32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
One of Clint's Top Westerns,
This review is from: The Outlaw Josey Wales (DVD)
While he was still a star and hero on the long-running TV western Wagon Train, Clint Eastwood emerged on the Hollywood scene in western-theme movies, specifically his trio of "spaghetti westerns" with director Sergi Leone, the best being "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly".
After establishing another remarkable character in Dirty Harry, Clint returns to his western "roots" as the vengeful Josie Wales, in "The Outlaw Josie Wales". This is Clint's 31st film and his fifth as a director. Actually, the film was started with a different director, Philip Kaufman of "The Right Stuff" fame. After numerous and intractable arguments over the interpretation of the film, Clint fired his director a week into shooting and took over directorship himself. We will never know what sort of film Mr. Kaufman would have produced, but Eastwood's final product is a true gem in western filmmaking.
In Eastwood's western trilogy he was known only as "the man with no name", a loner who generously dispensed his form of western justice at the barrel of a gun (or two). There was not much character development. We don't learn what drives the man or what he feels inside. With Josie Wales, Clint plows new ground, as he plumbs the emotions of the vengeful Wales. He builds insights into the character and feelings of Wales, a man with a name AND feelings. This makes the movie more than a mere "shoot 'em up", and adds depth and meaning to the film. Eastwood does much the same and more, with his 1990 blockbuster (and his last western) "Unforgiven", with Oscar results.
Josie Wales can be viewed with interest and pleasure on several different levels. There is of course the "vengeful man" theme that is the movie's backbone. Then there is the multi-cultural theme, where instead of going it alone, one man against many, Wales has a collection of "family" that collects as the movie progresses: an old Indian Chief, a talkative Indian "Squaw", a grandmother and her granddaughter (Sandra Locke, whom Clint would have an affair with that would end his marriage to his wife Maggie), and finally a collection of townies from a dying silver mining town. Finally, there is the "healing" theme, namely, how does a man who suffers the violent loss of his wife, son, and home, deal with his vengeful anger, emotional loss, and begin to heal.
Mere trivia, but interesting: Clint Eastwood never once shoots and kills a Native American Indian in any of his western films. Instead of battling indians as do most of the other western film stars, Eastwood's charcters build alliances with the Natives, learning to live in peaceful co-existance rather than a state of perpetual war.
Clearly, this is Eastwood's best western up to this point in his career. It is definately worth a "look" and my guess is that it will become one of your favorite westerns.
Jim "Konedog" Koenig
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 26, 2008 12:39:26 PM PDT
S. Scheer says:
I like your review but I would like to point out that the female Indian character, Moonlight, was far from a "Squaw". Eastwood took pains to portray Indians in sympathetic and realistic light and you are reinforcing a negative stereotype by classifying her that way. Moonlight was NOT talkative, btw. She probably has the least lines in the movie and she is an equal to the men she travels with, carrying a gun and using it to protect them. "Squaw" is a very derogatory word and using it in your review gives people who have not seen the movie the wrong idea about this female Indian character.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2008 4:20:08 PM PDT
I understand your viewpoint, and I agree with it. HOwever, she is called an Indian "Squaw" at the trading post where she is introduced into the story. Notice I put the word "Squaw" in quotation marks in my review, meaning that is how she was first introduced in the movie.
I agree with you that she is a noble woman who can equal a man in shooting, riding, and fighting. I meant no disrespect for the character by using the term Squaw. I am willing to change it if it offends you.
Posted on Nov 27, 2008 10:36:50 AM PST
K. Jaskot says:
Clint got his start on "Rawhide" not "Wagon Train." other than that, a good review of a true classic.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2008 9:52:35 PM PST
Thanks for your clarification - my mistake.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2011 3:30:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2011 6:50:58 PM PST
Jay Citizen says:
It is disingenuous to go all PC and complain about a historical fact in the noun squaw. This was used by white men and Indian alike. It is only the modern PC police who put negative connotation onto a name that was misused in the past.
If you going to do a historical piece, then use the right terms. If the terms bother you - don't let you kids see it until you have given them the information necessary to judge properly the old bad habits of humans. Then they will enjoy the history, while realizing why it really did suck to be from those days!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2011 4:40:17 PM PST
Mr. Jay Citizen,
Nowhere in my review do I complain of the use of the term "Squaw". I am not PC in any manner or form. I simply used the term as it is used in the movie. No PC meaning intended.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2011 6:48:55 PM PST
Jay Citizen says:
I hear you James Koenig;
I am answering the PC police. I am not suggesting you stooped that low.
By the way, I liked your review and should have clearly said so! Long live freedom of expression!!
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