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The Searchers 
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Post Re: The Searchers
Tuco wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
I'll take the opposing viewpoint and say that it isn't a Western. I think it's more of a chase film, a thriller, than it is a Western. It's nearly impossible to pin a Coen Bros. film down into one genre though. NCFOM uses some of the major Western themes, i.e. the law, violence, miscegenation to tell it's story, but the overall plot line is structure much more like a cat-and-mouse thriller. A case could actually be made that the film is even set on this generation's "frontier", that being the US-Mexico border. I've never really thought of that before, and I'm fairly certain that's what the Coens intended. Overall, Western elements are there, but since it's a Coen Brothers film, I don't think you can confine it to one specific genre.


That's fair too. To be honest, I struggled with NCFOM, so I don't have a strong opinion, and as you say, the Coen Brothers are tough to categorize in even their most mainstream work.

As for NCFOM, I think it was very well done, and I think it captured the essence of the book without being slavish to it. With one crucial exception: in the book, the Tommie Lee Jones character has a discussion with his uncle (who was in the film) where he relates an experience that happened in WWII. That experience, and in particular his recollection of it and what it meant to him, were crucial in the book.

Not having that small scene in the film left me so bewildered I still am not sure what to make of it. I know that Cormac McCarthy collaborated on the screenplay and was reportedly happy with it, so perhaps the scene I have in mind isn't as important to anyone else as it was to me.

I need to see it again, because I think the book is brilliant, I'm big fan of the Coen brothers, and I thought that Jones, Brolin and Hardem all did magnificent jobs.


I agree it was very important in the book. Don’t know why it wouldn’t be in the film. The Coens probably thought it would slow it down to much. For timing purposes is my only guess.


Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:30 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
gibttbm wrote:
Tuco wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
I'll take the opposing viewpoint and say that it isn't a Western. I think it's more of a chase film, a thriller, than it is a Western. It's nearly impossible to pin a Coen Bros. film down into one genre though. NCFOM uses some of the major Western themes, i.e. the law, violence, miscegenation to tell it's story, but the overall plot line is structure much more like a cat-and-mouse thriller. A case could actually be made that the film is even set on this generation's "frontier", that being the US-Mexico border. I've never really thought of that before, and I'm fairly certain that's what the Coens intended. Overall, Western elements are there, but since it's a Coen Brothers film, I don't think you can confine it to one specific genre.


That's fair too. To be honest, I struggled with NCFOM, so I don't have a strong opinion, and as you say, the Coen Brothers are tough to categorize in even their most mainstream work.

As for NCFOM, I think it was very well done, and I think it captured the essence of the book without being slavish to it. With one crucial exception: in the book, the Tommie Lee Jones character has a discussion with his uncle (who was in the film) where he relates an experience that happened in WWII. That experience, and in particular his recollection of it and what it meant to him, were crucial in the book.

Not having that small scene in the film left me so bewildered I still am not sure what to make of it. I know that Cormac McCarthy collaborated on the screenplay and was reportedly happy with it, so perhaps the scene I have in mind isn't as important to anyone else as it was to me.

I need to see it again, because I think the book is brilliant, I'm big fan of the Coen brothers, and I thought that Jones, Brolin and Hardem all did magnificent jobs.


I agree it was very important in the book. Don’t know why it wouldn’t be in the film. The Coens probably thought it would slow it down to much. For timing purposes is my only guess.



Would one of you 2 mind telling me why that was important in the book? I have a copy of the book, but I've never read it. Is it something I can flip to and read and understand out of context, or would I need to be involved in the actual narrative? I thought the movie was great, and loved the comments the Coens made on how we tyically view films and our expectations of them. Anyway, I'd personally be thankful for any help you could give in regards to this omitted scene.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:49 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
PeachyPete wrote:
gibttbm wrote:
Tuco wrote:
As for NCFOM, I think it was very well done, and I think it captured the essence of the book without being slavish to it. With one crucial exception: in the book, the Tommie Lee Jones character has a discussion with his uncle (who was in the film) where he relates an experience that happened in WWII. That experience, and in particular his recollection of it and what it meant to him, were crucial in the book.

Not having that small scene in the film left me so bewildered I still am not sure what to make of it. I know that Cormac McCarthy collaborated on the screenplay and was reportedly happy with it, so perhaps the scene I have in mind isn't as important to anyone else as it was to me.

I need to see it again, because I think the book is brilliant, I'm big fan of the Coen brothers, and I thought that Jones, Brolin and Hardem all did magnificent jobs.


I agree it was very important in the book. Don’t know why it wouldn’t be in the film. The Coens probably thought it would slow it down to much. For timing purposes is my only guess.



Would one of you 2 mind telling me why that was important in the book? I have a copy of the book, but I've never read it. Is it something I can flip to and read and understand out of context, or would I need to be involved in the actual narrative? I thought the movie was great, and loved the comments the Coens made on how we tyically view films and our expectations of them. Anyway, I'd personally be thankful for any help you could give in regards to this omitted scene.


