Time for a very special series of award-winning revisionist westerns starring icons of the genre (Cooper, Ladd, Wayne, Newman and Redford, Eastwood, and Bridges) and directed by some of the most gifted film storytellers of all time.
The Celluloid West—Revised!
May 3rd to June 21st, 2013
6 to 10 pm
All of these classic films have, in one way or another, exposed the myths we have told ourselves about heroism and the conquest of the American West.
(Fred Zinnemann, 1952)
Sheriff Will Kane (Gary Cooper) has married Quaker Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly). Now they prepare for a new life together away from Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory. But word comes that Frank Miller, whom Kane put in jail, is coming home on the noon train to extract his revenge. Against Amy’s wishes, Kane decides to stay and fight Miller. He’s counting on the good citizens of Hadleyville to back him. With Katy Jurado, Lloyd Bridges, Ian McDonald, and Harry Morgan.
(George Stevens, 1953)
After the Homestead Act, hard-working farmer Joe Starrett (Van Helfin) and ruthless cattle baron Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer) are at odds over land in the Teton Valley of Wyoming. Then a stranger in buckskin named Shane (Alan Ladd) befriends the Starrett family, especially son Joey (Brandon de Wilde). Joey is enamored with Shane’s prowess with a gun, but his mother (Jean Arthur) will have none of it. When Ryker hires gunslinger Jack Wilson (Jack Palance) to ambush Joe, Shane intercedes.
(John Ford, 1956)
Considered one of the best films of all times, The Searchers stars John Wayne as Ethan Edwards in his most compelling and ambiguous role. The Commanches are at war in West Texas Territory and Ethan’s nieces, Lucy and Debby (Natalie Wood), have been captured by Scar and his renegade band. When Lucy’s body is found, Ethan and Debby’s adopted brother Martin (Jeffrey Hunter) set off in search of Debby. But Ethan’s motives for finding her are not what they seem.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
(George Roy Hill, 1969)
This movie broke the mold of Westerns with its comedic flare and B.J. Thomas’s jaunty “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” The Hole-in-the-Wall gang, led by Butch (Paul Newman) and enforced by Sundance (Robert Redford) is robbing trains and banks all over the territory. But when railroad baron E.H. Harriman hires a select posse to track them down, Butch, Sundance, and girlfriend Etta Place (Katherine Ross) go on the lam—all the way to Bolivia!
(Clint Eastwood, 1992)
This movie demonstrates revisionist Western storytelling at its most profound. Movie icon Clint Eastwood directed and stars as William Munny, a reformed killer who has lost is wife and is struggling to raise their children in abject poverty on the prairie. When he hears from “the Schofield Kid” that a bounty has been placed on some cowboys in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, he sets off with his friend Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to earn the reward money and make a better life. And along the way we meet a host of the wildest characters ever assembled—sadistic Sheriff Little Bill, gun fighter English Bob, sleazy saloon owner Skinny Debois, yellow journalist W.W. Beauchamp, and queen bee whore Strawberry Alice—and learn the real cost of violence. With Gene Hackman and Peter O’Toole.
(Joel and Ethan Coen, 2010)
Leave it to the Coen brothers to top John Wayne’s Oscar winning 1969 True Grit. When teenager Mattie Ross’s father is killed by Tom Chaney, she seeks out legendary gunslinger Rooster Cogburn, a man of “true grit,” to avenge the injustice. But the haggard Rooster has seen better days. So Mattie insists on accompanying him on the errand of justice. Based on Charles Portis’s 1968 novel. Stars Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Berry Pepper.