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 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 8:28 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Usually my local Sunday newspaper has a book review about current best-selling novels, so I was surprised today to see the following headline. GREATEST WESTERN FILM? WILD BUNCH BOOK ARGUES ITS CASE.

The article reviews the book titled The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a revolution in Hollywood and the making of a legendary film by W.K. Stratton. (That is a long title.) “Writer W.K. Stratton takes the debate to a higher level and convincingly positions the film as the best Western made—and among the greatest of movies.” It is a lengthy review incorporating all the details of how the story was conceived and other details like how the director tried to avoid movie clichés. If interested you can probably find this complete book review by Douglass K. Daniel (Associated Press) on the Internet.

I know a lot of us are big fans of this amazing movie as well as its score, so I thought some of you would be interested in this book. I know it is pricy and some of you won’t mind the dollars. Another less pricy option is that sometimes local libraries can have books shipped to them from other libraries and only charge their patrons 2 to 3 dollars. I have used this option several times.

Whenever I see a list of the “Greatest Western Movies," it seems like The Searchers always comes in as number one, so it will be interesting read why The Wild Bunch should be number one. If I’m honest, I admit that I’ve always like The Wild Bunch more than The Searchers. Do you agree that The Searchers the best western? Disagree?

The review does not mention the score; however, I would hope that Stratton covers the score in his book.

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 8:40 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Helluva a lot of work from w k stratton to tell us what we already know, joanie! wink

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 8:43 AM   
 By:   DOGBELLE   (Member)

this is an add on to Joans post

https://www.newsweek.com/wild-bunch-sam-peckinpah-wk-stratton-westerns-movies-books-1327146

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 8:57 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I agree, Bill, but I want to read the DETAILS that support his thesis.

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Undoubtedly interesting.
There are of course already several peckinpah books and wild bunch books joanie as you probly know.
Have u ever read David Weddle's If they move, kill em?
Is very good.

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 10:27 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

Great topic, Joan.

The Wild Bunch and The Searchers would be the two films I would pick to be the top of the list of best westerns ever made. But which is the best is a difficult and probably impossible question.
Both Ford and Peckinpah have the pulse of the west. Both use the landscape as a character, and both center their films on men of determination, men who believe in some sort of honor, and a code of behavior.
But after that, they are two very different films. The Wild Bunch is about the end of the west, the end of certain kinds of men, the end of honor. These are not particularly good men, but they do live by a code and with the coming of civilization, that code is not only dying, it is being destroyed.
The Searchers is also about the coming of a new way of life, in this case a more positive one, but more so, it is about the acceptance of things and letting things go. In the end, Ethan is unable to enter into this new world; he is left behind with his old ways, just as the men of The Wild Bunch are. But Martin and Debbie and the others are able to go forward into a place of hope.
Which is the better film? Honestly, I am not able to choose between them. In my mind, they are equal.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 12:16 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Yep, Bill, I have read Weddle’s book. Learned a lot.

mgh, I was hoping you’d chime in. You, as usual, have given a brilliant analysis of both The Wild Bunch and The Searchers. Loved your thematic analysis and insights. I’m pretty sure you are correct in saying that they are both equal.

It seems like Lonely Are The Brave and Ride The High Country would have thematic connections or similarities to The Wild Bunch.

For me, picking the best western ever is probably too subjective. I tend to like movies that pull me in emotionally. While I totally admire The Searchers, I don’t have a real strong emotional connection with it even though the themes are brilliant, and John Wayne plays against his usual persona. Also, I do admire that brilliant final scene. I find myself enjoying The Wild Bunch, The Magnificent Seven, The Big Country, and Lonesome Dove a bit more than The Searchers. I also think that Shane is probably one of the best westerns. I admit that I also connect to Quigley Down Under and Dances with Wolves and probably neither one would make the top 10 best westerns. I’m too subjective, I guess.

Of course, all the above-mentioned westerns do have great film scores.smile

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 2:20 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I recall watching The Wild Bunch (1969) many years ago ... probably over 2+ sittings and from a pan & scan TV broadcast. I thought it was awful ... I had no affinity for any of the characters and whilst I recognised the story told of their redemption, willing to fight on for a cause ... it's been told so much better ... this version didn't work for me.

I know I should give the film a second viewing, preferably in w/s with a decent print & sound but then there are so many other films that fall into this category.

I was raised on westerns and still enjoy them in my advanced years but I prefer the traditional storyline with the good guy overcoming odds to win out.

