Blake Edwards’ Sunset

The recent success of Hugo and The Artist has sparked interest in the silent era and film history in the press and among the public. This attention has already waned, but, in an era when silent film is completely off the radar of most movie-goers, entertainment reporters, and bloggers, the focus was nice while it lasted. As a film studies instructor, I have taken advantage of both films to help my students connect to silent film in a way previous classes could not. After spending a week grading midterm papers, I am proud of my students who wrote about the films with depth and feeling, analyzing everything from the differences between silent and sound-film acting to references to movies or historical figures to the filmmaking techniques used by the directors. I was gratified that students applied what they had learned about Georges Melies and his special effects to draw comparisons to the CGI-laden films of their generation, and I was touched by their passionate declarations that the pioneer should never be forgotten.  Though some of my colleagues dismissed the Oscar-winning The Artist as a pleasant trifle, my students recognized the visual techniques director Michel Hazanavicius used to complement the actors’ performances and to compensate for the lack of spoken dialogue. I liked The Artist very much, but their observations and discoveries made me appreciate the film even more. Recognizing techniques, references, and ideas beyond the level of plot is like having the keys to unlock any film, and, once my students realize this, they are excited by the possibilities.

The prominence of Hugo and The Artist combined with my students’ clever critiques of both films reminded me of another movie set in the silent era that references historical events and real-life film legends. Directed by Blake Edwards, Sunset features Bruce Willis as cowboy star Tom Mix and James Garner as Wild West legend Wyatt Earp. In honor of both Bruce Willis and Wyatt Earp’s birthday, which is today, I thought it fitting to bring some attention to this film.

BRUCE WILLIS WITH BLAKE EDWARDS

The story is loosely based on the last phase of the famous lawman’s career when he served as a technical adviser on Hollywood westerns. Edwards, who made several films about the illusory nature of show business and the dark side of the film industry (S.O.B; Victor Victoria; The Party), set the film in the late 1920s, but his focus is not the technological revolution wrought by the coming of sound. Instead, Edwards concentrates on another aspect of Hollywood in the late 1920s—the consolidation of power in the studios, putting creative and financial control in the hands of studio moguls. The 1920s milieu as depicted by Edwards was an allegory for the Hollywood of the late 1980s, when the corporate-owned studios had wrested creative control from the auteurs and major directors of the film school generation (late 1960s to early 1980s). In Sunset, behind the onscreen heroism, romance, and fantasy is an off-screen world dominated by liars, users, pseudo-talents, and power-crazed executives with delusions of grandeur.

THOUGH WILLIS PLAYED MIX WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF HIS OWN STAR IMAGE, HE DID CAPTURE MIX'S FLAMBOYANT SIDE.

Bruce Willis costars in one of his early big-screen leading roles. In keeping with the film’s allusion to contemporary Hollywood, Willis plays Tom Mix as a version of his own star image—the charismatic smart-aleck who is as quick with a quip as he is with a gun. Garner, a recognizable star of small-screen and big-screen westerns from another generation, complements Willis with an understated, authoritative performance as Earp. Willis’s and Garner’s status in the film industry at the time mirror that of their onscreen characters as brash newcomer and respected veteran, novice and mentor.  Like Earp, who was basking in his glory as an icon of the real West in the 1920s, Garner plays his part like he has nothing to prove.

Edwards draws an interesting analogy between movie stars of the 20th century and Wild West legends of the 19th century by positing them both as “products” of the press. Reporters exaggerated and mythologized the lives of both movie stars and western figures to sell newspapers, dime novels, and fanzines. Earp pokes fun at Mix’s supposed heroism in the Spanish-American and Boer Wars, neither of which he participated in. But, as Mix notes, “If it’s in print, it’s gotta be true.” Earp hints that his own exploits were also the stuff of myth: When a scriptwriter asks him if their cinematic re-creation of the Gunfight of the OK Corral was “really the way it was,” Wyatt responds, “Absolutely, give or take a lie or two,” which becomes the catch phrase of the film. Edwards is constantly warning us not to believe what we are seeing despite his use of historical figures and real-life events, just like all of Hollywood trades in illusion, fantasy, or outright lies despite any claims to history or fact.

IN 'SUNSET,' GARNER AND WILLIS COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER.

