21 Apr-12 May – Cinémathèque – Cowboy Classics

HANOI CINEMATHEQUE
22A Hai Ba Trung Street

Cowboy Classics

From the Cinémathèque members email:

Dear Member:

For the next three weeks, we will be presenting a festival of great classic Westerns – movies that for many decades have thrilled audiences and inspired filmmakers around the world.

Politically incorrect as they may be, here are the works of some of Hollywood’s greatest directors, including John Ford, Howard Hawks, Sam Peckinpah, Sam Fuller, Fritz Lang and Anthony Mann, and some of cinema’s greatest actors, from Henry Fonda and Gregory Peck to Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich.

From the popular (HIGH NOON) to the esoteric (JOHNNY GUITAR), from sublime (THE SEARCHERS) to melodramatic (FORTY GUNS), from comic (BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE) to tragic (THE UNFORGIVEN) we are pleased to present a broad sampling of this unique and important American genre.

SCHEDULE

APRIL

21 Monday
19:00 STAGECOACH

22 Tuesday
19:00 STAGECOACH
21:00 RED RIVER

23 Wednesday
19:00 Italian Embassy Screening

24 Thursday
19:00 RED RIVER
21:00 THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE

25 Friday
19:00 THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE
21:00 MY DARLING CLEMENTINE

26 Saturday
21:00 THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE

27 Sunday
20:00 THE UNFORGIVEN

28 Monday
19:00 MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
21:00 HIGH NOON

29 Tuesday
19:00 HIGH NOON
21:00 THE LONG RIDERS

30 Wednesday
19:00 THE LONG RIDERS
21:00 RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY

MAY

1 Thursday
19:00 RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY
21:00 FORTY GUNS

2 Friday
19:00 FORTY GUNS
21:00 THE SEARCHERS

3 Saturday
19:00 3:10 TO YUMA
21:00 THE SEARCHERS

4 Sunday
15:00 WAY OUT WEST
16:00 MY LITTLE CHICKADEE
18:00 WAY OUT WEST
19:00 MY LITLE CHICKADEE
21:00 DESTRY RIDES AGAIN

5 Monday
19:00 DESTRY RIDES AGAIN
21:00 RANCHO NOTORIOUS

6 Tuesday
19:00 RANCHO NOTORIOUS
21:00 THE GUNFIGHTER

7 Wednesday
19:00 THE GUNFIGHTER
21:00 JOHNNY GUITAR

8 Thursday
19:00 JOHNNY GUITAR
21:00 TWO RODE TOGETHER

9 Friday
19:00 TWO RODE TOGETHER
21:00 NAKED SPUR

10 Saturday
20:00 THE UNFORGIVEN

11 Sunday
15:00 WAY OUT WEST
16:00 MY LITTLE CHICKADEE
19:00 CHEYENNE AUTUMN

12 Monday
20:00 UNION PACIFIC

FILM NOTES (Alphabetical order)

3:10 TO YUMA
1957 Directed by Delmer Daves 92 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

This is NOT last year’s Russell Crowe re-make, but the original Glenn Ford classic.

After a holdup and killing, outlaw Ben Wade (Ford) and his gang are captured. Wade’s men break out of jail, and now wait for the chance to rescue him. The authorities suspect that a daring escape plan is in the make, so they look for a guard to escort Wade by train to Yuma to stand trial. A poor rancher, Dan Evans (Van Heflin), hit hard by a crippling drought, takes the job – escorting Wade on a dangerous trek to the station.

“Sharply attractive in its black & white cinematography, this is a movie that doesn’?t try to do too much, and as a consequence succeeds well. The? screenplay, based on Elmore Leonard?’s story, is sharp and smart. It is especially enjoyable to watch Ford and Heflin facing off in a hotel room (the bridal suite, no less) as they await the train. ? It seems to be taking forever for the clock to reach 3:10, and Evans is sweating it quite literally.

