Spencer Warren has written an interesting piece for the Claremont Institute Web site in which, among other things, he names his favorite “classic” Westerns. These are the non-silent entries on his list: The Virginian, Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache, Red River, Three Godfathers, High Noon, Shane, The Naked Spur, The Searchers, Seven Men From Now, 3:10 to Yuma, Man of the West, Gunman’s Walk, The Hanging Tree, Ride Lonesome, Rio Bravo, Day of the Outlaw, Comanche Station, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Ride the High Country.
That’s a smart list, meaning that it includes quite a few of my own favorites. I mention it because I happened to draw up a similar list when reviewing Open Range for Crisis last week. The piece won’t be out until next month, so I’ll jump the gun and tell you which films I picked. I tried to limit myself to 10, but ended up with 11 because I couldn’t bear not to:
If you’ve never seen a Western–and especially if you think Westerns consist solely of a bunch of weather-whacked guys on horses riding around in circles, shooting at each other, chewing tobacco, and saying “yup” and “nope”–any of these films will set you straight.
I have to tell a tale out of school about one of my guest bloggers, Our Girl in Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago was showing Rio Bravo when I was visiting her a few years ago (I think it was part of a Howard Hawks retrospective), and I talked her into going to see it with me. I’m sure the only reason she agreed was because we’re old friends, but when it was over, I glanced at her and saw that she was positively starry-eyed. She looked back at me and said, “Oh, Terry, you didn’t tell me John Wayne was sexy!”