The Lone Ranger Theme Music / William Tell Overture
Normally I’m pretty excited when I hear there’s a new Western being made …
But when I heard that the movie was a remake of The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp playing Tonto … I had my reservations (if you’ll excuse the expression).
But then I heard that the project had been axed … due to a lack of wampum (if you’ll excuse the expressions).
But then I herd it wuz back on again – them having raised the loot and lowered the costs.
Anyway … the project is now in the can and below is the recent info.
My fears that the movie might insult the legacy, legend and traditional of original Lone Ranger and Tonto are still not thwarted, but we still don’t have enough info to know whether this project will fly or not.
– Van Cleef had almost given up on his acting career in the mid-’60s and turned to painting when he was cast by Sergio Leone in For a Few Dollars More(1965). It made him a superstar in Europe and restarted his career in the US, making him again a recognizable and bankable name.
– Lee had one green eye and one blue eye. This was corrected in the movies with colored contact lenses.
– He was involved in a car accident in 1959 in which he lost his left kneecap. Doctors told him he would never be able to ride a horse again because of the injury. Within six months he was back in the saddle. But the injury plagued him for the rest of his life.
Samuel Pack “Sam” Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers.
… One of his first film roles was as ‘Card Player #2’ in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
… In 1979, he played the oldest brother in the made-for-TV miniseries The Sacketts, also starring Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Mercedes McCambridge, Jack Elam, and Gilbert Roland, among others.
… including Buffalo Girls (1995) in which he played Wild Bill Hickok. In 1998, Elliot was named the Grand Marshal of the Calgary Stampede parade and rode in the procession before 300,000 spectators. He has also starred in Road House (1989) with Patrick Swayze and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone (1993), which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
In researching Westerns … I’m finding I have some ‘dues’ to pay. I’ve discovered my education in Western movies is sadly lacking and there are a ton of Westerns out there that I have never seen that I need to ‘catch up on’ – even at this late date.
In doing so I’ve also found that I sometimes have to subject myself to a few Westerns that are less than excellent. Like tonight, when I decided to watch The Shadow Riders with Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck is a favorite actor of mine and, in fact, is in one of My Favorite Westerns: Quigley Down Under. But The Shadow Riders is (sadly) not of the same calibre. It’s a TV Movie – a B Movie. Not that all TV Movies or B Movies are poor – some are pretty good and a lot of fun to watch – they just aren’t normally ‘top of the line’ in production qualities.
The Shadow Riders actually has some pretty fine talent in – besides Selleck: Sam Eliott, Ben Johnson; Catherine Ross … plus a sampling of trusty support actors. But it’s not a good movie.
Selleck and Elliot appeared together several times in Westerns:
With regard to Ben Johnson: a fine Western actor who has appeared in MANY Westerns – and is also in another of my My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch. He’s one of the four (anti) heroes who march to the final showdown – along with William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warren Oates.
Ben Johnson definitely has a place in the MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame …
“The general consensus seems to be that I don’t act at all.”
Gary Cooper Western Filmography
The Virginian 1929 / Fighting Caravans 1931 / The Plainsman 1936 /
The Cowboy and the Lady 1938 / Northwest Mounted Police 1940 /
The Westerner 1940 / Along Came Jones 1945 / Distant Drums 1951 /
Springfield Rifle 1952 / High Noon 1952 / Garden of Evil 1954 / Vera Cruz 1954 / Man of the West 1958 / Alias Jesse James 1959 /
They Came To Cordura 1959 / The Hanging Tree 1959
In High Noon even Grace Kelly – a pacifist Quaker and sworn gun hater – eventually pulls a gun and kills somebody. God forbid that any of us should ever have to do such a thing … and in a perfect world guns wouldn’t exist.
Unfortunately, this is surely not a perfect world. Do Westerns glorify and encourage gun usage?
In my youth I handled and used guns extensively. Today I own no guns and haven’t shot one in many years … and have no intention of doing so.
