|5:40 p.m.||Monte Walsh|
William A. Fraker (U.S., 1970)
William A. Fraker was an accomplished cinematographer before turning to directing, and in the elegiac Western Monte Walsh he conveys a vivid feeling for Arizona summer light and landscape, and a deep nostalgia for mythic images of men and their horses against the open sky. The eponymous hero (Lee Marvin) finds himself struggling to survive in a West where ranches are failing and getting bought out by "big Eastern money"—barbed wire and corporate downsizing are robbing cowboys of their livelihood and identity. Some of the dispossessed turn to crime, others (including an atypically restrained Jack Palance) to commerce, and even the local whore (melancholy Jeanne Moreau) is feeling the trickle-down effect of the failing economy. Meanwhile, stubborn cowpunchers like Monte Walsh can only watch the end approaching, as the old West turns into nothing but show.
• Written by Lukas Heller, David Zelag Goodman, from a novel by Jack Schaefer. Photographed by David M. Walsh. With Lee Marvin, Jack Palance, Jeanne Moreau, Mitchell Ryan. (99 mins, Color, 35mm, Courtesy Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, permission Hollywood Classics)