Unfortunately, reviewers did not heed these warnings, even after the opening credit sequence—a cliched western scene in which a cowboy rides his dashing steed to rescue a damsel in distress from an out-of-control wagon. Viewers are led to believe that the scene is part of the main narrative of Sunset until the credits are over, and Edwards pulls back the curtain, so to speak, to reveal that it is a movie within a movie—and therefore make-believe. Thus, he sets us up from the beginning not to believe what we see. Apparently reviewers did not get the point, because most were ruthless in their condemnation of the film for being inaccurate and for mixing historical legends of the Wild West with movie stars and 20th century gangsters. Even the illustrious Roger Ebert wondered in his review what Wyatt Earp could possibly have in common with Tom Mix. I guess he missed their exchanges about image, mythmaking and the role of the popular press in both—a key part of Edwards’ message.

I have always found Wyatt Earp’s final years fascinating because he inadvertently participated in the mythologizing of the Old West by earning a living as a technical consultant in the movies. How bizarre it must have been for Earp to see phony re-creations of famous frontier towns or actors in make-up re-enacting the exploits of real-life figures he had known. Earp officially consulted on the glossy westerns of Tom Mix and on the more naturalistic dramas of William S. Hart, though countless directors claimed the famous lawman also confided Wild West truths to them, including John Ford. Alan Dwan maintained that he cast the old lawman as an extra in The Half-Breed starring Douglas Fairbanks, though Earp biographers dispute this. Earp’s name pops up in many biographies of famous figures of the period, attesting to the way he was embraced by  the Hollywood “colony”—as the insiders’ circle was called back in the day.  At the conclusion of Sunset, Earp takes a train to return to the real West after “cleaning up Hollywood” by solving a murder mystery with Mix; in reality, he spent the last years of his life at 4004 W. 17th Street in Los Angeles. According to writer Adela Rogers St. John, Mix wept openly at Earp’s funeral in 1929.

WILLIAM S. HART (THIRD FROM THE RIGHT) & TOM MIX (FAR RIGHT) ATTEND WYATT EARP'S FUNERAL IN 1929.

Though Edwards plays fast and loose with the facts for his own purposes, I still get a kick out of recognizing the references. His stepfather’s father, J. Gordon Edwards, was a director during the 1920s, and he likely heard the stories, rumors, and legends of the time first-hand. When Sunset was released, much was made of Malcolm McDowell as Alfie Alperin, a character identified as a fictionalized Charlie Chaplin. In the storyline, Alfie had gained fame and power through his portrayal of a comic character known as the Happy Hobo, a take-off on Chaplin’s Little Tramp. Like Chaplin during that era, Alfie owns his own production studio and has become a giant in the film industry. But, Alfie Alperin only echoes Chaplin’s career trajectory, because nothing in the comic’s real life suggests the abusive, incestuous brute that McDowell portrays. Instead, Alperin is more likely a composite of those megalomaniacal studio moguls and producers who espoused wholesome values in their films but were a bit twisted in their personal lives. Alfie’s tendency to break out bits of his old act during conversations and meetings reminded me of the stories of Jack Warner, who had begun as a performer in vaudeville. Apparently, Warner liked to “entertain” captive audiences at industry functions, formal parties, and during staff meetings by telling his ancient jokes or breaking into song.  Like the characters in the movie, people around Warner endured his hammy antics because he wielded power over many of them.  Also, I recognized the subplot involving the blackmail of Alperin as a nod to a famous Hollywood scandal. Alfie was squelching information about an incident aboard his yacht that led to the death of his first wife—an echo of the killing of Thomas Ince aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht in 1924.

MALCOLM McDOWELL AS ALFIE ALPERIN: READY TO ENTERTAIN AT THE DROP OF A HAT.

One of Sunset’s most outrageous in-jokes is the Candy Store, a Hollywood brothel in which the girls were made up to resemble actual movie stars. When Tom and Wyatt visit the Candy Store as part of their investigation, they run into women who appear to be Greta Garbo, Janet Gaynor, and Pola Negri. As they are about to exit, a Mae West look-alike strolls by muttering something humorous under her breath, though the film’s 1920s time frame is too early for West’s heyday in Hollywood. The idea of prostitutes made up to look like movie stars will sound familiar to fans of Curtis Hanson’s 1997 film noir L.A. Confidential, which was based on a book by James Ellroy. A cathouse consisting movie star look-a-likes is a legendary tale about old Hollywood that was given validity in writer Garson Kanin’s memoir Hollywood.  Kanin describes “Mae’s” as an exclusive establishment frequented by film industry employees and actors during his early years as a Hollywood screenwriter. The prostitutes, who resembled Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Claudette Colbert, and other leading ladies of the Golden Age, were expected to research the latest onscreen appearances, on-set gossip, and off-screen innuendos of the stars they impersonated to appear more authentic and to fulfill their customers’ fantasies.  Kanin suggested that men went to Mae’s to satisfy the fantasies hinted at but never delivered in the stars’ films or to relieve the tensions of working with the real actresses on the set.

