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Author Topic: Josey Wales vs. Unforgiven  (Read 45937 times)
Adam S.
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« on: April 24, 2004, 06:30:55 PM »

I think Josey Wales is the better film, mainly because of the one liners and action, but, overall it's just better in almost every aspect. Nothing wrong with Unforgiven, best western since Josey Wales, IMO, but Josey Wales is a lot better. Your thoughts??????
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2004, 06:56:02 PM »

This remains one choice I've yet to make. Don't think I could say which I liked better. Certainly both are amongst the best westerns ever made.
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KC
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2004, 07:13:04 PM »

Unforgiven is Eastwood's masterpiece.

In support of this statement, let me cite what noted critic and film writer Richard Jameson had to say about Unforgiven in connection with a screening in the year 2000 as one of a dozen "Films of the Decade" selected by Film Comment:


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You can count on one hand the number of times the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (plus most of the awards-giving critical fraternities) has hit upon the right Best Picture of the Year. This was inarguably one of those occasions. From its opening image of the town of Big Whiskey, Wyoming, under a crepuscular storm sky to its final, ghostly apocalypse, Unforgiven is a summum masterwork—of its genre, of its director, of its last-of-the-icons star, and of its revisionist decade looking to put paid a century of cinema. Clint Eastwood kept David Webb Peoples's superb script in a drawer for something like sixteen years until he was well and truly seasoned—as an ever-evolving popular artist and as a man—to make it. With performances of a lifetime by the star, Gene Hackman, Frances Fisher, Richard Harris, and every last anonymous, perfectly cast cowboy-casualty.
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2004, 04:11:29 PM »

And as further support, check out this comment on the brilliance of Unforgiven:

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Unforgiven is just plain brilliant! -- robluvsnic

I don't think that anyone can argue with that.
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KC
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2004, 08:00:40 PM »

Well, I certainly won't. ;)
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bdc28
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2004, 10:14:36 PM »

Until I thought about this question seriously, which has been for the last fifteen minutes...I would have said JOSEY WALES...hands down. But I have to give it to UNFORGIVEN for a few reasons.

Alot of what I am about to say, K.C. has already said before, but in a different way.

Now, I dont believe that UNFORGIVEN is the best western EVER, but I do believe that its the best of Clints bunch.

Josey Wales, for its time, was VERY challenging. It takes heart to make a Southern soldier the good guy, considering what the south represented. It also takes a skilled writer and director to make Josey Wales both hateful, and then caring..but without exposing the character or making him gummy. Josey Wales made alot of statements, about war, about the Native American, about peace..or the lack there of.

But the characters pivotal character, was like all western characters, super human..almost to a fault. He outsmarted everyone...he was tougher than everyone. Luck always went his way, because he was charmed by being right...even if he wasnt.

Now, this is EXACTLY why I give it to Unforgiven. Unforgiven told a story that COULD have happened, and more than likely, in some form or another, DID happen. William Munny had flaws in his character...and instead of his flaws making him SUPER HUMAN, it made him all the more human.

Whenever you watch something that tugs at reality, it is painful for you to watch. Its PAINFUL to watch the "dance of death" in the movie RESERVOIR DOGS, because it was done graphically REAL.

Unforgiven is a disturbing look into myth, and reality. Into human nature, or in many cases, the lack there of. How people can act on what they consider a "right act"...even if their hearts tell them not to.

In short...Unforgiven is about as close to real as a western could get. There is no super human lead character..just another one of us. Flawed, and struggling with his life, and his myth. Situations that need to have a grip taken of...but a lack of support to do so, and being shoved into it to take care of it. The lead character is weak..because of his myth.

Unforgiven gets top awards on that alone.
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2004, 02:30:53 AM »

'unforgiven' has something that ALL other westerns don't have

an 'anti violence' message

which probabaly gave this movie the oscar
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2004, 06:58:15 AM »

Age has something to do with wether you like Josey Wales or Unforgiven better , I liked Josey in my teens because it gave me the blood lust I was looking for but as I reached twenty something I began to preffer Unforgiven becuase it thru up questions I was now asking myself .

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Philo Beddoe Jr
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2004, 09:50:16 AM »

At this point in time I prefer Josey Wales, even though it has some major flaws IMO.  I might add that I  preferred the acting in Josey Wales.  I also though the supporting actors in JW were brilliant.

I would also like to express my appreciation to bdc28's intelligent remarks about why he believes Unforgiven is the superior movie.  He is right, it is more realistic.  But movies are only a shadow of life, and sometimes too much realism can be a flaw in a movie IMO.  Sometimes it is the touch of fantasy that lifts a movie higher.   When I want utra realism in motion picture form I watch a documentary.

WKC.
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2004, 12:44:16 PM »

Until I thought about this question seriously, which has been for the last fifteen minutes...I would have said JOSEY WALES...hands down. But I have to give it to UNFORGIVEN for a few reasons.

Alot of what I am about to say, K.C. has already said before, but in a different way.

Now, I dont believe that UNFORGIVEN is the best western EVER, but I do believe that its the best of Clints bunch.

