Your RDA of Irony

Bard West

Hollywood believes in recycling. I just saw a western that seemed remarkably familiar. In “The Outcast”, young John Derek plays a cowboy dispossessed of his ranch by his wicked uncle. The frustrated heir also has an improper affection for his attractive aunt–although the woman is old enough to be his mother. Our hero, if you can like such a disturbed young man, is courting a neighbor girl despite the objections of her father who is a crazy old coot. You can imagine that all these complications could leave the young lady unhinged. Yes, I have seen this story before, although I recall that the dialogue was better.

Another manifestation of recycling was a 1950s western called “Jubal”. It starred Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine and Rod Steiger. Borgnine plays a seemingly affable rancher with an attractive young wife. Ford is a cowhand who gets promoted to the ranch foreman, a position that Steiger thinks is rightfully his. So Steiger plays upon Borgnine’s jealousy, insinuating that there is an illicit affair between the foreman and the rancher’s wife. By the film’s end the rancher and his wife are dead, and Steiger is on his way to a well-earned gallows. Say, I wonder how this story would work in iambic pentameter and set in Venice and Cyprus.

Is anyone ready for Dustin Hoffman in “The Peddler of Abilene”?

  1. vonrammen says:

    And then there’s just straight recycling–the remake of one of my favorite “little” Westerns, “3:10 to Yuma” is coming out soon. Just as the original offered counter-casting (Glenn Ford as a bad guy), this one has Russell Crowe as the black hat and Christian Bale as the good guy…

    Sadly, it looks like they took what was a taut little story about corruption and honor (Van Heflin, reluctantly deputized to take Ford to the titual train headed for the state pen, must decide whether or not to take the money Ford can offer which would save his ranch) and turned it into yet another Hollywood Blockbuster.

  2. Dear Fred,

    And I have worse news. “Have Gun–Will Travel”, that stylish western with Richard Boone is scheduled to be remade as a movie with the all-too-different style of Eminem.

  3. Peggles says:

    Hi, Eugene,

    You’ve got to be kidding about HG-WT!

    What will Eminem’s card read?
    Yo, Dude! Contact Paladin.
    My crib is the Hotel Carleton in Frisco. Word!



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