Criterion forum top 50 western poll


(Stanton) #1

I have contributed as a look at the Orphan’s list will clearly índicate ;), but SW wise not very much had happened. At least Corbucci is in the top 100 with 4 films and Quien sabe!
And Face to face amongst the runner-ups.

That Man of the West made it is a big surprise for me.


(scherpschutter) #2

Where do I find this Top 50 ?

I just registered, but all I get with your link is the login page, and if I logi, I get the forum with all kinds of threads
If I enter TOP 50 Westerns I get more than 600 hits !


(Stanton) #3

There is a section near the bottom called The Lists Project

I entered the forum only a few days before the poll was closed. In retrospect I should have mentioned it earlier, cause there are some here who have already seen enough westerns to make a valuable contribution. And to push SW classics like Boot Hill a little bit higher.


(ENNIOO) #4

Nice to have some Corbucci on the list.


(scherpschutter) #5

Even Boot Hill bubbling under. Dear me. (Dear Stanton)

I’ll have to study the list a little more
N° 1 is of course quite a surprise. A good film, but the best ever ? ?
Maybe it’s a compromise movie from a compromise director. The greatest western director ever, is inevitably Ford or Leone. Ford fans tend to avoid Leones on their list (at least in the top regions), to avoid that he would beat their idol. Leone fans could be inclined to do the same. But most western fans love Mann.

Those classics of all classics High Noon and Shane, seem to have lost terrain. So has Eastwood as a director.
Nice to see that apart from the Fords, Leones, Hawkses, Manns and Boettichers movies like Johnny Guitar and Yellow Sky still manage to entertain and fascinate people.


(Stanton) #6

Not to forget Fassbinder’s Whity … giggle


(Stanton) #7

Or Peckinpah!

Or not?


(Richard--W) #8

There is so much intellectual mumbo-jumbo at the Criterion Forum I begin to wonder if they are not all graduates of USC Film School. More often than not their professed reasoning over a film has absolutely no relation to the film itself and no realization of what the filmmakers intended. They go bug-hunting nuts over there. The woman doing the survey of westerns column – domino harvey – is one of these militant-male-bashing feminists who perceives the genre in terms of an extremist feminist ideology. Every review is some kind of weird-assed value judgment or condemnation. She’s a quackpot if ever I read one. While I’m busy being obstreperous, I might as well add that I adamantly disagree with that top 100 westerns list. Few of the voters have seen 100 westerns. I’ll bet most voters haven’t seen as many as 25 or 30 westerns. Many of the voters don’t know anything about westerns, they haven’t seen enough westerns to really know the genre, and their minds are full of issues that have no bearing on westerns, but of the handful they’ve seen, they know what they like so into the top 100 it goes.

I also believe that Italian westerns and Euro westerns should be a separate list from the American western. There is some crossover, but it came too late and delivered too little.

Richard


(scherpschutter) #9

[quote=“Stanton, post:7, topic:2760”]Or Peckinpah!

Or not?[/quote]

Don’t think so. He’s a good director, but I don’t think he’s in the same league as Leone or Ford
He’s a sort of Hemingway, very good at some things (the action scenes in The Wild Bunch are unsurpassed), but he was also a limited director.


(scherpschutter) #10

[quote=“Richard–W, post:8, topic:2760”]There is so much intellectual mumbo-jumbo at the Criterion Forum I begin to wonder if they are not all graduates of USC Film School. More often than not their professed reasoning over a film has absolutely no relation to the film itself and no realization of what the filmmakers intended. They go bug-hunting nuts over there. The woman doing the survey of westerns column – domino harvey – is one of these militant-male-bashing feminists who perceives the genre in terms of an extremist feminist ideology. Every review is some kind of weird-assed value judgment or condemnation. She’s a quackpot if ever I read one. While I’m busy being obstreperous, I might as well add that I adamantly disagree with that top 50 westerns list. Many of the voters don’t know anything about westerns, they haven’t seen very many or not enough to really know the genre, their minds are full of issues that have no bearing on westerns, but of the handful they’ve seen, they know what they like so into the top 50 it goes. I also believe that Italian westerns and Euro westerns should be a separate list from the American western. There is some crossover, but it came too late and delivered too little.

Richard[/quote]

That’s inevitably the case with those lists, Richard. If 100 people vote, none of them will be happy with the final result. The more people vote, the more the list becomes ‘anonymous’. That’s why individual lists usually are more interesting.