Josey Wales, for its time, was VERY challenging. It takes heart to make a Southern soldier the good guy, considering what the south represented. It also takes a skilled writer and director to make Josey Wales both hateful, and then caring..but without exposing the character or making him gummy. Josey Wales made alot of statements, about war, about the Native American, about peace..or the lack there of.

But the characters pivotal character, was like all western characters, super human..almost to a fault. He outsmarted everyone...he was tougher than everyone. Luck always went his way, because he was charmed by being right...even if he wasnt.

Now, this is EXACTLY why I give it to Unforgiven. Unforgiven told a story that COULD have happened, and more than likely, in some form or another, DID happen. William Munny had flaws in his character...and instead of his flaws making him SUPER HUMAN, it made him all the more human.

Whenever you watch something that tugs at reality, it is painful for you to watch. Its PAINFUL to watch the "dance of death" in the movie RESERVOIR DOGS, because it was done graphically REAL.

Unforgiven is a disturbing look into myth, and reality. Into human nature, or in many cases, the lack there of. How people can act on what they consider a "right act"...even if their hearts tell them not to.

In short...Unforgiven is about as close to real as a western could get. There is no super human lead character..just another one of us. Flawed, and struggling with his life, and his myth. Situations that need to have a grip taken of...but a lack of support to do so, and being shoved into it to take care of it. The lead character is weak..because of his myth.

Unforgiven gets top awards on that alone.

I would have gave it to TOJW, but now after what you and KC have said, it has completely changed my mind. So its Unforgivern here aswell.
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2004, 04:50:05 PM »

Sometimes it is the touch of fantasy that lifts a movie higher.

What, so William Munny shooting down five armed men in a saloon without sustaining a single bullet wound to himself — and after his own gun misfires! — isn't a touch fantastic?
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2004, 06:51:48 PM »

What, so William Munny shooting down five armed men in a saloon without sustaining a single bullet wound to himself — and after his own gun misfires! — isn't a touch fantastic?

Agreed.  I think that that  shootout scene brings the whole realism notion into serious question. BUT it was in keeping with the be calm and aim before you shoot 'dialogue'  It is a real stretch, but perhaps it is possible ???.  

Having said that, even as I wrote my earlier response, and lauded bdc28's theory, I couldn't help but have to shake the underlying thought...Unforgiven has a whole aura of the Western fantasy about it...Unkillable gunman, The final riding out of town scene....all possible, but all a bit fantastic and Mythic..  

So actually on review I think you are right robluvsnic.  Unforgiven is also quite 'mythic'.

WKC
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2004, 08:51:24 PM »

What, so William Munny shooting down five armed men in a saloon without sustaining a single bullet wound to himself — and after his own gun misfires! — isn't a touch fantastic?
First, Munny shot one unarmed man, with a shotgun (Skinny). Then, his shotgun misfired as he was aiming at the unresisting Little Bill. At that point, the shootout proper begins, and here is what happens:

Munny throws the shotgun at Little Bill as the latter is trying to draw. That distracts Little Bill just enough so that his first shot goes wild, buying Munny time to draw his other gun (the Kid's Scofield revolver) and shoot. Little Bill is wounded and goes down, and Munny doesn't have to worry about him any more. Munny then crouches down in the dark doorway of Greely's, presenting a harder target to the unknown gunmen elsewhere in the saloon, and he reacts very methodically to the only two threats that come from all the crowd of men, most of whom are cowering on the ground by now. The first is from Clyde, the most cool-headed of the deputies, to Munny's left over by the window. ... Clyde fires as the Little Bill-Munny duel is concluding, but he misses, and Munny turns to him, firing and also missing. They exchange another pair of shots, and Clyde goes down, wounded ... Only then does Munny turn his attention to the second threat, Fatty and Andy, standing side by side more or less in the middle of the room. Andy gets his gun out, but his nerve fails him and he never fires. One of the two shots Munny fires during this portion of the battle kills him. Fatty is firing wildly, fanning the hammer (not a very accurate way to shoot), then he panics, fires a shot into the air, and turns to run. Only then does Munny hit him, striking him in the back with his final bullet. (The fourth deputy, the cowardly Charley Hecker, had fled when the shootout started.)

If I've counted right, there were only six or seven shots fired at Munny by all the men in the saloon: One by Little Bill (distracted by the shotgun), two by Clyde (firing at a moving target as Munny crouches down, then turns towards him), and three or four by Fatty (who is not taking the time or trouble to aim carefully). It's not surprising they all were clean misses.

After Munny (whose gun is now empty) clears the saloon with "Any man don't want to get killed, better clear on out the back!" ... he is left alone with the wounded, unconscious Little Bill and Clyde ... and Beauchamp. He re-arms himself (with Beauchamp's help) with the Spencer rifle (presumably the one that once was Ned's) ... scares off Beauchamp, and finishes off the two wounded men.

This is what happens, and the final result is five men dead and Munny not wounded, but the WAY it happens, I don't think it's fantastic at all ... One man was unarmed, one was shot in the back while fleeing, two were only wounded during the shootout and have to be finished off later on in cold blood.

