Two Mules For Sister Sara

In TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, grizzled poncho wearing already-played-The-Man-With-No-Name Clint Eastwood stumbles across a lady about to be gang raped in a Mexican desert. He rescues her with his gun and a stick of dynamite and when she puts her clothes back on it’s a damn nun’s habit!

She is Sister Sara (Shirley MacLaine) and, although she’s headed in the opposite direction of Clint’s character Hogan, she ends up getting his protection. The joke of the title was completely over my head until I read about it, but she has one mule and then Hogan is metaphorically the second one. She confesses to him that the French soldiers in the area are looking for her because she was caught raising money for the Mexican army. She hates what these colonialists are doing to the locals.

(Some of the things I’ve read say that Sister Sara was scripted as Mexican. If MacLaine was supposed to be playing it that way I sure didn’t pick up on it.)

Hogan, it turns out, is sort of like Benicio Del Toro in THE LAST JEDI, he doesn’t believe in taking sides (he’s a civil war vet and thinks that makes him a sucker) but he had agreed to a job blowing up a French garrison because he’d get to keep half of their treasury.

These two seem to be opposites, and Hogan is prone to making comments about his attraction to Sister Sara, both when he’s intoxicated (he enjoys the whiskey) and when he’s sober (sometimes you run out of whiskey). Usually he’ll say something about wishing she wasn’t a nun, because hubba hubba or whatever. In our modern times we have learned that this is not appropriate in the workplace and he should know better but within the reality of the movie we know by her smiling and then trying to hide it that thankfully she’s flattered by it rather than feeling demeaned and harassed.

It’s rare to see Clint in a two-hander with an actress this formidable. Nothing against Sandra Locke, but she was never coming off of best actress nominations for SOME CAME RUNNING, THE APARTMENT and IRMA LA DOUCE. Clint actually gets second billing! Sara’s a fun character because she’s got that TRUE GRIT dynamic of a person who seems out of place in this environment but in fact has the attitude and strength to conquer it. Of course Hogan gruffly pushes her to cowboy up. He gets shot through with an arrow, so he gets real drunk under a tree and gives her step-by-step instructions to cauterize the wound and remove the arrow. She doesn’t like it, but she does it like a champ (the illusion of it coming out of him is convincing) and I think she already has his respect for staring down the band of Indians who shot him and getting him out of there alive.

She also has to climb a trestle to plant dynamite and then help his drunk and injured ass to shoot the fuse. Man, is that train a miniature? Because it sure is a convincing crash.

Sara also surprises in the opposite direction. We go back and forth about whether she’s just a cool nun or whether we should wonder about a nun who sneaks off to have a smoke. It leaves you guessing. The last act is less FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and more WHERE EAGLES DARE – a big plan with the revoluationaries using disguise, trickery and coordination to attack the French garrison. A fun time.

This is Clint and Don Siegel pre-DIRTY HARRY, their second movie together, between COOGAN’S BLUFF and THE BEGUILED. It’s kind of a transitional western too, because Clint and Sergio Leone had already reinvented the western with the Dollars Trilogy and now he’d come back and started Malpaso Productions and made the American westerns HANG ‘EM HIGH and PAINT YOUR WAGON (if you want to count musicals) and now this and I guess he was like fuck it, I don’t care if this is an American-Mexican production, I’m getting Ennio Morricone to do the score this time.

It was written by two guys who had done old school westerns. Budd Boetticher (director of THE TALL T, RIDE LONESOME, COMANCHE STATION, etc.) wrote it for Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr and planned to direct. It was rewritten by Albert Maltz (BROKEN ARROW), his first since THE ROBE in 1953 since he’d been blacklisted. Clint was brought on board by Elizabeth Taylor, who would’ve played Sister Sara if they’d been willing to film it in Spain.

I noticed on the credits that the second unit director was Rene Cardona, who helmed famous Mexican exploitation movies like SANTA CLAUS (the one where Santa fights the Devil), WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY, NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES, THE BATWOMAN and a bunch of the EL SANTO movies. IMDb only gives him four credits under “Second Unit Director or Assistant Director,” but 145 under director, so I guess this is a rare treat!

Clint liked camera operator Bruce Surtrees so much he ended up the D.P. of THE BEGUILED, PLAY MISTY FOR ME, DIRTY HARRY, JOE KIDD, HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ, FIREFOX, HONKYTONK MAN, SUDDEN IMPACT, TIGHTROPE and PALE RIDER. I bet he was glad he made the trip to Mexico.

I decided to watch this now because I have a tradition of starting every year with a review of a Clint movie. So what advice does this one give us for 2018? Well, for one thing we have two people with very different backgrounds and values coming together as a team, fighting together, helping each other, liking each other. That’s positive. That’s constructive.

In Hogan we have a disillusioned both-sideser who ends up fighting for what’s right. Unfortunately I see no evidence that he did it for anything other than money and Sara. I’m not sure what to make of his part in the civil war. His bad attitude about it would seem to indicate he was on the losing side. But I’m not sure if saying he was a sucker means he no longer believes in that cause, or that he was foolish to believe they could win what they were fighting for. I guess being willing to help Mexicans fight for independence is a step in the right direction after choosing to fight for the enslavement of Africans, though not enough to absolve him.

In Sara we have a woman who not only risks her life for a cause she believes in, but stays true to her code in a harsh environment that challenges it at ever turn. Of course SPOILER SPOILER THIS IS A SPOILER I AM SPOILING A PLOT TWIST IN TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA FROM THIS POINT ON the truth is that she’s faking it, she’s not a nun at all. She just thought the disguise would help her in some situations, and it has. But that kinda makes it more interesting because she’s a prostitute who finds herself practicing Christian ways that she probly doesn’t even believe in, living by a different code as part of her disguise. Walking in somebody else’s shoes.

A big question to me is why she insisted on giving a Christian burial to the dead attackers at the beginning. Maybe it was just taking the nun routine far to make it convincing – it worked on me for a while. Or maybe she actually is religious – there’s a point when she prays for Hogan and he finds it touching and it seems unlikely she’s worried about role playing at that point. But we know she is an idealist. She’s doing all this for the revolution, and her conversations with Hogan questioning his cynical worldview have got to be more than just playing nun. So I like to think that she’s an example of how to have morals and care about things without needing a church or a religion to tell her to. I feel like right now in the U.S. we have the most blatant example ever of people claiming Christian righteousness while flagrantly demonstrating the opposite values, bending over backwards to torment and crush poor people and refugees, to lie and steal and be as cruel as possible, to destroy nature, to disrupt peace, to makes sure everybody trods down harder on the downtrodden, because if those losers think they get a free ride they got another thing coming (as Jesus used to say).

