A Celebration of Western Movies… Pardner!
Biographies of some of the Greatest Western DIrectors ..
“I am… a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.” / John Ford
Documentary Biography: Directed by John Ford (1971)
“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” / John Ford
Information edited from Screen Junkies:
John Ford Western Movies – Jackie Barlow
“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” / Navajo Proverb
“Director John Ford’s 1939 film Stagecoach, starring John Wayne, has had an enduring influence in making Monument Valley famous. After that first experience, Ford returned nine times to shoot Westerns — even when the films were not set in Arizona or Utah. A popular lookout point is named in his honor as “John Ford Point.””
– Travels with Grama http://www.travelswithgrama.com/travels/monvalley.htm
Below: John Ford’s Point: Shot from the new movie: The Lone Ranger – starring Johnny Depp and Arnie Hammer.
Soundtrack A fistful of Dollars / Ennio Morricone
From Wikipedia – The Online Encyclopedia:
– 1964 – Clint Eastwood signed a contract for A Fistful of Dollars for $15,000 (US$112,403 in 2012 dollars) in wages for eleven weeks’ work, with a bonus of a Mercedes automobile upon completion.
– Sergio Leone intended Henry Fonda to play the “Man with No Name”. However, the production company could not afford to engage a major Hollywood star.
– Next, Leone offered Charles Bronson the part. He, too, declined the role, arguing that the script was bad.
– Both Fonda and Bronson would later star in Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
– Other actors who turned the role down were Henry Silva, Rory Calhoun, Tony Russel, Steve Reeves, Ty Hardin, James Coburn and Richard Harrison.
Soundtrack For a Few Dollars More / Ennio Morricone
From Wikipedia – The Online Encyclopedia
– 1965 – Clint Eastwood received $50,000 for returning in the sequel For a Few Dollars More, while Lee Van Cleef received $17,000.
– Charles Bronson was again approached for a starring role, but he passed it up, citing that the sequel’s script was like the first film. Instead, Lee Van Cleef then accepted the role.
– As all of the film’s footage was shot silent, Eastwood and Van Cleef returned to Italy where they dubbed over their dialogue and sound effects were added.
One of my favorite things is to investigate who turned down – or lost out – on certain movie roles.
For instance. Gary Cooper turned down The Big Trail, Stagecoach, and Red River. John Wayne took all three. Cooper carried on very nicely, but Wayne went on to become the Number One Star in Movies and possibly the greatest Western Star of all time.
“112,000 dollars” in 1964 for Clint – for 11 weeks work. And a Mercedes. Not bad at all actually – and he wasn’t even a star … yet. Though by todays Movie Star standards that might sound a bit weak. But as they say in Hollywood: “The only bad actor is an unemployed actor.”
Of course ‘nobody’ (if you’ll excuse the expression) had no idea of the success these movies would be – the start of the whole Spaghetti Western phenomenon. And very obviously – by the number of actors that turned these movies down – plenty of people didn’t think much of the opportunity.
But if Bronson hadn’t been so picky, Lee Van Cleef might very well have just faded away into the Western sunset.
In rebuilding my ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral‘ page I got to thinking about Lancaster’s portrayal of Wyatt Earp. In earlier films Lancaster had become famous for his trademark smile – which he is said to have referred to as “the grin” – most obvious in ‘Vera Cruz’ (one of My Favorite Westerns). Therefore his stoic and stern portrayal of Wyatt Earp in ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ is a stark and deliberate contrast. Was Earp really like this? Because this same humorless image of Earp is carried on through most of the other popular Earp Films: ‘Hour of the Gun‘; ‘Tomestone’ and ‘Wyatt Earp’. Only Henry Fonda‘s portrait of Earp in ‘My Darling Clementine‘ (1946) seems to put a more human face on Earp. Director John Sturges (‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’) continued with this strict image of Earp in ‘Hour of the Gun’ (1968) which starred James Garner as Earp. Garner’s ruthless portrayal of Earp is even more striking because of Garner’s usual soft and often comedic persona from the ‘Maverick’ TV series. It is safe to say however, that Sturges wasn’t very concerned with a historical portrayal of Earp (Lancaster doesn’t even sport a mustache) or the gunfight at the OK Corral. But it seems ironic that the film that makes the greatest effort to paint a historical document of Earp (Lawrence Kasdan‘s ‘Wyatt Earp’ starring Kevin Costner as Earp) is probably the least popular of five films.