Capably directed by Delmer Daves, 3:10 TO YUMA is a solid western with a really decent good guy, a really fascinating bad guy, and enough tension to make the film?’s concise 92-minute running time simultaneously feel swift and painfully slow, as Evans awaits the end of his tense task.”
Ben Webster, Apollo Movie Guide

THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE
1969 Directed by Sam Peckinpah 122 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

A rare and wonderful treat: A great entertaining movie that few people have ever seen! After director Sam Peckinpah hit the jackpot with his poetically violent western THE WILD BUNCH, Hollywood (and the public, and the critics) expected his next movie would be just as bloody and thrilling. But Peckinpah had something totally different in mind: a lyrical romantic western action comedy musical. Unlike anything he –or anyone else had ever done before. Critics were baffled, and the studio all but disowned the film not knowing how to market such a gentle harmless little movie from a tough macho director.

THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE stars the great American actor Jason Robards, the great British actor David Warner, as well as Stella Stevens and veteran character actors Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones and Slim Pickens.

We invite you to enjoy this extraordinary “sleeper”, a touching tribute to rugged individualism, and the last days of the American West’s pioneering spirit (enhanced by a wonderful music score by Jerry Goldsmith).

“ THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE gives us one of the West’s most memorable individualists, played in high style by Jason Robards. a fine movie, a wonderfully comic tale we didn’t quite expect from a director who seems more at home with violence than with humor.”
— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

” “There is nobody in the cast not to praise, and Jason Robards especially joins a list of mature leading actors (Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, William Holden) who have grown in depth and discipline under Peckinpah’s direction. But it is Stella Stevens, at last in a role good enough for her, who most wonderfully sustains and enlightens the action. What she brings to her scenes with Jason Robards, especially to one midnight encounter before a long farewell, will tell you much of what you need to know about the best that can happen between a man and a woman.”
— Roger Greenspun, The New York Times

CHEYENNE AUTUMN
1964 Directed by John Ford 156 minutes, including intermission

Making amends for his less than sensitive treatment of the Indians in his earlier movies, John Ford came up with this sprawling epic illustrating the callous disregard with which the U.S. government treated the Cheyenne in the 1880s, uprooting them from the Yellowstone and re-settling them in distant Oklahoma without proper provisions for survival.

An all-star cast includes Richard Widmark, Caroll Baker, Karl Malden, Sal Mineo, John Carradine and James Stewart (as Wyatt Earp).

To play the Cheyenne nation desperately struggling to return to their homeland across 1,500 treacherous miles, Ford recruited hundreds of Navajo tribesmen, many of them veterans of Ford movies dating back to 1939’s STAGECOACH. Although long and uneven, the movie contains moments of true poetry, thanks largely to the magnificent cinematography of William Clothier.

This was also the last of nine features that Ford shot on location amongst the amazing canyons, buttes and mesas of Monument Valley – on the border of Arizona and Utah.

DESTRY RIDES AGAIN
1939 Directed by George Marshall 95 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

DESTRY RIDES AGAIN is a popular and marvelous Western comedy spoof/farce, with James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. Director Marshall parodies and satirizes the classic Western with its stereotypical elements – a lawless Western town with a saloon and a sheriff, with three saloon/musical numbers!

The Western film genre was a first for both James Stewart and Dietrich – in a perfect example of inspired casting and image reversal. Stewart plays the role of an atypical, pacifist, unarmed Western hero and the usually glamorous seductress Dietrich is a sultry saloon entertainer-trouper post-von Sternberg (her rendition of “The Boys in the Back Room” is a showstopper!). It was Dietrich’s first film after becoming an American citizen – and appropriately, it was an American western.

FORTY GUNS
1957 Directed by Sam Fuller 79 minutes
English with optional Vietnamese audio translation

Rarely seen in it’s Cinemascope glory, FORTY GUNS can be enjoyed on many levels. Director Sam Fuller’s use of wide-screen cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, the action is raw and straightforward, and the dialog is unusually sexy.

