Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF#38: Unforgiven

 

Happy Fourth, everyone! After the celebrations, I recommend Unforgiven, the last Western, and the movie that first won Clint Eastwood the Oscar–two awards, Best Picture and Best Director, as well as a nomination for Best Actor. This is a very dark movie, but it is a very good movie. It is beautifully shot, but also sober. It is violent, but dignified. It’s a movie about what it takes to establish the equal human rights of all human beings, the human dignity we all sense in the fine words of the Declaration. It deals with the origin of law as we now know it in a sacred law that requires violence to put an end to violence, at least the chaotic violence of the Old West. It is also a reminder of the difference between law and order, which we tend to think of as identical or at least necessarily connected. But the movie shows order is perfectly compatible with treating some people as property, i.e., slavery.

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Here’s the famous scene where Gene Hackman defends American honor, but then also turns quite savage:

Also, here’s Claudia’s theme, written by Eastwood himself.

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There are 13 comments.

  1. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One of the best, most memorable exchanges in any movie:

     

    Gene Hackman: “You just shot an unarmed man!”

    Clint Eastwood: “Well, he shoulda armed himself.”

    • #1
    • July 5, 2018, at 2:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    if he was gonna hang my friend in the window–or words to such effect. The corpses of the dead are sacred!

    • #2
    • July 5, 2018, at 3:10 PM PDT
    • Like
  3. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “He shoulda armed himself if he was gonna decorate his saloon with my friend” is the quote I recall.

    Other great lines – it won best screenplay I believe-

    It’s a funny thing, killing a man. You take away all he has, and all he’s ever gonna have.

     

    Little Bill: I don’t deserve to die like this

    William Munny: Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.

    Yes, this is in my top 5 films of all time.

    The story and screenplay is brilliant. The acting, direction, cinematography is stellar. 

    I will listen to the podcast and come back.

     

    • #3
    • July 5, 2018, at 7:05 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Enjoy!

    • #4
    • July 5, 2018, at 11:47 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Titus, I’m up at the Lake with five of my offspring (the ones you met, the oldest should join us tonight). We were here for the glorious Fourth, although we skipped the parade since it was about 95 degrees in town. The kids, including my nieces and nephews, took the boat around the bend in the lake in order to see the fireworks in town in the evening.

    I’m looking forward to this podcast, on one of my favorite movies. 

    I love when Mooney is first seen, all grunting among the pigs. A man will do anything to support his family.

    Cheers!

    • #5
    • July 6, 2018, at 4:46 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Hey, MT! Happy 4th! The cabin getaway sounds wonderful & watching fireworks on the lake is damn Romantic! (As the landscapes of the Hudson River Valley school, as well as those of the Frontier myth-makers prove is often the case in America…) 

    Send my affection to the kids & enjoy the podcast, whenever you’ve leisure!

    By the way, I’m next recording on the great aristocrat-American Gouverneur Morris with Mr. Brookhiser, to be up next week;

    & on the most beautiful noir, Laura, with Mr. Teachout, to be published two weeks from now;

    & three weeks from now I’m running a podcast on Comedy & Communism, with reference to The Death of Stalin (which I do not recommend).

    • #6
    • July 6, 2018, at 5:27 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. SeanDMcG Thatcher

    (EDIT: I forgot these comments are public, so I have removed most of this post)

    I saw this movie when it first came out. I was looking forward to seeing this. It was a modern Western with Clint Eastwood. Quigley Down Under had come out a couple of years earlier, and was enjoyable, but this was Clint.

    (The Quick and The Dead came out a few years later, and I often think to myself about Hackman’s character, “He sure got that house fixed.”)

    • #7
    • July 6, 2018, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    Great conversation. Unforgiven is one my favorite films.

    Clint Eastwood should easily be considered one of the great American directors … Unforgiven is clearly a masterpiece, but also his other more recent films where all excellent. Million Dollar Baby, Trouble with the Curve, Gran Torino, Bridges of Madison County – all of these films are great, and completely different – he’s not a one trick pony like Tarantino or Bay.

    Have you considered having a podcast discussion of a body of work? Perhaps of classic directors or actors – people or works that maybe being overlooked by younger audiences?

    • #8
    • July 6, 2018, at 11:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    On the question of why William Munny would keep the kid around and involved when he obviously doesn’t need him, I see the answer as going back to his wife. Munny, in order to try to be worthy of Claudia, has imposed a sense of honor on himself. So, where in the old days he would have ditched the kid (and there is a story told of him killing one of his old partners for being an annoyance), his new sense of honor says that since the kid is his partner, he’s obligated to treat him that way.

    I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that.

