Clint Eastwood Forums

General Information => Clint Eastwood Westerns => Topic started by: cigar joe on March 01, 2003, 01:01:14 PM

Title: Fatal Flaws in Clints American Westerns
Post by: cigar joe on March 01, 2003, 01:01:14 PM
I sort of picked up a ball and ran with this in the off topic section Of the Sergio Leone board, but I think it bears more looking into.
Maybe the correct place is here.

Like I said there I like all of Clint's westerns but they never quite matched up to any of Leones, "Unforgiven" was Clints best effort and is close to perfection,  for reasons that I'll get to later or if you can't wait jump To the Sergio Leone board and then down and see under Off Topic Discussions.

I'd really like to hear your thoughts, I'd always leave an early Eastwood western with the feeling that I was getting short changed. With a Leone western it was like getting a full meal. Maybe its that Clint's larger than life persona carries these vehicles over the rough spots and you tend to forget what we lost not having Leone direct them or Morricone score them.

Except for the newbies, I think we all know Leone pretty good, so lets all think like Leone and see if we could have made these movies better than they are.

That said I remember eagerly waiting the premier of "Hang 'em High" Clints first American western upon his leaving Leone.  A great story, Clint (intitially a drover reminicent of his "Rawhide" days) gets hanged by a lynch mob and survives to serve vengeance upon his hangers. It had a great historical back story, though for the life of me I don't know why they changed the names. In the movie the Hanging Judge was Judge Fenton and the town was Ft. Grant, in real life the Judge was Issac Parker and the town was Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The only possible explanation was maybe that "True Grit" had the rights tied up? The historical depictions of the multiple hangings were great.  The movie did have some ok camera camera angles. The scene where Clint confronts Reno is a classic but it goes down hill from there.

The vigilantes for the most part are lightweights, take the two captains, Captain Maddow,  and "The Captain" Alan Hale-Gilligan's Island, come on give me a break. Leone would have had distict memorable baddies maybe even top stars as baddies, each would have had some sort of unique confrontation with Clint. What happend to the Swede, most of that apparently was left on the cutting room floor, only Bruce Dern had a spark of some devious charater. It seems that a lot of the story was truncated,  Leone would have given it the full treatment.  That whole storyline with Inger Stevens was for the most part another melodramatic waste, she should have been played against type and should have been one of the whores. There was also no big shoot out ending, it sort of just fizzled out, Clint rides off to serve more warrents, hummm...  think of how great Leone's version might have been. And to top it all off the music was a joke, they could have used some serious Morricone.

I suppose you could say in fairness that they didn't want to make a carbon copy Leone (which they probably could not do any way being back in the Hollywood picture mill), but, I still think it could have been much better.

Your thoughts?

Title: Re:Fatal Flaws in Clints American Westerns
Post by: Matt on March 01, 2003, 01:08:08 PM
Hi Cigar Joe, welcome to the Eastwood board.

We had quite a debate on the Leone vs. Eastwood westerns not long ago... if you'd take a look over that topic HERE (;action=display;threadid=98) I'd love to have you join in there.

And we're doing an in-depth film discussion on Hang 'em High right now.  Check out our forum on "Biweekly Film Discussions" and see the more than 20 topics that are open and hoping for some more posts.

Great to have you here.
Title: Re:Fatal Flaws in Clints American Westerns
Post by: cigar joe on March 01, 2003, 01:30:52 PM
Thanks I'll repost it in the Meat & Potatos - Spagehtti thread.
Title: Re:Fatal Flaws in Clints American Westerns
Post by: KC on March 01, 2003, 01:36:28 PM
Leone was one of a kind. So is Eastwood. Why not look for the strengths and weaknesses in each, on his own terms, rather than complaining because Eastwood didn't continue to turn out exactly the same kind of films as Leone?

Eastwood said that one reason he stopped collaborating with Leone was because, as an actor, he was more interested in character-driven films. Leone's films were schematic, operatic, over the top, with plenty of "types" to enjoy in action, but few characters to empathize with.
Title: Re:Fatal Flaws in Clints American Westerns
Post by: Matt on March 01, 2003, 02:09:45 PM
Thanks for posting in the Steak & Potatoes vs. Spaghetti thread, Cigar Joe.

I also reposted some of your post in a Hang 'em High discussion that compares the film to the Leone westerns.  That discussion is HERE (;action=display;threadid=485&start=0).

I'm going to lock this topic now, anyone who would like to add their thoughts can add them in the other two threads:

Steak & Potatoes vs. Spaghetti (;action=display;threadid=98)

HANG 'EM HIGH: The Story: 3. Hang 'em High and the Leone Westerns (;action=display;threadid=485&start=0).