|Westward Bound: The 1st Annual
No genre has endured so well as the Western. Combining
American history with penetrating studies of character and illuminations of conflict, it
seems to endlessly find the right balance of rich narrative motifs, dramatically
expressive action and a wonderfully artful use of landscape to impose itself on movie
lovers as the essence of classical cinema. The Western dates to the beginning of movies
and venturesome filmmakers still attempt it even today in an age of high-tech cinema, but
it blossomed especially in the decades after World War II when many Westerns were made in
any given year. The genre reached a new level of maturity and seriousness, and most of the
more talented American filmmakers were attracted to the form. The intentions of a Western
may be complex, as attested to by the works of a traditional artist like John Ford, and as
much in the films of an iconoclastic figure like Sam Peckinpah. A Western may celebrate
the American spirit and sound an elegiac note about the frontier or radically question and
critique these same things, even within the same film. Contrary to false generalities,
Westerns are as much given to reflection as action, and have provided great roles for
women and affecting male-female relationships. And in the 1950s especially, they were
often conspicuously sensitive to the dispossession of Indians and narratives of prejudice.
Above all, in its many revenge narratives and portraits of men torn by ambivalence about
violence, it is graced by some of cinema's most profound and deeply felt realizations of
journeys to spiritual renewal.
Our first annual Westerns series encompasses the full range of these
aspects and embraces films by such acknowledged masters as Howard Hawks (RIO BRAVO,
RED RIVER), Raoul Walsh (PURSUED, COLORADO TERRITORY), Anthony Mann (THE MAN
FROM LARAMIE) and Henry Hathaway (GARDEN OF EVIL), as well as lesser-known classics
by genre specialists like Richard Fleischer (BANDIDO), Andre de Toth (DAY OF
THE OUTLAW), Joseph Newman (FORT MASSACRE), Phil Karlson (GUNMANS
WALK), Robert Parrish (THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY) and William Witney (STRANGER
AT MY DOOR), some of whom made only a few Westerns but enough to make an imprint, and
finally later directors of more modern sensibility like Robert Altman (McCABE AND
MRS. MILLER), Sydney Pollack (JEREMIAH JOHNSON) and Walter Hill (GERONIMO),
who have shown effectively how the genre can be creatively revitalized. Still, the films
in this series are inevitably just a vivid first look at the treasure trove of Westerns
still to be mined in future years.
Friday, October 1 7:00 PM
Howard Hawks Double Feature Author
Todd McCarthy In Person!
New 35mm Print! RIO BRAVO, 1959, Warners, 141 min. Director Howard Hawks
makes a typical Western town a model of his own distinctive universe, as a sheriff (John
Wayne) tries to hold the murderous brother of a powerful rancher and is helped by his
recovering alcoholic deputy (Dean Martin), a young gunfighter (Ricky Nelson), a
lady gambler (Angie Dickinson) and a toothless old cripple (Walter Brennan). As
rich in humor as drama, and one of the eternal masterpieces of both Hawks and the genre.
Music by Hawks favorite Dimitri Tiomkin.
RED RIVER, 1948, MGM/UA, 133
min. Dir. Howard Hawks. Cattle baron John Wayne and foster son Montgomery
Clift (in his first film) take 'em to Missouri but fall into conflict along the way in
director Hawks' seminal Western classic, in which the director commands the epic as well
as the intimate. With Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, Coleen Gray, and music by the great
Dimitri Tiomkin. Discussion between films with actress Coleen
Gray (RED RIVER) and film critic Todd McCarthy, author of the definitive biography Howard
Hawks: The Grey Fox Of Hollywood.
Saturday, October 2 5:00 PM
New 35mm Print Vilmos Zsigmond In
MCCABE & MRS. MILLER,
1971, Warners, 120 min. Director Robert Altman spins fresh variations on archetypal
themes and characters in a film which set the mood of 1970s revisionist Westerns as surely
as Altman sets the mood of the story, captured in the memorable opening images of an
unlikely hero riding toward town accompanied by Leonard Cohen songs. An opium dream of a
Western starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, with superb
cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Discussion following with
cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (schedule permitting).