I wuz just trying to figure out how to adjust the line spacing on the page … when suddenly … something went terribly wrong … the whole page disappeared … into cyberset. (Cyberset is the Western equivalent of ‘riding off into the sunset’ … ‘cept you don’t ‘ride off’ …. you just vanish … No glory … No completion … No sunset … No kiss. It just takes one slip of your trigger finger …. and before yu can holler “Look out Billy!” the whole damn page disappears. Oft times never to be retrieved …. or even tracked … particularly by a tenderfoot blogger like myself.
And I never learned or noticed – that there was an emergency page retrieval button at the bottom … until I rode back later. Alas … too late.
Worse yet I never figured out how to do that damn line spacing thing until later.
Sooo … I’m having to rebuild the whole page – or at least what I had done so far – which was quite a bit. I will be able to do get it almost identical though, but that will take a while …
“Talk about cowboys. That’s my passion. I think it’s just wonderful when the studios revert back to doing westerns again.” – Ernest Borgnine.
Ernest Borgnine (born Ermes Effron Borgnino) appeared in many Westerns (The Revengers; The Trackers; Hannie Caldur; Chuka; Manhunt; Badlanders; Vera Cruz; Johnny Guitar; The Stranger Wore a Gun …) and Television Westerns (Wagon Train; Laramie; Zane Grey Theatre …) in an entertainment career that spanned 61 years.
Try to find another screencap with this many heavyweights in it!
Ernest appears in two of My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch and Vera Cruz.
I’ve started a new Page called Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Instead of inserting a profile every time one of these great Cowboy actors appears in one of My Favorite Westerns, I decided to start this Page.
This is especially for those Western Movie Stars like Slim Picken, Jack Elam, Matt Clark … and a couple of dozen other Cowboys who appeared in many Western Movies – but most in supporting roles. You’ve probably seen some of them many times, but didn’t know their names – or background. Hopefully this page will give them their due …
Peter Fonda (Director and Actor) trades in his chopper (Easy Rider), but still discovers that people try to gun him down. But unlike like Easy Rider which achieved accolades and much money, The Hired Hand (also made on a ‘shoestring’ – by movie standards) was initially shunned and shelled by critics and fans alike. Years later it’s edited re-release was greeted with justified applause.
It is unique. Reflective and gorgeously shot … flowing in its own steam. A minor Classic.
Just starting to working the Jeremiah Johnson profile.
Jeremiah Johnson has always presented one overall dilemna for me: Why cast Robert Redford as Jeremiah Johnson?
Redford did a great job, but he sure wouldn’t have been my choice. As a matter of fact, he almost seems like a case of outright ‘miscasting’. Redford, a good looking ‘matinee idol’ type and Johnson being a raw hard-boned ‘liver eating’ murdering mountain man. Does that fit for you?
Seems more likely a part for Lee Marvin, Tom Sellick, Charles Bronson, Lancaster … ?? or ten other guys before I’d think of Redford.
But … he pulled if off. Amazing.
So Jeremiah Johnson makes it to My Favorite Westerns list.
Another interesting casting problem looms for Tom Cruise – who is said to be putting together a re-make of The Magnicent Seven. Good grief ! How do find a cast that will inevitably be compared to the likes of Yul Brunner, James Coburn, Steve Mcqueen, Charles Bronson, etc. Is that at all possible? It’s going to be interesting to find out who they come up with.
In working on The Gunfight at the OK Corral page the question and inevitable comparisons arise between subsequent and previous versions of the ‘Earp Saga’ – as it has been called … My Darling Clementine; Gunfight at the OK Corral; Tomestone; Wyatt Earp (the movie) …
What are my conclusions ? Comments ?
Firstly: Star Power.
Star Power covers a lot of ills … and saves the day. Sydney Pollack, who directed Jeremiah Johnson (and six other movies starring Robert Redford), had a simple theory about film making: employ established Move Stars.
A movie that may well be less that the sum of it’s holes … can be readily and easily saved by Star Power. Otherwise … it can be shot to hell.
