Saturday, March 11, 2006

It's a rainy Saturday here. There was an actual storm last night, with lightning and everything. Big flashes of blue light and rumblings while I was trying to watch a movie.

I was cloistered in here all week as I worked on Boschen and Nesuko, but, of course, I had to be out for three hours in the dead centre of the day on Thursday. I bought four things, each for ten dollars; Mazzy Star's Halah, Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party, Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, and Anthony Mann's Bend of the River.

That last was one of Mann's Westerns to star James Stewart, which Robyn had recommended to me. It was pretty good, though I didn't enjoy it as much as The Naked Spur.

Stewart plays Glyn McLyntock, a former bandit who's now looking for a better life by leading a bunch of settlers through Oregon. Stewart excels here at playing essentially the same character as Gary Cooper's in Man of the West. And this is a much better movie being, again, better written. It stays unpredictable while still remaining true to the characters.

Stewart's performance isn't as exciting as his manic, emotionally ravaged bounty hunter in The Naked Spur. Here he's playing a man whom you can sense all along really does have what it takes to be a reformed man of the community. This movie was made before The Naked Spur, but I greatly prefer its night scenes to the latter film's. Sure, it looks artificial as hell with lighting that makes locations look like sets. But it had more style, and I could see everyone's faces.

I barely recognised Arthur Kennedy as McLyntock's fellow man-with-shady-past, looking like a reduced Van Heflin. In sort of the way Rock Hudson--also in the movie, in a bit part--looked like the poor, dim, dim shadow of Cary Grant that he was. In Bend of the River, he has this helpless dopiness about him that makes it all the more amusing that he's supposed to be some kind of shrewd gamblin' man.

But aside from being an exciting and well written adventure, it has plenty of Mann's trademark beautiful shots of American wilderness. It's a kind of filmmaking that, I think, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings harkens back to, in parts.

So it's a very good movie.

There was one thing I bought on Thursday that cost more than ten dollars--The Ditty Bops' debut album, which is good, very fun, and . . . I seem to have lost it already. Huh. I'm sure it's . . . around here somewhere. It came in this damn skinny sleeve. It probably slipped between the molecules of the carpet.

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