Archive for June 26th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(USA 1971 120m) DVD1/2

Like he was giving up the holy game of poker

p  David Foster, Mitchell Brower  d  Robert Altman  w  Robert Altman, Brian McKay  novel  “McCabe” by Edmund Norton  ph  Vilmos Zsigmond  ed  Lou Lombardo  m  Leonard Cohen  art  Leon Ericksen, Philip Thomas, Albert J.Locatelli  cos  Ilse Richter

Warren Beatty (John McCabe), Julie Christie (Constance Miller), René Auberjonois, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Keith Carradine, William Devane, Michael Murphy,

It was the age of antiheroes, twice over; on one hand it was the end of the frontier expansion of the late 19th century, a film set in the 1900s when the furthest outposts of the Northern Canadian borders were being explored.  It was also 1971, the age of Alex and his droogs, of Popeye Doyle and Harry Callahan bending the rules, of John Klute no longer having to, and of Jack Carter never having to adhere to them in the first place.  John McCabe fit uneasily with this bunch, yet he belonged there.

            Rules are a difficult thing.  People have a habit of breaking them for the sake of breaking them, no matter how sensible or ridiculous.  In the western world, the rules were those of John Ford and Howard Hawks, and though some people had tried to subvert them, it wasn’t until the age of Boetticher and Mann, and later Peckinpah and Leone, that filmmakers turned the legends on their heads.  Altman, as is his wont, went one step further, by blowing them completely asunder, or else ignoring them completely.  (more…)

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