(Richard--W) #11

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:9, topic:2760”]Don’t think so. He’s a good director, but I don’t think he’s in the same league as Leone or Ford
He’s a sort of Hemingway, very good at some things (the action scenes in The Wild Bunch are unsurpassed), but he was also a limited director.[/quote]

You can’t be serious.

Sam Peckinpah was an American with a family history in the American west. He was so different from Ford there is no comparison. Sergio Leone was an Italian with no experience of the American west. Again, he was so different from Ford and Peckinpah there is no comparison.

Peckinpah was not a limited director. He understood, better than anyone, the American experience of the frontier west, and knew how to realize it in emotional terms that brought his characters to life and made his stories relevant. He dug deep, plowed painfully through, and aimed high. He kept his hand on the pain every instant, as a drama coach of mine used to say. A Peckinpah western is a tactile and authentic thing. He was unlimited. His talent had no boundaries.

So there.

Richard


(scherpschutter) #12

Well, that’s the old discussion, the cultural roots discussion, as it was called by some.
I thought we were passed that.

Art is not about authenticity. If that would be the case, The Happy Hooker would be the greatest literary work ever about prostitution, because it was written by a famous call girl, Xaviera Hollander.


(Richard--W) #13

There is no analogy to Xaviera Hollander.

You are correct, however, that art is not about authenticity, but when the art is ABOUT a specific time and place and experience, authenticity helps. Authenticity grounds a western in to the earth so that actors can build on it. Ask any actor who’s been there and done that. Authenticity may not be everything, but it is definitely a virtue and at the very least, an enhancement. Look at how hard Leone worked to make Once Upon a Time In the West authentic; look at how hard he worked to make Once Upon a Time In America authentic. Leone understood the value of authenticity.

I was just pointing out where Peckinpah was coming from so that you wouldn’t think he was coming from nowhere.
Peckinpah knew what he was doing.
His films were emotionally authentic to the time and place, but his talent was not limited to his cultural roots.
His accomplishments as a director and a storyteller are unassailable.
His westerns remain vital, relevant, individual, highly original masterpieces.

Very few film directors have roots in the American west. I don’t insist that they do. But those who do are as legitimate as those who don’t. Those who do were less pre-occupied with mythology and more pre-occupied with dramatizing how people actually lived. William S. Hart’s films, for example, straddle both worlds. I find both approaches satisfying, and both approaches have resulted in significant films, some of which are made across the pond.

I don’t want to see the “roots discussion” used to marginalize the accomplishments of those who have the roots in the west and who worked from the roots so that those who don’t are somehow exalted because they’re someone’s favorite. Sergio Leone did not have roots in the American west, but he did have empathy and a kind of schooling, and I have the highest regard for his films, especially Once Upon a Time in the West, which I have expressed many times here and elsewhere, but to say Sam Peckinpah is “not in the league of Ford and Leone” is patently ridiculous.

Richard


(scherpschutter) #14

[quote=“Richard–W, post:13, topic:2760”]There is no analogy to Xaviera Hollander.

I was just pointing out where Peckinpah was coming from so that you wouldn’t think he was coming from nowhere.
Peckinpah knew what he was doing.
His films were emotionally authentic to the time and place, but his talent was not limited to his cultural roots.
His accomplishments as a director and a storyteller are unassailable.
His westerns remain vital, relevant, individual, highly original masterpieces.

Very few film directors have roots in the American west. I don’t insist that they do. But those who do are as legitimate as those who don’t. Those who do were less pre-occupied with mythology and more pre-occupied with dramatizing how people actually lived. William S. Hart’s films, for example, straddle both worlds. I find both approaches satisfying, and both approaches have resulted in significant films, some of which are made across the pond.

I don’t want to see the “roots discussion” used to marginalize the accomplishments of those who have the roots and who worked from the roots so that those who don’t are somehow exalted because they’re someone’s favorite. Sergio Leone did not have roots, but he did have empathy, and I have the highest regard for his films, especially Once Upon a Time in the West, which I have expressed many times here and elsewhere, but to say Sam Peckinpah is not the league of Ford or Leone is patently ridiculous.
Richard[/quote]

Comment to first text in bold:
If those who do are as ligitimate as those who don’t, those who don’t are as ligitimate as those who do
And that was the point I made: authenticity as such is not an argument.

