)
2015 The Longest Ride
2015 The Bachelor with Dogs and Scott Eastwood (Short)
2014/III Dawn Patrol
2014 The Perfect Wave
2014 Chicago P.D. (TV Series)
– Stepping Stone (2014)
2013 Chicago Fire (TV Series)
– Let Her Go (2013)
– Leaders Lead (2013)
2013 Texas Chainsaw 3D
2012 Chasing Mavericks
2012 Trouble with the Curve
2012 The Forger
2012 Shelter (TV Movie)
2011 Enter Nowhere
2011 The Lion of Judah
2011 Thule (Short)
2009 Shannon’s Rainbow
2008 Gran Torino
2008 Player 5150
2007 An American Crime
2006 Flags of Our Fathers
Richard Harris / Cowboy:
Major Dundee / Part 2
Major Dundee (1965) doesn’t really show any of the bloody mayhem that Peckinpah shortly became notorious for in the Wild Bunch (1969) – no slow motion body’s flying throught the air or long gory bloody shoot outs. What is depicted may have been graphic by 1964 standards (?), but by today’s standards seems fairly tame.
Casting Harris ?
Harris‘ casting in Major Dundee has always puzzled me. He didn’t really seem to have a great body of notable film work behind him at the time – that would justify Star status in a Western. He was certainly up to it though – and did a great job. I guess somebody knew something.
A few Reviews:
The Extended Version:
Richard Harris / Cowboy – Major Dundee Part 3
Richard Harris / Cowboy:
Major Dundee / Part 1
“THE EPIC STORY OF THE GREAT SOUTH-WEST !”
The year was 1965 and Spaghetti is high on the menu – Sergio Leone had released two Western Classic‘s: ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ and ‘For a Few Dollars More’ to massive success. Westerns are IN … again.
But Sam Peckinpah and Richard Harris are in Mexico – not Spain. And Major Dundee is not a Spaghetti Western. It’s something entirely different …
Starring the great Charlton Heston, as Major Dundee, the movie has all the components for success: a good story, a great cast, and often brilliant Director. Except for one thing: that Director, it’s greatest asset is also it’s greatest liability: Sam Peckinpah. the self-destructive genius.
I won’t go into the specifics here – the anger – the angst – the infighting – the Editing – the boozing – the brawling – the brothelling. It’s sad really. Because this should have been a great movie – Sam’s Masterpiece. And shows flashes of it – but falls – truncated – disjointed … unfinished. There was some grand schemes/themes behind this project. Unrealized. Sam was completely unable to keep himself under control. Incredibly, exact same scenario was repeated years later with Peckinpah’s ‘Pat Garrett and Billy Kid’ (1973) – another flawed project that was later completed/restored by others after he died.
For myself, knowing some of the history and background surrounding the film enhances my viewing. You see things that you would otherwise miss. But it’s not necessary. What truly is amazing is that anything eventually manifested at all. But somehow it did.
The original 1964 Trailer:
The 2005 Extended Edition Trailer:
Is it worth watching? Yes. At least, the 2005 Extended (restored?) Version is. You can see what it had going for it and what it could have been …
Heston and Harris are both great. And the support cast is outstanding.
Richard Harris / Cowboy – Major Dundee Part 2
I’ve been working on a profile of Richard Harris Westerns for several days. It’s turned into another large venture. Mainly because the first movie on the list is Major Dundee (1965) – directed by Sam Peckinpah. Nearly anything that involves Sam Peckinpah is surrounded by storylines that are almost as interesting and incredible as the Movie itself.
But I’m just trying to get started on this thing …
(1 October 1930 – 25 October 2002)
Stage and Film Actor, Singer, Theatrical and Song producer,
Film Director and Writer … drinker … raconteur …
Richard Harris would be be yet anther distinguished Actor/Move Star, whom we probably wouldn’t readily associate with Westerns. Yet he Starred or appeared in eight Westerns – ranging in quality from the rather awful to outright Classic. But most of them were good – and he, himself, was never awful in any.
