western's posts - English uPOST

Kinds of Desperation Kinds of Desperation

The lost causes of youthful passion are replaced by cynical pursuits of wealth in 1971's Shoot the Living and Pray for the Dead (Prega il Morto e Ammazza il Vivo). But the old scores are just waiting to resurface, the characters in this nice, sweaty Spaghetti Western quietly boiling in waters far deeper than the…

Water and Gold Nowhere Water and Gold Nowhere

You think you’re hot now, try crossing Death Valley without any water. That’s what a gang of bank robbers do in 1948's Yellow Sky, a magnificently shot Western loosely based on The Tempest.

Another Ominous Colour for Water Another Ominous Colour for Water

Is conquest necessary for civilisation? Is it an essential human need? 1948's Red River mythologises the expansion of the U.S. but it doesn’t sanitise it. In the conflict between pioneering cattle rancher, Thomas Dunson, and his adopted son, Matt Garth, is great character drama that at the same time illustrates…

Cinco de Cyborg Cinco de Cyborg

I wanted an appropriate Doctor Who episode to watch for Cinco de Mayo but I guess there really isn’t one. I suppose the best would be The Aztecs from the First Doctor era but I’d already rewatched that one kind of recently. So I looked up “Mexico” in the TARDIS wiki and was reminded the Eleventh Doctor had been trying…

Too Much Gold Too Much Gold

One thing Westerns tend to have that other genres usually don’t are scenes of characters ruminating in the wilderness, seemingly shooting the breeze with topics not directly related to the plot but which can have fascinating thematic resonance. In 1954's Garden of Evil, two of the male characters spend so much time…

The Old Moral Compass The Old Moral Compass

Two outlaws, two men of the west, are best friends until one of them switches sides to work for the law. Now one hunts the other. This could describe several Sam Peckinpah films but to-day I’m talking about 1969's The Wild Bunch, a decent Western that wrestles with the difference between following a personal moral…

Names and Guns in a Void Names and Guns in a Void

An experienced, world weary bounty hunter, a dumb kid, a ruthless, beautiful woman, and a killer ride together out to the desert, and for the most part their motives are unclear. 1966's The Shooting clearly has answers to its mysteries and a careful viewing of the film after something is revealed in the climax show…

Or Maybe Both Or Maybe Both

As the culture divides on economic lines, it seems plausible a situation could arise like the one in 2016's Hell or High Water. It has two sides who seem equally justified however inescapable their conflict is, one side fighting against a legal system designed to break them, the other fighting to protect the lives of…

While Some were Already There While Some were Already There

Many people broadly paint the westerns of classic Hollywood as reducing Native Americans to rabid subhumans. While this was often true, by the 1950s, when the post World War II climate was creating greater awareness of civil rights issues, several westerns, most notably by John Ford, took a misguided but genuinely…

These Dead were Made for Walking These Dead were Made for Walking

I’m three episodes into season three of The Walking Dead, almost halfway through the series, so I guess this is a good time to talk about it. Season two was a lot better than season one and I can see why the show is extraordinarily popular. It’s one of the few things in U.S. media I’ve seen that genuinely bridges the…

The Shape Pounded Out by Repulsions The Shape Pounded Out by Repulsions

Sometimes the conflicting forces of prejudice and broader morality produce some fascinatingly strange results. 1946's Duel in the Sun, a Western about a half-Native American, half Caucasian nymphomaniac indulges in disgusting stereotypes while getting caught on a confused track of censor imposed morality that requires…

Cutting Bone Cutting Bone

Westerns are often fundamentally about survival with little or no assistance, a man and his companions or family alone in treacherous wilderness or against an evil or alien foe. A combination of Horror and Western then seems a natural fit and 2015’s Bone Tomahawk demonstrates this perfectly. A story that wisely knows…

Death Walks Across the Desert Death Walks Across the Desert

A man drags a coffin through a muddy grey town. This is a Spaghetti Western, not a Hammer horror film, but it’s the introduction of Gothic horror imagery and atmosphere into a Western that explains much of the appeal of 1966’s Django. The second half of the film is in some ways less interesting, becoming more of an…

A Wasteland Eclipse A Wasteland Eclipse

It’s frustrating how often a movie ostensibly about a woman ends up being about a guy. If 1971’s Hannie Caulder had been called Thomas Price I might have liked it a lot more. But it is a decently shot Western with clear influences from famous Italian films of the time in its ragged and weathered sets and costumes.

Language