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Author Topic: High Plains Drifter: Was The Rape Scene Really Necessary  (Read 66311 times)
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« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2002, 08:22:00 PM »

Originally posted by Daisy, 10-31-2001 12:46 PM

That sounds more like an excuse than anything, GMAT.
These joke lines are big laughs. They are delivered by Clint not the townsfolk.

Laughter at the expence of rape.

Less PC times - that's the root of it. We have to read it in the context of its day. Doesn't make it any the more pleasant though.

Daisy
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« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2002, 08:23:40 PM »

Originally posted by BDC28, 10-31-2001 03:05 PM

A question....
As we are all in agreement of the writing being a reflection of the times, can I offer another view?

During these times, it was not really fashionable to take out vengence on a woman, not to kill her, or to beat her, not graphically anyway (hypocritical as hell if you think about it), so what if the only way the writers could think for the stranger to exact revenge on the only woman participant in the town was to rape her? Beating her with whips or shooting her would have made (during these times anyways) his character unforgivable.

I do agree though, the rape was unforgivable.
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« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2002, 08:25:31 PM »

Originally posted by GMAT, 10-31-2001 04:41 PM

Right, men receive the pistol, women receive the phallus (in the scheme of the film, that is).
The main point is that Clint is playing a villainous hero. Seen in that light, the rape becomes perfectly understandable.
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« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2002, 08:27:15 PM »

Originally posted by AKA23, 10-31-2001 09:02 PM

These are all very good interpretations.
GMAT, I believe, though I could be wrong and if I am please excuse me, that in your unedited post you said something like Eastwood is playing the villain. You have now amended it to say a "villainous hero" which I guess is ok. My question to you and to everybody is do we and should we view Eastwood's character as a villain? I've never viewed any of Eastwood's characters as out and out villains..that's why a lot of us didn't want to see Clint play the role that Al Pacino snatched up in Insomnia. Is he truly a villain and should we look at him in that light?

First of all the idea of a villainous hero is somewhat of a paradox. It seems to me to be a bit of an oxymoron but that's probably just me. A "villainous hero" I'm not harping on your word choice GMAT but I find the concept which a lot of us are advocating that is his character being a villain really who inflicts justice upon the townspeople to be a bit hard to swallow. So should I be viewing his character as a villain instead of somebody who gave the townspeople what I believe to be something that they deserved? Is he not an "avenging angel" but really a devil? And how can he be dispensing true justice if he is to be a villain? These are all very heavy handed questions but I feel that they need to be explored, at least for my sake if nothing else. I've always viewed the stranger as someone who's methods may be a bit unconventional but I've always been able to identify with or understand in some capacity his actions. This is why the rape scene presented such a problem for me personally because I could not identify with or justify or understand this action in relation to the concept of justice as being doled out by an avenging type of angel. The concept just doesn't fit and that's my problem. I find viewing him as a devil evil type figure who just happens to dispense his own brand of vengeful justice to be a very dismal view and one I wouldn't be quick to embrace but as GMAT said it is a very acerbic and nihilistic film. Is this where I am missing the boat? Believing Eastwood to be more of an unconventional hero as opposed to a villain who just happens to dispense justice in his own way? And how can that truly be justice if he is to be the villain in the film?
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« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2002, 08:29:26 PM »

Originally posted by HighPlainsDrifter, 10-31-2001 11:56 PM

I like the movie. I'll continue to watch it for pure entertainment value. If psychoanalyzation of a film makes it more enjoyable to watch, I'll never know.
Daisy, thankyou for the advice. Growing up sounds like the right thing to do. Cheers!
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« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2002, 08:34:41 PM »

Originally posted by Doug, 11-01-2001 02:45 AM

Daisy, I implied that if a woman flirts with a guy she deserves to be raped? I implied this? Where, when? And you consider her actions on the street as flirting? But yes, she certainly made a (violent) point of getting herself noticed. If you walked into a biker bar and threw a drink in someone's face, you could reasonably expect to walk away with no harm done? That is essentially what she did, provoke an obvious gun fighter. Was he justified in raping her for her behavior? No.
But the question is was it rape? I contend that it wasn't rape. Violent sex does not mean rape. That she wanted rough sex from a "real" man, in a town filled with cowards and hypocrits. It's obvious she "gets off" from violence when she's cheering his whipping. She is not naive to violence, she's seen it firsthand, the murder of a man, and seemed to enjoy it. Why is not reasonable to think she would enjoy the combining of sex and violence -- and as I said violent sex is not the definition of rape. His revenge on her is not "raping" her but in not wanting to go back for more. I said it was a ugly cliche, but in this movie, I think it's obvious she wanted what she got. Rape is a very, very sensitive issue, and I completely understand a victim's, and those closest to the viction, desire to extract dire revenge for the act of rape -- heck, were I raped, you'd better believe revenge would be in order. But I say this was not Rape. It is not the same as the rape in Sudden Impact, not the same at all.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2002, 08:39:12 PM by Xichado » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2002, 08:37:58 PM »

