Drama · Western

William Wellman and the Accusatory Close-Up

*Spoiler Alert The trouble with creating a masterpiece is sometimes people don’t automatically see it as such. One example is The Ox-Bow Incident, a 1943 western directed by William Wellman. This film was released during some of the darkest days of WWII and, as a result, it was a box office disappointment. Audiences were in no mood to… Continue reading William Wellman and the Accusatory Close-Up

Adventure · Western

A Word About Fräulein Maria

Nine years before Hollywood unleashed the world’s greatest schmaltz-fest known as The Sound of Music, German filmmakers released a biopic of the famous von Trapp family. Die Trapp-Familie (1956) is a more down-to-earth telling of the Fräulein-Maria-vs.-the-von-Trapps story. It set the basic template for the later Hollywood version, although neither film is an exact re-telling of actual events. (One could argue the… Continue reading A Word About Fräulein Maria

Comedy · Musical · Western

The Algonquin Table of the Old West

You would have a skewed view of life if you only watched musicals. For example, look at the recently-restored Rodgers and Hammerstein western-comedy musical, Oklahoma! (1955). This film is about a group of farmers and ranchers in turn-of-the-20th-century Oklahoma, who hold a box lunch social to raise money for the schoolhouse roof. This film makes it look like these… Continue reading The Algonquin Table of the Old West

Comedy · Western

Buster Keaton: Animal Rights Activist

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a herd of cattle were suddenly turned loose in a major city? Really? You’ve never wondered about that? Well, if you have pondered this, then you must see the 1925 Buster Keaton comedy-western, Go West. You’ll be delighted with a glorious scene where Keaton frees 1,000 head of cattle from a train in downtown… Continue reading Buster Keaton: Animal Rights Activist

Comedy · Musical · Western

Judy Garland’s Comedic Gifts

Judy Garland made everything look easy. She could sing and dance and make you believe she flew to an emerald city in a tornado. Combined with her dramatic talents, it’s easy to forget how funny she was. We marvelled at her comedic gifts when we screened The Harvey Girls (1946), a delightful musical-comedy Western. Garland plays a young woman travelling from… Continue reading Judy Garland’s Comedic Gifts