Richard Harris Westerns
Major Dundee / 1965
From the Count of Monte Cristo (1971):
Abbe Faria (Richard Harris) : “Here is your final lesson – do not commit
the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, “Vengeance is mine.”
Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel): “I don’t believe in God.”
Abbe Faria: “It doesn’t matter. He believes in you.”
As Bass’s companions prepare to move on, a Native scout says some
Last Rites (?) or a Blessing (?) over Bass – then places a talisman (?)
around his neck.
But let’s take a closer look at that Talisman …
Is that a Cross?
When Bass is ultimately deserted by this comrades
the only thing they leave him is …
The Arikara (“Rees”) Indians find Bass in his grave.
He receives more Last Rites/Blessings – Native style.
Then … miraculously, Bass eventually Rises from the/his grave …
from the dead.
Bass later discovers an uncommon use for the Bible …
It’s makes good kindling – to light his first fire.
Meanwhile … Captain Ahab – I mean Captain Henry –
paces the Deck by night …
… while his men grumble about mutiny below deck
– I mean around the campfire.
Where have we seen this before?
And that scar …
Where might we have seen that before?
Just a coincidence, I’m sure.
While recuperating, Bass reads the Bible to a friend.
A time for healing, Spiritual Contemplation … and resolution.
He reads aloud these 2 passages:
“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”
– Job 14:14
“For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground …”
– Job 14:7 -9
Will the circle be broken? or perpetuated?
You’ll have to watch it to find out.
Grace’s Mother: (Man in the Wilderness):
“There was nothing you could do.
It was God’s will.”
Zachary Bass (Hugh Glass):
“I never much agreed with God’s will.”
The Ark of Zachariah
I haven’t seen all of John Huston’s movies. Among those few that I have seen though, I detect a strong undercurrent of what I would call Christian Mysticism. And there’s plenty of it in Man in the Wilderness.
In the very first image of the very first scene in Man in the Wilderness, we see this:
Any way you look at it, that’s a Cross – a Crucifix. THE Christian symbol.
Or is it?
Let’s take a closer look:
That odd boat (call me crazy) is a miniature version of Noah’s Ark.
The only thing missing is the animals.
The credits say that the movie is “historically true”
and it’s obviously based upon the true story of Hugh Glass.
So why did they change his name to “Zachary Bass“?
Maybe we’ve seen the name Zachary somewhere before … ?
Maybe right here:
The Unforgiven (1960)
Directed by John Huston !
With a whole pile of Zarchays (5 actually).
and accompanied by a mad prophet on horseback spouting Biblical style quotes.
Call me Zachary?
Zachariah – Old Testament Hebrew: means ‘The *LORD remembers’.
The Old Testament prophet Zechariah taught people that God remembers his promises.
Like from a movie called ‘The Bible: In the Beginning ..’
Directed by John Huston
who also acted the part (wait for it) NOAH!
Also acting in the movie? Richard Harris as Cain!
Zakaria, Zakariya, Zakariyya (Arabic),
Zachariah, Zacharias, Zechariah (Biblical),
Zacharias (Biblical Greek),
Zekharyah (Biblical Hebrew),
Zaccharias (Biblical Latin) ….
and on and on …
and more coming.
Man in the Wilderness / Part 4
“I don’t believe God is dead. Just drunk.”- John Huston
Sung by Richard Harris / written by Jim Webb
(A curious analogy: – not knowing the origins of Webb’s controversial lyrics greatly affect some people’s appreciation of this song – or whether you can even appreciate it at all. But I won’t get into that here …)
A Large Elephant
At the outset, I do wonder if this film – though interesting and enjoyable – is really worth such of any such in-depth analysis? It’s not an epic of Oscar proportions. And it’s obviously possible to watch Man in the Wilderness and enjoy it without pondering any of the musings that I am about to attempt. However, that never stopped me before.
I have just re-watched Man in the Wilderness – for the first time in many years. I had been disinclined to watch it again at all since I recalled my first viewing – back in 1971 – was a disappointment. But I was a young fool of 23 back then – and may have been impaired in some manner. Now however, I am much more handsome and have risen in brilliance (cough). Not that I wouldn’t trade for a second.