Originally posted by Daisy, 11-01-2001 04:24 AM

Doug old bean - this is where I think you imply it:

Quote
What I saw was her deliberately bumping into him, and he was trying to pass, but she kept provoking him, knocking the cigar from his mouth. And how much did she resist? At first she did, but not a whole lot, and then not at all. The ugly cliche "she really wanted it" seems to apply in this case, given the context of the movie.

If I misread you - sorry and all that.

I found your latest post even more offensive. It is rape if she doesn't give consent - period.

Whether she deserves it? Morally? I don't know - you could say nobody deserves it, but it was a fashionable metaphor in action movies in the seventies - to rape a woman in revenge for her or others symbolic rape of an innocent. I'm thinking about Rod Stieger's comical rape of the bourgoise woman in Duck You Sucker - they've raped our children and our country, so I rape her!

Perhaps that was acceptable then but now rape is seen as a personal and particular crime against a woman. Clint (or any other male star) would never sodomise a male opponent, no matter what provocation - he is using his maleness to put do the woman. That is unforgiveable.

As for flirting - yes Doug, that's exactly what she's doing! A bit heavy handed I agree.

Daisy


AKA _ "villainous hero" is exactly an oxymoron! This goes to the heart of the character's ambiguity.

Another way of saying it would be "anti-hero" but here the example is more extreme than Clint has played previously.

The idea of a villainous character exacting just revenge worries you? I don't know. What if he is like a revenging demon unleashed from hell to punish the people of Lagos?

Wouldn't expect a demon to be a Mr Nice Guy would we?   ;)

GMAT - I agree with your last, brief, analysis 100%  8)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2002, 08:42:25 PM by Xichado » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2002, 08:44:30 PM »

:) Doug...I think you made a very good point with the following:

Quote
But the question is was it rape? I contend that it wasn't rape. Violent sex does not mean rape. That she wanted rough sex from a "real" man, in a town filled with cowards and hypocrits.

That's how Callie got whatever it was she needed. She threw herself at whatever man could do the most for her at any given time. And, it was obvious that the Stranger was going to be that man...the one who could do the most for her. She needed him. Sexual favors is how she survived.

mgk
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« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2002, 09:12:42 PM »

Originally posted by GMAT, 11-01-2001 10:58 AM

What the hell are you talking about, AKA? I never edited my post - I used the term "villainous hero" all along. That's what he is - a hero who often goes about his business in a not-so-virtuous, rather villainous manner.
AKA, as you know, you tend to pride yourself as a moralist and don't seem to like anything that goes against an easy, uncomplicated view of what's right and wrong - hence your problems with The Bridges of Madison County. Similarly, you've been saying, "Oh, Clint isn't really criticizing religion in High Plains Drifter, is he?" And, "Oh, I can't identify with the rape scene - why is Clint doing that?" Well, yes, Clint was criticizing religion (or at least its manifestations in society), and, yes, Clint was playing a nihilistic anti-hero whom you weren't supposed to necessarily identify with. Clint tends to not play the game by the rules - that's why so many of us find him so fascinating. More importantly, real life (and most of Clint's movies) doesn't square with the neat morality of traditional dramatic conventions. It's not a simplistic white hat/black hat world. Get over it.
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« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2002, 09:14:25 PM »

Originally posted by GMAT, 11-01-2001 11:21 AM

I still think that it was rape ... she may have wanted sex (or even rough sex) from the Stranger, but there is definitely a line there and the Stranger crossed it - which is probably why Clint says that he wouldn't do it that way if he were making the movie again. But I think that it was an appropriate choice - Clint was turning the Western hero on its head with this film, and the rape is simply the most glaring example of that. Most movie stars these days don't take those kinds of risks. Moreover, it was part of the changing image of America and American heroism in those days. The world's leading movie star and top Hollywood draw murders three men and rapes a woman in the first 20 minutes of his latest Western - not the kind of thing that one would have seen in 1963 or 1953 or 1943. As Pauline Kael wrote in her review of Magnum Force, Eastwood satisfied the needs of an audience that had grown derisive about the triumph of good over evil. People weren't buying the old myths anymore - and Clint wasn't delivering 'em.
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« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2002, 09:16:42 PM »

