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Author Topic: Preacher in "Pale Rider"  (Read 30224 times)
Americanbeauty
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« on: January 18, 2005, 07:22:58 PM »

Have some of you ever noticed that Preacher had black, burning eyes ?
(Coy LaHood refers to it at the beginning "his eyes ... something strange about them ...")   >:D

Maybe it's only my imagination  :D, but 2 sequences come to mind to illustrate this :at the very beginning when he first appears in town and saves Hull, and then at the end when he fights the 7 gunmen.

This leads me to THE big question : who is this man ... really ?  ???
Is he Death, like it is suggested at the beginning ?
Where do all those scars he has on his back come from ?

Did you also notice some similarities between Preacher's scars and the pattern of the  bullet holes in the dead marshall's body at the end ? or is it again my imagination ? Could it be some kind of revenge then ?

How come at the end Stockburn seems to know the man too ("You ... YOU !!") ?
How come Sarah and Megan seem so attracted to him ? Is it only because he reminds them of someone who left them - a husband, a father ?

I saw a topic had already been started some time ago about it, but if Preacher really IS a preacher why is it suggested that he slept with Sarah ("Sarah ? Close the door" scene) ?

Hell ... !! I really love this movie  O0 ... there's so much material to reflect upon  :D ... just like in High Plains Drifter.
By the way couldn't it be possible, in a way, to draw comparisons between the two ? I think that the Stranger and Preacher happen to have quite a lot in common ...
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2005, 07:37:20 PM »

I noticed his eyes too. I think he is a gunman that Stockburn killed & was sent to the town as the rider of the pale horse mentioned in the Bible at Revalation chapter 6: verse 8.

As for Megan & Sarah being attracted to him, I'm not sure. Women have been attracted to stranger men.

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mgk
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2005, 08:55:19 PM »

The first thing to keep in mind about this movie is that the audience is supposed to figure out who they think the Preacher really is.  Is he a real person or is he a ghost of some kind from the past?  I'm going to respond to these comments based on the fact that I believe that the Preacher is a real person and not a ghost.  But, he's a real person who seems to know things that the rest of us don't and seems to be able to survive things that most of us couldn't.  That also supports anyone's opinion that he really is a ghost.

(A lot of people will probably chime in here because I think the majority of our members think he is a ghost of some kind who has come back to revenge the death of others just like in High Plains Drifter.)

Keeping that in mind that I think he is a real person.......when LaHood mentions his eyes, I don't think he ever referred to them as "black" or "burning" but he found the Preacher's eyes piercing, mesmerizing or mysterious and certainly memorable.  As for Stockburn recognizing "those eyes," he would never forget the man that he thought he had killed but hadn't.  Why do you say "burning," American Beauty?  Are you meaning similar to "piercing"?

It is obvious from what is said by both Stockburn and Preacher that they have met in the past.  In my humble opinion, Stockburn is responsible for those six bullet-hole scars in Preacher's back.  That's where the scars come from.  Stockburn thought he had killed him so, naturally, he is surpised to see that he's still alive.  And, yes, I did notice that the bullets Preacher put into Stockburn had the same pattern as the ones on his own back.  Coincidence?  Symbolism?  I think Eastwood wants us to decide that for ourselves but it certainly adds to the mystery.

Could it be some kind of revenge then ?

Revenge?  Absolutely!  I think Preacher was very glad to have the opportunity to redeem what Stockburn had done to him.

How come Sarah and Megan seem so attracted to him ? Is it only because he reminds them of someone who left them - a husband, a father ?

No, in my opinion (again), it isn't because he reminds them of someone else.  I think it's for all the basic reasons anyone appeals to someone else and the mysterious aura around him makes him even more appealing.  Also, in the case of women in those days when they had to depend on a man for security and their very own survival, it makes sense that they are attracted to this particular man who can definitely provide that security.....a hero type.

Is he "Death" as is suggested when Megan is reading the Bible at the beginning?  Maybe......in the supernatural way of thinking.  But, in the realistic way of thinking.....where he is actually a man......one could just assume death will follow a man like this wherever he goes.

I saw a topic had already been started some time ago about it, but if Preacher really IS a preacher why is it suggested that he slept with Sarah ("Sarah ? Close the door" scene) ?

If any of us think he is a REAL preacher then that scene would be more disturbing.  But, in my opinion, he is not an actual "preacher" so to speak.  It seems to be more symbolic of what his purpose is........redemption of the wrongs that are happening to this honest, hard-working group of miners and redemption for what Stockburn had done to him in the past.  Just symbolic.  This is one "preacher" whom we never see carrying a Bible.

I hope all of you who think that Preacher is a ghost or a reincarnated "being" sent from heaven to right some wrongs will join in this discussion.  It's a great discussion and I know that I'm in the minority thinking he is real so let's hear from the rest of you.
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Matt
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2005, 09:44:05 PM »

I thought I'd post some screen caps of Preacher's eyes, and comparisons of Preacher's and Stockburn's bullet wounds.

