May 21, 2004
The tv show I worked on and provided artwork for, Wyatt Earp at the O.K. Corral will premiere this coming Monday night on the History Channel (10:10 PM Eastern). Paul Hutton and Bill Kurtis both told me they think it’s the best show they’ve done yet. Looking forward to seeing it.
Worst pun in a newspaper since, well, yesterday, ’Troy’: Hollywood hits a homer. Why is it that print media is the absolute worst perpetrator of bad puns, that would get you pummeled and shunned at any social gathering in the continental United States? I’ll tell you one reason: because the people who write them are far, far away when you read them, and you can’t track them down quick enough to throttle them. That’s why.
Last night Bart Bull came over to the casa bearing two videos: Serge Leon’s A Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More. I hadn’t seen either since at least 1967 (Double feature, El Rancho Drive-in, Tucson, Arizona) and I had forgotten just how revolutionary and fun they were. As Bart puts it, “the first five minutes of Fistful destroys all the American Westerns of the previous two decades.” Clint is drinking water from a well in a small border town. The Mexican adobes are of course, actually in Spain, and having just been there last Christmas I was especially excited to see the terrain, which was just as I remembered it. And the houses were real adobe as they should be on the Mexican border. Most Westerns from the so-called Classic period, are frame buildings, and on the “back lot” in the San Fernando Valley, to boot. Clint drinks his water and watches as a young Mexican kid is abused and shot at. “This is where John Wayne would be going to the boy’s rescue,” Bart narrated, as Eastwood drinks his water and looks on bemused. And he ultimately doesn’t save the kid. How shocking and revolutionary is that!? “Of course, by this time,” Bart continued, “John Wayne is thundering toward the exit of the movie theatre.” Way true. Wayne hated the Spaghetti Westerns because they undid all the things he thought Westerns should be about. Serge Leon was reportedly stunned by the hostility, because he thought he was making an homage to the Westerns he loved. The other thing that was so profound was how much the films were obviously influenced by comic books. A giant hand dangles next to a holstered gun in extreme close-up, while the opponent ripples in a heatwave, far in the distance. Way cool. And so Mexican, or Italian, or both. One of the stars of the films is the music. It’s got that Mexican bullfight meets Duane Eddy meets the Mitch Miller Choir on acid deal going and it’s just genius.
Other than that, I didn’t think much of the films. Ha.
"No matter what a man's past may have been, his future is spotless."
—John R. Rice
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