Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
The Big Country
Big they fought! Big they loved! Big their story!
Retired, wealthy sea Captain Jame McKay arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry fiancée Pat Terrill. McKay is a man whose values and approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers and ranch foreman Steve Leech takes an immediate dislike to him. Pat is spoiled, selfish and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. The Major is involved in a ruthless civil war, over watering rights for cattle, with a rough hewn clan led by Rufus Hannassey. The land in question is owned by Julie Maragon and both Terrill and Hannassey want it.
A nearly three-hour Western that's main point is that cowboys are pretty stupid. It's great.
On a visual level this movie has most every other licked. Director William Wyler absolutely kills it with the compositional blocking, maintaining a subtle yet rigid balance of characters in nearly every frame. There's a different style for ones, two, and threes, superbly balanced, shifting dynamics with ease. His wide shots are a wonder as well, pulling back so far on the landscape I swear I could see the curvature of the earth.
My one minor quibble is I wish the film had a little more subtlety and nuance to its story, which is basically a rehashing of the Hatfields and McCoys with Gregory Peck's…
The Big Country is one of the most gorgeous bits of cinema you will ever see. Certain shots made me all teary-eyed just because they were so beautiful. So maybe you can imagine my disappointment when I had to admit that its content failed to convince in a similar way. The big problem for me here is that the characters are so stereotypical. The cowboys are primitive, sweaty, drunk and rapey, and all they ever wanna do is start trouble and get into fights. And Gregory Peck is the total opposite of that, a goody-goody, a thinking man, the sophisticated type who's seen the world and refuses to fight when challenged. And afterwards he will explain us why. He's perfect,…
Mostly a Western only in setting as gun fights take a back seat to meaningful conversation. It's long and at times meandering, but I felt very involved in the story and was engrossed right through. I'm not a big Peck fan but he does his usual solid work here and is surrounded by an excellent supporting cast. Another great entry into the William Wyler filmography.
leftist melodrama + Cold War allegory + Burl Ives
"There's a lot of space out here; it's a big country."
The Big Country is a fine example of a film that is as widescreen and vast as can be, yet manages not to get lost in the expanse of the grand nature of it all and focus on the characters that inhabit this world. Whether it's the stunning vista's - captured brilliantly by Franz Planer, the bluest of the blue skies, the many extras seen on screen or the sweeping, memorable score by Jerome Moross, The Big Country is a big film, but the characters, their rivalries, their grudges, their moral integrities are all given a chance to shine, in particular the rivalry between the Terril's and the Hannassey's.…
Always bet on William Wyler.
For a director most well know for directing "women's pictures" and prestige films, here Wyler indulges in his most masculine film. More so than even Ben Hur directly after, this film presents a world that is ruled by the masculine ego. The need, the drive to succeed and overtake those around him - be it the women, other men, territory, etc. - and show his dominance. Even Gregory Peck, the moral center to pretty much every film he was even in, proves to still have traces of the masculine id present in his character. So it's rather interesting (maybe not the right word but the only one that came to mind at the time of me writing this) that a…
The movie was three hours long. Forgive me if I've got more than a few disconnected thoughts:
• If there's a more beautifully photographed western, man, I've never seen it. (Maybe Heaven's Gate?)
• James McKay is a character Ayn Rand might have created if Rand's objectivist ideology made room for empathy and common sense.
• I spent half the movie trying to decide whether the Hannasseys were the Hatfields or the McCoys.
• This was released on Oct. 1, 1958. Gary Cooper's Man of the West was released Nov. 1, 1958. I don't know that any other 31 days in history was more productive to the western movie genre.
• Between Peck and Ives, and Heston and Chuck Connors,…
Epic western that stars Gregory Peck as an easterner that moves west to marry his bratty wife. He ends up walking in the middle of a feud about water rights that is being fought between rich rancher Maj. Henry Terrill (Charles Bickford) and mean as a snake Rufus Hannassey (Burl Ives). Charlton Heston supports as the foreman that also wants the bratty daughter of Henry Terrill.
The feelings of the characters are pretty transparent from early on, but it's still worthwhile to watch it all play out. Burl Ives stole the show as Rufus Hannassey. He even won for Best Supporting Actor. Jean Simmons is somewhat miscast as the school teacher that owns the land the ranchers are feuding over.…
"The Big Country" is not a movie that held much appeal for me before I'd seen it. I only rented it because a guy I worked with said this was his favorite movie -- given the fact that he's about as conservative as it's physically possible to be, I had my doubts. But I owe him a huge debt of gratitude for introducing me to this magnificent film.
Director William Wyler breaks from the women-focused domestic dramas that made him famous throughout the 1940s and heads out west to tackle cowboys, ranchers and the women who love them. And what a picture he paints! Everything about this movie feels grand, but not in that lumbering, stodgy way that CinemaScope epics…
Tiene una cantidad de perfect shots importante, pero por lo demás es demasiado blandita.
Easily my favorite Western.
Um dos retratos mais consistentes e profundos da filosofia dos westerns, a ponto de parecer quase uma desconstrução. Mas mesmo encabeçado por um protagonista como o de Gregory Peck (perfeito neste papel) o filme consegue manter toda estrutura tarimbada do gênero. O que arrebata aqui, além da direção espetacular de Wyler (que tem o dom de fazer filmes quase intimistas repletos de tomadas grandiosas) são os personagens, cujo o enredo sempre leva a trama a um ambiente de insegurança e que os torna cada vez mais complexos.
Exquisite framing, genius score and compelling performances particularly Heston and Burl Ives. Occasionally the pacing drops a bit but you can wonder at the landscapes so its all good.
Lo que hace al western ser western.
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