The LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK is an online celebration running from July 21 - 27. It is hosted by Heidi of Along the Brandywine, Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell and Hamlette's Soliloquy.
1. Do you tolerate, like or love westerns?
That would be love. Part of it is the nostalgia of all the western television shows and movies I watched growing up. Part of it is my interest in history and historical fiction. Part of it is my admiration for the creativity in the movie-making.
2. What do you enjoy about them and, more broadly the west itself (e.g., the history, accompanying paraphernalia, etc.)?
One thing that draws me to the western is how malleable the genre is in that different filmmakers in different eras have used the history through which to see their own times. The 1950s had movies such as Silver Lode that took on McCarthyism. The jaded 1960s had the revisionist take on the venerable western. I find the perspectives fascinating.
3. What's the first western you remember watching?
I was crazy about The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin on television. It wasn't during the series initial run (1954-1959), but during the 1960s when it ran in syndication on local television. I imagine one of my first western movies would have been one of the Audie Murphy flicks which ran at the local theatre.
4. Who are your favorite western stars, the ones whose presence in a western will make you pick it up off the shelf?
Randolph Scott and George O'Brien will have my attention every time. Also, Henry Fonda who gave so many varied and wonderful performances in westerns throughout the decades of his career.
5. What's your favorite performance by an actress in a western?
The first performance that leaped to mind was Hope Emerson as Patience Hawley in Westward the Women. The more I thought of it, the more right it felt. Looking over the field of leading ladies, two disparate performances come to mind; Barbara Stanwyck as Vance Jeffords in The Furies and Kim Darby as Mattie Ross in True Grit.
6. What is your go-to western, the one you'll typically reach for?
Bend of the River is my comfort movie. When the sniffles are coming on, I like nothing better than to curl up on the couch with a hot beverage, a warm quilt and ponder the difference between apples and men. Or, as my daughter puts it, "How many bad guys have to bite the dust before you are comforted?"
7. Do your family/friends share your interest in westerns, or are you a lone ranger (pun completely intended)?
My interest is shared, although not to what they sometimes deem my fanatical devotion. The hubby is not so much a fan, but he is learning. Before he met me he had never even seen Shane!
8. Pick one western to live inside for a week, and explain why you chose it.
Rio Grande for its rough and ready humor, deeply romantic heart, and so Ken Curtis and The Sons of the Pioneers can serenade me.
9. What are some of your favorite lines from western movies? Are there any you quote regularly?
"Well, maybe you shouldn't drink, then you'd have six bits when you need it."
- Brandon De Wilde to James Stewart in Night Passage, 1957
"Mac, you ever been in love?"
"No. I've been a bartender all me life."
- Henry Fonda and J. Farrell MacDonald in My Darling Clementine, 1946
"I saw you hit that poor man!"
"Yes, ma'am, just as hard as I could."
- Elisabeth Risdon and John Wayne in Tall in the Saddle, 1944
Regularly quoted just because it tickles the Irish in us is this Harry Carey Jr. line from Rio Grande: "Yeah, he called him the teacher's pet of a chuckle-headed Mick Sergeant. What's that mean, doc?"