THE THROWBACK MACHINE Learning my western lessons

A few weeks ago I got a call from my good friend Ed Dowd at Matoon Chamber, warning me that his column for the week might be a bit “different” in content.

When I protested, coughing softly on the phone and weakly saying I’d be sick all week, and to take it easy with heavy editing and formatting, I was immediately followed by Carolyn Cloyd, chirping in the background. Speakerphone, to (ahem), “Suck it up, Buttercup.” Then he asked me if I knew the name “Audi Murphy”. When I said “no” his reply was, “You are dead to me.” Ouch.

As for Audie Murphy, considered one of the most respected veterans of World War II and a man who went on to have a successful film career, mostly in Western countries, twice this month in the Journal Gazette. Ed’s column and mentioned in a moment. of totally happy random circumstances in last Saturday’s “Little Known Character” column by Cal Campbell. And I say “happy” because it means he’s already covered up the biographical details that I don’t want to see.

You know what I might have to watch? Western. Because inexplicably, I know almost nothing about full hats and the style of horses.

How is this possible? Name a western landmark and I guarantee you haven’t seen it. “the magnificent Seven”? “Afternoon”? “the wild Bunch”? Heck, if that award didn’t take me five minutes to write because those are the only “classics” I can think of. I only know of “Shane” because it is used as a plot point in the Samuel L. Jackson police-corruption thriller “The Negotiator”.

For crying out loud you’d at least think I’d just watched a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, provided we share a name, but no; Although “Western?” The note in my throwback column Idea Notebook reads “Pale Rider” next to it, so stay tuned.

And it’s also a big “no” to more modern, later efforts like “Silverado,” “Tombstone,” “Bad Girls,” and “The Quick and the Dead,” though I like the part in “Quigly Down Under.” is” where Tom Selleck makes Hans Gruber from “Die Hard” look real nerdy by shooting a bucket over 1,200 yards with his experimental Sharps rifle.

The only westerns I’ve really seen are “Back to the Future Part III” (better than you remember), “Westworld” (a staple of late night TV), “True Grit” (re-make.. . only as an excuse) to get out of something else), and “Bone Tomahawk” (Kurt Russell vs. Troglodyte Cannibals). Oh… and the double feature from 1966’s “Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter” and “Billy the Kid Vs Dracula.” For obvious reasons.

And speaking of Hollywood bargains, let’s go with Audi Murphy’s 1957 Otter “The Guns of Fort Petticoat” chosen by me this week for two reasons. One, it played in Mattoon on the 1958 Skyway double bill with “Jailhouse Rock” (“Elvis as You’ve Never Seen Him Before! Singing! Brawling! Romancing!”) and two, as it was Audi’s only film. I could find one online for the price of at home.

and you know what? I enjoyed a lot. “Petticoat” features Murphy as a lieutenant for the Union in the final days of the Civil War who just can’t buy a break.

His commanding officer is about to launch a deadly attack on a peaceful tribe of Native Americans, he is confined to quarters to resist, and when all heck breaks down his attempt to warn his Texas hometown is sure to retaliate. Attempts to warn about the attacks fall on the deaf. Kane as the rest of the townspeople, including the women left behind as the men have all joined the Confederates, thinks she is a Union turncoat.

But eventually he trains the women of petticoats to handle firearms, a final stand on a dilapidated mission is prepared and we are treated to the kind of classic “Defend the Bass” gambit that has always been the hallmark of cinema. Gold Happens, even if it’s capped by a spectacular drumhead trial in its original post to face accusations of absurdity that followed one of those squeaky-clean “well life ain’t grand” endings that Always makes me kind of squeamish.

I’m not saying that someone always has to be revealed to be a killer robot in secret for the weight of a movie, but geez, it’s always weird to me when the characters before the Columbia Pictures logo fade away. practically exits the final scene. When literally just seconds ago they were blasting buckshots at all the mediocre banditos.

Nevertheless, I must say that I liked his film with some reservations; Because like I said, my experience watching a dusty 75-minute western from an era when literally hundreds of these things were being dumped on the market to barnstorm the movie screens of small towns, probably me. Doesn’t provide enough context, a lot it sounds like someone came up to me and said they love yes’s 1987 album Big Generator but they haven’t “roundabout” yet.

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