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Author Topic: Pale Rider and High Plains Drifter  (Read 49782 times)
Gant
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« Reply #60 on: August 21, 2012, 01:03:45 PM »

its the ambiguity of HPD that makes it one of my favourite Clint films..
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« Reply #61 on: August 21, 2012, 03:24:37 PM »

its the ambiguity of HPD that makes it one of my favourite Clint films..

This has always been one of my alltime favorite movies (not just Clint movies)... and think that it's one not appreciated as much as it should have been by the critics.  I always considered it a western art film.  I actually still have the paperback that I got soon after seeing this movie back in the early 70s.

I always took the stranger to be a ghost for a whole lot of reasons (most of which have already been said here). Right off the bat at the very beginning, hearing that "ghost" music while the stranger appears of out nowhere in that mystic haze gave me the creeps.  Then when the woman fires at point blank range into the tub without hitting him made this case stronger.  Another key moment that I remember while watching it for the first time was that the marshall and the stranger both uttered "help me" in the same voice.  I can go on and on.....

Having said that, while watching it the first time, I also remember doubting that this ghost story theory when at times you can clearly see that the person being whipped in the flashbacks is not Clint but Buddy Van Horn.  Not sure if that was meant to hint at the marshall being the stranger's brother or they accidently didn't hide the marshall's face quite good enough in these scenes.

Anyway, this film being ambiguous is just one of the great things about it.  As many times as I've watched it in it's entirety, it never gets old.
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Perry
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« Reply #62 on: August 27, 2012, 03:37:30 PM »



I like the ambiguity of HPD too, but then Marianna Hill is slamming looking. Nothing abiguous there....
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« Reply #63 on: October 14, 2012, 08:57:00 AM »

PALE RIDER essentially copies the plot of SHANE with some relatively minor alterations...not putting down PALE RIDER, both are among my favorite films...

Anyone who has ever played Dungeon and Dragons knows what the Preacher is--he's a revenant...

A revenant is a dead person who returns for the purpose of righting an injustice...the main character in the movie THE CROW is also a prime example...

This explains some of the Preacher's supernatural abilities--does no one wonder how he's able to kill a badie on one side of the street, then without being seen, get to the other side to kill another without being seen? No normal person can do that...also, why when LaHood's thugs break into the Blankenship's little restaurant, do they start shooting at nothing? And are surprised when he appears? That makes no sense unless they think he is actually there...

Can't find the reference, but there's a significance--in voodoo?--of the hat in the ground--says that The Preacher is actually dead...he's revenant... 

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« Reply #64 on: January 03, 2013, 05:17:35 PM »

I am a bit older than you all, I'm guessing, by the observations I have read here.  My 'take' on things is different re: Pale Rider.

The Preacher is Sarah's husband returned, whether he is a ghost or not - that is why she is startled to see not only his minister's collar but his face - watch the scene again.  She is at first startled then a sort of recognition happens, she veils her gaze with pleasantries.  It happens whenever she looks at Preacher throughout the movie.  This is reflected in the awkward way they behave around each other - he has found his wife and daughter but they are not alone, they have a protector who tells him that the  husband/father deserted them.  The husband/father is not expected back, nor would he probably be welcome back again.  After he has washed up for dinner, Preacher plays a little mind game with Sarah through polite conversation at the table, and she has to respond to his verbal cues.

He is a stranger to them, but Sarah recognizes something about him through the years that have aged them and changed them.  He is protective of Megan as a virtuous minister should be, and he rejects her romantic overtures because she is underage AND he is a 'minister'.  BUT - watch his face whenever he is with her.  Do you see the pain that he expresses since he cannot have more detailed or revealing conversations with Megan?   He is her father, but cannot tell her.  He is doubly unable to tell them whether they think he is dead or if he is indeed dead, a spirit called back to protect and avenge.  Have you ever seen the awkwardness of a father who sees his children for the first time in years, and they have grown up without him?

Watch the facial expressions, body language, and gestures when he is in scenes with the women.  Acting is more than dialogue.  The visual assessment of the situation, the glances and the gazes between Sarah & Preacher... they know each other and cannot speak of it.  This is why it is not immoral for Sarah and the Preacher to be behind closed doors together; they are/were married.  This is why Sarah tells him he reminds her of someone who left her once before - she needs a man who will NOT leave her again, "... and you would leave, wouldn't you?"  They look at each other - She kisses him because she doesn't want to be haunted by memories and longing for him after he leaves her lovelorn- again.  He tells her to close the door because it is the only time they will ever have alone together in the foreseeable future.  He could be killed going to town to fight Stockburn, and if he survives he will leave the area again, as he told her.  She will marry Hull and have stability in her life.  This is the resolution to their relationship.  When she asks him, "Who are you?" she is seeking confirmation that he IS a different man than the one who left her and Megan years before.  She is also seeking to have him deny who he WAS - "It doesn't really matter...", he answered.  it cannot matter because he will soon be gone, like a wisp of memory.