Originally posted by GMAT, 11-01-2001 11:32 AM

Quote
With the rape scene, I just find this guy to be a total bastard. I can understand him killing those three guys in the barber shop at least to a degree and I can understand the majority of his other actions in the film but this action I just don't get. And then he justifies what he did having no remorse for it at all. ... I find viewing him as a devil evil type figure who just happens to dispense his own brand of vengeful justice to be a very dismal view ...
- AKA

You got it, AKA - now you just have to accept it. I think that a sense of irony would help, though - you don't have to be an uptight moralist all the time (at least not while watching Eastwood films). Also, keep in mind what Holden once said ... in Biblical terms, angels weren't necessarily Disney figures. They could be hellish, damning, and unforgiving - indeed, avenging.
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« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2002, 09:19:04 PM »

Originally posted by bdc28, 11-01-2001 03:13 PM

Here is another twist.
All Clint characters have MAJOR flaws in their personalities. There is (as far as I know), no connotation with a hero having to be good.

I mean, lets be honest, if a total d***head pulled me out of a fire, he would be a hero. He would just be a jerk.

I think the big question was "Hey, are all these good guys really good?" The more history digs and finds facts about Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Wild Bill Hickock, we found out alot of our "heroes" were some EVIL rotten people.

So, does the hero have to be good just because he does the right thing?
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« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2002, 09:22:12 PM »

Originally posted by Hombre, 12-17-2001 12:58 AM

I have just read right through this entire thread and found it fascinating. On the strength of it I sat down and watched that very scene again and this is my two cents worth. In my opinion Eastwood was pandering to that nasty little part inside of most men that would enjoy watching such a scene. Most men, I would venture to presume, have fantasised about rape, but the majority of us are conquered by our better angels well before we would ever consider doing it for real. Eastwood put it right up there on the screen: a man bumps into a rather attractive woman and a couple of minutes later… Maybe that’s why it’s so uncomfortable for us to watch – Eastwood has opened up the psyche of man and revealed it for all to see on a 40 foot screen. He knew this would be a major talking point of the movie and he must have known that it would pull in the punters.
Someone asked, “is it rape?” I believe it begins as rape but that Eastwood the director backed out of making it “total” rape. The woman clearly begins to enjoy herself part way through the ordeal and arguably even reaches climax by the time he has finished. The look on her face is one of suppressed guilt. This is a cop-out. How much more hard hitting and nihilistic a scene would it have been, I wonder, if she had screamed her resistance all the way through it?

On another point, I couldn’t help noticing the symbolism employed by the lighting crew as the demon buttons up his trousers. The shadow of a huge beam can be seen right across the prostrate figure of the woman: my wife says this turns her into an "X", as though she has just been, literally and figuratively, crossed out; I argued that it’s supposed to be phallic symbolism, the scarlet woman subdued by a huge... well, you get the picture.

Finally, a long time ago I saw a very dull movie about earthquakes in San Francisco and the first major quake began in a cinema. Guess what they were watching: High Plains Drifter! And when did the earthquake begin? At the moment Clint shoots the first bad guy right between the eyes. (God damndest shooting I ever even HEARD of!) It was the only part of the movie that jolted me out of my bored stupor, but I just thought I’d share the memory!
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« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2002, 09:24:00 PM »

Originally posted by little_bill, 12-17-2001 03:53 AM

you guys are pretty f**ked up, whadda ya mean rape isn't as bad as murder. jesus this **** shouldn't happen at all. what the hell is wrong with you people.
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« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2002, 09:25:51 PM »

Originally posted by KC, 12-17-2001 06:28 AM

From the FAQ:
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What posts are considered inappropriate?

Flames, vulgarity, advertisements and/or multiple posts of the same message are unwelcome. If you have something unfriendly to say, please keep it to yourself. Basically just use your common sense when posting. Continued abuse of any of these things will result in immediate termination of your account.

Please observe the rules, Little Bill, or your posts will be subjected to editing or deleting. If you have an opinion on this subject, express it in a reasonable way, without insulting other posters.

