I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Shootist (1976)

This is one of the best Westerns ever made, and one of the very best of the films John Wayne starred in. Wayne plays an aging gunslinger at the beginning of the 20th century. A visit to a doctor (Henry Morgan) reveals that the old man has terminal cancer. He decides to live his last days in peace and quiet.

The gunslinger takes a room in the house of a widow (Lauren Bacall) and her teenaged son (Ron Howard). It is not long before every young gun for miles around finds out the old man is nearby. They all want to say that they were the man that took out the legendary gunslinger. The old man is pushed into a situation where he has no choice but to rely on violence.

Despite of the guns blazing, this is a very quiet character study of man who's bound to his violent past, and out of step in a new era. I liked the mutual admiration between the gunslinger and the widow. There is a scene where he says goodbye to her and they both understand that it is for the last time. It was very well played. I also liked how he became a father figure of sorts to her son, who is taught a valuable lesson during a tragic moment.

This film is poignant because it was also Wayne's last film. He was actually dying of cancer in real life, and he passed away three years later.


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