It’s disgusting and we need real Christians to show them the light (or the door), but we also need the non-religious to stake our claim to morals and values, since we clearly have way more of them than those fucking assholes. In Sara’s case the righteousness comes from her actions and not from her religious affiliation, which turns out to be just a costume.

Anyway, whatever she’s up to with the burials, she’s going out of her way to bring dignity to a place where there doesn’t seem to be any, respect to the bandits who didn’t offer her any. Judge her on this, not her occupation.

Happy 2018 everybody, the year things start to turn around (?). We’ll do our best.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018 at 11:57 am and is filed under Reviews, Western. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

125 Responses to “Two Mules For Sister Sara”

  1. This is probably my favorite classic (meaning non-UNFORGIVEN) Clint western, which puts it high in the running for my favorite western. It’s funny, full of memorable sequences, has an amazing score, Clint has real chemistry with his leading lady for a change, and the ending is out-of-nowhere gory as hell. Just a real fuckin’ keeper.

    Also, the Rene Cardonas (Junior was also a prolific filmmaker, with schlock like CYCLONE and BEAKS under his belt) are always worth checking out if you’re into the weirder cul-de-sacs of world cinema. In particular, I recommend NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APE. If you like really disgusting horror movies about a gorilla man ripping faces off to reveal the quart of red tempera paint beneath but think they could use more extraneous footage of lady luchadores, you are in for a treat.

  2. TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA is another fine example of Clint doing what Steve McQueen was the master of, namely steeling whole scenes by just standing around while the big name talks. I often wonder what right wingers like The Duke and Clint made of the relatively leftist politics of many of their westerns?

  3. MR MAJESTYK, I would love to see you rank Clint’s 10 westerns?

  4. Oh, I’m no expert. I don’t imagine my list would be appreciably different than what you’d expect.

  5. Okay. It’s gonna get real vague after the first five, though.

    3. GOOD, BAD, ETC.
    6. JOE KIDD
    7. FISTFUL
    10 FOR A FEW ETC.

  6. Surprised to see For a Few Dollars More so low on your list, Majestyk. It’s actually my favorite Eastwood Western, although I will admit that he’s somewhat overshadowed by Van Cleef and Volonte. I think Pale Rider and Hang Em High are pretty awful, so those would definitely languish at the bottom for me.

    1. For a Few Dollars More
    2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    3. Two Mules for Sister Sara
    4. Unforgiven
    5. The Outlaw Josey Wales
    6. A Fistful of Dollars
    7. High Plains Drifter
    8. Joe Kidd
    9. Hang Em High
    10. Pale Rider
    11. Paint Your Wagon

  7. Old American westerns, from the era Boetticher wrote that, when dealing with civil war will never mention slavery and usually will ask us to love characters from the losing side, or if it is the winning side those characters usually are proud of ethnic cleansing native Americans.
    By the 70’s we already had Fred Williamson and Jim Brown westerns, and radical westerns like Little Big Man. I saw this long time ago so I guess they just tried to appropriate Boetticher script to the 70’s. but not enough as Vern mentioned.
    Saying that, Eastwood and Siegel’s THE BEGUILED is superior to Coppola’s recent version, which feels like a backlash to 20-50’s westerns in that she never speaks on slavery even though it is the civil War. She deleted the Black character from the original novel, a character who has her say in Siegel”s version. It is true that her movie take more of a feminine perspective then Siegel’s which stick to Eastwood pov male perspective. But it is disappointing that it is just white woman perspective from the south, omitting the black one.

  8. 1. Dollar trilogy
    2. Unforgiven
    3. The Outlaw Josey Wales
    5. Pale Rider
    6.Joe Kidd
    7. Two Mules for Sister Sara
    8. Hang Em High
    9. Bronco Billy (contemporary western like Last Picture Show)
    10. Paint Your Wagon

    8. HANG ‘EM HIGH
    9. JOE KIDD
    10. PALE RIDER

  10. OK, so Mally No Show it is, but this is still a great review Vern, and a great way to start the year. Happy New Year!

    Did John Carpenter ever really say that if you can get Ennio Morricone to score your movie you should? Coz Eastwood and Siegel – who clearly had a hotline to Lalo Schifrin back then – must’ve known it back as far as 1970. FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE needs to be high up those lists for all the reasons David mentions, but also for Carillion’s Theme (the watch chimes).

    But I know I’m in the right place since none of you is trying to sell me COOGAN’S BLUFF as a western.

    It’s also worth mentioning that Deborah Kerr already held the top spots in any list of great nun movies with BLACK NARCISSUS and HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON (with Robert Mitchum already), so she probably didn’t need this one.

    Vern, I know keeping up with the Cageography is a full time job, but a review of GUARDING TESS would make a neat companion piece here. Clint really does much better against MacLaine, even though she was nearly 25 years older against Cage.

  11. I’m gonna be honest, I’ve seen FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE a few times in my life and I don’t remember a goddamn thing about it. That’s why it ranks so low for me. Push comes to shove I prefer a movie that makes me remember it.

    FISTFUL also has that hour in the middle that nobody’s ever paid attention to so that’s why that one’s not in the top five despite all its classic elements.

    I just realized how many years it’s been since I watched ANY Clint westerns not named UNFORGIVEN. I think I have my New Years resolution.

  12. Majestyk – FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE is much better then Fistful because of Lee Van Cleef. That’s the movie who turned him to a movie star, with great westerns following like Day of Anger, Death Rides a Horse and The Big Gundown. It has some of the greatest action scenes in any western and on a much larger scope then Fistful and it is not just a copy paste of a Kuraswa movie. I have no idea how it keeps sleeping your mind, better luck next time…

  13. I got the Leone box set so I’ll make sure to put it high on my rewatch list for 2018. I’m not comfortable with how little I’ve retained about this movie I know I’ve seen multiple times. Some movies are just like that, I guess.

