Follow by email

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales is a well known classic of the western genre, so rather than reviewing the movie I'm going to cover the special features contained on the edition available in the
Clint Eastwood, 35 Films Box Set.

'If this movie had been released today,' Clint Eastwood tells us in the introduction for the movie. 'I think it would have got as much acclaim as, The Unforgiven.'

I've got to say I agree with Mr Eastwood and in many ways Josey Wales is a superior movie to The Unforgiven - mind you, both are excellent. The brief introduction filmed by for this DVD release is available via the special features menu as well as being present just before the start of the movie. The movie itself is surprisingly gentle on times, even whimsical and the vintage documentary - Clint Eastwood: Man of Action takes us behind the scenes of the making of the movie but emphasizes the action element of the movie. There is, of course, plenty of violent action but some of the most successful scenes concentrate on the pathos of the character and the multidimensional story told here. Nevertheless this documentary from 1976 gives us some great behind the scenes footage, but being intended as a publicity feature to promote the movie it concentrates more on the great action that will soon wow cinema audiences. There is a second documentary that gives a far better insight into the movie and the themes behind it. This documentary is a contemporary production and Eastwood is interviewed several times throughout the fascinating piece.

The special features are rounded off with the original theatrical trailer. All things considered the edition of Josey Wales in the Clint Eastwood Box Set is worthy of the movie. The special features, particularly the two documentaries are essential for fans of the movie.

Regarding Eastwood's westerns, I think I'd place Josey Wales among the top, it would certainly be in the top five. For many people it is their favourite Eastwood western, but I've always placed the Eastwood/Leone classic, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (not a part of this box set) in the NO1 spot of Eastwood westerns. Picking second place would be tough - should it be The Unforgiven? High Plains Drifter? Josey Wales? Pale Rider, even? You could also make arguments for Hang em High and Two Mules for Sister Sarah - well maybe not Sister Sarah, but it just goes to show that even Eastwood's weak westerns (and there are only two of these) are better than many westerns from other big names stars. Eastwood has made so many great westerns that rating them against each other is futile, and all of them need to be seen. In terms of iconic western stars, Eastwood is second only to the Duke himself, and some would argue that Eastwood is even more important in the development of the genre. Eastwood certainly gave us a new kind of western hero - starting off with his Man with No Name persons from the Italian oaters that made him a superstar, and refining that characters with his later American westerns. Josey Wales owes quite a lot to the Man with No Name but Wales is a much more rounded, well realized character. The Man with No Name is all style and although a brilliant creation, Wales is much more of a real man and his motivations are very clearly defined in this grim and dirty western that remains a true cinema classic.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely my favorite Eastwood Western.