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Author Topic: THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES: Style and Technique 5: Authenticity  (Read 3838 times)
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« on: September 27, 2004, 11:49:01 PM »

GERALDINE KEAMS: When I got cast they said, "Oh, you can use Navajo, you can say whatever you want." It was what the character was saying, trying to be real about it and natural about what would have happened to this character and what would she have said. You had to bring that reality to the table, I think that was the real important part about my role as Moonlight in this film.

JOHN MILIUS (NARRATOR): One of the elements about the original story that Eastwood liked was the portrayal of Native Americans.

EASTWOOD: Well, I wanted the treatment of the Native American to have more than just the cliché that had been presented in the past where you have the Indian treated as a very stoic personality without much sense of humor and this one was the first story I read where they were treated with humor.

MILIUS: It treated them with a certain humanness.

KEAMS: I thought that the Native American characters were sensitively written.

MILIUS: It gave Eastwood the opportunity in the movie to portray Native Americans in a way seldom seen.

KEAMS: He wanted to cast real Native Americans. He made an extra effort to cast Dan George, Will Sampson and myself.

SAM BOTTOMS: It was one of the first really strong, heroic portrayals of American Indian people.

BILL McKINNEY: And it's good to see that happen because you show the backbone and you show the honesty of these people.

JOHN VERNON: It made them non-Indians. They were people.

KEAMS: The Native Americans really embraced this film because they saw themselves on the screen.
(From the 1999 documentary Hell Hath No Fury: The Making of The Outlaw Josey Wales)

In addition to casting Native Americans for these three integral roles, Eastwood strove for a realistic look for the towns, saloons, streets, and appearances of the townsfolk.

I'd been brought up with the Italian approach to the Western, which was much more high opera than some of ours and there was no real attempt to make it truly realistic.
(Clint Eastwood from the 1999 documentary Hell Hath No Fury: The Making of The Outlaw Josey Wales)

The background story of the film is authentic as well; the Kansas Redlegs and the hostility between Kansas and Missouri are historically accurate.

Do you feel all of these aspects add up to a realistic film? How do the casting and attempts at realism affect the quality of The Outlaw Josey Wales?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2004, 12:23:45 AM by KC » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2004, 07:13:31 AM »


We all know that the American Civil War happened.

Josey Wales was fighting with a bunch of blokes known in real life as Quantrill's Raiders (QR's).  If you remember in the film they carried a black flag.  There is some debate as to whether QR's actually carried a black flag but it is certainly reported by some that they did.

Bloody Bill Anderson was a real person who died in a Blue Scum Bellie ambush towards the end of the war.

QR's came from (in the main) and were based out of Missouri.  However, Bill Quantrill himself was from Kansas.  Now Bill hated Kansas as he was thrown out of the State prior to the War starting because of a few incidents of a dubious nature carried out by Bill.  So Bill didn't like Kansas or any of its people.

The Redlegs were based out of Kansas.

Both bands had quasi recognition as 'forces' in their repspective armies.  QR's = Confederate, Redlegs = Union.  However, here again there are conflicting opinions as to the actual command status of the Raiding Forces (North or South).

Were they saints ?  No, both organisations (QR's and the Redlegs) have been reported and documented as doing some not very nice things during some of their raids.

Did both organisations qualify as War Criminals ?  Only the losers are criminals, whomever wins a war are the 'good guys' and thus it was post- the American Civil War.  Quantrill's Raiders were vilified by the North.  Quantrill himself was shot and died of wounds at the end of the war itself.  General Lee, I believe, had already surrended but Bill Quantrill was unaware at the time he was shot and mortally wounded.

Jesse James and his brother Frank, plus the Cole Brothers, rode with Quantrill's Raiders.

So, there is a genuijne reality in the film which gives it an immense amount of credibility.  Things like that (what happened to Josey) happened during "that damn war".  And as in all wars, atrocities happen on both sides whether you are the winner or the loser.

Reality = Credibility.  And the fact that Josey fought on the losing side in the American Civil War gives the film more relevance as Josey fights his battles for justice.



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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2005, 06:49:48 PM »

Thanks to Wombat for participating in this discussion. This topic is now closed, please post any additional thoughts in the Clint Eastwood Westerns forum.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2005, 07:07:08 PM by Matt » Logged
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