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Larry McMurtry's Dead Man's Walk
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In short, it is a hell of a tale, well told. The cast is excellent all the way around, and the choices made for the young Woodrow Call (Johnny Lee Miller) and Gus McCrae (David Arquette) fortuitous. In Miller we see the beginnings of the stubborn iron will and dtermination of Woodrow Call, as well as his natural acceptance of responsibility and leadership. David Arquette catches the free spirit, insipient laziness and romantic dreamer in Gus.
The story of an ill-fated trek to wrest Santa Fe and thereby all of New Mexico from Mexico, becomes a hellish mess as one thing after another goes wrong, not the least of which is a determined Apache, Gomez, picking them off one by one. And, there is yet a worst trek after their failure in Santa Fe, and that is the Dead Man's Walk of the title, lead by a resolute and unswayable Mexican Officer (Edward J. Olmos), with other surprises to come.
If you liked Lonesome Dove, you will like this as well. If you didn't like Lonesome Dove (more's the pity on you), better give this a pass. 4-1/2 stars. Worth it.
The storyline itself has already been recounted here, so no need to repeat. As far as the previous comment that the soundtrack was essentially dull and uninteresting, I disagree. I think it was beautiful. The filming was also very well done. I also think the two main stars did a creditable job in handling roles that were, let's face it, definitively portrayed by Duvall & Jones in LD. Jennifer Garner as Clara was, as always, a pleasure to behold, and certainly she helped me understand McCrae's falling head-over-heels in love with her. In many ways, I think that on the whole the main supporting cast was better than in LD. Keith Carradine, Patricia Childress, Edward James Olmos, Harry Dean Stanton and F. Murray Abraham were all outstanding.
I knocked this down to 4 stars because it ain't LD, so comparatively speaking it simply could not garner 5 stars. Also, there are a couple of glaring technical errors. At the end of Disc One, when the group is leaving the burying of some of their companions and about to embark on the Dead Man's Walk, the camera is on a wide shot and you can clearly see a very large vehicle(!) moving across a roadway on the horizon. This is unforgivable. Later, while wandering in a rainstorm, the huge stage fans used to whip the rain can easily be heard. Both of these flaws are so conspicuously and outrageously bad that I'm surprised they weren't caught by the editor.
All in all, though, Dead Man's Walk is a fine DVD and should be in any LD fan's collection.
The purpose of DMW, besides being a story in its own right, is to establish the characters of the young Texas Rangers, Augustus "Gus" McCrae and Woodrow Call, here played by David Arquette and Jonny Lee Miller respectively. DMW is set in 1842, and Texas is still an independent Republic. In LD, set some thirty years later, Gus and Woodrow (Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones respectively), drive a cattle herd from Texas to Montana.
DMW does a credible job molding the personalities of young Gus and Woodrow, whether they're beset by Commanches, Apaches, the Mexican Army, starvation, or imprisonment. Even love, for that matter. The viewer can see in them the men they're to become decades later.
Whereas in LD McCrae and Call are the pre-eminent characters, in DMW the two are overshadowed by a large cast of more colorful personae. There are Shadrach (Harry Dean Stanton) and Bigfoot Walker (Keith Carradine), the grizzled mountain men. Then there's Mattie Roberts (Patricia Childress), the stout-hearted harlot nicknamed "Great Western", who accompanies the Texans' various expeditions into the hostile wilderness and, after a bath and fashion makeover, has a poignant self-revelation. F. Murray Abraham plays Caleb Cobb, a pirate turned soldier-of-fortune, who, with green parrot on his shoulder, plots the capture of Santa Fe from the Mexicans.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie was great. It has a real sentimental value to me. Thank you for making it easy for me to get this movie. I love it. Now my collection is completedPublished 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
David Arquette did not do justice to the McCrae role. He came across a little jealous of Woodrow and clumsy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Leal