Anyway, I now find the film to be a much different experience than it was on my first ride. And I see several points of interest that I had not noticed before. I hope you’ll agree.
Firstly, despite Richard Harris’ capably and worthy Star Power in the film, John Huston presence in this movie is huge – a VERY LARGE elephant in the room — though he did not Direct (Richard C. Sarafian, Director) – his stamp and shadow loom all over the movie. And it’s damn certain that Huston would not consent to any project that didn’t suit him somehow. All his dues had been paid – and then-some.
A brief Bio sketch of Huston becomes necessary:
At the making of the film Huston was already legendary in the Film trade/Arts – having been voted 10 times for Oscars, won Oscars for Directing, Screenwriting and Acting. Many of his films are classics: (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Key Largo (1948), The African Queen (1951) (both with Bogart), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), Moby Dick (1956), The Unforgiven (1960), The Misfits (1961), Freud (1962), The Night of the Iguana (1964). The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966). Fat City (1972), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Wise Blood (1979), Under the Volcano (1984), Prizzi’s Honor (1985).
Just about all of Huston‘s movies are a required study for any entering the film trade. Very few people have a legacy such as this.
Huston was raised of rugged, but cultured parents – participated in Vaudevillian circles – was Amateur Lightweight Boxing Championship of California – later in “Mexico became an officer in the cavalry and expert horseman while writing plays on the sly” – later studied Art in Paris, where the sometimes “homeless beggar” continued writing. – returned to America to pay more dues on Broadway – and eventually his first loud flash of fame as screenwriter and director for the Dashiell Hammett mystery yarn The Maltese Falcon (1941). (This movie classic made a superstar out of Humphrey Bogart) – Bio info gleaned from on Intermet Movie Database / IMDB)
Huston Trivia (IMDB):
- Son of actor Walter Huston, whom he directed in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
- Son Tony Huston appeared with him in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963).
- Appeared with daughter Anjelica Huston in A Walk with Love and Death (1969).
- He is the only person to have ever directed a parent (Walter Huston) and a child (Anjelica Huston) to Academy Award wins.
- Huston was a licenced pilot.
- Directed 15 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Sydney Greenstreet, Walter Huston, Claire Trevor, Sam Jaffe, Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, José Ferrer, Colette Marchand, Deborah Kerr,Grayson Hall, Susan Tyrrell, Albert Finney, Anjelica Huston, Jack Nicholson and William Hickey. Bogart and Trevor won Oscars for their performances, as did Huston’s father Walter Huston and daughter Anjelica Huston
- He and his father Walter Huston are the first Oscar-winning father-son couple. They are also the first father-son couple to be Oscar-nominated the same year (1941) and the first to win the same year (1949).
- Was known to have a mean streak when handling actors, and reportedly irritated John Wayne (who was slightly taller than Huston and much more massive) so much while filming The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958) that Wayne lost his temper and punched Huston, knocking him out cold.
- Three generations of Oscar winners in the Huston family: John, his father Walter Huston and his daughter Anjelica Huston.
- His WW II documentary Let There Be Light (1946) was one of the first, if not the first, films to deal with the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of soldiers returning from the war. Huston actually said that, “If I ever do a movie that glorifies war, somebody shoot me.” This documentary was based on his front-line experiences covering the European war and what he saw soldiers go through during and returning from the war.
- Is one of the few people to receive at least one Oscar nomination in five consecutive decades (1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s).
- Honored on a US Postage Stamp in May 2012.
- He directed his daughter Anjelica Huston in five films: Casino Royale (1967), A Walk with Love and Death (1969), Sinful Davey (1969), Prizzi’s Honor (1985) and The Dead (1987).
- Directed both Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn. (Last names aside, if you don’t know why this is notable, please go to another blog.)
- Disgusted by the Hollywood blacklisting, Huston was an ardent supporter of human rights and he, along with director William Wyler and others, dared to form the Committee for the First Amendment in 1947, which strove to undermine the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Often labelled as massively eccentric, Huston was his own man – and there is much more that could be written on him here. I don’t think any BioPic could do Huston justice – though Clint Eastwood attempted a snapshot of his character in White Hunter Black Heart (1990). Maybe a long Mini-Series? But even then …
Strangely, Huston is revealed as strongly religious – and we see plenty of evidence in his films. Most obviously, of course, in The Bible: In the Beginning.. (1966).