Saturday, October 2 8:00 PM
Raoul Walsh Double Bill:
PURSUED, 1947, Paramount, 101 min. Greek
tragedy on the range, as director Raoul Walsh and writer Niven Busch bring a new
psychological dimension to the genre in telling of a hero (Robert Mitchum) haunted
by childhood memories of flashing spurs, and seemingly ordained for violence even within
his adoptive family. With Teresa Wright, Judith Anderson, Dean Jagger, and mesmerizing
black-and-white cinematography by the great James Wong Howe. [Restored print courtesy of
the UCLA Film & TV Archive.]
COLORADO TERRITORY, 1949,
Warners, 94 min. Director Raoul Walsh demonstrates again that no one is more
celebratory of both the strong woman and the couple. Here he remakes his gangster classic,
HIGH SIERRA, as a Western and arguably surpasses it, especially in a last reunion of
outlaw lovers Joel McCrea and Virginia Mayo, one of cinema's sublime
Sunday, October 3 4:00 PM
New 35mm Print Carol Lynley In
THE LAST SUNSET, 1961, Universal, 112
min. Dir. Robert Aldrich. One of the most audacious and unusual Westerns is set in
motion by a marshal (Rock Hudson) pursuing a fugitive (Kirk Douglas), but
turns on the unexpectedly tender relationship of Douglas' verse-reciting gunman with the
adolescent daughter (Carol Lynley) of his old flame (Dorothy Malone) during
an eventful cattle drive from Mexico to Texas. Aldrich blends great location work with
soundstage exteriors to lyrical effect en route, building to a piercing climax. Discussion following with actress Carol Lynley (schedule
permitting), moderated by entertainment journalist/author Nelson Aspen.
Sunday, October 3 7:00 PM
Phil Karlson + Andre de Toth Double
Feature Actor Tab Hunter In Person!!
GUNMANS WALK, 1958,
Columbia, 97 min. Dir. Phil Karlson. One of the best of many 50s family
dramas on the range. Here, relationships unravel among tough patriarch Van Heflin
and his two sons, one gentle and sensitive (James Darren), the other wild and
dangerous (Tab Hunter, in one of his finest performances). With Kathryn Grant.
DAY OF THE OUTLAW, 1959,
MGM/UA, 92 min. Dir. Andre de Toth. Conflict within a town during a stark winter is
complicated by the arrival of wounded outlaw Burl Ives and his men, and it's up to
bitter rancher Robert Ryan to set things right. De Toth and great cinematographer
Russell Harlan (RED RIVER, RIO BRAVO) create memorable images of bleak snowscapes and
violence threatening to explode. With Tina Louise, Jack Lambert. Discussion
between films with GUNMANS WALK actors Tab Hunter, James Darren and Kathryn Grant
Crosby, moderated by author & film historian Eddie Muller.
Friday, October 8 7:00 PM
JEREMIAH JOHNSON, 1972,
Warners, 108 min. Director Sydney Pollack and writers John Milius and Edward Anhalt
set an incisive character study against an expansive mythic background in the portrait of
a mountain man (Robert Redford) who begins as an innocent and is taught the hard
lessons of experience in a still unspoiled wilderness. An alternately exhilarating and
mournful portrait of a vanished way of life, and one of the very finest of latter-day
Friday, October 8 9:30 PM
Anthony Mann Double Feature:
New 35mm Prints! THE
MAN FROM LARAMIE, 1955, Columbia, 104 min. Master of
the revenge Western, director Anthony Mann capped five James Stewart
classics with this CinemaScope masterpiece in which Stewart's trail leads him to a
powerful ranching family headed for tragedy. With Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, Cathy
O'Donnell, Alex Nicol.
THE LAST FRONTIER, 1956,
Columbia, 98 min. In a rarely seen Anthony Mann gem, free-spirited trapper Victor
Mature bends uncomfortably to the ways of civilization to wear a blue Army coat while
a glory seeking commander (Robert Preston) courts trouble with the Indians. More
great 'Scope and color compositions from Mann, seen here in a new 35mm print! With Guy
Madison, Anne Bancroft, James Whitmore.
Saturday, October 9 5:00 PM
Robert Mitchum Double Feature
Director Richard Fleischer In Person!
BANDIDO, 1956, 92 min. Dir. Richard
Fleischer. Super-cool, cynical soldier of fortune Robert Mitchum runs guns for
the Mexican Revolution in a vibrant adventure which effectively balances its personal
story against a rich social/historical context. The amazing opening scenes, with Mitchum
calmly checking into a hotel and pouring himself a drink amidst gun- and cannon-fire, is
worth the price of admission alone. With Gilbert Roland, Zachary Scott, Ursula Thiess.
THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY, 1959,
MGM/UA, 96 min. Dir. Robert Parrish. The great Robert Mitchum again plays an
adventurer south of the border, but this time a more melancholy one whose literal and
spiritual odyssey makes for one of the most moving but almost-unknown Westerns. With Julie
London and Pedro Armendáriz, and one of the greatest of all Western scores by Alex North.
Discussion between films with BANDIDO director Richard Fleischer (schedule
Saturday, October 9 9:30 PM
<< Please note that the
order of the films has changed from what was previously announced.
William Witney Tribute with
Quentin Tarantino In Person!
SANTA FE PASSAGE, 1955, Republic (Paramount), 90 min. Dir William Whitney.
Indian scout John Payne carries the stigma of past cowardice but gets a chance to
redeem himself as he and partner, Slim Pickens escort a beleagured wagon train
through hostile Kiowa indian territory. If that wasn't bad enough, there's also wild horse
stampedes, renegade gun dealers and a hotblooded love triangle to give him nary a restful
moment in this fastmoving Republic western classic. With Faith Domergue, Rod Cameron. Quentin Tarantino to introduce
the first film of the screening (schedule permitting).
STRANGER AT MY DOOR, 1956,
Republic (Paramount), 85 min. A director ripe for re-discovery, Oklahoma-born William
Witney was a veteran of serials like "Captain Marvel" and "Dick
Tracy" and dozens of tough, interesting genre films (including some of Roy
Rogers best movies), before moving up to more serious dramas like this one, a
favorite of director Quentin Tarantino, who will share his appreciation of Witney's gifts.
A parson and his wife try to help a young outlaw, who proves as hard to tame as a wild
horse in this surprisingly dark and complex Republic western. With Macdonald Carey,
Patricia Medina, Skip Homeier.
Sunday, October 10 4:00 PM
Joseph Newman Double Feature:
FORT MASSACRE, 1958, MGM/UA, 80 min.
Western icon Joel McCrea is effectively cast against type as an Indian-hating
sergeant leading a small patrol through hostile territory in this concise, powerful little
drama directed by veteran Joseph Newman (THIS ISLAND EARTH, 711 OCEAN DRIVE), who
seemed to have a way with any genre he touched. With Forrest Tucker, Susan Cabot, John
THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLATS,
1952, 20th Century Fox/Criterion, 81 min. Director Joseph Newman neatly
fills in the traits of the drifters finding refuge in a mountain cabin in a fierce
snowstrorm. A tense reworking of the famous Bret Harte story, beginning with an artful
nocturnal sequence which sets it up with bravura visual flair. With Anne Baxter, Dale
Robertson, Cameron Mitchell.
Sunday, October 10 7:30 PM
Walter Hill Tribute:
GERONIMO: AN AMERICAN LEGEND, 1993,
Columbia, 115 min. A modern action master, director Walter Hill also displays a
reflective side and almost Rossellini-esque historical perspective in his retelling of the
last days of resistance of the great Apache leader. One of the most impressive and
overlooked late Westerns. With Wes Studi, Matt Damon, Jason Patric,
Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman and Scott Wilson. Music by Ry Cooder. Discussion following with director Walter Hill and writer Larry
Gross (schedules permitting).
Monday, October 11 7:30 PM
Westerns Trailers Show! Approx.
65 min. From Roy Rogers to Gene Autry; from the classic 30's serials to
"Stagecoach" (1939) to "Shane" ... the best (and maybe a few of the
not-so-best) trailers, direct from the archives of SabuCat Productions! Wonderful, rarely
seen (in many cases, not since the year of their first release) and hardly ever shown the
way they were meant to be seen... on the huge Egyptian Theatre screen! PLUS
IB Technicolor 4-track Stereo Print!
GARDEN OF EVIL, 1954, 20th
Century Fox, 100 min. Dir. Henry Hathaway. Four men trek into the wilds of Mexico
to help a strong-willled woman (Susan Hayward) bring back her injured husband, and
the eventful, dangerous journey becomes a test of character with unexpected twists and
turns. With Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark, Cameron Mitchell and one of the
few Western scores by Bernard Herrmann.