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Western Leading Men

Posted: May 8th, 2007, 4:36 pm
by ken123
Most leading men of today ( Mr Eastwood excluded ), to me, just don't seem to belong in Western Films, not that there are many being made today. I am crazy or am I just overlooking someone ? I have a similiar feeling in regard to leading ladies as well. :wink:

Posted: May 8th, 2007, 9:15 pm
by mrsl

As you said, there are so few westerns being made today, it's hard to tell who would be a good western star. The biggest 'western' in recent memory of course, is Brokeback Mountain, and well, that darn nearly destroyed the idea of the macho cowboy (thank you Ang)!

The cast of Tombstone (Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, and Michael Biehn) were all pretty good. Val Kilmer, although doing a great job as Doc Halliday, just didn't have that zing, and Bill Paxton ruined my idea of him in that HBO series he's on about the Morman and his three wives.

Robert Duvall and Thomas Church were good in the AMC western mini-series they did last year. The only other western locales I can think of are An Unfinished Life, with Redford and Morgan Freeman, both excellent as cowboys, and Harry Connick, Jr. was a really official looking Texan in Hope Floats.

I think those are all within the last 10 years, and like you said, except for Clint (having final say on casting), I can't think of anyone who would do as a cowboy. For one thing, most celebrities today are short, slight guys, (don't get upset if you're short and slight, please), although I know Alan Ladd, and Audie Murphy were little guys, but they made up for it with their manner of 'don't mess with me'. I do have to agree that Jimmy Cagney looked somewhat like a mushroom in his western outfit, and that's probably what most of todays guys would look like.

For another thing, most of the new guys are much too pretty. I miss those manly scars, and broken noses that gave the older actors character. You had Robert Taylor, but I never took to him as a western actor. Greg Peck was nasty in Duel in the Sun, and you forgot his looks. Most of the guys today would look like Cary Grant in a Western - THAT takes imagination!


Posted: May 8th, 2007, 11:17 pm
by cmvgor
To: ken123 & mrsl;

You limited your discussion to theatrical fare. Meander amongst the cast of the late, lamented Deadwood. See if you don't find suitable talent there. Anyone launching a new Western for theatrical release would have that pool of talent to draw from. And its a very good one.

Posted: May 9th, 2007, 1:25 am
by Lzcutter
Most leading men of today ( Mr Eastwood excluded ), to me, just don't seem to belong in Western Films, not that there are many being made today. I am crazy or am I just overlooking someone ?>>


You should watch all three seasons of Deadwood. Everybody in that series has well lived in faces and they are all talented actors.

The real gem for Mr Cutter and me was Gerald McRainey as George Hearst in Season 3. We had no idea McRainey could be so ruthless.

Ian McShane is the other real gem of that show but all the actors and actresses rose to the occasion.

Posted: May 9th, 2007, 3:08 am
by ken123
Thank - I will take a look see ! 8)

Posted: May 10th, 2007, 12:30 pm
by MikeBSG
Think of "The Right Stuff" (1983). I think it is a shame that Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Sam Sheppard never really got the chance to appear in westerns.

Has anyone seen "Seraphim Falls"? It was apparently made last year, got zero release and is now out on DVD. It is supposed to be a western in the traditional style.

Posted: May 10th, 2007, 1:36 pm
by movieman1957

You probably know but (just in case) two got to be in a western, even if it was only a TV western. Ed Harris was in "The New Riders of The Purple Sage" and Sam Shepherd was in a really offbeat western called "Purgatory." Both of these were courtesy of TNT. They would have been fine. (Of course Glenn's turn in "Silverado" is the most popular.)

I've seen "Purgatory" show up once in a while and it's been a long time for "Purple Sage."

Funny thing is I never really bought any of the "Young Guns" guys in those roles. I'm not up on any of the current young actors to know who might work out.

Posted: September 10th, 2007, 10:06 am
by mrsl
I vaguely recall as a child a singer with a very deep voice being on the radio and on TV. His name was Vaughn Monroe, and he recorded the original 'Ghost Riders in the Sky'. I remember the first time I Saw Die Hard, and the song "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" in the background as the credits rolled, and I said that's Vaughn Monroe singing, and a chorus of WHO??? followed my statement. Last month on the Western Channel I found out he also made a couple of movies in which he was the star. He was a big guy, and very reminiscent of Howard Keel in size and facial features. Very good looking and pleasant to see. My parents must have watched his TV show, The Vaughn Monroe Orchestra as I do recall him from TV. His movies are not bad, not great, but not bad. So if you like strange little gems, and if you have the Western Channel, you might want to watch for his name in some upcoming movies.