“FORTY GUNS, with Barbara Stanwyck as a tough-talking ranch owner who dresses in men’s clothing, has superficial similarities to Nicholas Ray’s JOHNNY GUITAR, but where Ray amps up the Western’s themes to operatic heights, Fuller brings in themes which are both uniquely his own and faithful to his setting. The romance between Stanwyck and stiff-necked U.S. Marshal Barry Sullivan is unconvincing, but the coldness here seems deliberate: Their major love scene is played in a stable, and instead of billing and cooing, Stanwyck recalls seeing her first dead cattle, learning the difference “between meat and men.” By contrast, Fuller gets a substantial erotic charge out of the scene where one of Sullivan’s men is fitted for a rifle by a comely young gunsmith; he sights her through the barrel (giving Fuller the chance for an iris-in reminiscent of silent movies), and she caresses the blond wood of the stock.
–Sam Adams, Philadelphus City Paper

“Fuller’s eye for big Cinemascope shots is unerring, and he’s admirably willing to shove the camera into jarring angles at appropriate times, upsetting the normally staid visual conventions of contemporary Westerns.”
— Chris Barsanti, Filmcritic.com

Mix a little bit of JOHNNY GUITAR, a dash of MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, and lasso in a whole lot of Sam Fuller fireworks and you’ve got FORTY GUNS, one of the wildest and most exciting Westerns of the 1950s.
Grant Tracey, Images Journal

THE GUNFIGHTER
1950 Directed by Henry King 81 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

A simple story with a unique angle – this is the first western to confront the issue of the aging gunslinger – his reputation dogging his attempts at a settled lifestyle.

Gregory Peck is Johnny Ringo – reputed to be faster on the draw than Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and Wild Bill Hikcock – and every cowboy looking to make his mark is foolishly prepared to test his mettle – to see how far he can be pushed.

After killing an upstart in self-defence, Ringo escapes from the boy’s vengeful brothers to the nearby town of Cayenne – hoping to convince his estranged wife to resume their life together. He is ready to return to her, but circumstance and his bloody history prove his greatest hurdle. You can forget your past… but it won’t forget you.

This easily ranks as one the greatest westerns ever made, and one of Gregory Peck’s best performances.

HIGH NOON
1952 Directed by Fred Zinnemann 85 minutes
English, with optional Vietnamese audio translation

Considered one of the greatest westerns ever made. Gary Cooper won an Academy Award for Best Actor in this classic tale of a lawman who stands alone to defend a town of righteous cowards in a suspenseful showdown with the Bad Guys who will arrive on the 12 noon train. This was also the first starring role for a beautiful young actress named Grace Kelly.

HIGH NOON is not only a great suspense western, but also a stark allegory of the climate of fear and suspicion prevailing in the United States during the McCarthy era (HIGH NOON screenplay was by Carl Foreman, a brilliant writer who was a blacklist victim in the mid 1950s for alleged Communist sympathies).

JOHNNY GUITAR
1954 Directed by Nicholas Ray 105 minutes
English with optional Vietnamese audio translation

“There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforward there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray.”
— Jean-Luc Godard

“ This baroque and deliriously stylised Western, along with Fritz Lang’s RANCHO NOTORIOUS and Raoul Walsh’s PURSUED, proves it is possible to lift the genre into the realms of Freudian analysis, political polemic and even Greek tragedy.

Sterling Hayden, an actor who wasn’t exactly a major star but certainly had an unforgettable screen presence, is Johnny Guitar, a gunslinger who is summoned by his ex-lover Vienna (Joan Crawford) to protect her saloon from the violent opposition of the locals, who fear her plans to build a rail station.

Led by Mercedes McCambridge’s Emma, who loves Scott Brady’s Dancin’Kid, who is obsessed with Vienna, they give her 24 hours to leave town. Finally, Emma kills the Kid and then goes after Vienna.

It is difficult to describe what makes JOHNNY GUITAR so fascinating, except to say that Ray’s orchestration of Philip Yordan’s almost literary screenplay gives a small budget film, made for Republic Studios, a kind of heady but clipped dignity which renders Truffaut’s remark about a “hallucinatory Western” seem a good deal less daft than Godard’s.

On the political level, which was more important then than now, the film is a brave indictment of the McCarthyite bigotry that swept America during the fifties – “an impression of the present,” one American critic wrote at the time, “filmed through the myths of the past”.