  14. Has there ever been an Eastwood box with all his westerns?

  15. I’m pretty sure the earlier ones are MGM and the mid-to-later ones are Warner Bros so it’s doubtful.

  16. BTW, in case anybody wonders what that foreign poster says: Yes, it’s German and the title translates to A FEAST FOR THE VULTURES.

  17. I have them all, so I don’t really need no stinking boxes.

    In Norway it was called SIERRA TORRIDA when it came out on VHS in the early 80s.

  18. For HANG ‘EM HIGH Eastwood wanted Sergio Leone to direct. The Italian maestro declined, possibly because Clint refused to play one of the gunfighters who meet Charles Bronson at the train station in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, but it would have been an interresting way to go for Eastwood’s American debut. Even if I think TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA would have been a better fit for the two of them.

  19. Majestyk, I agree about that mid-section in A Fistful of Dollars. Same goes for High Plains Drifter. The terrible production design of the latter doesn’t help either.

  20. So, MR Majestyk and MR David Lambert, you are both saying that nobody’s ever paid attention to Ramon’s machine gun massacre, Joe’s many double crosses, the shooting of the corpses, the saving of Marisol, the torture of Joe, the blowing up of the Baxter house and Joe’s training montage?! The movie’s just 99 minutes long! I don’t think I believe you…

    David, I’ve agreed with you in the past that Eastwood is often a too economical director, but I’ve always seen both the story and the simple design of HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER as a homage to AND GOD SAID TO CAIN…he’s going for a gothic and spooky setting to tell the story which may be a ghost story set in Purgatory. He’s no Leone or Peckinpah, that’s obvious, but from the haunting music Morricone has provided it sounds as if he has a vision that has nothing to do with the budget.

  21. Pegsman, yeah pretty much, haha. The machine gun massacre is not one of Leone’s best scenes. It has the sloppy excess of a weaker Corbucci scene and basically just feels like guys falling over while a machine gun rattles on the soundtrack. I know Leone didn’t have much of a budget so I won’t be too harsh. I don’t find the rest of it much fun either. I know it’s sacrilege, but the Man with No Name is best when playing off someone else and the bartender friend doesn’t make much of an impression. The film’s debt to Yojimbo doesn’t help.

    I don’t remember And God Said to Cain very well, but I definitely remember that it wasn’t set in a town made up entirely of unpainted wood. It’s almost insulting how cheap of a choice that is just so the townspeople can paint the town red later on. Only Eastwood, man. And that still doesn’t account for what I consider a deadly dull middle section.

  22. HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER ain’t very high on my Eastwood list either, so I won’t defend it too furiously. But I like the minimalistic style. AND GOD SAID TO CAIN…was mostly Klaus Kinski in mine shafts and in the dark. An the walls might very well have been unpainted.

    And I guess it’s a sign that we know each other well on this sight, because I knew already what you would say about the machine gun scene. I agree. It has the cheapness of the similar scene in DJANGO. I guess you can’t have everything on a 200 000 dollar budget.

  23. I was exaggerating about the length of FISTFUL’s doldrums. They just feel a lot longer than they are.

    And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I revisited FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE last night and was reminded why I don’t remember it: After the first half hour it’s one of the most boring movies I’ve ever seen. Clint’s in it for like 12 minutes. Like a solid hour of it is just milling around some catacombs or some shit. The villain is great at first but then he just takes over the movie and becomes wearying. I am literally incapable of paying attention to the middle of this movie. Once Clint and Lee escape it becomes watchable again but it’s too late. I’ve stopped caring. That whole standoff is supposed to be suspenseful but I’m so exhausted by that point that I’m like “Just shoot the motherfucker!”

    I gotta say, this is kinda how Leone works for me. The movies start with incredible, full-strength shotgun blasts of pure cinema. Just breathtaking. But then the plot starts and the dialogue scenes all sound like the same bored, badly dubbed guy mumbling to himself about backstabbing strategy in different accents in a gas station bathroom with shitty acoustics and I just…drift away. Sometimes I come back. A lot of times I don’t.

    I’m not trying to hot take these movies. They are some of the most influential and even indispensable cinema ever created. I’m not sure they’re good movies though. Good movies hold my interest.

    I’m calling this blasphemy The Blade Runner Conundrum.

  24. Don’t hate me, you guys. I never had a dad to show me this stuff. I had to try to figure it out by myself. I have no sentimental attachment to any of these movies and so they don’t feel as mythic to me as they do to you guys who grew up on them. You talk about classic scenes and all I saw was a Spanish stunt guy fall down in the street. It’s cool, I get it, but I don’t FEEL it. It’s all academic to me.

  25. All I remember from And God Said to Cain is Klaus Kinski in a foggy graveyard… I think. I’m sure it used some old Almerian Western set so I imagine the buildings were painted at the very least. Compared to Carlo Simi’s work on the Leone films, High Plains Drifter feels like walking through the Home Depot lumber aisle.

    It’s all good, Majestyk, although that’s the weirdest description of For a Few Dollars More I’ve ever read. I do not remember any catacombs. I will say that the first half hour is probably my favorite section of any Spaghetti Western ever and that the rest doesn’t quite live up to it, but I still love it. And while Clint isn’t in it a whole lot, Van Cleef more than makes up for that in my mind. Plus the bad guys shoot a baby. That’s gotta count for something.

    In regards to Leone, I’ve always hated Once Upon a Time in America. It has its moments but feels like hanging around an unpleasant drunk for 3 1/2 hours. It’s alternately crass, sentimental, bombastic and incoherent. Leone was absolutely wrong for the material.

  26. I was talking about the bad guy’s hideout. It was like a Spanish mission or something but it had a lot of halls and tunnels.

    Killing the baby was great but it was also in the part where I was still paying attention.

    Oddly, I think I drift off during the scene when Clint and Lee finally meet. I think their different brands of stoicism cancel each other out. It’s like NPR or something, just background babble that’s easier to tune out than focus on.

  27. The constant B&D power plays don’t really do anything for me either. I’m not trying to kink-shame but that is really not my scene.

  28. Majestyk, I’m quite sure there’s nothing wrong with the quality of the movie. It’s the quality of you as a viewer I’m unsure of. Just kidding. I learned a long, long time ago that spaghettis aren’t everyones taste. I’m pretty much the only one I know who’s really into them. I guess it has something to do with the style and the pacing.

