Thursday, February 7, 2013
HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973)
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Geoffrey Lewis, Marianna Hall, Billy Curtis
A stranger rides out of the hot desert into a small town in the wild west. The towns people are scared of him, and 3 gunmen try, unsuccessfully, to kill him. He takes a room and decides to stay. Meanwhile, a group of outlaws are about to return to the town and take their revenge - will the towns leaders convince the mysterious man to help ?
One of the first few westerns Clint Eastwood is in that I really enjoyed and liked. I surprisingly liked this a lot better than I did most of THE MAN WITH NO NAME TRILOGY. Though here his character doesn’t really have one either. One of the headstones in the graveyard bears the name Sergio Leone as a tribute.
The film begins with a spectacular gunfight. Then out of nowhere Clint Eastwood rapes a woman, but then she seems to enjoy it. (Remember he’s the hero) Then throughout the film. Her character keeps flip flopping between hating him and loving him and in another scene a different female character tries to kill him with scissors, He stops her then all of a sudden they kiss and then make love. It’s strange and made it seem like that was the only reason to have females in the film. That is truly the only weakness of the film. I guess in trying to make it an ultra man’s man film. To make his character sensitive and yet savage to a point.
The other weakness is it’s predictability which still even though I know where it was going. I was shocked a bit, but still thoroughly enjoyed. Here I can see why Clint Eastwood is an icon. In this film he is dirty, dangerous, Tough and smart, but has a sensitive side. He never shows it physically and if he does. Only around women he trusts.
Universal Pictures wanted the film to be shot on the studio lot. Instead, Clint Eastwood had a whole town built in the desert near Mono Lake in the California Sierras. Many of the buildings were complete and three-dimensional, so that interiors could be shot on location.
The film even has a little person as his deputy after he is appointed Marshall of the town. The first time Clint Eastwood directed one of his Westerns. I like that the film turns it’s tables making you wonder who is more evil. The evil person who admits it or the person who commits evil acts, but claims to have done it for good reasons and the good of others. Though defining themselves as a good person. The film starts out with us feeling sympathy for those town people and liking them, but by the end through there own actions showing them as truly evil and cowardly. And not knowing if we don’t want to see them massacred.
Shortly after the film's release, Clint Eastwood wrote to John Wayne, suggesting that they make a western together. Wayne sent back an angry letter in reply, in which he denounced this film for its violence and revisionist portrayal of the Old West. Eastwood did not bother to answer his criticisms, and consequently they did not work together
The only person we root for besides committing the rape which paints him as evil also Personally though the film doesn’t seem to think so. is Clint Eastwood and his deputy are the only one’s with their heads on seemingly straight. O.k. and the hotel owners wife.
It’s a must see. I’m not the biggest western fan. I flirt with admiration with the genre, but tend to only like really good ones and feel if it’s just ok, It’s a waste of my time. So me giving this film high marks shows at least to me how special this film is.