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Now to the inevitable arguments and comparisons that have arisen, given the remake that was recently produced. This original 1970 version of the film, as opposed to the very likeable and viewable new Tom Selleck version, brings with it some striking differences.
In the first place there's just no one else like Lee Marvin and his immortal portrayal of Monte Walsh. Yes, Selleck does a marvelous job in the remake but the hard, chiseled features that made Marvin a western legend are difficult to upstage. Marvin not only delivers the hard edge that all have come to expect from the cowboy stereotype, he also shows an amazingly soft side that comes through in spades throughout the film. And that voice!
Secondly, there's just no one else like Jack Palance. While Selleck did a good job of holding his own, when compared to Marvin, I came away liking Palance's wonderful portrayal of Monte's trail partner, Chet, far better than that of Keith Carradine in the remake. Palance pulls off the likeable and agreeable Chet but maintains a tough side that is all his own. And like Marvin the striking silhouette and the gravelly voice create a believability that was lacking in the Carradine portrayal.
Next there's Martine. Jeanne Moreau portrays the perfect Martine with her infrequent but sad smile. It literally lights up the screen and then vanishes as Martine, a prairie prostitute, inevitably contemplates the harsh realities of her existence. The hollow, sad eyes are beautiful and yet leave you with a sense of pain that would surely have been characteristic.Read more ›
The episodic story revolves around two friends - older cowboys - who are trying to survive in the dying days of the big cattle ranches, as absentee Eastern corporations buy up the Western landscape, altering the only lifestyle that these hard-working, free-spirited men know and can embrace.
While many cowboys are sent packing as ranches are being dismantled or rendered inactive, Monte (Lee Marvin) and Chet (Jack Palance) are trying to remain on horseback doing the work that defines who they are and gives them a sense of accomplishment. But these are dead men riding in the dusk of their times; and what's worse, they know it. The serene pale pink and blue canopy of the fading daylight envelops these men and symbolically illustrates the sundown that lays heavily on their hearts. The truth dogs Chet until in a relaxed moment at the close of a day, he acknowledges what all of the ranch hands know but have avoided admitting. "Nobody gets to be a cowboy forever," he warns his friend. But Monte is incapable of adjusting, and he will remain astride this horse called "Honor" even if it takes him into the horizon of a sad and solitary existence.
For Monte and Chet, some solace can be found in retaining their work ethic for the faceless employers and in the relationships that they clumsily but sweetly form with a prostitute and a lonely widow - two women who can understand the pain that these men carry and who can share in their growing sense of isolation. The subtle and beautifully rendered relationship between Monte and his "Countess" is easily one of the silver screen's greatest tragic romances.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This one was hard to find for a while. The Tom Selleck one is good, but this was always my favorite.Published 10 days ago by Hear That ?
I saw this movie on the big screen. it was wonderful. now, they have brought out the DVD....thank God ! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Skip