EARP AND MIX VISIT THE CANDY STORE IN 'SUNSET.' UNFORTUNATELY, THE GIRLS ARE MISSING FROM THIS FILM STILL.

While Sunset is not as coherent or well scripted as The Artist or Hugo, and the main female characters are dull, offensive, or downright annoying, the film has more to offer than reviews of the time suggested. As in Hugo or The Artist, the history that serves at the basis for the story is not intended to be historically accurate. If you liked the way that Hugo and The Artist used film history to suggest something about the artistry or nature of cinema, give Sunset a try. It’s truthful enough, give or take a lie or two.

0 Response Blake Edwards’ Sunset
Posted By DBenson : March 19, 2012 2:13 pm

I remember being a bit frustrated by “Sunset” because it felt like they were picking up and casting aside really interesting angles.

At first, you think it’s going to be Earp vs. Mix — the real West versus the Hollywood myth, the old pro versus the young poser, old school Garner versus hot Willis. But the two slip into a buddy relationship almost instantly (Here, as in real life, Mix is as much the genuine article as Earp).

Okay, fine. It’s going to be two amiable, self-aware pardners versus the pretty but deadly Hollywood. But again, there’s no conflict. As you note, Hollywood might as well be the kind of lawless frontier town both men feel perfectly at home in. But at the same time, Earp and Mix might as well be the usual trench coat boys working the off-camera demimonde. I kept waiting for a culture clash — cowboys fooled and blinded by glitter; or moguls blindsided by real versions of their fantasy product. Neither ever happened. The idea of Wild West lawmen fitting so seamlessly into the dream factory is intellectually appealing, but too quiet for a movie.

In the end you have a better-than-average mystery film with a novel setting. What dilutes the enjoyment is the sense of a real classic almost but never quite happening.

Posted By DBenson : March 19, 2012 2:13 pm

I remember being a bit frustrated by “Sunset” because it felt like they were picking up and casting aside really interesting angles.

At first, you think it’s going to be Earp vs. Mix — the real West versus the Hollywood myth, the old pro versus the young poser, old school Garner versus hot Willis. But the two slip into a buddy relationship almost instantly (Here, as in real life, Mix is as much the genuine article as Earp).

Okay, fine. It’s going to be two amiable, self-aware pardners versus the pretty but deadly Hollywood. But again, there’s no conflict. As you note, Hollywood might as well be the kind of lawless frontier town both men feel perfectly at home in. But at the same time, Earp and Mix might as well be the usual trench coat boys working the off-camera demimonde. I kept waiting for a culture clash — cowboys fooled and blinded by glitter; or moguls blindsided by real versions of their fantasy product. Neither ever happened. The idea of Wild West lawmen fitting so seamlessly into the dream factory is intellectually appealing, but too quiet for a movie.

In the end you have a better-than-average mystery film with a novel setting. What dilutes the enjoyment is the sense of a real classic almost but never quite happening.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 19, 2012 3:23 pm

DBenson: I can’t disagree with you. I felt the same way the first time I saw it. I saw it a few days ago just by chance, and I liked it better because I knew what I was getting into. I really appreciated Garner and Willis more than I did the first time. They had such good timing, and both were charismatic in a different way–which fit their characters. And, I got more out of McDowell’s character, because I know more now about the old moguls and could recognize bits of their lives and personalities in him.

But, I have to say that the women characters don’t get better on repeated viewings. I actually disliked them more.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 19, 2012 3:23 pm

DBenson: I can’t disagree with you. I felt the same way the first time I saw it. I saw it a few days ago just by chance, and I liked it better because I knew what I was getting into. I really appreciated Garner and Willis more than I did the first time. They had such good timing, and both were charismatic in a different way–which fit their characters. And, I got more out of McDowell’s character, because I know more now about the old moguls and could recognize bits of their lives and personalities in him.

But, I have to say that the women characters don’t get better on repeated viewings. I actually disliked them more.

Posted By Kingrat : March 19, 2012 4:16 pm

Thanks for bringing our attention to this film. It’s great to hear how your students gained so much insight into silent films. I suspect they had a good teacher, too.

