Summer Film Fest 2016: or Regarding Horses

Red River

dir. Howard Hawks – 1948 – 5.87 – Red River kicks off my Summer Film Fest for 2016 mostly because I wanted to watch westerns. There is not too much I can say about the film, it is a western, the acting between John Wayne and Montgomery Clift was very interesting and compelling. The film is very well shot and it helps me to understand the draw to westerns and the breadth of their difficulty to film with hundreds of cattle and other various animals, including horses, which ended up being this weekend’s over-arching theme.

Heaven’s Gate

dir. Michael Cimino –  1980 – 6.27 – I can easily understand how this film was so reviled upon release. It is incredibly long which leads to some tedious moments. The acting is fine though none of the performances stand out. The theme, however, nearly brought me to tears. The elevator pitch for the film is the effects of wealth and government trying to take land away from immigrants through the use of deadly force. Not only is there a direct correlation with what occurred in Oregon with the FBI standoff earlier this year (maybe not direct, but awfully close) and well a correlation with what has occurred to minorities throughout American history. I struggle recommending the film, it is too long and very graphic.

The Black Stallion

dir. Carroll Ballard – 1979 – 6.8 – My father really wanted me to watch this film as a child, and I tried. The opening scenes, up through the cobra, scared the bejesus out of me and I would always crawl away. Returning to the film as an adult I watched a very well made, very beautifully shot, film; with perhaps some of the best editing I have seen in a long time. It is a very uplifting film and, if your child can get through the opening, they will love the film and you will love watching it with them.


dir. Delmer Daves – 1956 – 5.4 – More western. More horses and punching, some clever gun play. Strike that, excellent gun play. The film is interesting and well-made but feels a little long at times and very predictable.

My Darling Clementine

dir. John Ford – 1943 – 5.93 – I cannot tell you how many times I watched Tombstone in my younger days but I can tell you without doubt that it would have been better with a soliloquy from Hamlet. The two films play out the same so there was little which caught my attention.

3:10 To Yuma

dir. Delmer Daves – 1957 – 7.13 –  I am very glad to end my westerns-fest on this film. It may be a western in setting only as this is a very stressful suspense film that takes place in the west. If you haven’t watched it please do, if you like anything that I like you will enjoy it immensely.

Barry Lyndon

dir. Stanley Kubrick – 1975 – 8.67 – I needed a non-western horse movie to round out my weekend and I finally set out to watch Kubrick sprawling film Barry Lyndon. Based on the score I will be writing a full review down the line. Buy, my God, was a wonderful film. It is long but my eyes were glued to the screen.

That is all for the opening weekend. Today I am watching the super-long The Human Condition and I am quite excited to do so. Cheers.