Joan, you mention Dances with Wolves (1990) ... after nearly 20 years this remains one of my favourite films ... I struggle to nominate any other I prefer ... but, to me: it's not a western but, rather, a drama about characters set in the untamed parts of your continent in the post civil war years. A pedantic view, open to challenge by most, but important to me: I love films like Rio Bravo (1959), The Magnificent Seven (1960), Open Range (2003), The Man from Laramie (1955), The Far Country (1954), The Fastest Gun Alive (1956), 3:10 to Yuma (1957) ... the list goes on and I don't feel that superb movie falls into this genre.

And the film heading this thread doesn't come close to bringing me the enjoyment these films have on multiple viewings.
Mitch

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 2:32 PM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

It seems like Lonely Are The Brave and Ride The High Country would have thematic connections or similarities to The Wild Bunch.
I agree; these two films have much in common, and I would put them in the category of great westerns.

For me, picking the best western ever is probably too subjective. I tend to like movies that pull me in emotionally. While I totally admire The Searchers, I don’t have a real strong emotional connection with it even though the themes are brilliant, and John Wayne plays against his usual persona. Also, I do admire that brilliant final scene. I find myself enjoying The Wild Bunch, The Magnificent Seven, The Big Country, and Lonesome Dove a bit more than The Searchers. I also think that Shane is probably one of the best westerns. I admit that I also connect to Quigley Down Under and Dances with Wolves and probably neither one would make the top 10 best westerns. I’m too subject, I guess.
Again I would agree to all of the above, and I will add a few: Budd Boetticher's Comanche Station, Seven Men From Now, The Tall T, and Ride Lonesome. Superb films. "Minor" masterpieces. Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur and Winchester '73. Delmer Daves 3:10 to Yuma and Cowboy.
But I think I am digressing. But when you bring up great westerns, I have no willpower. big grin

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 3:00 PM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Mitch you need to see WB on a proper dvd or bluray with big tv screen clarity. It is an immense work on so many levels. Nothing of its like has been made before or since. One of those movies where all the perfect elements come together in unrepeatable serendipity, not least a phenomenal now dead cast all at the end of their careers but bringing to the table western movie gravitas you simply couldnt find today. There are countless good westerns, great westerns, decent westerns, but WB is a majorly serious film on another universe.

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 3:10 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Mitch you need to see WB on a proper dvd or bluray with big tv screen clarity. ...

Thanks, Bill, advice noted. However, whilst I might get hold of a disc ... I'm stuck with a 42" Plasma so may struggle! smile

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 3:10 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Hey, Mitch, glad you joined us. It is fine not to like The Wild Bunch, but like Bill suggests, you might try watching it again after so many years, and if you don't care for it upon a second watch, that's fine. Glad you and I share a LOVE for Dances With Wolves. I also like the other westerns you mention.

Yes, mgh, we lack willpower when it comes to westerns. You named a few I really like and one or two I've not seen, but I will because I have Starz Encore.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 6:05 PM   
 By:   Richard-W   (Member)

I consider The Wild Bunch one of the greatest films. Period. So I guess it's one of the greatest westerns. It portrays western men in a way that rings true to life but had never been done before. It shows an audience something they had never seen before.

Stagecoach and Red River and Shane and The Searchers are the greatest westerns, too.

To answer the question you propound takes a lot of deliberation and I don't have it now. I don't know where to begin. I'm sure Stratton will take you there.

Several months ago Western Writers of America printed an excerpt in it's quarterly The Round-Up, and I've been anticipating the book ever since. I forget if this is Stratton's third or fourth book on Peckinpah.

 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 6:31 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

CINEMA RETRO is devoting an entire issue to this !

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 24, 2019 - 10:16 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Richard, glad you mentioned Red River and Stagecoach which had not been mentioned in previous posts.

 
 Posted:   Feb 25, 2019 - 12:41 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

I like this....

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 25, 2019 - 7:34 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Open Range came out in 2003, and I liked it. Since then, there have been very few westerns that I've enjoyed. I thought Hostiles was well-done, and I admit I enjoyed the remake of The Magnificent Seven. (Forgive me Mitch, but I did like it.) I haven't really liked other westerns that much like The Sisters Brothers.

Maybe making really grand westerns is a lost art form for Hollywood. Or Hollywood doesn't think westerns would make money. I see The Kid will soon be released, and I can always hope!smile

 
 Posted:   Feb 25, 2019 - 8:01 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

I like this too...

 
 Posted:   Feb 25, 2019 - 8:05 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

 
 Posted:   Feb 25, 2019 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

 
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