But this is also revealed in Man in the Wilderness. As you’ll see.
In short, I’d guess that Huston related strongly with Hugh Glass‘ (Man in the Wilderness) – his character and courage.
That’s enough for today …
Man in the Wilderness / Part 3
Of course we are. There’s a chance there won’t be any seats left on the Ship & Anchor patio.
But apparently, he’s serious.
According to self-proclaimed climate champion and environmental leader Leonardo DiCaprio, warm chinooks winds have Calgarians cringing — not because there’s the possibility of low wiper fluid or a lack of patio seats, but because we’ve never seen the likes of it before.
“We were in Calgary and the locals were saying, ‘This has never happened in our province ever,’” DiCaprio was quoted by Variety.com.
“We would come and there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come.”
Calling these unexpected, snow-melting winds “scary,” DiCaprio is now using the sudden weather changes he witnessed while filming in Alberta last winter as evidence of impending climate apocalypse.
It would be hilarious, if the star of The Revenant wasn’t also the head of a multimillion-dollar environmental lobby group, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and a producer of documentaries on climate change.
“You see the fragility of nature and how easily things can be completely transformed with just a few degrees difference,” DiCaprio reportedly told an audience at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation awards, using Alberta’s horrifying winter winds as proof.
“It’s terrifying, and it’s what people are talking about all over the world. And it’s simply just going to get worse.”
Of course, that’s like getting a sunburn in the Sahara Desert and directly linking your red skin to ozone depletion.
DiCaprio’s overall climate concern may be valid, but the example cited makes him look like a complete idiot — especially for anyone who’s ever heard of a chinook.
“Our team endured two unprecedented weather events that shut down the already-delayed and complicated production schedule, which I’m sure you’ve heard about,” said DiCaprio, who’s actually filmed here in Alberta before.
Of course, there was nothing unprecedented about it.
With temperature shifts of up to 30C in a matter of hours very common, chinook winds and their hallmark arch are anything but a cause for dread, unless you’re migraine-prone and sensitive to pressure changes.
Last winter was actually pretty ordinary, as chinooks go.
Rather than terrified, southern Albertans have celebrated the breezy break from the cold for centuries — just as long as people have lived east of the Rocky Mountains, it seems.
If DiCaprio really got his chinook misinformation from a local, the actor should be furious.
He’s been duped into looking like a dim-wit, pure and simple.
But if DiCaprio just made a broad assumption, or if he took an isolated local weather event and extrapolated it to be evidence of climate change, he deserves all of the scorn and ridicule he’s so far endured.
And the mockery should come from every side.
Once again, you have a spoiled, jet-setting entertainer using half-baked notions to promote a cause that’s trendy with the Hollywood elite, and like other famous folk before him, DiCaprio appears willing to twist the truth to suit his latest speech.
For those really concerned about climate change, DiCaprio does more damage than good when he shows total ignorance of how weather relates to climate, while demonstrating a total failure to research even the most basic of facts.
MFW comment: Well, I’m not so hard on Leo. There’s been plenty of folks baffled by our Chinook winds over the years. When you see somebody barbecuing in a T-Shirt in the middle of February and you figure it’s supposed to be frigid here, that might set you off a bit. We Albertans are a also bit testy about folks attacking us for pollution and global warming and such – including a Canadian guy named Neil Young.
Yes, we must be conscious of this stuff. And do what we must going into the future. BUT there were ice ages and periods of global warming long before us humans started screwing the place up. ???
Man in the Wilderness / 1971
On the surface Man in the Wilderness appears to be the true epic tale of frontiersman Hugh Glass‘ unfortunate encounter with a Grizzly Bear – and his struggle to survive and seek revenge against those that left him for dead.
But is it?
There could be more to this grizzly tale than meets the eye at first glance …
Man in the Wilderness … Part 2:
Beneath the waves …
– a person who has returned, especially from the dead.
