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the screen

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The Misfits. John Huston directed from an Arthur Miller screenplay, and his better instincts were restrained by the playwright's preachy ineptitude. For a film that purports to examine the limitations of man's man mystique, it shares surprisingly many of the flaws of any pretentious "adult" western. The woman who stands for Woman becomes some vague principle of both vitality and civilization. The men are so laconic that when they speak of the meaning of their lives they obtrude on the narrative unbearably. The central theme just istn't well expressed; the worst of cowboy life is represented by the roping of mustangs to sell to dogfood and glue factories. Rosalie, top cowboy Gay's gal, objects to this cruelty. Would she have raised a ruckus about the meaninglessness of Gay's life had he lived in a cowboy heyday and been able to profitably hunt and trap, or shoot Indians and harass settlers, or drive cattle instead? We'll never know. Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable star: Montgomery Clift steals the show as a jelly-brained rodeo rider. The mustang scenes are good action.

The Wild Bunch. Both a celebration of the Old West and a lament for its passing. Sam Peckinpah wrote and directed this epic based on the exploits of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. Set in South Texas at the turn of the century. Peckinpah uses Mexico as the last frontier for dying gunmen, who finally rise above themselves and fight for some ideal when a revolutionary member of the group is captured by a Mexican warlord with whom the riders did business. The situations are no less important than the action, which is violent. Well acted, beautifully directed and photographed; the most successful cynic's western because it is fashioned from the inside.

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