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View Full Version : The Outlaw Josey Wales/Pale Rider



Evil's Apprentice
07-01-2007, 05:40 AM
OUTLAW JOSEY WALES - As the film opens, Josey Wales is a simple farmer in Missouri. When a vicious band of Union Red Legs, led by Terrill (Bill McKinney), burns his home to the ground, killing his wife and son, Wales joins a gang of Confederate raiders, determined to get revenge. After the Confederacy loses the war, Wales sets out on his own, an outlaw who kills to survive. He eventually meets an old Indian (Chief Dan George, in a wonderfully sympathetic performance) and some other outcasts, and together they seek out a more peaceful existence. But Terrill continues to hunt Wales, and the simple farmer is forced to fight again. Critics did not take Clint Eastwood’s THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES seriously in 1976. Today, many consider it one of the greatest Westerns ever made. Here the West is an ugly and brutal place, as it is in Sergio Leone’s films, but this is a different kind of Eastwood hero. He has a name, a sense of humor, and a heart. Made in the shadow of Vietnam and Watergate, the film conveys a bitter distrust of government but also a longing to live in peace. Next to UNFORGIVEN, this is the most sweeping and emotionally complex of Eastwood’s Westerns.

PALE RIDER - A girl kneels over the grave of her murdered dog, praying for a miracle, while off in the distance, a man rides toward town on a pale horse. Clint Eastwood’s PALE RIDER was the filmmaker’s first Western in nearly a decade. It finds a pleasant balance between the mystical revisionism of films such as HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and the traditional Western. Eastwood stars as the Preacher, who wanders into a dusty California town and tries to rescue a community of gold prospectors that is being terrorized by the local corporate mining operation, which is strip-mining the land. He’s taken in by Hull Barrett (Michael Moriarty), who lives with Sarah Wheeler (Carrie Snodgrass) and her 14-year-old daughter, she of the murdered pooch, Megan (Sydney Penny). The Preacher is something of a blend of Eastwood’s Man with No Name and the title character of George Stevens’s SHANE. The story and treatment are straightforward and entertaining, and the strong performances draw the audience in. The Preacher remains a mysterious character, but in the end, as he takes on the evil mining corporation’s hired guns, it’s impossible not to root for him.

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