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John Wayne didn’t like HIGH plains DRIFTER and let me know it. He wrote me a letter putting it down, speak it was not The West. I was do the efforts to obtain away from what he and Gary Cooper and others had done.— Clint Eastwood.
The Cucumber through No Name
Dee Barton’s ominous score heralds an angel of fatality materializing indigenous the high desert haze: a Stranger (Clint Eastwood) rides native the blasted plains right into the sun-soaked seaside city of Lago; steely-eyed, the clops slowly through the main street, townsfolk staring with the warmth at the atop his dusty horse… The Stranger from Leone’s spaghettis – reincarnated come rewrite the American West.
Within ten minutes, this Stranger has had a beer, gunned down 3 men and also raped a woman. Supervisor cool. Supervisor cruel.
HIGH levels DRIFTER (written by Ernest Tidyman and also Dean Riesner) has actually been called deconstructionist, formulaic, a dark examine of the soul and a basic western… every one of the above, and also a scorching standard to boot. Clint Eastwood’s very first true American “avenger” film, re-writing the book on the quintessential cowboy; no longer the singing fop or the john Wayne do-gooder; the cowboy was now a sociopath, a recluse, one “anti-hero.”
Clint Eastwood when again do every other male onscreen look at small.
The second directorial effort by Eastwood (after play MISTY for ME, 1971) is a transformation in film-making. We might well say “they simply don’t do ‘em prefer that anymore” but the fact is: lock didn’t also make ‘em favor that earlier then! keep in mind all the departures from Gene Autry/John Wayne convention: The Stranger is the star of this show, however his equine is no white, however a dirty mottled appaloosa; the is unshaven, with a dusty longcoat (and he no get any kind of cleaner), he speaks in a velvety rasp usually scheduled for villains and also movie trailer voiceovers, there is no unclenching his teeth, prefer he holds all and also sundry in utmost contempt (which he does), he no wait because that the “bad guys” to draw first (he’ll shoot ‘em in the back, or in the dark, or without warning – as lengthy as he death them); even his cap was no the normal “cowboy hat” with upturned sides, however flat-brimmed; and since when do “heroes” rape? (The movie market is method too gutless to do rape scenes favor this anymore – whereby the victim beginning panting orgasmically halfway v the act; yes, it’s every male fantasy – despite no one desires to recognize it’s more than likely every woman’s fantasy as well.) The Stranger oozed “bad guy,” i beg your pardon is what he would have been in previous movies of this genre. Yet The Stranger is The Hero.
Or is he?
Though this movie is about a twisted type of redemption, The Stranger didn’t have the causing obligation “character arc” that specifies every movie about redemption; instead, everyone about The Stranger arced, while he continued to be the laconic, stone-hearted, anti-authoritarian maverick. This may be how the hatchet “anti-hero” obtained coined: because it is taken for granted that every hero should have a specifying arc and since The Stranger didn’t, possibly he was no the hero the the movie, even though us invested ours emotions and also aspirations in him. No that anyone else was the hero. Maybe this movie didn’t have a hero! that made the rules that every movie should? Hence: “anti” hero. (Almost every Eastwood movie special a character favor The Stranger would boast the same absence of Hero Arc, from climate to now.)
The Stranger displayed such calculated cool in gunning down the three bad men native the opening scene, that the sheriff (Walter Barnes, channeling Skipper indigenous GILLIGAN’S ISLAND) begs the to become the city protector versus three outlaws who host a vendetta against the town and also were ~ above their way to Lago because that revenge. In return because that his protection, The Stranger would have totally free reign that the town and also its resources. You don’t say!…
Clint Eastwood advises Geoffrey Lewis on the threats of miming.
The Stranger tears under people’s barns to do picnic tables, renders the city midget, Mordecai (Billy Curtis), the mayor and sheriff, gives complimentary supplies to indigenous Americans, eventually forcing the townsfolk to repaint all their buildings red and rename the town “Hell” – till we realize The Stranger self is exacting some sort of revenge on the townsfolk.
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In the town’s dark past, these townsfolk stood by and also watched as their Marshal, Jim Duncan (Clint’s really stand-in, Buddy van Horn), was whipped to fatality by the 3 outlaws. Was it coincidence the The Stranger breezed into town at precisely the moment that the outlaws would certainly return?
By movie’s end… no one of these questions are answered!
The cast and crew of this movie would become Clint’s long-standing movie team: Bruce Surtees (DP), Henry Bumstead (Art Director), James Fargo (assistant director), through a cavalcade of acquainted character actors: Dan Vadis, john Quade, william O’Connell, Geoffrey Lewis, Anthony James…
Mordecai: “What did friend say your name was again?”The Stranger: “I didn’t.”
Before we deserve to speculate on whether The Stranger is Marshal Jim Duncan’s brother, or one avenging spirit, or Jim Duncan himself, he has faded favor a wraith back into the high levels haze indigenous whence he came…. Together The guy With No surname is coagulation in American Western culture more 보다 Leone might ever have actually imagined…
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