First... his eyes.  I went through the whole movie looking for a good shot of them, and it has to be one of the hardest movies to really see his eyes. One of the reasons is that Pale Rider was shot with only existing light. Every scene of Preacher when he's inside is so dark that you can't see the color of his eyes at all:





Another reason it's hard to see Preacher's eyes is that the hat he wears is so tall, and the brim so wide, that it gives more shade on his face than all of the other characters in the movie. Also, Preacher has his back to the sun in most of the outdoor scenes. Nearly every scene of Preacher outside shows the upper half of his face in shade:









Then, there's the "Clint squint" that accounts for another reason we can't see his eyes well:







There is one scene where you can see his eyes pretty well... but then, this is the closest we see him:



BUT...  finally... at the very end of the movie, we get to see his eyes pretty well. He's outside but the light seems to be pushed slightly in this scene because the shadow on his face isn't very dark at all. And it's THIS scene where Stockburn sees his eyes for the first time. I think this is the only scene where the film was pushed a stop lighter, and I think it was done purposefully so that we could see his eyes for the first time, as Stockburn is seeing them for the first time. Here's the shot... they're not black, or dark... they appear to be a light gray:



Here's that same shot... a little zoomed in:


As for the bullet wounds... here they are to compare. That's Preacher on the top, and of course that's Stockburn underneath:





My view of who or what the Preacher is differs from mgk's. I do think he was killed by Stockburn, and I think he was put in a very similar situation as the residents of Carbon Creek--being intimidated by Stockburn and his deputies. However, I get the feeling that he (whoever Preacher was in that life) didn't have the support of the town, and they left him alone to deal with Stockburn. This is why I think he's in Carbon Creek now... to unite the town to stand up to Stockburn and his deputies together.  He says in one scene "A man alone is easy prey." He seems to be speaking from experience.

So, I don't think he's a real Preacher, and I don't think he's a real man. As in High Plains Drifter, I see this as the story of a man who was killed, and comes back as an apparition in answer to Megan's prayer for help and a "miracle".

Another view I entertain is that Stockburn knows The Preacher all too well...  and he seems to be haunted by memories of him. Could his death have been just a quick kill, like Spider's was? I'm sure it wasn't. Either their past included a long-running battle between them, or .......... could The Preacher have been one of Stockburn's deputies at one time (he never denies having been a gunfighter) who maybe developed a conscience and turned on him? Could they have even been friends at one time? You decide. Clint would like all of us to come up with our own answers.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2005, 11:51:42 PM by Matt » Logged
KC
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2005, 01:09:02 AM »

An excellent post, Matt! I was going to reply that Preacher's eyes aren't literally black, but you've made a better answer by posting the screen shots. It reminds me of my reaction when I first heard LaHood's "His eyes, yeah ... his eyes. Something ... strange about 'em." I recall thinking: "Yeah, you can't see them!"

I liked your post, too, mgk. I'm not sure I've made up my mind on this issue, though I'm sure the parallel between the Stranger and the Preacher is clear and intentional.  I wish we could revive a couple of the discussions we had on this topic back on the old Board.
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philo
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2005, 11:14:01 AM »


Those first two images sure look electronically boosted, the video people really don't like the look of Pale Rider. Shame because it is well lit despite what most people including Technicolor Labs think.


Philo .
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Americanbeauty
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2005, 02:26:29 PM »

Thanks to you all for sharing your views on this movie. I really enjoyed reading your posts  O0

Why do you say "burning," American Beauty? Are you meaning similar to "piercing"?
No I didn't mean similar to "piercing", I rather meant like the fire burning. I don't know ... I can't remember exactly what I was thinking when I posted, as well as when I first saw the movie .... but somehow I came up with these two adjectives. How ? Don't know  ???... the first words that came to mind when I saw his eyes.
First impressions can be weird, and don't always make sense ...  ???

But the thing is that in my post I put black and burning in the same sentence, whereas these two terms are actually pretty opposite .... bad wording, awkward ... once again I can't really tell  ??? First impressions can be weird, and don't always make sense ...

I guess the best thing for me to do right now is to think about it, and then maybe write an other post to explain my view in more details ... otherwise if I go on I'll get confused, and I'll probably end up confusing you too ...  :)

I must say that the Preacher's eyes are one of the many things in this movie that left a long lasting impression on me ... I know some of you didn't really see what I noticed about them  ;), but I believe that like in other Eastwood's movies, the looks and the eyes can tell us a story, and may be more powerful in revealing a character than a thousand words.
The answer to the question "who is the Preacher ?" may be in his eyes ....

Quote
I hope all of you who think that Preacher is a ghost or a reincarnated "being" sent from heaven to right some wrongs will join in this discussion. It's a great discussion and I know that I'm in the minority thinking he is real so let's hear from the rest of you.

Actually I'd rather be one of those who just can't make up their minds about who this Preacher really is.
I'm pretty open to all the suggestions and thoughts people might come up with here.
Maybe he's real, maybe not .... who knows ??

I think I need to watch it again  ;)  :)
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 05:14:45 PM by Americanbeauty » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2005, 04:37:13 PM »

Discussions like this are the reason why I love this site :)

Since my native language is not english I can`t always take part on some of the discussions but I just love to read them.