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« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2002, 08:43:00 PM »

Originally posted by bdc28, 12-17-2001 08:43 AM

Ahh, so little bill decided to expand the topic. Okay, lets go with it?
Is there something wrong with us? Well I dont think so. I honestly think that we were addressing the issues seperately. Personally I think if I had a gun to your head, and told you you had only two choices to get out alive, to be raped and live, or to just be shot and not have a chance to even recover, you would opt for the first. Which is why it was seperated. Ego tells you otherwise, survival speaks for itself, despite what ego tells you to say.

Now, here is how it is broadened in my mind. Is it wrong to rape or kill? Hmmm, see here is where I get messed up. To say it is wrong would mean I would have to be egotistical enough to say that my limited time on this earth is good enough to speak out and redefine natural law. Do these acts cause pain? Most definitely. For the people involved it causes a world of pain. But wrong?

My thought is that most things that are considered wrong (against the laws of nature, which rule the laws of man)get squeezed out of the gene pool after about a few million years. So why do they still exist?

Before everybody starts yelling at my post freaking out at how cold it is, step back and read what I am saying. All these things, as painful as they are, cross all lines of nature. These actions arent solely mans actions. Animals rape and kill as well as us, therefore making it a natural NORM, not abnormality. Im not being cruel.

So, at what point did man decide that we could raise ourselves above nature and dictate "This is right, and this is wrong, solely on the purpose that it causes pain for people"?

On the anti hero thing, I think I made a good point. Actions are RARELY, if ever black and white, unless you just dont want to see things for what they are. Right is right and wrong is a simple way for simple people, which I dont mind. But honestly, ANYONE can kill if you put them in the right situation. So how wrong is the anti-hero? How right is he? Was he ever supposed to be? The story was just that, a story. Did he bring any lessons to the morons of that town? Probably not. He did what he set out to, cause pain to the people that caused it to him. Was it right or wrong? Thats right up there with "Which team is better, Eagles or Bears"? There is no straight answer, there is no straight right or wrong.

The stranger had no purpose.
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« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2002, 08:44:17 PM »

Originally posted by GMAT, 12-17-2001 12:41 PM

No purpose? How about justice, revenge, nihilism (as a means of justice or at least revenge), and, indeed, I think that he did teach the people a little something about their cowardice, complicity, hypocrisy, and immorality.
As for your other issue, we agreed not to rape and kill one another when we entered the "social contract" (i.e. I give up my right to kill in exchange for society protecting my right to not be killed) ...
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« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2002, 08:48:25 PM »

Originally posted by little_bill, 12-18-2001 02:20 AM

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Originally posted by KC:
From the FAQ:

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my god what is wrong with you people this is not the kind of things people with common decency talk about. no-one with half a brain would even come up with these scenarios they are SICK!!! and before you get annoyed by my language try thinking of anyone who has had any of these terrible acts commited to them stumbling across this discussion, how do you think they would feel, well hopefully you'll never know but they would be a lot more upset than some-one who saw a bad word.why clint himself would be shocked if he saw the stuff you people are writing. this is not a film plot or a story THIS REALLY HAPPENS so show a bit of decency and stop talking about it.
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« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2002, 08:49:48 PM »

Originally posted by bigdai, 12-18-2001 03:35 AM

Little Bill nobody is condoning rape or murder on this board. If they did I am sure that the moderators would have something to say about it. I can't see how it is wrong for people to discuss the subject. If subjects that were sensitive were never discussed then the world would be a sorry place and nothing would be achieved or changed. Half of the point of film is to cause people to think about certain issues within society. You just have to look at something as obvious as 'American History X'. Surely the director of the film wanted people to discuss the racism that exists in aspects of American society. While I can't speak for Clint Eastwood my impression is that if he thought it was wrong for people to talk about such matters then he would not have included the rape scene at all. Intelligent people (again presuming that most people on this web board are) do talk about sensitive matters and the reason that they don't like swearing is that it prohibits sensible conversation by insulting people. If you don't like the subject of the debate whether it be for a personal reason or not then you don't have to read the link. Simple as that.
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« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2002, 08:50:58 PM »

Originally posted by KC, 12-18-2001 06:21 AM

As Hitchcock (who included a rape scene, performed by none other than Sean Connery, in one of his movies) was fond of saying, "It's only a movie."

KC

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