    David, I agree, I don’t really like ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA at all.

  29. It’s not that. I like a lot of spaghetti western. I even like ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and that’s way slower and more dragged out. There’s just something particularly unengaging about A FEW DOLLARS MORE. I have my periods of disinterest in the other two in the trilogy but this one seems to actively push me away.

    I think it might be the sound design. I can handle and even celebrate Italy’s horrible sound practices in dumb gialli and horror movies but when Clint sounds like an analog answering machine message from the next room over I have a hard time committing to the reality of what I’m seeing. Without any kind of emotional throughline to hold onto, the dialogue all becomes Charlie Brown’s teacher to me. The dialogue-free sequences are so much more engaging that the movie would probably be better as a silent film.

  30. Clint isn’t a great talker at the best of times. Originally Leone wanted Joe/Manco/Blondie to be a regular chatterbox, but Eastwood talked him out of it. At least it’s his own voice.

  31. I don’t fault anybody’s intentions. It all works on paper. My problem is textural, I think. It’s like a decent song with bad production that prevents me from getting into the groove.

    I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind about this beloved classic they’ve admired their whole lives. It’s just another case of a masterpiece that my asshole brain won’t let me enjoy for reasons of its own.

  32. As you can see above there are only five people who are even interested, so I don’t think there’s a real danger of the four of us thinking that you’re out to change our minds.

    So, UNFORGIVEN, there seem to be quite diverting opinions on where to put that on the various Top-10 lists…

  33. I’m still here and still interested.

    I’m stating the obvious, but UNFORGIVEN is Clint’s stab at burying the western, in the vein of PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. It’s less self-conscious than either of those – this is Clint – and all the more engaging for it. And Clint hasn’t made a western since, even if GRAN TORINO feels like one. And going back to Siegel, GRAN TORINO lifts from THE SHOOTIST which is the best obituary for the western of them all: he killed John Wayne!

  34. It’s the “engaging” part that bothers me a bit. Apart from the rather pedestrian look of the movie, I think that after all the preaching about how the gunslingers of the old west were just drunken psychopats that couldn’t hit a barn, Eastwood betrays it all when he becomes his trademark badass in the end. That’s why it’s not in my top five.

  35. I don’t think that’s a accurate representation of what happens at the end at all. Clint says early in the movie that the secret to surviving a gunfight isn’t speed or accuracy or fighting for a noble cause, but keeping your head. That’s exactly how that climactic gunfight plays out. Everybody else is bobbling their guns and firing erratically, and Clint just takes his time and actually AIMS. That’s why he wins. That’s why he became a legendary gunfighter in the first place. And that’s not glamorous at all. He;s just a guy who survives because he cares less about human life (his own and others) than everyone else, so doesn’t get flustered when death is in the air. That’s his only edge. He’s not a badass, he’s a sociopath. And he knows it. That’s him reuniting with his true self at the end and remembering how much he hates that guy.

  36. Also, every other gunslinger we meet in the movie is a phony, from Little Bill to The Kid to the Duck of Death. Clint’s character shows what the real deal looks like, and it’s not something anybody would want to put into a boy’s adventure story.

  37. Also, “pedestrian look”? I think the campfire scene where Clint has the fever would dispute that. Otherwise, it’s a warm, earth tone soft-focus movie about a guy who’s left society, gone back to the earth, and consequently a bit fuzzy around the edges. I think the look is perfect.

  38. No, wait, it’s Hackman that says that stuff about gunfighting, right? Which is even better, because it means Clint doesn’t really know why he survives. It’s something he is, not something he does.

  39. Yeah, but the movie is about destroying myths. What he says in the end is they ARE true. In addition to some pro guns bullshit, I you want to look at it from a political angle.

  40. I’m rewatching FISTFUL tonight in hopes of atoning for all the horrible things I said today. In that spirit, why don’t you watch UNFORGIVEN, pegs, and we’ll meet back here tomorrow to discuss?

  41. I think you;re missing the aim of the myth-busting. It’s not trying to recharacterize the archetypical heroic Eastwood persona as an ineffectual fraud. It’s trying to recontextualize that persona as monstrous and inhuman. William Munny doesn’t do anything The Man With No Name wouldn’t do, but it’s clear in this context that he is NOT a good guy. He’s no one to aspire to. He’s a broken, haunted murderer who causes fear and disgust in everyone he meets. Clint is recharacterizing himself as a villain, not a joke.

  42. I watched it a couple of weeks ago, but okay. Don’t think I’ll change my mind though.

  43. That’s fair. I’m not making any promises either. I’ll just try to pay closer attention when my interest flags and you just try thinking of the ways that the movie shows that truth of the Old West isn’t just that the killers of legend were mostly phonies, but that it’s a monstrous, dehumanizing thing to be and not something to be admired.

    (Which I admit is a fool’s errand on par with making an anti-war movie because Clint is too fucking badass in that scene to not be awesome. It’s easily my favorite scene of his and one of my top five ever.)

  44. Or watch it however the fuck you want. Who am I to tell you how to watch a movie?

  45. I get what Clint is aiming for. And I get what you like about the film. I like it a lot myself. But you can’t do proper social commentary when you at the same time support right wing politics. It’s the Knut Hamsun problem all over again. Eastwood is an advocate for something that clashes with the recontextualizing he’s aiming for. And that’s why it all becomes a bit un-sincere, in my view.

  46. In defense of Unforgiven: I think it is superior to other Clint’s directed westerns because, like he himself said, he got there the best script in his career as a director. This was written by the same guy who wrote Blade Runner and Twelve Monkeys. It also has Heckman and Harris in it. I didn’t think the end betrayed anything. I mean it is not as radical as the end The Big Silence but it was still myth breaking enough for me. I wouldn’t like to see Clint in a Robert Altman type of western when he loses completely.

  47. No need for defence. I’m not attacking the movie, I just think Clint has been in even better westerns.

  48. PALE RIDER seems to be a big divider too. I remember I was pretty stoked when it arrived in the cinemas. But I can’t really say that it holds up very well. On the other hand Eastwood has three entries in my Top-12 western list, so he will always be my number one cowboy.