No movie is unrelated to the time in which it was made and every film changes when viewed from a different time. So perhaps the most affecting feature of the film now is it’s deep romanticism. Johnny, who no longer carries a gun, is still in love with Vienna. But she is now an independent woman in control of her own destiny. If he wants her back, he’s going to have to take her on her own terms. Even as he saves her from her rabid, almost pathological enemies, he knows that.

The film is infinitely detailed and infinitely complicated. It was made at a juncture in movie history when Westerns were attempting to rid themselves of the Hopalong Cassidy-Roy Rogers matinee image, and it’s pretty sure that Ray used Crawford, who wanted to play up rather than down-market, because he was attracted to her, like Johnny to Vienna.

What she does in the film transcends either camp or melodrama. It’s like watching a legend at work throwing off her previous baggage and gaining a new acting skin. As for Hayden, his almost stiff stillness, which could be dull (in duller moves) here seems remarkable.

There is no doubt that Ray, always a maverick and finally a tragic, neglected figure surrounded by obsequious young acolytes and filmed on his death bed by Wim Wenders, could make great films. For myself, JOHNNY GUITAR is one of them.”
Derek Malcom, The Guardian (London)

THE LONG RIDERS
1980 Directed by Walter Hill 99 minutes
English, with optional Vietnamese audio translation

THE LONG RIDERS is one of the most successful of all screen versions of the Jessie James story.

Produced by Tim Zinnemann, son of director Fred Zinnemann, THE LONG RIDERS even uses the same Main Street set as HIGH NOON.

Director Walter Hill pays tribute to great Western directors such as John Ford and Howard Hawks in this beautiful, laconic and action-packed, unsentimental film, made even more interesting by the casting of four sets of real brothers to play real brothers in the movie: David & Keith Carradine, James & Stacy Keach, Dennis & Randy Quaid, Christopher & Nicholas Guest

The notorious Jesse James gang is the most famous group of outlaws in the country – robbing banks, trains and stagecoaches with a sense of daring that makes them folk-heroes throughout the land. Only through the strength of their loyalty and blood ties can the outlaws hope to survive the brutal pursuit of the Pinkerton detective agency.

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE
1962 Directed by John Ford 123 minutes

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE is a political Western, a psychological
murder mystery, and one of the most profound movies of John Ford’s career.
The film explores the transformation of the frontier from wilderness to
garden, and the myths on which the process depended.

James Stewart is Ransom Stoddart, the bookish eastern lawyer who becomes a
hero (and later Senator) when he confronts and kills the brutal gunslinger
of the title, played by Lee Marvin. But was Stewart really the man who
shot Liberty Valance? Thereby hangs the tale – one of the most
interesting and unusual narratives of any western ever made. Another
meditation on “old west” vs. “new west.”

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
1946 Directed by John Ford 97 minutes
English, with optional Vietnamese audio translation

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is based on a real event: the famous gunfight at OK corral, between Marshal Wyatt Earp and the outlaw Clanton Gang. Other movies about this event have focused on the showdown itself, but Ford tells a very different story, using the gunfight only as a dramatic climax. Ford doesn’t linger over the violence.

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE must be one of the sweetest and most good-hearted of all westerns. It is interesting that Ford chose Henry Fonda for his hero, rather than his usual favorite, John Wayne. Maybe he saw Wayne as a symbol of the “old west”, and the gentler Fonda as one of the new men who would make the west a more gentle and civilized place. MY DARLING CLEMENTINE builds up to the famous gunfight, but it is more about everyday things – haircuts, romance, friendship, poker, illness – and even Shakespeare!.

“ I found myself affected by MY DARLING CLEMENTINE more powerfully and somehow more intimately than I had ever been affected by a film before. The images were masterly, the music perfectly evocative, and Fonda’s performance had the extraordinary interior strength, the subtlety and the simplicity that belongs to the very finest screen acting.”
– Lindsay Anderson, British director and critic

MY LITTLE CHICKADEE
1940 Directed by Edward F. Cline 80 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

W.C. Fields and Mae West in perhaps their most famous – and funniest – roles!