I know the question wasn't directed at me, but I hope none of the gentlemen will mind if I chip in a comment.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Sheriff Bell is a decorated WWII war hero. When he is talking to his uncle, he confesses that his platoon (or whatever) was ambushed by German soldiers who killed most of the platoon and wounded many. Bell managed to man a machine gun and hold off a full assault by the Germans until dark. He was also aware that he had no means of defending himself in the dark, because German soldiers could sneak up on him. Therefore, he decided to fall back to Allied lines and left his injured and dying comrades.
This is relevant, because Sheriff Bell had a chance to arrest Chigurh at the scene of crime (where Llewellyn Moss is killed), which is much clearer in the book. Afraid that he would not survive a confrontation, he chose to call in reinforcements knowing that Chigurh will be gone by the time they arrive.
As a consequence, Sheriff Bell feels that he has let his constituency down just as much as he let down his dying fellow soldiers by chosing his own safety over the interest of the community he swore to protect.


I hope somebody will correct me if I'm wrong. I must admit that I hated the ending of No Country for Old Men until I later read the book, which makes things much clearer.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:13 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
Unke wrote:
I know the question wasn't directed at me, but I hope none of the gentlemen will mind if I chip in a comment.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Sheriff Bell is a decorated WWII war hero. When he is talking to his uncle, he confesses that his platoon (or whatever) was ambushed by German soldiers who killed most of the platoon and wounded many. Bell managed to man a machine gun and hold off a full assault by the Germans until dark. He was also aware that he had no means of defending himself in the dark, because German soldiers could sneak up on him. Therefore, he decided to fall back to Allied lines and left his injured and dying comrades.
This is relevant, because Sheriff Bell had a chance to arrest Chigurh at the scene of crime (where Llewellyn Moss is killed), which is much clearer in the book. Afraid that he would not survive a confrontation, he chose to call in reinforcements knowing that Chigurh will be gone by the time they arrive.
As a consequence, Sheriff Bell feels that he has let his constituency down just as much as he let down his dying fellow soldiers by chosing his own safety over the interest of the community he swore to protect.


I hope somebody will correct me if I'm wrong. I must admit that I hated the ending of No Country for Old Men until I later read the book, which makes things much clearer.


Nice summary of the relevant part of the book and why it was important.

It probably sounds weird, but I appreciate reading that you hated the ending of the movie until you read the book. James compared the ending to that of 'Limbo' (an ending I appreciate and approve of), and I'm not sure I agree. I was distressed by the movie because they left out (what I felt was) crucial information. That story so colored the Sheriff's decision, and his view of himself, that leaving it out felt to me like it changed what the movie was about.

I don't even have a problem with that, per se, but in this case, I think the decision to omit it from the film was the wrong one.

That said, I haven't read the book in a while (I was fresh off my second reading of the book when I saw the film), so I need to see it again and find out what I think now.

On a related note, I'm curious what you think of the prospect of 'Blood Meridian' as a film. I'm not sure whether it's on-again or off-again, but I know that Ridley Scott loves the book and wants to make the film.

I can't decide if I think it's a good idea or not.

If it gets made, and made right, it'll make the hullabulloo that accompanied 'The Wild Bunch' all those years ago seem tame, I think. I can't imagine a more painfully violent movie.


Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:26 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
Tuco wrote:
It probably sounds weird, but I appreciate reading that you hated the ending of the movie until you read the book. James compared the ending to that of 'Limbo' (an ending I appreciate and approve of), and I'm not sure I agree. I was distressed by the movie because they left out (what I felt was) crucial information. That story so colored the Sheriff's decision, and his view of himself, that leaving it out felt to me like it changed what the movie was about.

I don't even have a problem with that, per se, but in this case, I think the decision to omit it from the film was the wrong one.

That said, I haven't read the book in a while (I was fresh off my second reading of the book when I saw the film), so I need to see it again and find out what I think now.

On a related note, I'm curious what you think of the prospect of 'Blood Meridian' as a film. I'm not sure whether it's on-again or off-again, but I know that Ridley Scott loves the book and wants to make the film.

I can't decide if I think it's a good idea or not.

If it gets made, and made right, it'll make the hullabulloo that accompanied 'The Wild Bunch' all those years ago seem tame, I think. I can't imagine a more painfully violent movie.


This is exactly how I feel about the ending of NCFOM. I still think it is a great film, though.

I haven't read Blood Meridian, unfortunately, but will probably do so the next time I'll go on holidays (whenever that may be).


Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:28 am
Post Re: The Searchers
Thanks Unke. Now knowing that, it does seem to be a curious bit of information to omit. It seems especially curious considering that scene was in the movie, just with different dialouge. I agree with Tuco in that it does seem to add a bit more complexity to the Sheriff's decision and character.

Now for a change of direction. I watched Once Upon a Time in the West last night. Do you guys have any thoughts on it? I personally love it. The first time I saw it, I thought it was too slow and boring, but I was pretty young. I think it's much better than Ford's 'Liberty Valance', which I see as having similar goals.


Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:55 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
PeachyPete wrote:
Now for a change of direction. I watched Once Upon a Time in the West last night. Do you guys have any thoughts on it? I personally love it. The first time I saw it, I thought it was too slow and boring, but I was pretty young. I think it's much better than Ford's 'Liberty Valance', which I see as having similar goals.


This is my favourite Western (or The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, depending on my mood). I also like "Liberty Valance", but the latter film just doesn't have the scope of "Once upon a time in the West". Also, "Once upon the Time ..." is endlessly rewatchable. There are so many references to classic Western to spot and underlying themes to ponder that it never gets boring. Of course, it is also enjoyable without any in-depths analysis.

I particularly like how all major characters have their own musical theme/leitmotif, just like in an opera. And the record-breaking pre-title sequence is absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, my wife will divorce me if I make her listen to the creaking noises of the windmill once more :(

I must admit that "Once uopn a Time ..." isn't for everybody. It's very slow moving, as you said.


Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:19 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
PeachyPete wrote:
Thanks Unke. Now knowing that, it does seem to be a curious bit of information to omit. It seems especially curious considering that scene was in the movie, just with different dialouge. I agree with Tuco in that it does seem to add a bit more complexity to the Sheriff's decision and character.

Now for a change of direction. I watched Once Upon a Time in the West last night. Do you guys have any thoughts on it? I personally love it. The first time I saw it, I thought it was too slow and boring, but I was pretty young. I think it's much better than Ford's 'Liberty Valance', which I see as having similar goals.


I think Once Upon a Time in the West is brilliant. I agree that in the broadest sense it shares ideas with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but I think they diverge fairly quickly. Plus, as Unke noted, the former is a much broader film. In fact, it would be my favorite western (instead of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) except for two things: 1) Eli Wallach 2) I absolutely cannot stand Charles Bronson.

I think Once Upon a Time in the West enjoyed better direction and was a more thoughtfully crafted film than TGTBaTU. I argued in another thread that The Wild Bunch was a better film than TGTBaTU, even though the high points of the latter were better than those of the former. I would compare Once Upon a Time in the West with The Wild Bunch in that I think neither reach the absolute high points that TGTBaTU did, but I think both were almost flawless, which you cannot say for TGTBaTU.

All that said, and this is a personal deal, but I rarely watch Once Upon a Time in the West simply because of Charles Bronson.

TGTBaTU is still my all-time favorite film.


Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:00 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
Unke wrote:
This is my favourite Western (or The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, depending on my mood). I also like "Liberty Valance", but the latter film just doesn't have the scope of "Once upon a time in the West". Also, "Once upon the Time ..." is endlessly rewatchable. There are so many references to classic Western to spot and underlying themes to ponder that it never gets boring. Of course, it is also enjoyable without any in-depths analysis


This is exactly why I love 'Once Upon a Time...'. It succeeds as pure entertainment and as a thought-provoking film. The references to all the "classic" Westerns are incredibly fun to try and spot.

Tuco wrote:
I think Once Upon a Time in the West is brilliant. I agree that in the broadest sense it shares ideas with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but I think they diverge fairly quickly. Plus, as Unke noted, the former is a much broader film. In fact, it would be my favorite western (instead of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) except for two things: 1) Eli Wallach 2) I absolutely cannot stand Charles Bronson.


I meant that they are both each directors' valentine to the Western. You're correct though, they do diverge pretty quickly. 'Once Upon a Time...' has much more subtext and subtlety to it though. It's just all around much, much better IMO.

Speaking of Bronson, I read that he was actually Leone's first choice for The Man with No Name, and that he was Leone's favorite actor he worked with. I'm guessing Tuco does not share this sentiment and is grateful that Bronson turned the role down. :D


Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:24 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
Tuco's list is quite definitive and very good discussion on what is or is not a western. But nobody mentioned "Dances With Wolves". I think that's a great western also, what do others say? And yes TG, TB, TU is my best also :-)


Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:03 pm
Post Re: The Searchers
Polar Bear wrote:
Tuco's list is quite definitive and very good discussion on what is or is not a western. But nobody mentioned "Dances With Wolves". I think that's a great western also, what do others say? And yes TG, TB, TU is my best also :-)


It's funny you should mention that. I was in a conference room this afternoon waiting for a meeting to start, and the movie Braveheart came up.

I have similar feelings about both films.

I think Dances With Wolves is a good film. I'd rate it among the better westerns that exist. That said, there's something about it that bothers me, and even now I can't quite put my finger on it. I suspect I'd like it more if Kevin Costner hadn't written and directed it, which is a weird thing to think. I really like Mary McDonnell, and in fact all the characters in Dances with Wolves were well drawn.

Still, I don't sit well with the notion of being preached at, and there was something of that in that film for me. Something . . .

But then I think perhaps I'm just finding stuff that isn't there, because as noted, I don't think I'd feel that way if Costner had just been the lead actor. The characters were compelling, the story was moving, so I can't make a specific case the way I can for a film like Crash (which I did find extremely manipulative).

So . . . I think it's a very good film, but there's just something about it that rubs me the wrong way. I appreciate it, I admire it, and I want to like it.


Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:37 pm
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