  49. Hey, you guys, just so you know I’m not a total loose cannon who needs his badge and gun taken away, I like FISTFUL a lot more than DOLLARS MORE. Yeah, it’s got at least a half hour of talking in the middle that nobody needs to listen to (I dislike palace intrigue as a plot engine, and FISTFUL’s middle is all about palace intrigue), but it’s bookended by such primordial badassery that I don’t really care. The shorter length really makes a difference in my opinion. The conflicts in both films are so simple, so instantly understood just from the first introductory images, that belaboring them with all that dialogue is just unnecessary.

  50. Don’t you guys sleep?

    I don’t think anyone here was accusing you of totally loosing your cannon, Majestyk, but preferring FISTFUL to DOLLARS MORE is sufficiently interesting a view that it’s been fun exploring it. But I’m guessing your objections to palace intrigue fall away when they’re being filmed by Kurosawa. YOJIMBO is longer than FISTFUL but just watching Mifune move around is sufficient to hold my interest.

    Also, since there’s no one else here, do you wanna go for your top five movie moments? Or at least give us the other four Clint moments?

    I’ll take jumping on to the bus in DIRTY HARRY, and the shootout at the ranch house in THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, though that’s an ensemble moment with Chief Dan George getting the best of the lines.

  51. I haven’t seen YOJIMBO in a long time but yeah, I don’t recall being as bored by the palace intrigue, which you have to accept as part of the deal when going into a samurai story. (I am not a huge fan of samurai stories.) I’m also a massive fan of the Dashiell Hammett book the story came from (RED HARVEST) but Hammett, More accustomed to writing case reports than narrative fiction at that point, wouldn’t know how to belabor a scene if you put a gun to his head so that’s not a problem there either. But I tend to dislike it when any western moves into the “guys in waistcoats having strategy sessions in the billiards room” segment of the story. Interiors in westerns should be for bar fights and the occasional “hiding out in a cabin with a fiery young widow” scene and that’s about it. Otherwise it’s just office gossip.

  52. Skimming through this comment section makes some of Monsieur Lerouxs´s comments surrounding A FEW DOLLARS MORE and other Leones me feel slightly triggered. But at the same time I don´t think he has to defend UNFORGIVEN. That is just silly.

  53. Fucking secret-identity-outing Mr. S.

  54. Well, if it makes any different you have a pretty cool name. Has a little Louis L’amour flavour to it. Possibly because it´s French sounding.

  55. It’s super French. The French people from France I’ve met can’t even believe how much Frencher it is than most modern French names. One girl was like, “Are you a 60-year-old man?” because apparently it’s an old French guy’s kind of name.

    I’m not even telling you my middle name, which boosts it into the Gaulosphere.

    The weird thing is, for all that I am a terrible Frenchman. Typically French things I hate:

    • wine
    • restaurants
    • works of art
    • poetry
    • romance
    • whimsy
    • museums
    • blurred lines of consent
    • navel-gazing wankery

    As has been pointed out to me by multiple people, I’d really be a far more effective Englishman.

  56. Let´s see if we can guess Majestyk´s middle name. This may be the only fun I might have this weekend if the hockey-game tonight against French-harboring Canada don´t work out as I hope.

  57. The most super French I can think of is Francois.

  58. Borg9, over here we sleep at night! I don’t know why some of our American friends insist on posting while we rest?!

    I don’t think anyone has to defend why they like something. We all know that it’s a lot harder than attacking something, simply because it’s more of a gut feeling.

    What about Bruce’ LAST MAN STANDING, guys?
    Or the Icelandic FLIGHT OF THE RAVEN?
    The RED HARVEST story has been filmed more than London…

  59. Shit, I know I’m a slow typist, but 4 entries while I write 1??!!

  60. RED HARVEST always gets brought up when YOJIMBO is mentioned, but I feel GLASS KEY is another Hammett story instrumental in the inspiration.

  61. Borg9, do you know what time it is in Norway now? It’s drinking time!

  62. pegsman- I have finished an entire litre of wine. I don´t think I´ll be able to stay up to watch the Junior World Hockey Final against Canada

  63. When is it not drinking time in Norway? When the drink is all gone?

    I’m only an hour adrift of Norwegian time, but I seem to do a lot more sleeping and a lot less drinking. Or indeed posting.

    And I’m taking Gaston for Majestyk’s middle name. Gaston Leroux wrote the original Phantom of the Opera; it’d be nice to have somewhere to direct the blame.

  64. Borg9- Ha! Gaston is a good guess! Keep the guesses coming!

  65. I think Kurosawa acknowledged THE GLASS KEY, but my knowledge of Hammett’s books stops at THE THIN MAN and THE MALTESE FALCON. I was always more for Chandler (THE BIG SLEEP guy, not the one from Friends) though the plots are often lazy and loose.

  66. I think it is easy to see why. Chandler wrote prose that was less forensical and way more metaphorical. As much as I love Hammett I need to be in a certain mood to appreciate him. Chandler is easier as his prose flows more literate.

  67. I can buy that Shoot, but I also think Chandler was more of a “romantic” with Marlowe as the white knight. THE THIN MAN is cute, but it’s still much more cynical.

  68. That is what I meant but I never put it properly in wordage. Chandler is less of a cold fish and more of a as you say, “white knight” which makes him more likeable in terms of prose and character. They both should be seen as different templates in how to write detective stories.

  69. I´ve just recently delved into Ross MacDonald’ s Lew Archer series. I still need to read more of his works, but the one I read really impacted me in a way in how he seem to have melded the two different approaches. It has the hard edge of Hammett but still the softness of Chandler.

  70. Would now be a good time to say that I’m a huge fan of Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s Martin Beck books? Sure we all know Scandi-noir now, but is Sweden rightly proud of having the first real procedural detective novel series?

  71. You guys are way off. For French speakers, think about liaison, the way the end of one word segues effortlessly into the next. I have to give my grandparents credit for creating such a well-constructed name.

    “he seem to have melded the two different approaches. It has the hard edge of Hammett but still the softness of Chandler.”

    I have called Ross MacDonald the platonic ideal of hardboiled detective fiction before for just that reason: He melds the two granddaddies of the genre, Hammett and Chandler, into a perfect whole. I find both of his forebears to be more interesting than him because of their distinctiveness, but he does what he does so well that you can’t deny his talent.

