Arthur Penn’s rambling, whimsical approach to the Western, Little Big Man follows the long life of Dustin Hoffman’s Jack Crabb, a white man raised amongst the Cheyenne Indians, and observes the wave of Manifest Destiny rise, crest and recede in the American frontier! One of the early examples of the Revisionist Western, this film takes on the Native American genocide in America directly and yet still manages to be a sly, satirical comedy, while making its point crystal clear. We really liked this one, especially me, as I had never had the experience of seeing it before. A really smart, humanist adventure yarn, and of one the best discoveries I’ve had in the course of this podcast. Topics of conversation include Dustin Hoffman’s method acting proclivities, the popular cinematic portrayals of such larger than life characters as General Custer and Wild Bill Hickok, the gap between truth and story, White Privilege as employed by Jack Crabb, 70s melancholy and mythbusting, Superman’s nemesis Bizarro, and Arthur Penn’s emulation of the style of the picaresque novel in telling the story of the West. You get some impersonations of Hoffman’s old man voice, a few silly British characters, stuff like that. This movie’s great!
Other films (and TV) discussed are an old Western Dad caught on TV called The Streets of Laredo and The Great British Baking Show. You can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can find older episode of the show that have dropped off iTunes, and you can email us at email@example.com, where you can suggest episodes and ask any questions you might have! And please leave ratings and reviews on iTunes, as they increase the visibility of the show, and make us feel good!
On the next episode, we’ll be discussing the Clint Eastwood’s dark fable about retribution, High Plains Drifter. Little Big Man was directed by Arthur Penn and stars Dustin Hoffman, Chief Dan George, Faye Dunaway and Martin Balsam.
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It’s been too long since we’ve talked Jimmy Stewart on Westerns With Dad, so it’s time to revisit his series of collaborations with director Anthony Mann, with The Man From Laramie! Their final film together, it tells the story of Will Lockhart, seeking justice for his dead brother in the isolated town of Coronado. Once there, he become entangled in a messy family squabble involving illegally sold rifles, a feud between wealthy land owners, and Jack Elam as some kind of bizarre jerk. Topics of conversation include the Dad’s fondness of the old Drive-In theaters, the film’s much touted Cinemascope filming, Dad knowing all the character actors in it and me knowing none of them, the allusions to both King Lear and Charlemagne in the film’s legacy battles, how terrific Jack Lemmon is in The Great Race, and my opinion that the movie has the wrong protagonist and point of view character. And there are of course a few Jimmy Stewart impersonations.
In addition, I have some thoughts about how delightful I found the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It, my recommendation falling on Dad’s deaf ears. On the next episode of Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about Dustin Hoffman’s Little Big Man. If you want to help out the podcast, please be so kind as to leave ratings and reviews for us on iTunes, as it helps increase the visibility of the show. Also, we have episodes that have fallen off the iTunes feed available on our website, westernwithdad.com, including Anthony Mann’s The Naked Spur. You can reach us directly by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, were you can request episodes or ask us questions to be answered on the podcast! How about all that?
The Man From Laramie was directed by Anthony Mann and stars Jimmy Stewart, Arthur Kennedy and Donald Crisp.
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