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Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid / Comancheros [Blu-ray] [US Import]
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Region A encoding. This Blu-ray will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in the UK [Region B]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region Blu-ray player. Learn more about Blu-ray regions
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on 21 August 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
on 24 January 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
Classic Westerns from Hero to Anti-Hero
on 12 February 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
Four Classic Westerns from Hero to Anti-Hero. THE HORSE SOLDIERS is a very entertaining and interesting cavalry film set during the Civil War from director John Ford. Usually Ford gives us an image of the United States Cavalry in all its might and splendor defending the frontier against Indians against the backdrop of Monument Valley. During the film's credits we no longer see a grand and glorious image of Ford's beloved cavalry. Instead we see a tired line of cavalrymen on horseback moving along in a slow and weary pace. The image is contemplative and moving and unlike John Ford's previous films. In THE HORSE SOLDIERS the cavalry, again commanded by John Wayne is relegated to a mission during the Civil War deep behind Confederate lines. They are on a mission of mayhem and destruction, which is repugnant to Wayne. This is really contrary to earlier Ford films where the cavalry is a defender of society. William Holden, the doctor assigned to Wayne's staff is there to remind Wayne of just how futile War is and that his own talents as a doctor are being squandered in the conflict. This is actually a great film from Ford and it is a treat because Civil War films have always been too few and far apart. This is a film about duty, loyalties and misconceptions. The images in this film are indelible. The scene where the Confederate military school sends out its young boys to face Wayne's cavalry is unforgettable. The film also asks the viewer through its images some hard questions about the nobility of the Southern society vs. that of the rag tag looking Union cavalry. As much as it looks like a John Ford film it thematically feels a bit different. There is sentimentality to be sure, but it is often bitter sweet. This is a much deeper film than it appears or has been given credit. THE HORSE SOLDIERS is one of cinematographer William Clothier's finest works with such rural scenes characterized by brilliant autumnal colors. The cast is a strong one and also includes Constance Towers, Ken Curtis, Denver Pyle, Strother Martin, Hank Worden, Willis Bouchey, Judson Pratt, Hoot Gibson, Bing Russell and Althea Gibson. John Ford's THE HORSE SOLDIERS is a classic. This is my favorite John Ford film. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID was made at a special time where filmmaking was rethinking many things, trying to stay current with so many changes in society coming out of the 60s. Does it take itself seriously or not? Perhaps that is the magic of it. Butch and Sundance in this film are young at heart in a western landscape shrinking and aging before their eyes. Yes, there is magic here. The humor, the tragedy, living life to its full are so personified here. Burt Bacharach's score is so non Western in feel of the genre, yet so modern, but still yet so romantic to reflect those times when the landscape and the heroes were vanishing from the horizon. I look back on this film with fond memories. I smile a bit and savor the moment. A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS was director Sergio Leone's first Spaghetti Western and established Clint Eastwood as the "Man with No Name" in this first of three films for Leone. The "Man with No Name" called Joe in the film is a different type of hero breaking from the tradition of the Hollywood western, he is cynical and appears visually amoral as he simultaneously demonstrates his mastery of marksmanship and gun-play epitomizing the "anti hero." A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS replaces Hollywood's psychological and message laced sociological westerns of the 1950s with an operatic quality based on storyline and strong characters. John Wayne's film THE COMAMCHEROS released in 1961 seems like an attempt to break away from the traditional western and enliven the genre with more action, more heroics, more ironic dialogue and have a lot of fun along the way. THE COMAMCHEROS has nothing lethargic about it, it is a straightforward action western with only a few elements of sentimentality strewn here and there. THE COMAMCHEROS is strictly the good guys against the bad guys in many outrageous sequences and the direction by Michael Curtiz in effect creates a new breed of John Wayne Western films. There is not a static moment in the film and Elmer Bernstein composed the John Wayne theme to end all John Wayne themes and an identifiable stylistic score for all subsequent John Wayne Westerns. THE COMAMCHEROS is a great film and re-envisions John Wayne as a western hero unlike anything seen in RED RIVER, HONDO or THE SEARCHERS. It has the bawdiness of John Ford's characters, but the action is now quick and stylistic all to rousing music composed by Elmer Berstein. The era of the Western genre seen during the 1940s and 50s is re-envisioned.
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