Thanks guys O0
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2005, 04:59:27 PM »

Those first two images sure look electronically boosted, the video people really don't like the look of Pale Rider. Shame because it is well lit despite what most people including Technicolor Labs think.


Philo .

Matt just might have had to enhance it after taking the screenshot with powerdvd. I find a lot of times when I'm reviewing a film that for some reason powerdvd makes the screenshot darker than what it displays while watching the DVD.

I've really got to see Pale Rider again. I had to sit through it with ex #2 complaining the whole time about me making her see a western that I really did not get to enjoy it.
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Matt
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2005, 06:15:38 PM »

I didn't adjust the levels of the screen caps above. I use Intervideo Win DVD 5, and the caps come out pretty good with that program. They always need a one-time "sharpen" though, to get the crispness of the original since it does go slightly blurry when capping. But the "sharpen" feature corrects that, however if you "sharpen more", you wind up with an image that looks too grainy.

The last two pictures (not counting the bullet wound shots) where Preacher is looking at Stockburn look boosted to me not only because of the lack of shadow on Preacher's face, but that his black hat is gray. His hair looks lighter too. Guess we had to see his eyes for that scene, and it must have been just too dark when it was filmed.
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2005, 07:20:26 AM »

The darkness might just be from your screen. I noticed that when I record stuff and put it on computer, it's always darker on the computer.
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2005, 08:35:03 AM »

Most TV sets are set to have way too high a brightness level. It should be adjusted for proper movie viewing.
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Lin Sunderland
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2005, 12:55:07 PM »

I just had to watch Pale Rider again after reading all the posts in this thread.   My old ideas on the preacher's identity were not the same as now.  I feel he is more like a reincarnation/ghost whatever, than a live human.  I think I need to see it another time and then I will probably feel differently about it again.  I do have to say that the eyes are so much a part of this type of Eastwood movie and can be scary.
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2005, 01:01:49 PM »

i think he is like an ghost protecting the people. Not many preachers can handle a club like he does in the begining.  :) O0
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2005, 01:04:48 PM »

Dark,  I think you are right, not many preachers act the way he does either. :)
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AKA23
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2005, 01:27:20 PM »

This is an interesting discussion, and it's nice to revive some of these discussions every once in awhile from the old board. I'll have to watch this one again, but I think it's pretty clear to me that the Preacher is in fact a supernatural being of some sort. Especially in the gunfight scene at the end with Stockburn and his deputies, the Preacher does seem to have very unusual, superhuman abilities to sense where people are and to escape situations that a normal mortal man would be unable to escape. I don't see how these things could be explained unless Preacher was a supernatural figure of some kind. Not only this, but it's near impossible to survive having been shot six times in the back. That scene alone lends credence to the fact that the Preacher is not of this world. 

Personally, whether or not the Preacher is an actual preacher or not, I'd find the act of the preacher sleeping with Sara incredibly disturbing. It's not necessary for the Preacher to be a man of the cloth in order to find that scene disturbing. Was Sara not in a long term, commited relationship with Hull? There was never any indication of that relationship having been severed, was there? Therefore, if Hull and Sara were in a long term, commited relationship, doesn't that make Sara sleeping with the preacher an adulterous act of some kind? Is that not disturbing? I don't know about all of you, but I personally find that pretty disturbing. Preacher refuses to sleep with Megan, and rightly so in my view, but sleeps with Sara and doesn't have any moral qualms about it? That doesn't follow morally. The scene is left a bit ambiguous, so it is not entirely clear whether or not Preacher slept with Sara. What does everyone think? Are we to interpret that scene to mean that Preacher did sleep with her? It might be even more morally impermissible if preacher is/had been a man of the cloth, but even under normal circumstances, it's wrong. Not only that, but were Hull and the Preacher not friends? Isn't it wrong of the Preacher to sleep with his friend's girlfriend? I think so. Even if there was an indication that they had broken up, and there was no such indication in the film, it would still be wrong, in my view. Characterizing that scene as only disturbing if Preacher is a man of God is a bit too liberal an interpretation for me :)
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2005, 01:36:09 PM »

I really don't think Preacher slept with Sara. She was for the most part comited to Hull and I don't think either of them would have dishonored that commitment.
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2005, 09:20:09 PM »

Dark, I suspect you're in the minority (not to say in the Dark) with that opinion. At least I'm pretty sure every woman who ever watched the movie will disagree with you.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2005, 09:37:08 PM »

Did the Preacher sleep with Sara?

In my opinion...
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Matt
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2005, 09:37:48 PM »

Maybe he just asked Sarah to close the door because it was cold outside.

Or.... maybe because he was looking for some privacy so he could discuss her relationship with Hull, or with her daughter.

Oh wait... we're talking about a Clint Eastwood western, not Ozzie and Harriet! Imagine a Clint Eastwood character being so immoral that he would go to bed with an unmarried (but otherwise committed) attractive woman. No! Can't be! I don't think I could ever watch it again.



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