Posts Tagged ‘Manuel “Cheyenne” Gutiérrez’

Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)  —  movie review
OUATITW is a “classic” style “spaghetti” western directed by Sergio Leone who made Clint Eastwood a movie star with his “Man With No Name” trilogy.  This movie stars Henry Fonda in a role / type reversal as the movie’s main bad guy, a killer called “Frank”.  The movie includes Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain – a New Orleans prostitute who comes out west after marrying a dirt farmer who has the foresight to buy land with the only available water in 200 miles; Jason Robards as Manuel “Cheyenne” Gutiérrez – a bandit who seems to get into and out of trouble for most of the movie, (kind of the good hearted bad guy); Charles Bronson, known only as “Harmonica” – not really a good guy, but the closest thing this movie has to one as he kills all the bad guys; and Gabriele Ferzetti as Mr. Morton – the background bad guy who hires Frank to force Jill McBain off the land, so he can take ownership.
I borrowed this DVD from my brother who claims it is one of his favorite Western genre movies of all time.  He also claims the Western genre is his favorite genre of all.  I don’t remember ever seeing this movie, so I brought it home for a look see…
My reaction: it’s good, but not great.  It’s long and I found it a bit confusing.  The movie tries to use flashbacks to explain things (particularly near the end), but it doesn’t do it well.  My brother says he remembers seeing a different version which has an additional twenty minutes and explains everything better.  Maybe, but I can only watch what’s before me…
So, does Fonda make a good baddie?  Does Robards play a convincing Mexican?  Does Bronson play a good Eastwood?  Is this a good Western?  Is this a good movie?  Three yeses and two noes.
Henry Fonda makes a surprisingly good “evil killer”.  He plays it straight and it works.  He’s believable.  Robards plays a terrible Mexican.  I didn’t even realize he WAS a Mexican.  I just thought Cheyenne was a nickname.  Even saying that, Robards plays a surprisingly great “good hearted bad guy”.  I like him.  He was threatening and likable (almost funny) at the same time.  Charles Bronson CANNOT play Clint Eastwood.  While the role was clearly written for Eastwood, Charles is just okay in it.  Not great, but okay.  And, finally, Claudia Cardinale is gorgeous.  I’ve heard her name before, but cannot honestly say I’ve ever seen her in any movies – even movies I’ve seen (LOL).  No, she is not believable in this role, but I think it would have been a tough role for any actress to pull off.  Having said this, she is good enough in the role it makes me want to see her in some of her other performances to see if she can act or if she’s just another pretty face who was okay in this role.
Is this a good Western and / or a good movie?  Yes.  To both.  Although it is LONG and a bit slow in parts, it is trying to tell a story and it mostly accomplishes that – and that (both, actually) in itself is pretty unusual for most Westerns.  I like gritty Westerns and this is one of those.  I like movies which have a story to tell and this one does.  I like movies where some of the characters evolve and some calcify, because that’s how people react in real life – and this movie shows this.  So, yeah, all in all it’s a good Western and a good movie.  It’s not Oscar material, but it’s an enjoyable watch.
Final recommendation:  Strong to highly recommended.  It’s no where near my favorite Western, but it’s a good movie and I really liked the good guy actor (Fonda) in this type reversal.
On This Day In:
2017 Faith In Science
2016 What The World Calls
2015 Say What?
2014 Start Today
2013 Fly!!
2012 Greater Love
2011 Before

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