    Last summer I read FIND A VICTIM, which I think is my favorite of his I’ve read so far. The way the plot unfolds is a little different for Archer and it kind of gives him a little more personality in the way he gets involved and decides to stay involved. It’s a mean, ugly little story with a great sense of location. If you can find it (I lucked out and found a first-printing pulp paperback in a used bookshop in L.A. so I don’t know if it’s been reprinted in a while), I recommend it.

  72. Thanks Majestyk. I just bought a 1971 edition for the price of a cup of coffee, at World of Rare Books. The cover seems to have a sheriff’s badge pinned to a bikini, which with your recommendation was more than enough to sell it.

    Liaisons, you say! Pierre-Ambroise, or am I reading the clues to literally?

  73. Surely, that’d be Belgian, but hell yeah!

  74. Shoot, have you been snooping around on Facebook?

  75. Pegs- if you are talking about Majestyk´s full name being available to everyones eyes, Twitter is the culprit.

  76. I have never been on Twitter, never will be. And I guess all of our names will sound funny to those not born in the same region. I was born Bjartmar Odinsballe Skafteskyld, but I changed it as soon as I turned 18…

  77. Well my name was Thor Thunderstorm Axeshaft III but later changed it to more modest Andreas Bengtsson

  78. I´ve noticed you changed your website layout, pegsman. Last time I visited it it looked a lot less…pink.

  79. I’d give away Mr. S’s real name in retaliation except (if it is in fact his real name and not another alias) it’s actually pretty cool. Like, “hard-bitten P.I. with a drinking problem” cool.

    One thing I like about my last name is if you attach practically any word in existence to the front of it, it sounds like the name of a famous riverboat gambler. Which is nice.

  80. I once registered for a high school reunion as Mike “Thundercock” Fennessy.

    Half inside joke, half truth in advertising.

  81. Funny, I once went as Thor “Microdick” Kukessen! What a small world!

    What do you mean “more pink”?!

  82. Relax! That BARBARELLA poster needed more pink anyway.

  83. Don´t worry, pegsman. I know it is a MIAMI VICE thing. And might I add, I think MIAMI VICE is still the best showcase of 80´s style. If you want to know 80´s; watcH MIAMI VICE

  84. If Canada wins tonight, this will be my last ever post. Been nice knowing you.

  85. This is why I’ve never gotten into sports…

  86. In the book Screen Greats: Clint Eastwood, by Alan Frank, he quotes the Daily Sketch on TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA: “Clint Eastwood, acting as always as if he’s groping for dark glasses even if it’s night, is traditionally heroic. In his way he can do with a twitching cheek muscle what Gielgud does with “Hamlet”. I like that quote. Good book too, even if it stops with FIREFOX.

  87. Good news, everyone! I finished off the DOLLARS trilogy last night and, shocker of all shockers, GOOD BAD ETC is still great! I have no hot takes to share about it at all. Yeah, my attention maybe started to wander somewhere around the hour mark, but only for a few minutes. Otherwise, I was totally onboard for all three hours of this film about three guys trying to dig up a box.

    Anybody else find themselves rooting for Tuco? The sense I got from him this time is that he really did want a friend and a partner he could trust, which is why he takes it so personally when he gets betrayed. In the end, I think his greedy nature will always get the better of him, but he’s still a way better person than Blondie, who’s just an asshole, full stop. The title is pretty telling, I guess. Tuco is ugly so he could never be good, and Blondie is handsome so he can’t be bad, but I’m not sure the events of the movie bear that out. After all, it’s Blondie who betrays Tuco first.

    It’s weird that’s Tuco, essentially a comic grotesque villain, is the only character in the whole trilogy I feel any sympathy for.

  88. Even if Wallach is perfect as Tuco, I would have loved to see Bronson in that role. Leone tried to get him three times before he finally got lucky.

  89. Oh, I don’t think that would have worked at all. Then everybody in the whole movie is a stoic badass. How monotonous would that be?

    Also the idea of wiry prettyboy Clint pushing around motherfucking carved-out-of-wood Bronson is kind of laughable.

  90. I know. I hard enough to believe that Eagle Eyes wouldn’t have walked away with all the gold!

  91. When I come to think of it, I spoke a little soon about Clint being my main cowboy. Lee Van Cleef and Klaus Kinski also has three entries each on my Top-12 list!

  92. I like Unforgiven a lot but I do have some issues with it. I get annoyed with Westerns that try to tell “how it really was” but then do wildly anachronistic things. The sad reality is that Ned, as a black man, would never be allowed in a saloon and would never be allowed to sleep with a white woman. The character in the script is not written as a black man, but Eastwood cast it that way. I know that this sounds like a weird comment because I’m glad that Eastwood didn’t change the script to accommodate his casting decision and I don’t feel comfortable arguing that they shouldn’t have cast a black guy, but it definitely gives audiences the wrong idea. That’s fine if it’s El Condor or something, but Unforgiven stops to lecture the audience about the “real” West a lot.

    Someone earlier mentioned The Shootist and David Webb Peoples, the writer of Unforgiven, has acknowledged that the book The Shootist was a huge influence on his script (originally titled The Cut-Whore Killings, which is sooooo much cooler than Eastwood ripping off the John Huston film title Unforgiven). Outside of the obvious stuff (an aging gunfighter, a hotshot kid, a big gunfight in a saloon) both stories take place after the death of a world leader (the president in Unforgiven, the Queen in The Shootist), both have a nerdy dime novelist/newspaperman, both are absolutely pitch black in tone (the John Wayne film’s tone is not at all like the book) and both feature a young asshole disfiguring a prostitute after she laughs at his genitals (in The Shootist he can’t get an erection so he rapes the prostitute with a gun barrel. It’s a dark fucking book). There’s more but I can’t recall it offhand.

  93. Not every saloon would be Whites Only, nor would every brothel. Tarantino’s version of a west where people would be shocked to see a black man on a horse is far more silly than a black man being served a drink and paying for a prostitute in a podunk town in Wyoming.

  94. Kemosahbee, it’s highly unlikely. Saloons were known for being whites only all over the West. There are accounts of black cowboys being beat with chairs for walking into a white saloon. And these were their trail-riding friends who beat them. Things changed between white and black cowboys once they entered towns. In the 1890s it was a huge deal that the podunk town of Cascade, Montana was allowing a black woman in a saloon (her name was Mary Fields, she was an amazing woman, look her up if you haven’t). There was another black cowboy (whose name I don’t remember off hand) who was famous for shooting out the “whites only” signs on saloons. All of my research shows that it was very common, with only a few anomalies (those anomalies being important enough to record). I write for True West Magazine and do a lot of research on the Old West, specifically African Americans in the Old West.