Posted By Kingrat : March 19, 2012 4:16 pm

Thanks for bringing our attention to this film. It’s great to hear how your students gained so much insight into silent films. I suspect they had a good teacher, too.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 19, 2012 5:43 pm

Kingrat: Thank you so much. I try very hard to expose my students to films from all eras and to instill some passion in them for movies outside their too-narrow comfort zones.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 19, 2012 5:43 pm

Kingrat: Thank you so much. I try very hard to expose my students to films from all eras and to instill some passion in them for movies outside their too-narrow comfort zones.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 1:48 am

I have actually been thinking about this movie recently, due in part to seeing The Artist and Hugo. I originally saw this movie about 20 years ago. My dad was a big Tom Mix fan so we watched it together. I remember it bein kind of fun, but in the end, a little lackluster. I have considere rewatching it lately.

Speaking of Ince and Hearst, The Cat’s Meow deals with that particular incident aboard the yacht. It’s worth a look. It’s not great, but Eddie Izzard plays Charlie Chaplin, which is almost inspired casting and Edward Herrmann embodies William Randolph Hearst. Cary Elwes plays Ince and Kirsten Dunst plays Hearst’s arm candy, Marion Davies.

Also, a great movie set around shooting a silent film is Shadow of the Vampire with John Malkovich as F.W. Murnau and a creepy Willem Dafoe as possible, actual Nosferatu, Max Schreck. That one is definitely worth a look.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 1:48 am

I have actually been thinking about this movie recently, due in part to seeing The Artist and Hugo. I originally saw this movie about 20 years ago. My dad was a big Tom Mix fan so we watched it together. I remember it bein kind of fun, but in the end, a little lackluster. I have considere rewatching it lately.

Speaking of Ince and Hearst, The Cat’s Meow deals with that particular incident aboard the yacht. It’s worth a look. It’s not great, but Eddie Izzard plays Charlie Chaplin, which is almost inspired casting and Edward Herrmann embodies William Randolph Hearst. Cary Elwes plays Ince and Kirsten Dunst plays Hearst’s arm candy, Marion Davies.

Also, a great movie set around shooting a silent film is Shadow of the Vampire with John Malkovich as F.W. Murnau and a creepy Willem Dafoe as possible, actual Nosferatu, Max Schreck. That one is definitely worth a look.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 1:50 am

D’oh! Typos aplenty!

I just realized that Eddie Izzard was also in Shadow of the Vampire. Cool.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 1:50 am

D’oh! Typos aplenty!

I just realized that Eddie Izzard was also in Shadow of the Vampire. Cool.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 1:51 am

Dukeroberts: We are on the same wave length. I wrote about The Cat’s Meow in my first year as a Morlock. (Since this is my 200th post, that was a while ago). And, Shadow of the Vampire is playing this week at the midnight movie where I work (Facets).

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 1:51 am

Dukeroberts: We are on the same wave length. I wrote about The Cat’s Meow in my first year as a Morlock. (Since this is my 200th post, that was a while ago). And, Shadow of the Vampire is playing this week at the midnight movie where I work (Facets).

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 1:53 am

I love Shadow of the Vampire. I drove to another county, over 45 minutes away, just to see Shadow when it came out. It didn’t come to my town.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 1:53 am

I love Shadow of the Vampire. I drove to another county, over 45 minutes away, just to see Shadow when it came out. It didn’t come to my town.

Posted By Shuvcat : March 20, 2012 1:59 am

This post reminded me of a movie I saw recently which reminded me a lot of a silent film, even though it was definitely not from the silent era. I couldn’t remember which movie it was, only that it was rumored to be a bad cult movie, and it was definitely bad but even while watching I was impressed by how it got the story across without speech. Finally I remembered: it was 1 Million B.C. starring Raquel Welch! A film almost completely without spoken English, yet none of the (admittedly sparse) story was lost. For all the cheesiness and flaws of this camp classic, the one thing they got right was communicating the story without sound, which is what silents did.

Posted By Shuvcat : March 20, 2012 1:59 am

This post reminded me of a movie I saw recently which reminded me a lot of a silent film, even though it was definitely not from the silent era. I couldn’t remember which movie it was, only that it was rumored to be a bad cult movie, and it was definitely bad but even while watching I was impressed by how it got the story across without speech. Finally I remembered: it was 1 Million B.C. starring Raquel Welch! A film almost completely without spoken English, yet none of the (admittedly sparse) story was lost. For all the cheesiness and flaws of this camp classic, the one thing they got right was communicating the story without sound, which is what silents did.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 2:03 am

Shuvcat: There’s another film similar to One Million Years BC called Quest for Fire that is also not very good but impressive because there is no dialogue. A really good example of storytelling without much dialogue is The Bear, which chronicles a year in the life of a bear cub. There is only one sequence with dialogue. It’s the editing that tells the story.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 2:03 am

Shuvcat: There’s another film similar to One Million Years BC called Quest for Fire that is also not very good but impressive because there is no dialogue. A really good example of storytelling without much dialogue is The Bear, which chronicles a year in the life of a bear cub. There is only one sequence with dialogue. It’s the editing that tells the story.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 2:33 am

One Million Years B.C. is only memorable for Raquel Welch’s fur bikini. That alone makes it worth watching. They don’t talk in it? Yeah, now that you mention it, they don’t, do they? Rewind to that fur bikini again….