“In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.”
Tim (Tim Neath – Visual Artist https://timneath.wordpress.com/about-me/) was commenting that the upcoming film: “The Revenant”, is a remake of the 1971 film “Man in the Wilderness”which starred Richard Harris and John Huston. We were both puzzled at the lack of acknowledgement about this ?
Looking at things a little closer, however, I see that the book “The Revenant” was written by Michael Punke and released in 2002. While “Man in the Wilderness” was a screenplay / script written by Jack DeWitt about 1970 – a novel was later released, named after the movie. In any event, it’s the same story – by different authors.
Above: The (blue) script for Man in the Wilderness (1971). A biopic loosely based on the life of American frontiersman Hugh Glass (1780-1833). I’m guessing it follows the factual events of Glass’s adventures more closely than The Revenant, but the theme of being a revenge movie seems accurate. In real life Glass didn’t follow through on his vengeance – after he confronted the men and accepted their reasons for abandoning him. In Man in the Wilderness, Glass’s name is changed to Zachary Bass (not sure why?) and played by Richard Harris. Captain Henry is the antagonist played by John Huston, as the leader of the expedition members who deserted him.
Though shot on location in Spain in the 1970’s, Man in the Wilderness has no feel of being a Spaghetti Western and I don’t personally qualify it as such. Others may differ.
Nor would you guess that the locations in the movie are anything other that the Appalachians or Adirondack’s of the Eastern US. The terrain seems amazingly similar/authentic.
Strangely enough, The Revenant is also shot outside of the US – in Alberta and Argentina. ??
Hugh Glass – A Short Bio
What can we say? Hugh Glass seems to have been a hell of a man.
Wikipedia: “Despite his injuries, Glass regained consciousness, but found himself abandoned, without weapons or equipment. He had festering wounds, a broken leg, and cuts on his back that exposed bare ribs. Glass lay mutilated and alone, more than 200 miles (320 km) from the nearest American settlement at Fort Kiowa on the Missouri. Glass set his own leg, wrapped himself in the bear hide his companions had placed over him as a shroud, and began crawling. To prevent gangrene, Glass laid his wounded back on a rotting log and let maggots eat the dead flesh …”
Hugh Glass … American Legend / Part 2
Latest Trailer / Preview
Filmed in Alberta and Argentina.
(Never film a movie in a location that doesn’t begin and end with an ‘A’.
Already generating controversy:
It’s long. 2 1/2 hours.
It’s brutal. People left the theatre during a recent screening.
It has another brilliant performance by DiCaprio. Nominated for Best Actor 4 times. Will he win this time?
I say yes.
September 1949 – November 2015
The hidden purposes of our journey.
For what you gave and showed us.
Bless You Sandie.
From Brother Doug
A post or two ago I was trying to identify the circled skater
in the old photo below.
Thanks to my Brothers, Chris, Bruce and Doug
for their submissions in solving this mystery !
Brother Bruce writes:
“Jer, Pretty sure the kid next to me is Wayne Vockeroth we chummed around together for a while. Talking about 30 below hockey I can remember a frozen puck hitting a goal post and breaking in half. Also at 30 below your skates don’t grip the ice – its like trying to skate on glass. Remember playing hockey on the old slough in Brooks? We would play until our feet froze solid and then go back to the house and holler like hell while they defrosted man that was painful, but of course after they warmed up out we would go again. You can’t beat a good time.”
You got that Right Bruce !!! I’d go back in a blink – frozen feet and all.
Andl Wayne – if you’re still out there – wherever you are? – this is for you.
Thanks for the great times.
You too Tom !
Buck and the studio have a proven formula
and keep cranking them out.
But the end is near.
Buck Jones Filmography / The End
Roy Orbison / In Dreams
Sometimes an old photo can raise as many mysteries … as memories.
One day my partner Rose, handed a old photo she had found in one of my books.
Here it is:
There are several mysteries surrounding this photo.
Mystery 1: Who took the picture? I guess it had to be Dad? I don’t think any of us kids had a camera?