Comment to the second text in bold:
But why would this be ridiculous, Richard? You have of course the right to disagree with me, but you don’t give any valuable argument why your personal view would be more reasonable than mine. I agree with you that his westerns were ‘vital, relevant, individual and highly original’, I like Peckinpah a lot, but I just don’t think his westerns are as good as the best works of some other western directors. To me Leone and Ford are in the same league as Fellini, Chaplin or Tati, among the very best ever. Peckinpah is not. Is that so difficult to accept?


(El Topo) #15

I do like Peckinpah films, some of them are favourite of mine, Cross of Iron, Wild Bunch, Pat Garret & Billy the Kid and and a sometimes misunderstood film "Bring me the head…", but I’m not a dogmatic person, and I most certainly don’t wanna look like those guys at Criterion who think they know everything, so I can see Sherps point, some of his films are indeed average or even weak, The Osterman Weekend, The Killer Elite, The getaway just to mention the ones I’ve seen most recently, even straw dogs its a uneven film for me.
For my taste a director like Fuller always had more substance and things to say, but hey that me. Also the roots thing can tricky, otherwhise one or two of the best western ever made wouldn’t had been directed by an Italian and Ford was almost Irish so.
In conclusion for me is also not in the same league as Leone, maybe Ford which I’m not a incondicional admirer either, and looking in the overall career I prefer directors like Fuller Cassavetes, Altman …


(Richard--W) #16

On the contrary, I have done exactly that, but you give no valuable argument why your personal view is more reasonable than mine.

Yes.
It is impossible to accept.
I hesitate to explain why because I’m afraid you’ll misconstrue and have hurt feelings.
A Sam Peckinpah western is something unique and special, and truly alone.
Peckinpah has no peers when it comes to the western. The more westerns I see, and the more I learn about the west in a lifetime of study, the more impressive Peckinpah’s westerns become. A Sam Peckinpah western is the American west. It has details and layers and dimensions most filmmakers don’t have within themselves to express.

I share your admiration for Ford, Leone, Fellini, Chaplin and Tati.
They are certainly in company with Sam Peckinpah.

Richard


(scherpschutter) #17

[quote=“Richard–W, post:16, topic:2760”]On the contrary, I have done exactly that, but you give no valuable argument why your personal view is more reasonable than mine.

Yes.
It is impossible to accept.
I hesitate to explain why because I’m afraid you’ll misconstrue and have hurt feelings.
A Sam Peckinpah western is something unique and special, and truly alone.
Peckinpah has no peers when it comes to the western. The more westerns I see, and the more I learn about the west in a lifetime of study, the more impressive Peckinpah’s westerns become. A Sam Peckinpah western is the American west. It has details and layers and dimensions most filmmakers don’t have within themselves to express.

I share your admiration for Ford, Leone, Fellini, Chaplin and Tati.
They are certainly in company with Sam Peckinpah.

Richard[/quote]

I don’t think this makes any sense
If you cannot accept any opinion other than your own, like you say, why discuss in the first place?


(Richard--W) #18

“Tricky, aren’t you?” to paraphrase Henry Fonda to Brain Donlevy in Jesse James (1939).

So you’re talking about opinions now, and not absolutes?

I thought we were discussing.
I’ve read a good many of your posts here in the backfiles and appreciate everything that you have contributed.
I accept other people’s opinions all the time, but I reject the idea that Sam Peckinpah is a “limited director” because I know better.

Richard


(ENNIOO) #19

[quote=“Stanton, post:7, topic:2760”]Or Peckinpah!

Or not?[/quote]

For American westerns…yes. But just my opinion of course.


(scherpschutter) #20

[quote=“Richard–W, post:18, topic:2760”]“Tricky, aren’t you?” to paraphrase Henry Fonda to Brain Donlevy in Jesse James (1939).

So you’re talking about opinions now, and not absolutes?

I thought we were discussing.
I’ve read a good many of your posts here in the backfiles and appreciate everything that you have contributed.
I accept other people’s opinions all the time, but I reject the idea that Sam Peckinpah is a “limited director” because I know better.

Richard[/quote]

We’re inevitably talking about opinions here, there are no absolutes in art. The point is that you still seem to think otherwise when you say you know better.

How would you know? I’d like to hear some good arguments. You keep saying things like ‘Peckinpah is the West’. That’s still the authenticity argument, and like I said in my first post: I thought we were passed this.