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Author Topic: high plains drifter mystery?  (Read 28581 times)
Fast Freddy
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« on: July 24, 2004, 05:13:16 PM »

so i have watched high plains drifter like 20x. it is my 2nd fav clint eastwood western of all time next to unforgiven. anyway, at the very end of the movie when clint is riding out of lago (hell) and he sees the midget putting the grave marker on the marshalls grave, there is a mystery there > the midget asks clint "i never knew your name" and clint replies to him "yes you do" as he is looking at the marshalls name on the grave marker (cross).

so i know in the movie that the midget called clint captain, but clint kept having nightmares of the former town marshall being whipped in the town streets. was this marshall clint or was it somebody else? and if clint was the marshall, then he obviously survived the whipping and lived and came back to get the men who beat him, so who would be the dead man in the grave?  also, did clint write this movie script?

 ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???
« Last Edit: July 24, 2004, 05:18:24 PM by Fast Freddy » Logged

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KC
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2004, 06:31:48 PM »

Eastwood did not write this or any of his scripts, but he DID influence the writing to a degree, and he changed a few things in the course of filming it. This mystery was intentional ... in the script, it was made explicit that the mysterious Stranger was the brother of the martyred Marshal Duncan. In the film, you're never sure who he is. He could be the brother or some other relative (thus "Yes you do" means "My name is the same as the one you're putting on that grave"), or he could be a ghost, or an avenging "angel" of some sort. In which case, "Yes you do" means something like ... "I'm the ghost of the man in that grave" ... or possibly "Oh, you recognize an Avenging Angel when you see one, don't you, Mordecai?"

The character of the Marshal (in the flashbacks) was played by Eastwood's longtime stunt coordinator, and sometime stunt double, Buddy Van Horn, and it's clearly Van Horn, and not Eastwood, whom we see in closeups.

There's an audio clip on this site where Eastwood talks about this intentional ambiguity. Check it out on this page ...
http://www.clinteastwood.net/filmography/drifter.htm

Also, take a look at this thread in our Film Discussion forum, where we discussed this aspect of the story:
http://www.clinteastwood.org/forums/index.php?board=16;action=display;threadid=1478;start=0

And welcome to the Board, Fast Freddy!  :D
« Last Edit: July 24, 2004, 06:35:44 PM by KC » Logged
Washingtonian
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2004, 09:26:24 PM »

Isn't half the fun of that movie not really knowing who the stranger is?  ;)
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Chessie
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2004, 10:00:55 PM »

I watched this today actually.  I honestly think that the Stranger is Duncan's ghost or a dark angel.  The part is just so eerie and dark that it seems more like it would be a ghost or a dark angel, then a brother.  

I agree with Washingtonian, alot of the appeal/fun of the movie is not knowing who the stranger is.  That's part of the reason that I go back and watch the film again and again.  
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2004, 10:54:15 PM »

I totally agree. The whole thing about the movie, is the mysterious and supernatural feelings you get from it. That's what seperated from clint's other westerns.
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2004, 07:24:08 PM »

I really think his character is a ghost.
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2004, 02:25:53 PM »

Has anyone seen this version of the High Plains Drifter DVD (R1)?



Looks like it may be the "new" cover coming out. First time I've ever seen it - it appears on a few different online stores.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2004, 02:32:11 PM by Agent » Logged

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Christopher
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2004, 02:31:37 PM »

There were a few Universal Eastwood titles to get a makeover for their cover. These were released a little while back, but I'm not sure when. That's the version of Drifter that I have.
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2004, 07:59:35 PM »

Yes, I agree - the mystery makes this a great movie.  But the other things that I love are:

-The great one-liners (you're gonna look awfully silly with that knife sticking up your ass......you can't just kick all of my customers out of the hotel...where are they gonna go?  - "Out."  .....these people, are they your brothers and sisters?....they most certainly are...."then you won't care if they come and stay at your place will ya?"

-The gunplay

-Seeing other actors that are in his other movies, like the bike gang leader of the black widows and another biker, and the head of the mining company who was in a Dirty Harry movie, and the head villian who is Philo's brother as well as Clint's buddy in Pink Cadillac, and so forth....it's great to see actors and recognize them because they were in a Clint Eastwood movie.

-All the red paint

-The music (so eerie sounding......the ending scenes are similar to Unforgiven....dark....hard to see....

Oh, how I wish Clint would do another western.  I admire him for doing new things....but he should do what he was made for....tough guy roles.  I know some of you will disagree....but I bet the majority would side with me......Come on Clint.....do a western!  
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2004, 08:29:57 PM »



The face on that cover is not the one in the original photograph.

What was wrong with the original artwork ?  ???


This dvd release from Australia seems to have got it right.




Philo .

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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2004, 07:42:06 PM »


After spending the night with Sarah Belding. The Stranger tells her that he just came to town for a shave and a hot bath. (have not quoted the exact line)

Was he trying to hide his real motives, could he have not given Sarah a clue why he was there or would that have left us with no doubt who he was.

She was one of only two people who were shocked at the death of Duncan.


Philo .



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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2004, 05:19:59 PM »

As a fan of both westerns and horror movies, I like the idea that the stranger is something not quite from this world. It make's the film just a little bit diffrent from just a standard revenge tale.
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2004, 03:10:41 PM »

For many years, I have valued GBU as the best Clint Eastwood Movie and the best western ever.

But after replaying High Plains Drifter a few times, I am not so sure anymore.

HPD is really something: cruel, enigmatic, breathtaking, stunning and philosophic at the same time.
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ajay
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2004, 03:54:50 PM »

u cannot kill the dead, the stranger was in the bath tub when the woman came in and started to shoot, she fires four or five shots not one hits the stranger. this actually explains that the stranger was actually a ghost.
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rowdyyates
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2004, 01:21:00 AM »

u cannot kill the dead, the stranger was in the bath tub when the woman came in and started to shoot, she fires four or five shots not one hits the stranger. this actually explains that the stranger was actually a ghost.

Maybe she'd never fired a gun before -- even at point blank range an inexperienced shooter (and sometimes even experienced ones) can't hit the target.  And when the target is a person ...  which leads into my second point: maybe she didn't really want to shoot him.   :-\

Still, I see him as some kind of supernatural being.
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2004, 09:04:27 AM »

I think that's what's so special about HPD ... you never can tell for sure who this stranger is ... You think you know, but at the same time there's always this doubt ...

All this mystery surrounding him is what makes HPD a masterpiece.

It's your own interpretation ...
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2005, 06:15:04 AM »

For those of us in the UK who want another look at High Plains Drifter to try to solve the mystery it is on TV  Saturday 15th Jan on ITV1 at 10.55 pm.    I will be watching because this thread has brought up some more ideas re the Clint character :)
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« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2005, 09:09:51 AM »

Clint definitely has a thing for playing ghosts from the past...

WKC.
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« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2005, 10:11:33 AM »

It is so long since I last saw High Plains Drifter I am sure I will 'see' a lot more in it this time.  This site has shown me so many different ways to watch a Clint  movie.  I don't just 'look' at them anymore.   :)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 10:02:52 AM by Lin. » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2005, 06:19:42 PM »

It's a great movie, Lin. Hope you're enjoying watching it again.

You can look through the film discussion we had on High Plains Drifter to see more of our comments about the movie. (Look HERE for the thread titles, which also continue on the next page.)  If you read a topic that you'd like to comment on, you can always start a new topic in the Westerns forum to continue it. We had a thread in that film discussion asking who our members thought The Stranger was. You'll find it HERE.
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