Mystery 2: Who is the second guy from the left? I see Brother’s Bruce and Brother Doug, and our pal Tom Wright. But who is this other guy? ?? Maybe Bruce and Doug will know. I’ll ask.
Mystery 3: Where’s Brother Richard – and myself? We were as fanatical about hockey as Doug and Bruce.
Facts of interest:
- The year is about 1963. The town is Drumheller, Alberta – in the “Dinosaur Valley”.
- That’s our house behind Bruce (left). We lived in the new Drumheller “sub division” and were considered to be rich by most kids. The house was fairly modest though. Just new.
- The rink they’re standing on is in the yard of the Catholic School which was obviously across the street from us. We didn’t go to the Catholic School. We weren’t Catholic.
- This rink had no boards. Most any hockey in small town Canada was played outdoors – though many towns did have some kind of covered rink. I don’t remember who periodically watered the ice. But I know who cleaned it most of the time. Us. It’s funny how many other kids would magically appear … after the rink was cleaned. Tots and figure skaters skated at their own risk though – there was a hockey game going on – for certain.
- Cold? I remember playing hockey when it was 30 below zero. Our feet and fingers would freeze and he’d go back inside – till everything thawed out. Then go back out again. We used gum boots for goal posts. Pucks were occasionally lost in the snow piles off-rink – and recovered in the Spring. We played all day – as possible – and played until it was too dark to see the puck. Lighted outdoor rinks were a luxury.
- The goal they’re standing in front of was made by Brother Richard from 2×4’s and chicken wire. It was a luxury too. And it lasted about one season.
- The equipment they’re wearing is really about all we had. Doug (right) is the only person wearing shin pads. (In ‘shinny hockey’ though you’re not supposed to raise the puck. BUT accidents do happen.) Hockey equipment cost money – and we didn’t have any. We could barely afford hockey sticks. The tape on the sticks was not for glamour – it was often the only thing holding the blade together. Skates were the main expense. In the pic, Bruce is the only guy with hockey gloves – which everybody would clearly (and dearly) have worn if they’d had any. Getting slashed on the hands and fingers was common – and painful. NOBODY wore helmets in those days. We got bumped, bruised, cut, and injured … sometimes broken. But we played on. It was our passion.
Hockey in our house was war. Bruce and Doug were fans of the hated Toronto MapleLeafs. Richard and I were Montreal Canadien fans. You can only imagine.
I think you might now have some understanding of how upset I get when I see how Hockey is being butchered these days – for money. No one cares about it’s History – it’s Heritage – it’s Traditions.
But I do.
It’s more than just an idle pastime for people of my generation. It was our life – our lifeblood. And it’s gone.
Remember when making a Western used to be a simple thing?
Just ask Buck Jones.
Then there’s this.
The story surrounding the production of this Jane Got a Gun is one of those Hollywood horror stories.
- The film was shot in early 2013, but will finally be released in February 2016, nearly 3 years after filming took place.
- Was seeking a release date after the film was dropped by Relativity Media – but they dropped it …
- Michael Fassbender was originally cast as Dan Frost but he left the project after clashing with director Lynne Ramsay. After Fassbender departed the project, filming was set to begin the next week but Ramsay dropped the project and didn’t arrive on the first day on set. Less than 25 hours later, Gavin O’Connor was hired to replace Ramsay and production was back on track.
- Famed cinematographer Darius Khondji left the film in solidarity with Lynne Ramsay.
- After Lynne Ramsay departed the project, Jude Law also left the project a day before shooting was scheduled to begin citing that ‘he signed on to work with Ramsay’.
- Bradley Cooper was eventually tapped to replace Law. Then Cooper left due to scheduling conflicts.
- Joel Edgerton took over the role vacated by Fassbender.
- Ewan McGregor took on the villain character Jude Law and Cooper were hired to play.
- Lynne Ramsay filed a lawsuit … has recently been settled …
The film is considered to be a loose remake of Hannie Caulder (1971).
(You can’t make this stuff up).
No one is talking.
Here’s the latest … a Trailer !!!! Finally.
But with French subtitles … ???