Posted By dukeroberts : March 20, 2012 2:33 am

One Million Years B.C. is only memorable for Raquel Welch’s fur bikini. That alone makes it worth watching. They don’t talk in it? Yeah, now that you mention it, they don’t, do they? Rewind to that fur bikini again….

Posted By swac44 : March 20, 2012 8:08 am

As I recall, there is dialogue of sorts in Quest for Fire, but it’s not meant to be understood by the viewer, I think A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess was hired to help create the primitive tribe’s spoken language. Of course, we do pick up things in the nuances of what’s being uttered.

I remember liking Sunset at the time it came out as a lighthearted Hollywood romp, while recognizing that it wasn’t anything near an accurate portrayal of either Earp or Mix. Mix was a fascinating character, and a huge star in his day, that’d be worth revisiting in film form. Too bad more of his stuff wasn’t available, the films of his I’ve seen have been highly entertaining.

Posted By swac44 : March 20, 2012 8:08 am

As I recall, there is dialogue of sorts in Quest for Fire, but it’s not meant to be understood by the viewer, I think A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess was hired to help create the primitive tribe’s spoken language. Of course, we do pick up things in the nuances of what’s being uttered.

I remember liking Sunset at the time it came out as a lighthearted Hollywood romp, while recognizing that it wasn’t anything near an accurate portrayal of either Earp or Mix. Mix was a fascinating character, and a huge star in his day, that’d be worth revisiting in film form. Too bad more of his stuff wasn’t available, the films of his I’ve seen have been highly entertaining.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 20, 2012 3:17 pm

I have to say right away that I’m a fan of Blake Edwards’ movies, I’ve seen so many of them over the years. I really love James Garner a lot! Not in an overly romatic way, though he always was so handsome. He looked a lot like my Granddad did as a young man, so for me between the family resemblence and his constant presence on our TV, he is a special person to me. The film “Sunset” sounds good, I’d like to see it. Love the photos. To Duke Roberts: You mentioned “Shadow of the Vampire”, I never saw that in the theatre, but did watch it with my younger sister on TV. I don’t really go for all that vampire stuff but she does, however,”Shadow of the Vampire” was so funny! It had a great cast. I wrote about that movie back in Oct.2011:”Reimagining a Classic:Werner Herzog’s NOSFERATU”. I felt like nobody noticed my comment. I often feel Duke Roberts both notices and appreciates my comments on these blogs. Gracias!

Posted By Juana Maria : March 20, 2012 3:17 pm

I have to say right away that I’m a fan of Blake Edwards’ movies, I’ve seen so many of them over the years. I really love James Garner a lot! Not in an overly romatic way, though he always was so handsome. He looked a lot like my Granddad did as a young man, so for me between the family resemblence and his constant presence on our TV, he is a special person to me. The film “Sunset” sounds good, I’d like to see it. Love the photos. To Duke Roberts: You mentioned “Shadow of the Vampire”, I never saw that in the theatre, but did watch it with my younger sister on TV. I don’t really go for all that vampire stuff but she does, however,”Shadow of the Vampire” was so funny! It had a great cast. I wrote about that movie back in Oct.2011:”Reimagining a Classic:Werner Herzog’s NOSFERATU”. I felt like nobody noticed my comment. I often feel Duke Roberts both notices and appreciates my comments on these blogs. Gracias!

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 3:38 pm

Juana Maria: Hey, I notice your comments. Even if I don’t always respond directly to them, I notice everyone who comments on my blog posts, because I appreciate them. It’s flattering to have regulars who read my stuff, and you and Dukeroberts are among my most loyal.

And, I am a huge James Garner fan, too, ever since I was a kid and watched Maverick reruns. You would like him in this movie. Though Sunset has its faults, Garner’s interpretation of Wyatt Earp is flawless.

Also, like I mentioned above, we are showing Shadow of the Vampire where I work in Chicago this weekend for the midnight movie. Too bad you and Dukeroberts don’t live close by.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 3:38 pm

Juana Maria: Hey, I notice your comments. Even if I don’t always respond directly to them, I notice everyone who comments on my blog posts, because I appreciate them. It’s flattering to have regulars who read my stuff, and you and Dukeroberts are among my most loyal.

