Big Iron / 2020 Colter Wall written by Marty Robbins
“You sit in your tepee and dream and then you go to wherever the dream may take you. It might come true. You wait for real life to catch up.”
IMDB (Internet Movie Database) says that Burt Lancaster made 16 Westerns. That’s wrong. Desert Fury (1947) ain’t no Western.
Just because a movie is made in Sedona AZ
or somebody is wearing a Cowboy hat
doesn’t make it a Western.
So … let’s say about 15 Burt Lancaster Westerns.
Did you know that?! (I didn’t.) But I regard 5 of them to be Western Classics.
Here’s my list:
The Gunfight at the OK Corral / 1957 Definitely one of the most
influential Westerns of all time
Vera Cruz / 1954 Lancaster and Cooper
Wa do ya want?
The Professionals / 1966
One of the Top Ten Westerns every made.
The Unforgiven / 1960
One of the most controversial Westerns ever made.
And some said that Hepburn doesn’t look very native.
But it’s Hepburn – so all is Forgiven.
The Rainmaker / 1956
Some say this isn’t a Western.
But it’s got Hepburn.
So let it rain.
Robert Ryan was already a grizzled veteran of the screen when I was a kid – and I missed most of his earlier work of the 40’s and 50’s. And to me he always seemed to be one of those actors that somehow were never young – even in his early movies – with a presence, stature and persona that moved past his years and youth.
Rugged and somewhat gruff in his portrayals – even his smile was often more like a sardonic smirk – he often played the heavy – a villain. Yet he surely played strong and well along side the likes of:
Gary Cooper (North West Mounted Police / 1940 Rock Hudson (Horizons West / 1952 James Stewart and Janet Leigh (TheNaked Spur / 1953 Clark Gable and Jane Russell (The Tall Men / 1955 Burl Ivesand Tina Louise (Day of the Outlaw /1959 John Dehner and Torin Thatcher (The Canadians / 1961, Lancaster, Marvin, Palance, Strode, Bellamy and Cardinale (The Professionals / 1966 James Garner and Jason Robards (Hour of the Gun / 1967 Robert Shaw (Custer of the West /1968 Arthur Kennedy (A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die / 1968 William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson … (The Wild Bunch / 1969 Burt Lancaster, Lee J. Cobb (Lawman / 1971 …
and more …
A heck of an actor. And these are just his Westerns!
But what Westerns they were ! At least 3 easily rising into the heights of Western Classics: The Wild Bunch, The Professionals, Naked Spur, Hour of the Gun … plus others of worthy note.
Claudia Cardinale only made about 3 Westerns – which is rather startling since she is an Italian actress and was a major Star in Europe during the height of Spaghetti Westerns.
However, when she did her aim was extremely good – starring in 2 of the greatest Westerns ever made: The Professionals and Sergio Leone‘s Once Upon a Time in the West – which many rank as the Top Western of all time.
Not bad at all.