What the hell is going on with these guys ???
Crazy thing is …
this might turn out to be a OK Western.
1935 – Buck makes 7 movies …
Buck Jones Filmography / Posters 1936
More than a couple of people have been asking me when this movie was going to come out. Well … here it is. Should be available shortly.
Release Date: 19 February 2016 (USA)
Toronto Film Review: ‘Forsaken’
SEPTEMBER 15, 2015 | 09:04PM PT
Kiefer Sutherland and Donald Sutherland are cast as prodigal son and disapproving dad in Jon Cassar’s enjoyably old-fashioned Western.
If “Forsaken” were any more old-fashioned, lenser Rene Ohashi might have filmed it in black-and-white, scripter Brad Mirman definitely would have trimmed the F-bombs from his dialogue, and the entire enterprise probably would bear the brand of RKO or Republic Pictures. Refreshingly and unabashedly sincere in its embrace of Western conventions and archetypes, this pleasingly retrograde sagebrush saga should play exceptionally well with currently under-served genre fans — except, perhaps, for those with low tolerance for salty language – and likely will enjoy a long shelf life as home-screen product after potentially profitable exposure in theatrical corrals.
When family members appear on screen portraying characters who share their real life relationships, something special often happens. We’ve seen it with Ryan and Tatum O’Neal in Paper Moon, Henry and Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond, and now you can see it with Donald and Kiefer Sutherland in Forsaken. With over 30 overlapping years in the business, you would think this would have happened already, and while they have appeared in the same movie before, this is the first time the Sutherlands have played father and son. It was worth the wait.
Forsaken is an extremely archetypal western. Kiefer plays a civil war veteran who, instead of returning home after the war, made a name for himself as a gunslinger. When we meet him, this not-so-young gun is attempting to give up his old ways and reconnect with his estranged father who he soon learns is being harassed by a local gang hired to muscle farmers off their land. You can guess where it goes from there.
The film flirts with cliche at times, while firmly kissing it on the lips at others. Much of it is predictable, but the biggest surprise is how good it really is, particularly if you’re a fan of the genre. Like the underrated Open Range, Forsakenisn’t trying to reinvent the Western, it’s just proving why the genre has connected with audiences since the beginning of cinema.
Donald and Kiefer bring the hard emotions when they’re required to, but the film is elevated by an excellent supporting cast that includes Brian Cox, Demi Moore, and Michael Wincott (who deserves more roles like this). Despite the film expounding the virtues of pacifism, there are very few indicators that this is a Canadian production, which is an unfortunate yet valid compliment.
The movie was shot at the CL Ranch of Calgary, Alberta right after Discovery Channel’s Klondike (2014) had wrapped, meaning the town had to be quickly transformed from a booming city circa 1890 to a not-so-booming town in the wild west circa 1870.
Reunites co-stars Kiefer Sutherland and Demi Moore who previously appeared together in A Few Good Men (1992).
Reunites Demi Moore and Donald Sutherland after their appearance in Disclosure (1994).
Apologizing for my lack of posting recently. I’ve been working most days and just didn’t have the time to do anything. Now I’m going away for 4 days.
But hang in there … I’m working on a ton of stuff and I’ll be back to normal shortly.
In the meantime I found this amazing documentary on Stunts in early films. It’s a bit long, but I think you’ll enjoy it. Have a look.
See y’all soon …
Buck Jones and the Old Time Theatres has turned into another Blog Monster – so huge that it could literally take dozens of posts to do it justice …
The Old Time Movie Theatres/Palaces
And Palaces they were. Do you Remember? Some lucky folks will. Others (mostly the young) may not.
Fortunately, a few of these incredible Movie Palaces still remain – have been saved. Unfortunately, most of them have been callously torn down.
Testifying to their beauty, those that still remain are now usually the domain of Fine Arts.
Beautiful indeed they were. The sensation. The atmosphere. The Grandeur …
Going to the Theatre in those days was a special event. The Names suggested so: The Grand, The Palace, The Ritz, The Royal … The Majestic … The Orpheom …
Outside, The Marques blazed – large and spectacular with lights and neon.