And, I am a huge James Garner fan, too, ever since I was a kid and watched Maverick reruns. You would like him in this movie. Though Sunset has its faults, Garner’s interpretation of Wyatt Earp is flawless.

Also, like I mentioned above, we are showing Shadow of the Vampire where I work in Chicago this weekend for the midnight movie. Too bad you and Dukeroberts don’t live close by.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 20, 2012 3:53 pm

James Garner also portrayed Wyatt Earp in “Hour of the Gun”(1967)which is the sequel to John Sturges’ “Gunfight ar the OK Corral”. On the subject of Garner’s resemblemce to my family, it could be because he is of Cherokee descent, because I am too. Susan Doll, for the sake of Internet safety I try not to divulge where it is I live. So where do you think I live? I’m not trying to be rude with my question, I’m just curious.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 20, 2012 3:53 pm

James Garner also portrayed Wyatt Earp in “Hour of the Gun”(1967)which is the sequel to John Sturges’ “Gunfight ar the OK Corral”. On the subject of Garner’s resemblemce to my family, it could be because he is of Cherokee descent, because I am too. Susan Doll, for the sake of Internet safety I try not to divulge where it is I live. So where do you think I live? I’m not trying to be rude with my question, I’m just curious.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 4:25 pm

Juana Maria: I have heard of Hour of the Gun, but I have not seen it. It would be interesting to watch the two movies and compare the interpretations.

I have no idea where you live but since the Morlocks blogsite has a national reader base, the odds of you living in Chicago are low. I just assume that the majority of readers do not live near me.

Posted By Susan Doll : March 20, 2012 4:25 pm

Juana Maria: I have heard of Hour of the Gun, but I have not seen it. It would be interesting to watch the two movies and compare the interpretations.

I have no idea where you live but since the Morlocks blogsite has a national reader base, the odds of you living in Chicago are low. I just assume that the majority of readers do not live near me.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 20, 2012 8:50 pm

“Hour of the Gun” is for me a scary movie, I just don’t like seeing Jim Garner so mean! He just isn’t his usual funny likable “Maverick” or “Rockford” character. Robert Ryan is almost more likable than Garner in that film. Robert Ryan usually gives me a certain amount of goosebumps, though I have deep respect for his acting. He is just such a presence onscreen.(Watch “The Naked Spur” or “Caught” for examples of what I mean.)
True, Susan Doll, I don’t live in or around Chicago, but that still leaves a lot of places I could be..P.S. Thanks for writing me back! I didn’t mean to imply with my previous posts that you don’t care about me as reader.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 20, 2012 8:50 pm

“Hour of the Gun” is for me a scary movie, I just don’t like seeing Jim Garner so mean! He just isn’t his usual funny likable “Maverick” or “Rockford” character. Robert Ryan is almost more likable than Garner in that film. Robert Ryan usually gives me a certain amount of goosebumps, though I have deep respect for his acting. He is just such a presence onscreen.(Watch “The Naked Spur” or “Caught” for examples of what I mean.)
True, Susan Doll, I don’t live in or around Chicago, but that still leaves a lot of places I could be..P.S. Thanks for writing me back! I didn’t mean to imply with my previous posts that you don’t care about me as reader.

Posted By jbryant : March 20, 2012 8:53 pm

Susan: As you may know, QUEST FOR FIRE and THE BEAR were both directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.

I finally caught SUNSET a few years ago and really liked it (Garner is indeed just great). I think the jumble of genres may have hurt it with the public and critics: it has elements of Western, comedy, mystery, film noir, and show biz biopics, with a moment in the climax that wouldn’t be out of place in a slasher movie. But the mixture of the comic and the sordid is not untypical of Edwards, and it makes for an interesting movie. Any lighter, and the film would float away; any darker, and it would be unbearable. Astonishingly, Edwards “won” the Razzie Award for Worst Director for this fine film!

I couldn’t stand SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, except for Dafoe’s inspired performance. It seemed obviously padded (the opening credits go on forever), and it has a lot of anachronisms in the way it represents silent film production. Great idea, poor execution, IMO.

Posted By jbryant : March 20, 2012 8:53 pm

Susan: As you may know, QUEST FOR FIRE and THE BEAR were both directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.

