Perhaps it's just because I'm not really into the genre but I just wouldn't exactly call this movie one that stands out or one that is being John Wayne's, James Stewart, or John Ford's best one, within the western genre.

This is more the sort of western that is 'clean' and entertaining, rather than purely realistic and gritty. I personally really prefer a western that is being more straight-forward and gritty but simple fact remains that the sort of westerns like this movie, were still far more popular at the time and still had a big audience for it. The more typical John Wayne Americana type of westerns, in which guns form the solution to every problem and in which the hero always saves the day.

The story of this movie really isn't that solid or interesting enough to carry the entire movie and make its 2 hours of running time good and entertaining to watch, throughout. In essence it's a story about reasoning versus violence, in which James Stewart tries to resolve everything with doing things by the book and law, while the Wayne character of course prefers to shoot first and ask questions later, so to speak. They try to convince each other that their way is the best and only one to follow, while in the mean time they are also fighting over a girl. I must say, the story sounds quite good actually the way I'm making it sound out now but in the movie it just never gets edgy enough and there never ever is a real clash between the two very different main characters, since neither Wayne nor Stewart are the bad guys of this movie.

It besides is a slowly told movie, that takes its time to get to the point. As a result the movie is being filled with some overlong sequences, that in the long run hardly add anything to the overall end result. It all started out interesting enough with its non-linear story-telling at the beginning but this just seems a gimmick to make the story feel more original, while it in fact actually doesn't add much to the actual story.

John Wayne never really have been known as a great actor and I also don't feel that this movie features his best ever performance. He's so wooden and purely and only relying on his charisma, while playing his role. Thank goodness things really get spiced up by Lee Marvin who plays a great villain. And when Lee Van Cleef is one of your henchmen, you know he's a very bad guy, you better not mess around with. Lee Marvin really seemed to be having lots of fun playing the hardened villain, of which the movie truly benefits.

Of course it's not being an horrible movie by any means but I just feel that it's one that doesn't really stand out in any way and perhaps isn't really worthy of its reputation. But maybe you just have to be a true fan of the genre to fully appreciate this movie.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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1 reacties:

  1. The movie was more of a commentary about America's origins -- Stewart is the new American leader, Wayne the outdated man of action. The point of the movie, for me, is that the foundations of the "new" America were constructed by the old type who were not afraid to get their hands dirty, with the loud-mouth politicians taking credit after the fact. In John Ford's best movies, he was almost always trying to say something about the evolution of America.