Making the whole sequence of events seem all the more "realistic" is the fact that probably the only man in the saloon that night who didn't care whether he lived or died was William Munny.
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2004, 09:06:03 PM »

Making the whole sequence of events seem all the more "realistic" is the fact that probably the only man in the saloon that night who didn't care whether he lived or died was William Munny.

This is the core of it KC.    The rest were (relatively speaking) frightened puppy dogs.  Even Little Bill was very 'tied' to this world.

It still has a mythic edge to it.  But it is 'possible/believable'.

WKC.
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2004, 06:36:16 AM »

Well, I think the mythic elements are also poetic and pivotal to the story as well.

Okay, we have the shoot out, that happens so fast, that no one really notices that out of a room of twenty or thirty people, only three are actually firing back at Munny. Of the three involved, NO ONE is an established gunfighter, not even Lil Bill. Oh Lil Bill is CRUEL, thats a given. But hes not exactly your dead eye-take on the world single handedly kinda guy. He needed a group or people to surround and subdue English Bob.

The poetic justice of it all, is that there is a writer sitting right in the room to view the "Final shootout of William Munny", and as realisitic as Munny TRIED to make it for him "Ive always been lucky"...you know that writer went out and made it a romantic novel anyways. BECAUSE all the elements were there, the outlandish numbers...the dramatic leave out of town. The facts wont stand the test of time, and thats kind of the back handed statement of the story.

Let me use an actual piece of history as an example, one that most people are familiar with, Wyatt Earp.

The movies TOMBSTONE, BOOT HILL, and THE WYATT EARP STORY have made famous the showdown at the OK corral. Now, the truth of that story is a little more ugly, because its honestly, just wrong.

It wasnt a story of right and wrong, or truth and justice. It was a land war. The Clantons had been running a town since its inception, including, but not limited to, its criminal elements.  Wyatt Earp and family, including Doc, had decided they had wanted to take that FROM them. Thus, began a political war. Whos bad, whos good...etc etc.

Wyatt Earp was not a good guy, quite the opposite. He was a brute..a thug. The kind of guy that would bash you over the head from behind and drag you unconscious to jail before you even knew you had a problem with him.

Okay, so we have the actual showdown. Here are the participants....One one side...Ike Clanton...the Mclaury Bros...Tom and Frank, and Billy Clanton. Before this, the night before...Ike Clanton had been jailed...for being drunk and disorderly. His gun impounded. Billy Clanton had been pistol whipped by Wyatt Earp earlier that day, after he had insisted he was unarmed.

Now, the shootout. Sheriff Behan told Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil and Doc, they had been disarmed. When Wyatt and co. came around the corner..they were told they were to be disarmed..and throw down their weapons.

Billy Clanton said "Dont shoot me, I dont want to fight"...Tom Mclaury opened his coat and showed he was also disarmed....Ike Clanton still didnt have his weapon from the night before.

So basically, the GREAT SHOOTOUT of the OK Corral, was Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Morgan and Virgil Earp...opening up and firing on at BEST...possibly TWO armed participants.

Myth is always different from reality.
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2004, 07:46:58 AM »

it will always be josey wales for me

i think its a better story and i don't think josey wales is superhuman

many people went through all kinds of things in the second world war and survived

i also prefer the characters in josey wales and the script is sharper

i think its as poignant as unforgiven

i must admit there is little to choose between the two but josey wales has the edge
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2004, 08:07:26 AM »

For its entertainment value, I'd pick Josey Wales. It's also a funner pic, as well as adventurous.

However, Unforgiven contains a much more deep, mature message that seeps into the marrow of the bone, leaving you on the edge of your seat and walking away with a disturbed feelling that resides within. It drives home a point that lingers with you, and applies not just to the good 'ol West, but contains a timeless message that carries on to this modern day and age. I think that's what puts this pic up on top.

So for its historical & entertainment value, I'd pick Wales. But for its artistic & perpetual value, I'd pick Unforgiven anyday. You can't really compare the two on the same level.
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« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2004, 08:15:31 AM »

sorry think josey has the same message what with the redlegs and fletcher following him and also the way the rest of the gang are treated

i think alot of people see the violence of unforgiven and say yeh it must have a message

but so does josey wales and it also is a truely disturbing one
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« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2004, 08:15:34 AM »

You can't really compare the two on the same level.

I wholeheartedly agree.  They are two very different films.
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2004, 08:46:57 AM »

Well I think it goes beyond just an “anti-violence” message…..there are plenty of westerns, such as The Shootist for example, that contain an anti-violence message, or at least try to drive that point home. It’s really difficult (or perhaps impossible) to explain, but Unforgiven slaps you in the face and leaves you quite stunned – pondering the events that took place within the last couple of hours.

In Josey Wales, despite the message it depicts, you still yearn for the revenge Wales carries out on his enemies, and the final satisfaction when he finishes off Terrill with a nice long sword at the end. You get your money’s worth. Dirty Harry rides West. The End. Video player shuts off. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

I guess bottom line is, it’s the feeling or something you “know” about Unforgiven that makes it stand out. It depends on what you’re looking for, perhaps. But on the other hand – with Unforgiven you really don’t need to be looking for anything –  you’re gonna get stung either way.
 
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