Speaks his mind on music & movies!
Another western (film) that is right up there with Babyhead’s favorites. The movie opens with three Apaches corralling a herd of wild horses. A young man has ridden out to deliver a message to John Russell who turns out to be one of the Apaches. He finds out that his father has died and left him a boarding house which he has no interest in. Jesse who is running the house offers to go into partnership but Russell declines. He decides to sell it for a herd of horses. We find out that Russell was raised by the Apaches and has no interest in taking on the white-man ways.
Russell and a group of six others hire the stage to get to where they are all going. It’s a cross section of people. An elderly Indian agent, Dr. Favor and his wife, a young married couple, Jesse the boarding house gal, Grimes a prick and Mendez the driver.
They set out on their ride over some very rough, dry and hot country. We find out that Grimes has intentions of robbing Dr. Favor who has a wad of cash that he has stolen from the Indians who he was supposed to be helping. Grimes’ men eventually catch up with the stage. The robbery takes place but Russell throws a wrench into the plan and the tables are turned with some interesting consequences.
CB was totally caught up in this film from the opening until the end. So many things came together to make this a great movie. Martin Ritt’s direction, James Wong Howe’s (Gordies cousin?) cinematography, the writing, editing and performances.
Ritt made his work easy with his casting choices. All the supporting players are top notch. Martin Balsam, Frank Silvera, Barbara Rush. Frederic March as Dr Favor plays him as a cold , heartless bastard. Great work Freddy! If Richard Boone isn’t the president of the bad guy club he should be. All CB can say is he is all sweaty , ugly, nasty meanness. Don’t make them like Richard anymore. Diane Cilento’s Jesse is great casting . She plays her with compassion, truth, vulnerability and honesty. (Similar to Patricia Neal in Hud, another Ritt film). CB loves women characters like this. No bullshit. Paul Newman plays Russell with understated strength. He has lots going on inside but doesn’t try to play it all. When he speaks it’s just a matter of fact. Not a lot of emotion but it works. He has the chops to pull it off. CB loves his work in Hombre. One of Paul’s best roles.
CB has to give a special note to Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. Their screenplay and dialogue are fantastic. The dialogue is sparse and real. CB ‘s style. It helps that they were working off an Elmore Leonard novel (‘Dutch’ is a Babyhead favorite).
CB recommends you jump on the stage with these characters and go for a ride on a good story. Don’t forget to bring some water you might get thirsty.
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