    • #9
    • July 7, 2018, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    On the question of why William Munny would keep the kid around and involved when he obviously doesn’t need him, I see the answer as going back to his wife. Munny, in order to try to be worthy of Claudia, has imposed a sense of honor on himself. So, where in the old days he would have ditched the kid (and there is a story told of him killing one of his old partners for being an annoyance), his new sense of honor says that since the kid is his partner, he’s obligated to treat him that way.

    I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that.

    One usually suspects that men see themselves in the young they take under their protection. But I agree that a lot of it has to do with his wife & her civilizing influence.

    It’s worth noting how idiosyncratic virtue is shown to be. For this guy, who used to be the devil & has mostly upgraded to the angel of death, one loving woman made the difference. It wouldn’t for everyone… Self-knowledge is hard to come by.

    • #10
    • July 8, 2018, at 1:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Judge Mental, Secret Chimp Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    On the question of why William Munny would keep the kid around and involved when he obviously doesn’t need him, I see the answer as going back to his wife. Munny, in order to try to be worthy of Claudia, has imposed a sense of honor on himself. So, where in the old days he would have ditched the kid (and there is a story told of him killing one of his old partners for being an annoyance), his new sense of honor says that since the kid is his partner, he’s obligated to treat him that way.

    I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that.

    One usually suspects that men see themselves in the young they take under their protection. But I agree that a lot of it has to do with his wife & her civilizing influence.

    It’s worth noting how idiosyncratic virtue is shown to be. For this guy, who used to be the devil & has mostly upgraded to the angel of death, one loving woman made the difference. It wouldn’t for everyone… Self-knowledge is hard to come by.

    I find it interesting (and it is partly my own speculation since they don’t make it plain), that the difference comes from himself. I don’t think she demanded these new standards from him, I think he imposed them on himself, in order to be worthy of a woman such as her.

    • #11
    • July 8, 2018, at 2:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    On the question of why William Munny would keep the kid around and involved when he obviously doesn’t need him, I see the answer as going back to his wife. Munny, in order to try to be worthy of Claudia, has imposed a sense of honor on himself. So, where in the old days he would have ditched the kid (and there is a story told of him killing one of his old partners for being an annoyance), his new sense of honor says that since the kid is his partner, he’s obligated to treat him that way.

    I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that.

    One usually suspects that men see themselves in the young they take under their protection. But I agree that a lot of it has to do with his wife & her civilizing influence.

    It’s worth noting how idiosyncratic virtue is shown to be. For this guy, who used to be the devil & has mostly upgraded to the angel of death, one loving woman made the difference. It wouldn’t for everyone… Self-knowledge is hard to come by.

    I find it interesting (and it is partly my own speculation since they don’t make it plain), that the difference comes from himself. I don’t think she demanded these new standards from him, I think he imposed them on himself, in order to be worthy of a woman such as her.

    There’s got to be a lot of truth to that–people need to summon themselves; it’s to a great extent a matter of self-knowledge, self-discovery. But it’s precisely because a man can go through life aggressively not knowing himself that he depends so much on someone else.

    • #12
    • July 8, 2018, at 3:44 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    Great conversation. Unforgiven is one my favorite films.

    Clint Eastwood should easily be considered one of the great American directors … Unforgiven is clearly a masterpiece, but also his other more recent films where all excellent. Million Dollar Baby, Trouble with the Curve, Gran Torino, Bridges of Madison County – all of these films are great, and completely different – he’s not a one trick pony like Tarantino or Bay.

    Have you considered having a podcast discussion of a body of work? Perhaps of classic directors or actors – people or works that maybe being overlooked by younger audiences?

    As soon as we get our podcast to be popular enough to have an audience that’s interested in our educating their taste, we’ll do this.

    Like any number of other film critics I constantly run into people who seek such education. Because this is America, it’s more often adults than kids. Some adults are ornery or defensive–but not as many as the kids. Growing up in Europe, mockery of American ignorance was everywhere I turned–but the reality is, Americans often take their ignorance to mean they should learn–hence lifelong learning. In Europe, ignorance is a fate…

    In my experience, at least, if I listen to what people love & why, it’s not hard to find many other things that would fit the bill, nor ways of showing people the deeper things they’re seeking in stories & how to learn more about the stories they already love. In short, people are honest about what they love, at least in conversation, & love is the beginning of taste. Taste requires judgment to be added to inclination, but you start with people’s inclinations…

    The long-term purpose of the ACF is complicated, because I can only do some things now. The first is to create critical resources that will last. I’ve got the tech to make things that last for centuries. Using it for tweets that die before they’re tweeted seems silly… We’re working through the catalogs of many different directors, some more famous than others, trying to show what it is they learned about America & how they think they can help America. There is far more love of country in the best movies than is usually acknowledged & I think it’s about time someone offered the proof. There are many directors of unusual power & achievement who thought it was their job to educate patriotism. Almost nobody sees that now, on either side of the cultural wars…

    • #13
    • July 8, 2018, at 3:50 AM PDT
    • 2 likes