  95. David, I wasn’t gonna mention it as I think it’s a straw man, but as you’ve brought it up, the casting of Freeman does give us the cliche of the dead black friend justifying the third act violence.

  96. Majestyk, are you sure you didn’t even lose a bit of attention during all that singing in the prison camp? I imagine that you were watching the original US release. I have the reconstructed version somewhere, and I swear the Ecstasy of Gold goes on for hours.

  97. Also, if Blondie was just “the Good” it’d make him a bit dull against the other two. That’s the trap THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD falls into, though Jung Woo-Sung was always gonna struggle against Korea’s two most charismatic stars.

  98. Ecstasy of Gold is 3 minutes and 22 seconds long. I think even our friend Mr Majestyk can manage to stay awake for that period of time. Especially when the music plays over such a beautiful scene.

  99. I have to correct myself a bit. Earlier I said that Leone wanted Bronson for the Tuco part. But after Reading a few chapters in Sir Christopher Frayling’s book on Leone I realize that it was Angel Eyes the director wanted Charlie to play. Bronson was offered the lead in FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, the role of Mortimer in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, Angel Eyes in THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY and finally Harmonica in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. A role Eastwood was offered first, but didn’t want.

  100. Borg9, I know that Alex Cox was upset with Eastwood over that. But who really cares what Alex Cox thinks?

  101. Hey, Alex Cox made a spaghetti western with my favourite band, The Pogues! I will always love him for that. And REPO MAN rocks!

  102. David- John “The Texas Kid” Hayes was the one known for shooting out Whites Only signs at saloons that wouldn’t serve him. But that doesn’t suggest that every saloon was segregated, just the ones he targeted.

    I’m not arguing that things were more progressive in the West, just that it doesn’t seem far-fetched that a saloon, especially one that had to burn its billiards table for firewood, would take money from a black man.

    I also don’t think the point of Unforgiven is to show the “real” West, more just to dispel the white hat vs black hat at high noon representation of violence.

    That’s awesome that you work for True West. I was visiting my folks for the holidays and found my old man had a stack of back issues of it. Good stuff.

  103. Yes, but like I said, the times when blacks were allowed to enter saloons were noted as big deals. Is it possible that Ned would be allowed inside? Sure. Was it likely? Not according to historical records. Does it give the audience the wrong impression of the era’s stance on race? I certainly believe so. A simple shot of a couple bar patrons giving Ned the stink-eye would have gone a long way to at least show that the filmmakers were aware that this was not normal.

    Dispelling the myth of the white hat/black hat version of violence is a weird goal if the attempt isn’t to have just as much verisimilitude in the world they’re creating (especially if such a huge portion of that world is built on “this is how it really was” speechifying). It’s also not a goal that I particularly like since the 60s and 70s had already done that. Even 50s Westerns muddied the waters in that regard.

    I think Unforgiven has an excellent screenplay and made for a fine film, but it gets way too much credit as some kind of ultimate statement on the genre or as the most groundbreaking deconstruction of it when that kind of Western was basically the norm at one time (specifically the time it was written, which was the 70s).

    For example, I find the perfunctory, desensitized violence of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid to be a much more fascinating take on violence in the Old West and as a statement about violence in Westerns (and even a refutation of Peckinpah’s own portrayals of violence). It’s also less heavy handed and almost entirely communicated visually, and it also doesn’t undermine the weight of its violence with a bad-ass fist-pumping finale…

    …which is why I think the brilliance of Peoples’ screenplay is lost on the people who say Unforgiven is a deep meditation on violence, and I don’t think he even fully grasps it either. The brilliance of his screenplay is that he does build a credible, low key version of the Old West and he stretches out the sermonizing about killing and realistic gunfights to an unbearable point. Because of that, if the film ended with William Munny going home in defeat after Ned was killed, it honestly wouldn’t feel out of place. The fact that he delivers on the genre expectations and has one man kill a half dozen people in a saloon gunfight makes that scene so much more bad-ass and electrifying.

    Not only that, all of that speechifying about what gunfights were really like was a trick to smuggle in information that would be paid off in the final gunfight (the gun misfiring, the clumsiness of the posse, etc). I honestly think that Unforgiven works best as a perfect example of delayed genre gratification and not as the ultimate statement on violence in the Western. There’s probably a dozen 70s Westerns that communicate the ugliness and pointlessness of violence better than Unforgiven. Most of them are probably just not as well-written.

  104. Also, I was thinking of Jess Crumbly, but John Hayes also went around destroying “whites only” signs.

  105. I doubt every time a black man went into a saloon was noted as a big deal. Life is funny like that. Not everything is uniform everyone and not everything gets recorded all the time.

    You say a huge portion of the film is built on “this is how it really was speechifying.” Where does that happen that isn’t in the context of gunfights? It’s not a comment on the West overall, just the concept of righteous men bravely facing down bad men.

    And it’s not really presented as sermons, it’s Little Bill talking shit about other people to show how he’s the real badass, and Munny lamenting how he was. If you interpreted that as the movie scolding people for their preconceived notions of the West, I think that’s on you.

    You seem to be less against the film than against what you think some people may think of the film, which is fair, I guess. Just a little silly.

    I guess I get it though. I was a little mad when people thought CABIN IN THE WOODS disintegrated the horror genre and was going to spark a new renaissance. But then I realized it was just a fun movie with some clever concepts and those handful of people who over-reacted to it were silly gooses.

    No big deal though, bud. Can you recommend a good book on Bass Reeves?

  106. If we go by the mighty dollar alone, the list looks like this:

    4. HANG ‘EM HIGH
    9. JOE KIDD

    This is of course not adjusted numbers, but even if they were it’s easy to see that Clint is better off economically when he’s in control himself. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the movies are better, though.

  107. That’s why I said that it was possible, just like it was possible that, say, a guy might go around swearing in front of women and children, but documentation shows that it was rare, especially because of the reaction people had when someone did do that. So if a film portrays someone doing that without a reaction from others it gives an incorrect impression of the standards of the period. That’s fine, of course, but when you factor race into that and you put it in a serious film like Unforgiven it smacks of revisionism or carelessness to me.