Rightly suspected of illicit relations with the Masked Bandit, Flower Belle Lee (Mae West) is run out of Little Bend. On the train she meets con man Cuthbert J. Twillie (Fields) and pretends to marry him for “respectability.” Arriving in Greasewood City with his unkissed bride, Twillie is named sheriff by the town boss… with an ulterior motive. Meanwhile, both Fields and West inimitably display their specialties, as Twillie tends bar and plays cards, and Flower Belle tames the town’s rowdy schoolboys.

Fields and Mae West jointly wrote the screenplay for this all-time comedy classic.

THE NAKED SPUR
1953 Directed by Anthony Mann 91 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

“One of the best Westerns ever made.”
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide

The beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains provide the backdrop for this fine James Stewart-Anthony Mann collaboration (the third of five) that again shows Stewart as the obsessed loner who struggles with his own personal demons to give his life meaning.

Stewart’s Howard Kemp is a bounty hunter who has captured a dangerous outlaw (Robert Ryan) and intends to turn him over to the authorities for the reward money that will help him start over as a cattle rancher. Along for the ride is a young girl (Janet Leigh), an old prospector and an army deserter.

The movie’s theme is one of greed and mistrust, and Kemp must enlist the men’s help in bringing back the outlaw over the rugged terrain. Ryan’s wanted man skillfully plays the bounty hunter, deserter and prospector against each other, and eventually has everybody questioning the motives of the other. The unhappy group manages to fight off a band of Indians who are searching for the army deserter, but this western has a minimum of gun play while stressing the greed, fears and vanities of the characters.

“Anthony Mann’s Westerns stand out today as geological excavations of a neglected genre. The films Mann made with James Stewart are especially interesting today for their insights into the uneasy relationships between men and women in a world of violence and action. Stewart, the most complete actor-personality in the American cinema, is particularly gifted in expressing the emotional ambivalence of the action hero. Mann’s Westerns are also distinguished by some of the most brilliant photography of exteriors in the history of American cinema.”
Andrew Sarris, The American Cinema, Directors and Directions

RANCHO NOTORIOUS
1952 Directed by Fritz Lang 89 minutes
English with Vietnamese audio translation option

RANCHO NOTORIOUS Starts off in a little Wyoming town in the 1870s. A young woman is brutally raped and killed on the eve of her wedding and her embittered cowboy lover (Arthur Kennedy) rides off to find and kill the unknown murderer. The trail first leads to Frenchy Fairmount (Mel Ferrer), a flashy outlaw, and then to Chuck-a-Luck, the ranch run by Altar Keane (Dietrich), one-time fabulous saloon entertainer (remember DESTRY RIDES AGAIN?).

The film takes with great seriousness the horrible crime of rape (it was made long before feminist thinkers offered their critique in the 1970’s of how the justice system handled rape, often blaming the victim rather than the perpetrators).

The characters play the often corny script straight; Lang’s direction keeps the pace lively and interesting, and the outdoor shots, abetted by the constant splash of color, are eye-arresting. Dietrich is as sultry and alluring as ever.

RED RIVER
1948 Directed by Howard Hawks 120 minutes
English with optional Vietnamese audio translation

Two of the best directors of western films were John Ford and Howard Hawks, and RED RIVER is probably the finest Howard Hawks western.

This epic tale focuses on failed leadership by Tom Dunson (John Wayne), on the first cattle drive down the Chisholm Trail. A man with single-minded desire for success and to make his make his mark in the expansive land in Texas. The movie is filled with many subtle classic westernisms involving legendary gun handling, fighting Indians, forsaking women for future gains, growing beef for the good of the country and sticking to an honorable code.

The story features Montgomery Clift (in his first screen role) playing the sensitive adopted son of tyrannical cattle owner John Wayne. When Clift finally rebels against the Wayne character, a classic battle between youth and age ensues, ending in a suspenseful climax.

Hawks’ films are generally admired for their clean, direct, functional storytelling – probably the best qualities of American filmmaking. Hawks consistently shoots most of his scenes at the eye level of a standing onlooker. Action and dialog occur within the frame as much as possible, with a minimum of cutting.

RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY
1962 Directed by Sam Peckinpah 94 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

In this beautiful, moving film, cowboy icons Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea play aging lawmen hired to guard a gold shipment. They don’t have much: a horse each, and a couple of dollars between them. What they do have is their independence, but the frontier is disappearing, and so is the space wide open enough for independent men.

With gun-blazing shootouts and a life-changing betrayal, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY is both an exciting Western, and a heart-lifting homage to the genre.

“Literate, magnificent Western with flawless performances.”
— Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide

THE SEARCHERS
1956 Directed by John Ford 118 minutes
English with optional Vietnamese audio translation

Many international film directors, from Martin Scorsese to Francois Truffaut and Akira Kurosawa have credited THE SEARCHERS as being one of the greatest movies ever made.

THE SEARCHERS features John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, the ultimate John Ford hero – the lonely outsider, the wanderer – obsessed (and crippled) by fundamental values of right and wrong. Ethan returns to his brother’s frontier family from the Civil War, nourishes himself in their domestic warmth, then goes on a five-year rampage of revenge when the family is slaughtered and his favorite niece (possibly his own daughter?) is kidnapped by Comanche Indians. When he returns, somehow mellowed by the madness of that search, he is still an outsider, shut out from family life, destined to wander even more.

THE SEARCHERS is a rich film. Its uses of color and composition, its feeling for the passages of time and the changing of the seasons, its lack of reliance on dialogue, the supreme eloquence of the gestures of its characters, its strange combination of warmth and hardness are the things that raise it from the level of a fine adventure story into the realm of great art.

In 1992, THE SEARCHERS was voted the fifth greatest movie of all time in a poll of international film critics held by Sight & Sound Magazine.

“THE SEARCHERS is arguably the best and most emotionally devastating western ever crafted.”
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“There is a fantastic sequence in THE SEARCHERS involving a brash frontier character played by Ward Bond. Bond is drinking some coffee in a standing-up position before going out to hunt some Comanches. He glances toward one of the bedrooms and notices the woman of the house tenderly caressing the Army coat of her husband’s brother. Ford cuts back to a full-faced shot of Bond drinking his coffee, his eyes tactfully averted from the revealing scene he has just witnessed. There is a deep, subtle chivalry at work here, and in most of Ford’s films, but it is never obtrusive enough to interfere with the flow of the narrative.”
— Andrew Sarris, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions

STAGECOACH
1939 Directed by John Ford 97 minutes
English with optional Vietnamese audio translation

Not just a “classic,” but a hugely thrilling and entertaining movie!

A varied group of colorful characters with nothing in common are stuck together inside a stagecoach besieged by bandits and Indians. Considered structurally perfect, it’s the film that made John Wayne a star as the Ringo Kid, an outlaw looking to avenge the murder of his brother and father. This was also the first film John Ford shot in Monument Valley, a landscape of towering sandstone formations on the border between Utah and Arizona.

Ford was a great primitive artist, not a thinker. He blends action and emotion seamlessly, and has the one virtue that all great directors possess whatever their subject matter or level of sophistication: he knows exactly where to place the camera. Stagecoach is, among other things, one perfectly photographed and acted scene after the other; with the camera, whether discreet or close at hand, always positioned for maximum effect, which in this film is as much musical as visual (17 American folksongs formed the basis of the film’s Academy Award-winning score).

TWO RODE TOGETHER
1961 Directed by John Ford 105 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

One of the first popular westerns to recognise the dignity and value of Indian life, TWO RODE TOGETHER is a stirring action-drama from the undisputed master of the genre – John Ford.

Stewart stars as a U.S. Marshal, assigned to trade guns for hostages with the fearsome Comanche (cynical and corrupt, the character was a striking departure from Stewart’s usual roles as a stalwart do-gooder). Paired with Richard Widmark, Stewart locates the hostages, but argues against bringing them home, knowing they will be unable to re-adapt to settler life.

Gone is the simple clean frontier of THE SEARCHERS and earlier Westerns. Instead, Ford offers us a nightmere vision, the frontier overrun by hysteria and Yankee hypocrisy, with even the Indians seen as primitive entrepreneurs.

