Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Richard, Robert or Leo ?

In the early 1800's, a group of fur trappers and Indian traders are returning with their goods to civilisation and are making a desperate attempt to beat the oncoming winter. When guide Zachary Bass is injured in a bear attack, they decide he's a goner and leave him behind to die. When he recovers instead, he swears revenge on them and tracks them and their paranoiac expedition leader down.

A synopsis for THE REVENANT?  (which since it opened here last weekend has been praised in the highest terms and is expected to sweep all before it at the Academy Awards) .... er, no, its from a 1971 Richard Harris western (shot in Spain) titled MAN IN THE WILDERNESS by Richard C. Sarafian - I remember it but did not want to see it at the time (not being one of Mr Harris's greatest admirers) but it now seems to have been re-discovered, and it also features John Huston in the cast. 
Worth another look perhaps - is THE REVENANT a souped-up new version with all the technical wizardy now available - including that very realistic bear? The names may have been changed for the Harris version, but it seems he is playing Hugh Glass - as DiCaprio does in the Inarritu new classic. 

Then there's Robert Redford as JEREMIAH JOHNSON, another mountain man in the wilderness in Sidney Pollack's 1972 western - not the same story of course, but it shows that sagas of mountain men coping with everything nature (and other humans) can throw at them are nothing new .....those trappers and mountain men also feature of course in films like YELLOWSTONE KELLY and HOW THE WEST WAS WON (both Stewart and Fonda as trappers). Plus of course one of Kevin Costner's biggest hits DANCES WITH WOLVES, in 1990, (which even beat Scorsese's GOODFELLAS as Best Film) where his disillusioned cavalry officer leaves 'civilisation' to live in the wilderness and mix with the Natives ... we loved it at the time, don't know how I would feel about it now. 

Lets see how Leo does this time round - he is already on the Oscar campaign trail here, deigning to appear on heavyweight political shows (just like Cate did when campaigning for that BLUE JASMINE award a few years ago...). 

1 comment:

  1. I liked JEREMIAH JOHNSON but I've never seen MAN IN THE WILDERNESS, Like you say, maybe it's time for a revisit. THE REVENANT, however, is worthy of all the praise heaped on it and really needs to be seen on a very large screen.