Tag Archives: Charles Bronson

The Gunslinger That Cannot Be Killed

23 Jan

In 1960, audiences went to the theaters and watched The Magnificent Seven, a Western that stars Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and a lot of other great actors. However, the leader of the Seven and the most memorable character is Chris, the black-clad gunslinger played by Yul Brynner.magnificent-seven

It was an iconic role and a memorable character for anyone who loves Westerns, but it could not be known that this character would live on in different incarnations and different genres. There have been many characters that have graced the screen in multiple films, but it is possible that none of them have a journey similar to this one.

The 1960s had sequels. There was James Bond movies, Derek Flint movies (starring Coburn) and Matt Helm movies. However, there were not many Western sequels. Well, Yul Brynner as Chris showed up in Return of the Magnificent Seven, which came out in 1966.

More “Magnificent Seven” movies were made, but Brynner abandoned the role. At least, people thought he abandoned the role. In 1973, he donned the black hat in Westworld, a movie about a futuristic theme-park where people can play out their fantasies with robots. This time, the gunslinger is not the hero. He is a robot in the middle of a robot overthrow. As people are killed across the park, Brynner chases Richard Benjamin, the last surviving human. Once again, he is the most memorable character.

Westworld was a hit, and it begat another film. Futureworld came out in in 1976, and the gunslinger came back to life. I may be wrong, but that could mean that Chris the Gunslinger is the only character to appear in two different pairs of sequels.

I started thinking about this because the character has made a return. The other night, we watched the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven. This one stars Denzel Washington as the man in black who brings together a collection of tough guys to help out the citizens of a farming town. His name is not Chris, but it is the same character.denzel-magnificent

However, that is not the only time 2016 brought the gunslinger to new audiences. Westworld is an HBO show inspired by the old movie. In this one, Ed Harris plays a gunslinger in a black hat. However, he is human. He is not the character. In an homage to Yul Brynner, the gunslinger is seen standing in an old underground lab. Apparently, he has been taken offline.westworld

That may be true of the robot, but I am not sure it is true about the character. After all, how many characters have spanned the world of movies and television for 57 years? It looks like this gunslinger cannot be killed.

About Time

11 Nov

A few posts ago, I mentioned that this semester has flown by. My timing has been completely off, and it will be difficult to cover everything that I need to go over. One of my colleagues said that he is facing the same thing. It is as if the semester has been shorten. He also thought that previous semesters may have been longer, and this semester is the way it is supposed to be.

On top of all that, I saw Interstellar and its time warping plot. I will not spoil it for anyone, but it made me wish that I could slow down time. At least, I could get caught up on my lectures.

Between the feeling that time is flying and the viewing of the movie, time has been on my mind. Obviously that led me to all of the things that are related to time. You know, things like TIME magazine. Heck, it has time written all over it. Then, there is the Allman Brothers song, “Ain’t Wastin’ No More Time”. Better than that, who could forget the Isaac Hayes rendition of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”? It is only 18 minutes long.

In the movie world, there is Fast Times at Ridgemont High with Phoebe Cates sending every young male into a testosterone-fueled frenzy.Phoebe

Fast times. Man, that is the truth. I always heard that time goes by faster as you get older. I did not believe it, but I should have.

Maybe I could become a time bandit. You remember that movie, right? Time Bandits hit the screens the year before Phoebe Cates hit the hearts of all those young males. It starred Sean Connery, who was still trying to get away from his James Bond persona. Time finally allowed him to escape the clutches of 007.

It is a good thing that Charles Bronson was not after him because no one could escape the Man With the Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West. I wrote a post about Henry Fonda playing one of the baddest dudes in movie history, but he could not escape Bronson any better than the other people in that movie.Fonda

Of course, if you want to get serious about time, then you should read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Doctors once told him that his time was running out due to ALS. He fooled them.

Before I fool myself by thinking that something can be done to slow down time, I am going to stop writing and figure out how I am going to get all of this history covered before time runs out on the semester. Yep, “I Ain’t Wastin’ No More Time.”

 

Listeria – Western Actors Edition

24 Oct

I know that this edition of Listeria is coming along soon after the last edition of Listeria, but I went overboard on my last trip to the magazine stand. Besides, this one covers one of my favorite subjects – Western movies. I grew up watching them with my dad, and that experience played a role in my interest in the history of the West.

American Cowboy published a special issue called “Legends of Western Cinema” and listed the 20 greatest Western actors. However, there is one problem that needs to be addressed before I begin. When people think about Westerns, or the history of the West, they think about cowboys first. Some of the greatest Westerns don’t involve cowboys at all. They involve mountain men, Native Americans, cavalry and all sorts of characters. In the real West, not everyone were cowboys. A good way to see this? If there are no cows around, then there are probably no cowboys around.

The rant is over, so here we go with the list. These are the 20 greatest Western actors according to American Cowboy in the order that they have listed. I will list my favorite movie of each and add the actors that I believe should be included.

John Wayne – The Searchers

Gary Cooper – High Noon

James Stewart – The Far Country

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West

Clint Eastwood – The Outlaw Josey Wales

Steve McQueen – The Magnificent Seven

Kirk Douglas – There Was a Crooked Man

Robert Duvall – Open Range

Ben Johnson – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Lee Marvin – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Sam Elliott – Tombstone

Tom Selleck – Quigley Down Under

Charles Bronson – Once Upon a Time in the West

Woody Strode – Sergeant Rutledge

Gregory Peck – The Gunfighter

Paul Newman – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Tom Mix – Riders of the Purple Sage

Glenn Ford – 3:10 to Yuma

Tommy Lee Jones – No Country For Old Men

James Garner – Duel at Diablo

That’s the Top 20. I could name a bunch that belong on the list, but I will limit myself to five.

Randolph Scott – Ride the High Country

Kevin Costner – Silverado

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud

Robert Redford – Jeremiah Johnson

Richard Widmark – Broken Lance

There is the list. Who else should be included? Who should be omitted? What are your favorite movies? Let me know.