UNFORGIVEN
1992 Directed by Clint Eastwood 131 minutes
English, with optional Vietnamese audio translation

“ As the most American of genres, it is interesting to look back on the last 25 years and to see, that in that period only three great Westerns were made: Walter Hill’s THE LONG RIDERS (1980), Kevin Costner’s DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) and Clint Eastwood’s UNFORGIVEN from 1992. All three revisionist approaches to the genre, all three key works of the genre.

UNFORGIVEN is an elegy, revisiting a dying West, where those who shaped it now have retired. Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman) is now a sheriff, English Bob (Richard Harris) is now a dime-novel hero named “The Duke of Death” and William Munny is a hog-farmer, the lowest of all.

When a whore is cut up and disfigured by a drunken cowboy, because she laughed at his small “member”, sheriff Daggett interprets the law in favour of their pimp, as the whore is a piece of property. Enraged the women pool together $500 and offer them to anyone who will kill the cowboys. Nobody accepts the contract, except William Munny, a once gunfighter, now a widower hog-farmer with two small children. Before claiming the reward, Munny has to come face to face with his past.

The greatness of the story lies in how it revisits the mythology of the West and its frontier justice. At no point in the film is justice present. “I don’t deserve this”, says Daggett when Munny is about to kill him, to which Munny says, “Deserving has nothing to do with it”. As such, UNFORGIVEN suggests, that violence begets more violence, and justice is in the eye of the beholder. The irony is, that while Munny changed into a loving Christian husband and father when he married, his mother in law will never know this and will continue to believe that Munny killed her daughter, even though she died of small pox. He will forever remain unforgiven.

Winner of four Oscars, amongst them best director and best picture, UNFORGIVEN stands today as one of the greatest Westerns ever made, and perhaps the best revisionist Western ever made.
A masterpiece.”
— Henrik Sylow, DVD Beaver Review

UNION PACIFIC
1939 Directed by Cecil B. DeMille 135 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

Take a ride across the breathtaking landscape of America in this explosive, action-packed classic by the original master of spectacular epics, Cecil B. DeMille.

Overseer Jeff Butler (Joel McCrea) is hired by the Union Pacific Railroad to root out the saboteurs who’ve been launching savage attacks on the construction of the first transcontinental railway line. He discovers an extensive network of criminals bent on stopping the train, including his former pal (Robert Preston) and two gamblers (Brian Donlevy and Anthony Quinn). Amongst a treacherous terrain of stampeding buffalo, Indian raids and devastating train wrecks, McCrea and Preston battle for the love of a spirited postmistress (Barbara Stanwick) and the fate of a railroad line that will change the course of American history forever.

You’ll be amazed at what Hollywood could do with “special effects” long before the invention of computers!

WAY OUT WEST
1937 Directed by James W. Horne 65 minutes
English only. No Vietnamese translation

Running at just over one hour long, this Laurel & Hardy film is a non-stop comedy, both visually and orally. Perhaps more well known for being the film that contains the famous “Trail Of The Lonesome Pine” sequence, it should be noted that that scene is merely a part of a structured romp.

Stan & Ollie are asked to deliver a gold mine deed to a young lady by the name of Mary, but naturally they get embroiled in some daft shenanigans as they are duped by the devious duo of Mickey & Lola Marcel into handing over the deed to them instead of the rightful heir. After learning they have been conned, we then follow the chaotic attempts of Stan & Ollie to recover the deed and give it to the real Mary.


HANOI CINEMATHEQUE, Hanoi’s unique ‘art-house cinema’, is a members-only film society.
Memberships are available at the box office for only 100,000VND per year.
Members receive regular emails with detailed schedules and reviews of the films.
Tickets to the films are by donation.

HANOI CINEMATHEQUE
22A Hai Ba Trung Street (at the end of the alley leading to Artist’s Hotel)
RESERVATIONS:
Tel: 936 2648 (14:00 – 20:00) or email to: info2@hanoicinema.org
Fax: 936 2649
CAFE CINEMATHEQUE opens from 17:00 weekdays and from 13:30 weekends.

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