Inside – the Entrance – The Doors – plush carpeting – staircases – balconies – brass, mirrors, glitter, gold, lighting, chandeliers, curtains, soft music – everything was exquisite. Somebody really cared. And made you feel like royalty – a palace – a grand experience. Undeniable elegance. Here was an appreciation of Culture – Arts – and Craftsmanship – something to aspire to – and inspire us – as all great Art does.
Then there was the Program:
You’re were seated. Lights dim. Grand music swelling. The beautiful stage – the curtains slowly part …
First on the program you’d typically get a black and white Newsreel – news on the current War; the launching of the Titanic; the crash of the Hindenburg; a new motorcar; celebrity gossip; recent sports achievements; ??? – in these 5 to 10 minute reels. Then came the cartoon – sometimes three! Followed by previews of Upcoming Attractions. The pre-movie show was an entertainment experience in itself – often half an hour long – or more – before the curtains would close again … and then re-open. Now for the main attraction!
In this posting – for the sake of brevity – I take the privilege of showcasing just a few of these marvelous theatres that we had in Canada.
Theatres of Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia
Hard to believe they showed movies at these places/palaces isn’t it?
But they did.
Next: The Old Time Theatres of Alberta
Yesterday 476 people looked at this Blog.
That’s an avalanche for me.
I didn’t post anything.
Was it due to a comment I made on
Cindy Bruckman’s Blog ?
or Marilyn’s ‘Serendipity Blog‘ ?
or Mike’s Film Talk ?
or Rick’s SBI: a Thinning Crowd:
or Tim’s ‘Tim Neath Visual Artist‘
or Thom Hickey’s ‘The Immortal Jukebox‘
or all of these noble folks?
or a subspace anomaly?
I’ll probably never know …
if i didn’t have a dime / gene pitney
Buck Jones busted for Stunt Fraud
Diligent investigative reporting by My Favorite Westerns has uncovered
Stunt Fraud in the 1934 Buck Jones Western Serial ‘Red Rider‘!
Close scrutiny of photo images and the Serial clip clearly reveal
that Buck and his heroine riding Silver did not jump the yawning chasm as
they appear to have done in the clip! Zounds!
Look closely and you will see that the dust from Buck’s steed does
not fall into the canyon – but instead alights on some invisible platform!
Indeed! The illusion of Buck jumping a chasm is achieved by
the clever splicing and overlaying of two separate images!
Buck is really merely jumping a ditch only 2 feet deep.
When confronted with the evidence, Jones responded:
“Only an idiot with risk the life of a young lady and his horse
by actually jumping across a chasm.”
Good point Buck.
But it was a nice illusion while it lasted.
Coming up: The Movie Palaces
don’t let me down / Dillard & Clark
Buck Jones / ‘Red Rider’ / 1934
Some of that ‘Extreme’ stuff you see these days has been going on
for a long time.
Here’s yet another ‘Cliff Hanger’ stunt (literally) from
Buck Jones ‘Red Rider‘ serial / 1934.
You’ll notice that the Steed – with it’s 2 riders (whoever they were?)
barely make it across the chasm.
One has to wonder what happened when such stunts didn’t come off?
Jump scene occurs at about the 2 minute mark …
Next: The Movie Palaces
Them Dance Hall Girls / Fraser and Debolt
Buck Jones / ‘Red Rider’ / 1934
During the 30’s, Buck Jones made a few Movie Serials. One such was Red Rider.
Movie Serials first appeared in the 1910’s and were popular the right up into the late 50’s. These were usually about 15 (black and white) Episodes that were less than 10 minutes in length and shown at Saturday Matinees prior to the main attraction. They always had a ‘Cliff Hanger’ ending. – the idea being that you’d have to come back again next week to see what happened to your Hero.! Would Buck, survive the fall off that cliff?
Of course he would, but we wanted to see how?
These old time stunts were amazing. And dangerous. No wires or CGI.
This is why stuntman Richard Farnsworth
eventually formed the Stuntman’s Union.
Below: Buck takes the plunge …
Those old time “Movie Palaces” ?
Coming right up …