My observation does not negate anything that Clint said about the character being a spirit or ghostlike.  it merely deepens the character.
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KC
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« Reply #65 on: January 03, 2013, 07:25:35 PM »

That's fascinating, Starfire D. ... I've never heard that interpretation before. Excellent post.
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Lin Sunderland
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« Reply #66 on: January 05, 2013, 04:01:54 AM »

That's fascinating, Starfire D. ... I've never heard that interpretation before. Excellent post.

I agree with KC. I will watch the movie again and look for your interpretations. I think it plausible that I will agree with some of them.

Thank you for such a thoughtful post Starfire D.

Welcome to the board.  :)
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« Reply #67 on: January 07, 2013, 10:28:36 PM »

Starfire, I also have never thought about it like that either.  That was very interesting.  I will also watch it again and think about what you said.
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The Man With No Aim
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« Reply #68 on: January 17, 2013, 02:56:22 AM »

I am a bit older than you all, I'm guessing, by the observations I have read here.  My 'take' on things is different re: Pale Rider.

The Preacher is Sarah's husband returned, whether he is a ghost or not - that is why she is startled to see not only his minister's collar but his face - watch the scene again.  She is at first startled then a sort of recognition happens, she veils her gaze with pleasantries.  It happens whenever she looks at Preacher throughout the movie.  This is reflected in the awkward way they behave around each other - he has found his wife and daughter but they are not alone, they have a protector who tells him that the  husband/father deserted them.  The husband/father is not expected back, nor would he probably be welcome back again.  After he has washed up for dinner, Preacher plays a little mind game with Sarah through polite conversation at the table, and she has to respond to his verbal cues.

He is a stranger to them, but Sarah recognizes something about him through the years that have aged them and changed them.  He is protective of Megan as a virtuous minister should be, and he rejects her romantic overtures because she is underage AND he is a 'minister'.  BUT - watch his face whenever he is with her.  Do you see the pain that he expresses since he cannot have more detailed or revealing conversations with Megan?   He is her father, but cannot tell her.  He is doubly unable to tell them whether they think he is dead or if he is indeed dead, a spirit called back to protect and avenge.  Have you ever seen the awkwardness of a father who sees his children for the first time in years, and they have grown up without him?

Watch the facial expressions, body language, and gestures when he is in scenes with the women.  Acting is more than dialogue.  The visual assessment of the situation, the glances and the gazes between Sarah & Preacher... they know each other and cannot speak of it.  This is why it is not immoral for Sarah and the Preacher to be behind closed doors together; they are/were married.  This is why Sarah tells him he reminds her of someone who left her once before - she needs a man who will NOT leave her again, "... and you would leave, wouldn't you?"  They look at each other - She kisses him because she doesn't want to be haunted by memories and longing for him after he leaves her lovelorn- again.  He tells her to close the door because it is the only time they will ever have alone together in the foreseeable future.  He could be killed going to town to fight Stockburn, and if he survives he will leave the area again, as he told her.  She will marry Hull and have stability in her life.  This is the resolution to their relationship.  When she asks him, "Who are you?" she is seeking confirmation that he IS a different man than the one who left her and Megan years before.  She is also seeking to have him deny who he WAS - "It doesn't really matter...", he answered.  it cannot matter because he will soon be gone, like a wisp of memory.

My observation does not negate anything that Clint said about the character being a spirit or ghostlike.  it merely deepens the character.


Yes. That really hits the target for me.

When I first ever saw the film, I concluded that Preacher was a ghost, not a regular man, before I ever read anything about C E interviews and all. But I noticed the non-sequitur interactions as you have mentioned and was puzzled by them. I even considered the possibility of bad acting.

Your explanation instantly resonated with me. Everything falls perfectly into place. You surely have got it right.
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« Reply #69 on: February 22, 2013, 05:44:23 PM »

Interesting interpretation. It makes a lot of sense now that I think of it. Thanks, Starfire! 8)
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« Reply #70 on: June 22, 2013, 04:19:29 PM »

I never saw enough in either movie to assume he's a resurrected character.  Revenge seemed sure enough good enough for me.  Nowhere in either movie is there any reference or foreshadowing or ANYTHING to make you think he's a ressurected soul.  Both are great movies, and to my mind, revenge works just fine...
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« Reply #71 on: June 22, 2013, 06:11:46 PM »

Hmm, I'm not so sure ... the Stranger certainly seems to be "recalling," in his first restless night in Lago, events that happened to someone who looked a lot like him, but is dead. If that man was "only" his brother, how does he have such vivid memories of how he met his end?

And the Preacher gives a number of hints of his "supernatural" character: He arrives in answer to a young girl's prayer, he can cover space without being seen to move, he has bullet scars on his back that look to have come from fatal wounds, and Stockburn recognizes him as someone he thought he had killed long ago.

But as Clint would say ... Whatever gives you pleasure. He always has stated he wants his audience to make up its own mind about what happens to his characters.
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