The essential Mountain Man adventure, Sydney Pollack’s 1972 Jeremiah Johnson, is the subject of this episode. Starring Robert Redford as the titular trapper, this film is an ecstatic rumination on man’s relationship to nature, as represented by some of the most gorgeous nature photography ever seen in a film. Sometimes, wistful, sometimes bleak, and always thrilling, it’s a flat out awesome film, containing multitudes of ideas, emotions and truths, and Dad & I are pretty much in awe of the whole thing from the start. Topics of conversation include the specific nostalgia and wanderlust engendered by Utah’s Zion National Park, Sydney Pollack’s eclectic career, more Indian killing, the evolution from humanity to the realm of myth of legend, my personal fascination with the works of John Milius, the fluid nature of time and language, Robert Redford stories, and more than anything, the sheer and frightening power of the natural world, all within the context of this cowboy version of Walden. That’s a literary reference I neglected to mention, along with I Am Legend, which the ending resembles slightly. All I managed to get off were a few fairly quick references to Hemingway and Jack London. Anyway, we loved it, and you should check it out.
Afterwards, a brief discussion of Bull Durham and Kevin Costner’s baseball affinity, as well as Lo and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World, the new Werner Herzog documentary about the Internet and its wonders. Next week we’ll be starting off “Current Release September” with the brand new Jeff Bridges Texas Crime thriller, Hell or High Water. Please rate and review us on itunes, and if you’d like to make a request or share a comment or thought, you can reach us directly at Westernswithdad.com!
Jeremiah Johnson was released in 1972 and stars Robert Redford. It was directed by Sydney Pollack.
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The first of Sergio Leone’s famous Man With No Name trilogy, featuring the breakout movie star performance that launched Clint Eastwood’s career, A Fistful of Dollars is one of the more revered Westerns out there. Credited with popularizing the Anti-hero and establishing the Spaghetti Western as a cultural force, it’s undoubtedly a famous an important film. But how does it compare with what came after, in the form of Leone’s further films, especially the iconic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Or how does it compare with that came before, in the original film this is based on, Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo? For two guys that really love westerns, I was a bit surprised where Dad and I came down on this one ultimately. We talk at length about Fistful and a fair amount about Yojimbo as well, featuring such diverse topics as what makes a good antihero, the woeful dialogue recording made during this film, the central character’s odds of being a human being versus an elemental force of nature, Harry Dean Stanton, and the DVD special features for the film Mystery Men. We also take a moment at the end to try to make sense of Clint’s recent interview regarding his political beliefs! Don’t worry, I cut a lot of that conversation out!
There’s a bit of talk about the Olympics, as well as a frankly pretty perfunctory examination of the films Chariots of Fire and Willow. Next week, we’ll be looking at the Sydney Pollack directed Mountain Man Western, Jeremiah Johnson, featuring Robert Redford and a script by John Milius. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and also, why not give us a review on itunes? That’d be fun, yeah?
A Fistful of Dollars stars Clint Eastwood and was directed by Sergio Leone. Yojimbo stars Toshiro Mifune and was directed by Akira Kurosawa.
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