WELCOME TO THE HOLLYWOOD TRAIL
More Remakes are possibly coming our way...
In light of the success of the Magnificent Seven Remake, producers are taking notice that if you combine reverence for the original with wry humor and an outstanding ensemble cast of popular actors, people will come to see it... (I firmly believe that there's still time to do right by The Lone Ranger)
Some that are being talked about are:
The Cowboys w/ Tommy Lee Jones & High Noon.
One cowpoke who has made a cottage industry out of using the titles, if not the stories, from original books and films is Trace Adkins with The Virginian (2014) & Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story (2016). next up is Abilene with Luke Hemsworth & Kris Kristofferson along for the ride. A Big round of applause goes to Mr. Adkins for helping to keep westerns alive.
Between Truth & Myth Lies the Legends...
... The Myth is Everything
"The important thing is to make a different world, to make a world that is not now. A real world, a genuine world, but one that allows myth to live. The myth is everything." Sergio Leone on western films
Almost twenty five years after their release the camps are still divided between Tombstone (1993) and Wyatt Earp (1994) with the favor leaning more towards the action packed Tombstone and the Val Kilmer portrayal of Doc Holliday. Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone's quote is quite literally true, proving it by retooling our western frontier history into a truly distorted mythical west with "The Man with No Name" films as well as the classic epic, Once Upon a Time in the Old West; and in so doing created household names of actors who had already been around the western genre for the better part of a decade or even longer. Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, and perennial bad guy Lee Van Cleef, all became stars while creating a whole new sub-genre known as the 'Spaghetti Western' along the way; a sub-genre that wasn't all that original to begin with having it's basis in Japanese Samurai classics. Never-the-less it took a European director to reminded us that the myth of the west may far out way the legend while stateside film makers were set on a revisionist version of the western with films like, Little Big Man, Solider Blue, Dirty Little Billy and a sordid little film named, Doc; purportedly the true tale of the events surrounding the Gunfight at the OK Corral.
In other words, Europe threw our westerns back in our face while, in somewhat absurdist interpretations, while giving us back the mythical heritage therein.By the time Tombstone and Wyatt Earp came around we had been given a varied mix of sub-genre's within western sub-genres; from the sullen restructuring of Clint Eastwood, to the violent discordance of maverick Sam Peckinpah to the 'by-the-book' regularity of John Wayne. Each with their own take on western legends and myths.
Tombstone and Wyatt Earp are different and yet they are the same in many way. But what separates them as entertainment? That's the crux of the matter for those of us who enjoy Western films.
Recently I've been reading a book on John Wayne that even I find very offensive. Misinformation is the norm in this book and the writer seems to have a real preoccupation with sexual habits to the point where you would think the normal attitude was sexual deviation, masochism and bisexuality; after awhile you might forget you're reading what the author proclaims is the "True Story of John Wayne" and think you're reading "Fifty Shades of Zane Grey."
Friends on social sites have asked me to name the author and the book. I won't do it for a number of reasons; instead, in response to their inquiries, I wrote this rather long epistle to answer the other question my readers have asked me. . . "Why do you keep reading the book if it offends you and there are so many errors?": What it all boils down to is not only do we now create legends and myths surrounding the real characters of the west like Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid or Calamity Jane but we have taken to creating an apocryphal history for our Silver Screen Cowboys. Here is my response:
I haven't mentioned the name of the book and I won't. There are mistakes in every book I've read, even if they are memoirs written by the subject. I have been guilty of it as well. But the author of this particular book writes as if he is indeed the final authority and what he says is absolute gospel. I don't mind a book that has conjecture, but don't print everything as dry "fact" unless you were there for every event, and then don't set yourself up as the utmost authority while contradicting your "facts" every few pages. For example the exact reason for John Wayne's hatred towards Harry Cohn is up for speculation and speculation only. Some sources claim he spread rumors that the Duke was a womanizer and a heavy drinker, while others claim it was due to the "corpse" role and deriding the actor at every turn; nobody knows for sure, we only know it's fact that the Duke refused to work at Columbia once he was let go by Cohn; we can only go by what is now in books, after-thought and hear-say, various people witness the same event and have different views on it (Rashomon, anyone). The legend becomes fact too often. It's a writer's job to make it interesting, but let the reader know whether their writing is based on 1) eyewitness reports, 2) what has been handed down 3) your opinion. Yes, Buck Jones definitely died a hero, but it was in the hospital and not on the Coconut Grove site as has been written so many times, that's a "fact." Yes, Harry Cohn was "said" to be the most hated studio head during the studio days that's a "fact." But the minute you set yourself up as an authority by saying this is exactly the way it was, you are setting yourself up for someone who will say, "Mine is bigger than yours." There is no such thing as a final authority, or even an utmost authority on anything, only someone who is the most well-known for his or her studies on a subject. The best case to be made for this is, I have interviewed dozens of stars, celebs, working actors and film-makers who have told me the same story about themselves, or some other public figure or occurrence, over and over at public events and they never tell it the same twice. It's an author's job to present the "facts" as they are presented to him, I could regale you with so many stories that have been told to me by the primary subject that I question as told; to the teller of the tale it is the truth. It's become so clichéd but John Ford had it right, "When the Legend Becomes Fact, Print the Legend."