Encountereds. I came, I saw, I commented.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sam Peckinpah - Ride the High Country (3)

There is a song by Tom Lehrer called Send the Marines with the lines "We'll send them all we've got//John Wayne and Randolph Scott", which I ever only understood half. I had heard of and seen movies with the Duke, but not even the name of Scott sounded familiar. I'm happy to report that this sad state of affairs has changed. Other than that, I liked this early Peckinpah for a nice peek into how life has been not too far from here in both time and space. I remember watching Western movies as fairy tales set in a mythical country with no connection to reality as I knew it - but now that I've seen the Central Valley and the Sierra, suddenly all the little plot details, the solitude of the religious nut and his daughter on their farm, the rough digger camp, make much more sense. Unfortunately, the story itself is none too interesting, a somewhat trite tale of friendship, betrayal and friendship again, complete with a heroic death at the end. Maybe it was novel then to have shades of grey, instead of good/bad guy ensembles, and I can certainly see how breaking with such a convention could have given enormous tension to this plot, but from todays point of view, the moral struggle of the straying friend and his rash yet good hearted sidekick is just not very captivating.


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