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.
"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.…
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.
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…
leftist melodrama + Cold War allegory + Burl Ives
Always bet on William Wyler.
It's a William Wyler flick, so of course it's long winded and corny. But it's also brim full of interesting ideas and colourful characters. The cinematography - all bright colours, tiny humans being dwarfed by the vast, empty landscape, and ice cold, staring blue eyes - is absolutely amazing. In my book The Big Country is at least as good as The Best Years of Our Lives and Ben-Hur, a Hollywood epic of the kind they certainly don't make any more.
"William Wyler's 'The Big Country" is a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. I must admit though... the sound and fury are top notch. This is grand entertainment. Wyler really knows how to use the Widescreen format. Characters come and go in enormous open spaces that boggle the mind. Beautiful.
William Wyler knows his way around an epic, obviously as Ben Hur is one of cinema's most famous masterpieces but I may just think that I prefer this one and that is quite the accomplishment I guess.
Gregory Peck is a city man who comes to the wild and big country following his fiancee who lives on a ranch. The two met in the city and have had to miss each other some time. He is, however, not quite prepared for country life with some bad elements, intrigue, land disputes, gun play, cattle wars, another man vying for the affections of his fiancee and so on and so forth. He is Gregory Peck though, so you know he is not…
Beautifully shot western with the always charismatic Gregory Peck tackles many of those age old genre themes: civilization vs frontier, private justice vs institutional law, the weak vs the strong, and so on and so fourth. The plot revolves around outsider James McKay, who moves to a small town and finds himself embroiled in a land feud between two families. It's a pretty standard classical Hollywood western, but it feels appropriately big, the characters are multidimensional, and the story is compelling.
Late 50s western starring Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Burl Ives, and Chuck Connors. Heston was fourth-billed, believe it or not, after starring in the Ten Commandments. Apparently his agent convinced him to take the supporting role in order to work with Wyler, who then gave Heston the starring role the next year in Ben-Hur, which won him the acting Oscar.
Peck is a sea captain who fell in love with a woman from the west. She's the daughter of a rich, powerful man who is in a near-constant state of low-level war with another rich, powerful man. Both want a water source that is owned by a beautiful "school marm" who lets both water their cattle…
Sprawling epic land dispute movie w/ great score, long fight & TWO duels.
Every William Wyler directed film I see affirms in my mind that he is one of the greatest film directors our nation has ever seen. Nominated for 12 directing Academy Awards, while winning 3, Wilder stands on the same heights as other old-time directing giants such as John Ford, John Huston, David Lean, Orson Wells, and Billy Wilder.
THE BIG COUNTRY, the film Wilder made only a year before his most accomplished cinematic work to date, BEN-HUR, is an exquisite work all on it's own. It features Gregory Peck as James McKay, an east coast gentleman and man of many principles, who journeys to the wild west in order to facilitate marriage plans with the daughter of a local cattle…
Gregory Peck : what a personality !
A joint project with Gregory Peck (he and William Wyler produced) about what happens when a man challenges, through refusal to kowtow, the social norms of his environment. The two families-in-a-long-standing-feud story carries the kind of history stewing that befits a film of this scope. And what a scope. Shot in CinemaScope, Franz F. Planer drowns the characters in vista without, critically, losing the human intimacy that often evaporates when working in widescreen framing. Lots of Westerns showcase beautiful landscape photography, but strong depth of field here that one wonders how all this land fits on the screen at all. That may sound like Wyler and company squished the land into the frame, like an overflowing suitcase being shoved down…
Really enjoyable western. It's almost three hour running time flew by for me. Gregory Peck is terrific in his role, and Burl Ives is great as well. Good story, acting, characters, and direction.
Well, here's the results for The Letterboxd Community's 50 Favourite Westerns. I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this…