Friday, June 2, 2017

High Plains Drifter Movie Review

High Plains Drifter (1973)
Rent High Plains Drifter on Amazon Video
Written by: Ernest Tidyman
Directed by:
Clint Eastwood
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Billy Curtis
Rated: R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

A stoic gun fighter rides into the small settlement of Lago and is hired by the townsfolk to help them fight off three outlaws bent on revenge.

This satirizes Westerns to a certain degree. Eastwood plays the unnamed drifter who rides into town and is willing to save the town, but not before taking advantage of everything and everyone. He's not a 'good' cowboy. The ending makes the story and movie all the better, one of those "I need to watch this again" endings.
Watch it.


Eastwood plays the quiet tough guy to perfection, but this isn't a Western where the hero rides into town and agrees to save the town and refuses payment. The drifter agrees to help them for anything he wants in return. He takes women, houses, and anything else he wants with no regard to the town. He seems to have a vendetta against the town, which we will learn this town isn't innocent. There's a reason outlaws are coming.

Eastwood also directed. Refusing to shoot in the back lot, this was filmed at Mono Lake in California. Complete buildings, not just facades, were built for the town, including fourteen houses, a church, and a two-story hotel in just eighteen days at the location.

The story is what makes this. It's part Western and part super natural revenge tale. The 'hero' doesn't even care about the town and is happy to take advantage of them, though some do have it coming. While he lives up to his word, you do wonder if he will or not. He gives them ludicrous orders to paint every building in the town red and then he rides off, leaving them in doubt.

There are numerous flashbacks to a late night attack. I wasn't sure if the person in the flashback was Eastwood or not. It looked like him and would give credence to his treatment of the town.
While the flashbacks are of the town's former marshal, the actor is Buddy Van Horn. Van Horn often played Eastwood's stunt double. Originally the character of the sheriff was going to be the drifter's brother, but Eastwood wanted the relationship to be ambiguous, generating the question of whether the drifter and former sheriff were the same person.

In the final scene, one of the inhabitants asks the drifter his name. You've got to see the scene. It's a neat twist for this movie and a great juxtaposition of genres.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Blogger Widget