For instance, Wyatt Earp – the movie. Many Critics savaged this movie. And yes, it has flaws. Namely, it’s probably a bit long. And unfortunately, for myself, I find it boring in places. I don’t like to say that because I like Kevin Costner and Director Lawrence Kasdan. The first thing we notice about criticism of this movie (by the Critics themselves – and ordinary folks) is that the criticism of the film all seemed to be leveled at Costner – not Kasdan. Why? Kasdan Directed it – not Costner. One reason may be (by my observation) that some folks have a ‘hate on’ for Costner. Is this due to the incredible success of Dances with Wolves – which Costner directed and spearheaded (if you’ll excuse the expresion) – and Field of Dreams in which he starred. Simple jealousy? Maybe some people feel that he needed his balloon pricked – lest he become some kind of God. ??
In any event, it’s safe to say that Costner has been overly brutalized since his early success. Waterworld; Wyatt Earp … and a couple of others … have sure seen Costner’s once brilliant and unstoppable Star fall from the heavens. Some of that criticism has been a too vociferous – in my opinion.
Apart from this I think Wyatt Earp / the movie was shot down for a couple of other reasons:
1. People wanted – and expected – an action movie. But ‘ Wyatt Earp’ was really almost a documentary about the historical Earp and his family – not gunfighting – at the OK Corral – or anywhere else. Any anticipated ‘Action’ was almost incidental. It wasn’t Kasdans intention to create an action film – a traditioanal Western. And folks were disappointed/didn’t like that/didn’t ‘get it’.
2. It lacked Star Power. YES. There are several fine actors – and performances – in Wyatt Earp. BUT … Costner and crew simply lack the Star Power and charisma (that intangible magic that great Actors have) to pull it off. Gunfight at the OK Corral is long too – and slow in places (almost 3 hours!). BUT … it has Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas – two of the greatest Hollywood actors to ever grace ‘the Screen’ and ‘ride the range’. These guys are SO GOOD they can make you watch paint dry … and like it. THAT’s Star Power. Costner – bless his little Soul – just doesn’t have that same magic. Likewise My Darling Clementine is carried by Fonda and Victor Mature. Ironically – the ‘studio system’ (that Lancaster hated and rebelled against) was the very animal that produced him – and the likes of Douglas, Fonda and Victor Mature. For all it’s constrictive flaws, it produced some great movies (and plenty of bad ones) and some great Actors. One indeed has to wonder if Lancaster or Douglas would have ever achieved their (just) fame and exposure in todays system? I doubt it. In any event, Costner can’t measure up (not his fault) his Star Power to Lancaster, Douglas, Fonda or Mature. Years later Costner Directed the successful ‘Open Range’ with Robert Duvall, which I believe was made as his ‘answer back’ to the failings of ‘Wyatt Earp’.
3. It’s soo loooong. Again, not Costner’s fault. But the movie may well have used some chopping. Gunfight at the OK Corral was long too, but Lancaster and Douglas could carry it. Costner could not.
In all fairness, Tomestone, which was Directed by George P. Cosmatos – NOT Kirk Russell, also fails in this regard. The inevitable comparisons of Russell to Lancaster sees Russell fail. It can’t be done. I like Kirk Russell too – but he’s no Lancaster. WHO IS? (I also wonder if some of the acclaim for Tomestone was not again an indirect criticism aimed at Costner. ??)
All these things … and more … rumble and ramble about in my head.
Beginning work on The Last of the Mohicans page. Right now I’m inserting quotes from the movie – and there are several good ones. There’s many excellent images also.
One way you can tell if a movie / writing / is ‘Inspired’ work – is by the number of memorable quotes or unique expressions that come out of it. Star Wars, for instance, had several (“Use the Force Luke”, “May the Force be with you” … several others – that have almost become household expressions. Shakespeare has to be the outstanding example of inspired writing … so whoever wrote that stuff was a genius to be sure.
As I mentioned before, one notable theme that surrounds nearly every movie here is the conflict between the money brokers and the artist (Director). Even Michael Mann had his issues due to reports that he was taking too long and that he often reshot scenes as many as 20 times. Thus the company sent someone down to (literally) look over Mann’s shoulder during shooting and urge him to not be so particular. Ultimately, (as in most cases) the movie made 72 million dollars – a lot of loot in 1992. It was a great success.
I continue to refine, edit, update and change all my pages: Gunfight at the OK Corral; Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid … so if you check back on occasion you will see new content, etc. This will ALWAYS be the case. These Pages are never finished – as I find more and more material as I go along.