I finally caught SUNSET a few years ago and really liked it (Garner is indeed just great). I think the jumble of genres may have hurt it with the public and critics: it has elements of Western, comedy, mystery, film noir, and show biz biopics, with a moment in the climax that wouldn’t be out of place in a slasher movie. But the mixture of the comic and the sordid is not untypical of Edwards, and it makes for an interesting movie. Any lighter, and the film would float away; any darker, and it would be unbearable. Astonishingly, Edwards “won” the Razzie Award for Worst Director for this fine film!

I couldn’t stand SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, except for Dafoe’s inspired performance. It seemed obviously padded (the opening credits go on forever), and it has a lot of anachronisms in the way it represents silent film production. Great idea, poor execution, IMO.

Posted By Jenni : March 20, 2012 11:38 pm

I remember ads about Sunset when it first came to theaters, but I didn’t seek it out. During the summer, I watched PBS’s American Experience, all about Wyatt Earp. As the historians discussed the Gunfight at the OK Corral, John Ford’s version with Henry Fonda kept replaying in my mind. I found it utterly fascinating that Earp not only consulted on the early Western films, but he also wrote many fan letters to actors and directors about those Westerns, which is probably what brought about the consulting that he was asked to do. Interesting post, and now I do want to view Sunset, poorly drawn women characters in it and all.

Posted By Jenni : March 20, 2012 11:38 pm

I remember ads about Sunset when it first came to theaters, but I didn’t seek it out. During the summer, I watched PBS’s American Experience, all about Wyatt Earp. As the historians discussed the Gunfight at the OK Corral, John Ford’s version with Henry Fonda kept replaying in my mind. I found it utterly fascinating that Earp not only consulted on the early Western films, but he also wrote many fan letters to actors and directors about those Westerns, which is probably what brought about the consulting that he was asked to do. Interesting post, and now I do want to view Sunset, poorly drawn women characters in it and all.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 21, 2012 12:51 am

Juana- Shall we play “Where’s Juana?” I’ll guess out west, Oklahoma or Texas way.

Wow! So much love for Dukeroberts in the above posts. It makes me blush. Gracias and de nada, Juana. And thanks for the shout out, Suzi.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 21, 2012 12:51 am

Juana- Shall we play “Where’s Juana?” I’ll guess out west, Oklahoma or Texas way.

Wow! So much love for Dukeroberts in the above posts. It makes me blush. Gracias and de nada, Juana. And thanks for the shout out, Suzi.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 21, 2012 9:36 pm

Duke Roberts: Thanks for writing me again! Hola mi amigo. I have family in Okalahoma & Texas, being Cherokee and other Native American peoples,and Scotch-Irish mixed together. I don’t have the blue eyes and dark combination that Ben Johnson had. Drat! I always think that looks great. I look Cherokee in that I have very dark hair and very dark eyes(they’re almost black),my skin is light in the winter, but I tan instantly in warmer weather. People often peg me as “Mexican” but I’m not really offended by that. I have a lot of Tex-Mex family. Which I am proud of. Famlia es todo(Family is everything.)Happy trails!P.s. Have any of you ever been to the Cowboy Museum or the Native American Museum out in OK? I haven’t. Sure wish I could one day. This little cowgirl can dream,right? Adios.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 21, 2012 9:36 pm

Duke Roberts: Thanks for writing me again! Hola mi amigo. I have family in Okalahoma & Texas, being Cherokee and other Native American peoples,and Scotch-Irish mixed together. I don’t have the blue eyes and dark combination that Ben Johnson had. Drat! I always think that looks great. I look Cherokee in that I have very dark hair and very dark eyes(they’re almost black),my skin is light in the winter, but I tan instantly in warmer weather. People often peg me as “Mexican” but I’m not really offended by that. I have a lot of Tex-Mex family. Which I am proud of. Famlia es todo(Family is everything.)Happy trails!P.s. Have any of you ever been to the Cowboy Museum or the Native American Museum out in OK? I haven’t. Sure wish I could one day. This little cowgirl can dream,right? Adios.

Posted By Lisa W. : March 21, 2012 11:38 pm

Thanks so much, Suzi for consistently introducing me to films I do not know and learn that I’d like to know, OR deepening my understanding or enjoyment of films I’ve seen. I don’t always comment (bad, I know!) but I do always read and appreciate what you have to say. Congratulations on your 200th blog post! Can’t wait to read the next 200! Thanks.