    According to what is recorded, which is what we have to go off of for our understanding of the period, a black man going into a white saloon and sleeping with a white woman was highly unlikely. I recommend reading journals and memoirs from the era to understand people’s attitudes.

    Samuel Chamberlain, for example, was an abolitionist and friendly with blacks in his memoirs and yet he very happily recounts a time that he kicked a black man off of a stagecoach in the snow because there was a white woman aboard. This is not an isolated incident. The isolated incidents in the historical records are the times that blacks were allowed to hang out in white saloons. I can keep citing examples and I guess you can keep telling me it was still possible. I’ve conceded that it was possible, I will not concede that it doesn’t give an incorrect impression of race relations in 19th century America.

    Most of the speechifying in Unforgiven is in regards to gunfights, which was my point. The dialogue about killing and shooting is very much of a “this is how it really was” variety. It makes no sense that the world of the film is not also supposed to be low key and realistic when the crux of the film is about myth and reality. They’re not putting clumsy gunfighters and guys getting shot on the toilet into an episode of Gunsmoke. To separate the verisimilitude in regards to Old West violence and the verisimilitude in the world building is very odd to me.

    Obviously Unforgiven is focused on gunfights and not the encroaching of the railroad or other bigger Western themes. It doesn’t mean it’s not trying to be authentic outside of its depictions of violence. The impetus is a man getting laughed at for his dick size. The hero is a loser introduced stumbling over pigs, shown unable to seat his horse and lingered on while he meekly reacts to being beaten. The script is clearly attempting to build a realistic vision of the West (there’s a reason his kids are named Will and Penny, btw) so that the bombastic climax hits harder.

    And of course the film doesn’t present all the talk about how “gunfights really were” as sermons. What film would? I don’t understand how you missed my point, but here it is again: I think that Unforgiven is a brilliantly written script. I think all of the speeches about the true nature of violence in the Old West were an excellent way to lay the groundwork to a very satisfying climax. I don’t think Unforgiven is a brilliant rumination on violence in the Old West, nor do I think that it presents anything new in that regard. Taken as a meditation on Western movie or Old West violence it becomes a case of eating your cake and having it too. So yes, I am refuting that very common narrative around the film. I think it collapses under having to shoulder that weight. Taken as just a really well-written Western it’s great with a few caveats.

  108. If we look at other movies from the second French intervention in Mexico, in addition to Clint and Shirley, Yul Brynner, Jim Brown, Lee Van Cleef, Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, James Coburn, John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Cesar Romero, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and Jack Elam were also there to fight Maximilian’s soldiers. No wonder the French lost!

  109. Thanks David. As I said, I think that criticism of UNFORGIVEN is a straw man, though that cliche clearly exists more generally.

    As to a defence of Alex Cox, I think that’s more than we have time for here, but what Pegsman says! REPO MAN is probably in my all time top 20, and since we were talking about PIs further up, I gotta say that I’m bound to like someone who contributed to the Maiku Hama TV series – even if I’ve never seen any of it. Kaizo Hayashi’s original Maiku Hama movie trilogy are gems.

  110. All you Cox fans will be happy to know that he has a Western coming out called Tombstone Rashomon. It’s basically his version of Goodbye Uncle Tom but about the Gunfight at the OK Corral. A group of documentarians travel back in time to witness the gunfight but arrive a day too late so they interview the players and witnesses. Supposedly Cox takes testimony directly from the Spicer hearing and other contemporary sources. Last I heard Rudy Wurlitzer (screenwriter of Pat Garrett/Walker/Two Lane Blacktop) was writing it. Not a fan of the time travel idea or Cox’s recent films, but it does sound interesting. Cox has made some decent films but he comes off as a nut and conspiracy theorist in interviews.

  111. Also, here’s True West Magazine’s take on segregation in saloons:

    Was segregation (or other forms of discrimination) commonly practiced in Old West saloons? - True West Magazine

    Was segregation (or other forms of discrimination) commonly practiced in Old West saloons? Larry Dye Fenton, Illinois Segregation was a reality in most saloons. Exceptions existed, such as at saloons located on the Southwest border, where whites and Hispanics mixed. But for the most part, several accounts reported violence sparking when blacks tried to get …

    As for the best book on Bass Reeves, I’d say Black Gun, Silver Star by Arthur Burton. It’s a bit dry and Burton asserts that Reeves was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger (even though there isn’t much evidence to actually confirm that) but it’s the most scholarly book on him.

  112. During the filming of TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA Clint’s horse was acting up, and he punched it. Shirley Maclaine later said that that was when she knew he was a republican.

  113. For some reason it also fell upon Clint to kill the rattlesnake they used, since the Mexican government didn’t want it released into the Wild.

  114. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of an Italian film crew being squeamish about animal murder.

  115. I think they were mostly American and Mexican. Not from the Ruggero Deodato film school!

  116. The Eastwood movie box I ordered arrived yesterday. I have already seen TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, and today I think I’ll revisit COOGAN’S BLUFF. The one upside to being on sick leave is that you have time to see a movie or two during the day.

  117. Came here to read the review before bingeing it. I hope it’s worth it.

  118. Going back to The Ecstasy of Gold, I was surprised recently to find it playing on the score of BATTLESHIP ISLAND over the climactic pitched battle/escape. I defy anyone to fall asleep during that scene.

  119. Does that work? I always imagine Tuco running when I hear the music. Even at the start of METALLICA concerts.

  120. No, you’re right, it’s a distraction and draws you out of the scene. But I think it’s meant sincerely just because the music is great. It’s not meant ironically or intended to make you think of Tuco, and in the end it won me over because it’s a really well done battle. The scene ends after the Morricone does with a kill that might have Paul Verhoeven thinking he’d overdone it. But when you know you’re gonna end the movie – and I don’t think this is a spoiler – with the bombing of Nagasaki, I guess you don’t have to worry too much about overkill.

  121. Ennio Morricone, Prolific Italian Composer for the Movies, Dies at 91

    Renowned for scoring Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, the Oscar winner also produced the sounds and music for 'Days of Heaven,' 'The Mission,' 'Cinema Paradiso' and 'The Hateful Eight.'

    The GOAT

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