Also, Gene Autry would have been 100 this year and the last 4 days are being devoted to him, so again, not great, but sometimes interesting, you might catch a couple of his.


Posted: September 10th, 2007, 11:58 am
by jdb1
There's an episode of Bonanza, Anne, wherein Vaughn Monroe, the guest star, plays a shy cowpoke who wants to woo a lady, and Adam Cartwright gives him tips on how to sing romantically. At one point, Adam admonishes Monroe for singing through his nose, a charge leveled against him very often by critics. Monroe was also a favorite target of Spike Jones and his band of maniacs.

But I didn't care -- I liked him.

Posted: September 10th, 2007, 3:26 pm
by Bogie
What do you guys think of Costner? I thought he was ok in Wyatt Earp, The Postman and Dances with Wolves.

As for guys these days? I dunno I'm going to see the remake of 3:10 to Yuma and I think, even tho I loathe him that Russell Crowe might do well.

Posted: September 10th, 2007, 3:56 pm
by MissGoddess
I think Russell Crowe is at home in the western, he did a few what I call "outback westerns" when he was down under (the best of which is Hammers Over the Anvil, available on dvd) and I thought he and Gene Hackman were the only believable elements of The Quick and the Dead. I may board the 3:10 to Yuma remake this week to see.

Sam Elliot to me comes the closest to my type of western leading man, but he, like Eastwood, is loooong in the tooth now.

By the way, Seraphim Falls was released just this year but never is mentioned in the "new wave of westerns" in 2007, I wonder if it's because it was not that good or not that publicized. I may rent it.

Posted: September 10th, 2007, 5:09 pm
by mrsl
If you grunge up just about anyone, and put them in a pair of jeans and a chambray or plaid shirt, with a couple of days growth of beard, most any man will LOOK like a viable cowboy, but how he acts is another thing. No matter how mean he acted, or vicious, Jack Lemmon just never pulled it off for me in Cowboy.

My impression of a cowboy is not an image, it's more a aura. I've known men who lived all their lives in the city, yet could have been cowboys. They have a sense about them that makes them stand out from others. Just as an elegant man shines through in anything he does (e.g. Cary Grant, Pierce Brosnan, Ronald Colman theres something about each of them that makes them grandiose). Leslie Howard would have been a terrible cowboy, but the Duke was born for it.

Since I've been watching more newer movies lately, in another couple of months when I have them separated in my head, I could probably make a list of who might make cowboys. I agree that Russell Crowe is probably good, but "I can't stand him". Sean Penn would probably be like Jimmy Cagney - another mushroom.


Posted: September 11th, 2007, 10:43 pm
by Erebus
SPTO - I usually enjoy Costner, although I sometimes gather that it's not hip to say so. He is a dreamer, especially in Wolves, but it is quite entertaining and holds up well through multiple viewings. I even like him in The Postman and Waterworld, though the critics tell me they're duds. Maybe it's just that I like post-apocalyptic portrayals. His early (85) Fandango is also fun. Years ago I read some critic saying that though sports movies tend to be less than wonderful, Costner had managed to provide two of the best ever, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, which I have to agree with. Finally, regarding modern westerns, I have enjoyed Open Range, which AMC recently showed ad nauseum but to my benefit. His chemistry with Duvall and Benning really works, at least to me.

I have mixed feelings about modern westerns. For years I was skeptical, thinking they were messing with the gospel and that modern Hollywood wasn't worthy, but I have seen some that I like, especially with Duvall, who seems to be one of the last of the old school. Speaking of outback westerns, I like Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under.

Posted: September 12th, 2007, 3:01 pm
by MissGoddess
After so many years of people telling me to see Costner's Wyatt Earp I tried with the best intentions yesterday. I could not manage to stay with the guy, though, he just put me to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I don't think I will ever see it through. No one else in the cast interested me either I'm afraid. Everyone just looks exactly alike and sounds exactly alike! I blame the filmmakers, not the actors, for not knowing how to focus on faces and eyes and gestures at the appropriate time. Just watching a bunch of actors dressed up like cowhands or gunslingers isn't enough.

Posted: September 13th, 2007, 1:10 am
by Lzcutter

In his defense, I will say that Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday was a major comeback role.

After years of coasting on his good lucks and incredible smile (and not to mention a stint in rehab), most moviegoers had written Quaid off.

Wyatt Earp reminded us of all of the talent behind that incredible smile. Val Kilmer did a flashier turn in Tombstone as Doc but at the end of the day, I remember Quaid as Doc more fondly.

The trailer for Wyatt Earp was set to music by Maurice Jarre and it was an incredible trailer. But that score for some reason was scrapped and the movie (except for Quaid), nowhere near as good as the promise of the trailer.