Re: RARA-AVIS: Great Scott!

From: Jim Beaver (
Date: 10 Mar 2000

> You guys missed the qualifying word--"oater." I shouldn't have
> mentioned names. After all, I admit, Scott and the Duke made some
> really great films (I love THE SEARCHERS for example). But they also
> made a bunch of really corny, overly-simplistic cowboy quickies that
> were truly black-and-white, even if some of them were in colour. You
> know, oaters. In fact, their careers were based on them. (Unless, of
> course, that term now encompasses any and all westerns--I just always
> assumed it meant B-flick westerns

I always took it to simply mean Westerns in general.

> But, so as to not wander too far off topic, can anyone think of some
> of the best hardboiled or noirish westerns. I don't just mean violent.
> Off the top of my head, I can think of a few:

> Maybe some of the early Spaghetti westerns...
> and there was a Walter Hill flick a while back, about, I think, the
> James Gang? I can picture the poster, with a bunch of them facing the
> camera, in their long coats, on horseback, but I can't see the title.

The Long Riders.

> And Shane, which is a great story, even though the film looks like
> the old west had as many drycleaners as cowboys.

Actually, the folks in Shane seem to be fairly mudcaked most of the time, as I recall.

Noir/HB Westerns. Good questions. There's one called Pursued, with Robert Mitchum, that is often described in noirish, hard-boiled terms, but it seems more a psychological thriller Western than HB to me. Some of the nihilistic stuff Monte Hellman directed with Jack Nicholson and/or Warren Oates in the Sixties seems to qualify: Ride the Whirlwind, The Shooting, etc. Of course, there's a great connection between the two genres, even if there aren't a lot of examples of true cross-breeding.

Jim Beaver

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