Posted By Lisa W. : March 21, 2012 11:38 pm

Thanks so much, Suzi for consistently introducing me to films I do not know and learn that I’d like to know, OR deepening my understanding or enjoyment of films I’ve seen. I don’t always comment (bad, I know!) but I do always read and appreciate what you have to say. Congratulations on your 200th blog post! Can’t wait to read the next 200! Thanks.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 22, 2012 8:09 pm

Duke Roberts:Your comment,Shall we play,”Where’s Juana?” reminded me of Where’s Waldo? and Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? It was supposed to,right? Cute, I haven’t thought about those shows in awhile. Thanks for writing me. Where do you live and what do you look like? I have pondered on that a lot! We can’t see each face to face, so I try to use my over active imagination.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 22, 2012 8:09 pm

Duke Roberts:Your comment,Shall we play,”Where’s Juana?” reminded me of Where’s Waldo? and Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? It was supposed to,right? Cute, I haven’t thought about those shows in awhile. Thanks for writing me. Where do you live and what do you look like? I have pondered on that a lot! We can’t see each face to face, so I try to use my over active imagination.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 23, 2012 10:59 am

I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I won’t tell you what I look like. It would ruin my mystique.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 23, 2012 10:59 am

I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I won’t tell you what I look like. It would ruin my mystique.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 24, 2012 2:14 pm

Duke Roberts: You’re silly! I already knew you live in FL because of your comments in the ZAAAT!! article, you are shorter than John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart & Gary Cooper, all of whom are favorites of mine! I watch them devotely on TCM and AMCtv. I think you have dark hair, brown or black, because the majority of the wolrd’s population do. So the odds of you having dark hair & eyes is great. I have mostly dominate genes. I take after my father, he is the one with the Native American(Indian) background. I have wanted to tease you for so long and say why are you “Duke” after John wayne or are you royalty? Haha. Asios mi amigo.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 24, 2012 2:14 pm

Duke Roberts: You’re silly! I already knew you live in FL because of your comments in the ZAAAT!! article, you are shorter than John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart & Gary Cooper, all of whom are favorites of mine! I watch them devotely on TCM and AMCtv. I think you have dark hair, brown or black, because the majority of the wolrd’s population do. So the odds of you having dark hair & eyes is great. I have mostly dominate genes. I take after my father, he is the one with the Native American(Indian) background. I have wanted to tease you for so long and say why are you “Duke” after John wayne or are you royalty? Haha. Asios mi amigo.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 24, 2012 2:16 pm

I misspelled “Adios” sorry.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 24, 2012 2:16 pm

I misspelled “Adios” sorry.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 26, 2012 11:21 pm

Good guesses, Juana, but all wrong. Except for the “Duke” part. I did steal that name from John Wayne about 20 years ago. I am shorter than John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper, but they were 6’4″ and 6’3″, so I’m not necessarily short.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 26, 2012 11:21 pm

Good guesses, Juana, but all wrong. Except for the “Duke” part. I did steal that name from John Wayne about 20 years ago. I am shorter than John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper, but they were 6’4″ and 6’3″, so I’m not necessarily short.

Posted By Juana Maria : March 27, 2012 12:28 pm

Duke Roberts: Thanks for writing me back. Do you have blue eyes like the actors you mentioned? I love blue eyes since blue is my favorite color. You are not dark haired and are not very tall, so you must have red or blond hair then. Hmm? I would not say you stole the nickname”Duke”, it is a homage to John Wayne, who must be your favorite actor,huh? He is one of mine too. I have watched around 115 of his movies. Yes, I have! Early Saturday mornings on AMCtv,over the years and every tribute or marathon of his fims on TCM. Do you look like Kirk Douglas? Albert Salmi? Stephen Boyd? OR Dennis Hopper?(another one of my favorite actors, who I miss very much.)

Posted By Juana Maria : March 27, 2012 12:28 pm

Duke Roberts: Thanks for writing me back. Do you have blue eyes like the actors you mentioned? I love blue eyes since blue is my favorite color. You are not dark haired and are not very tall, so you must have red or blond hair then. Hmm? I would not say you stole the nickname”Duke”, it is a homage to John Wayne, who must be your favorite actor,huh? He is one of mine too. I have watched around 115 of his movies. Yes, I have! Early Saturday mornings on AMCtv,over the years and every tribute or marathon of his fims on TCM. Do you look like Kirk Douglas? Albert Salmi? Stephen Boyd? OR Dennis Hopper?(another one of my favorite actors, who I miss very much.)

Posted By dukeroberts : March 28, 2012 12:49 am

Hey, Juana. I can tell you that other stuff in another forum if you like. I’m sure the other posters don’t find me nearly as interesting. My email address is dukeroberts@yahoo.com.

Posted By dukeroberts : March 28, 2012 12:49 am

Hey, Juana. I can tell you that other stuff in another forum if you like. I’m sure the other posters don’t find me nearly as interesting. My email address is dukeroberts@yahoo.com.

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