Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Dead Man’s Walk

(1996)

This was the first chronologically and the third book in order of publication. It takes place in Texas, as they all do, mostly, in 1845, in the Republic of Texas just before statehood. Texas needed peace officers, mostly to fight the Comanche, and so the Texas Rangers were formed. McRae and Call, who are just boys, sign up and find themselves on an extremely ill-advised invasion of New ... Read more »

Comanche Moon

(2008)

There is so much plot here that it would be crazy for me to try to do it justice, so I’ll just mention some highlights. Val Kilmer is Inish Scull, one of the weirder characters McMurtry ever wrote, and he’s written some weird ones. Woodrow and Gus are in an expedition to find Buffalo Hump (this time played by the great Wes Studi) and Kicking Wolf. They don’t get far when Kicking Wolf ... Read more »

Streets of Laredo

(1995)

The last of the stories of the life of Woodrow Call takes place around 1890. Woodrow is getting old, doesn’t get around as well as he used to. But he takes a job to hunt down Joey Garza, a psychopathic young murderer who is robbing too many trains, and killing the passengers. He kills for fun, just for the kick of it. The railroad owner wants him stopped. Actually, he wants him killed. ... Read more »

In Which We Serve

(UK, 1942)

Noël Coward wrote the screenplay, co-directed (with David Lean), wrote the music, and probably ran around running the projectors for this film in theaters. It is one of the best movies about World War II. Co-starring is John Mills, and it marks the very first film appearance of Richard Attenborough. He plays a coward (no relation) who later redeems himself heroically.

It is the ... Read more »

Papillon

(USA, FRANCE, 1973)

They don’t come more brutal than this. It is based on the memoirs of Henri Charrière, who really was sent to the penal colony of French Guiana, and later to Devil’s Island. If you had to choose between the Turkish prison in Midnight Express and French Guiana, you should opt for Turkey.

He spent seven years in solitary confinement for trying to escape. ... Read more »

Return to Lonesome Dove

(1993)

We had to look at this one, too, though it is not part of McMurtry’s plan. In fact, he and his co-writer, Diana Ossana, were kind of pissed about the whole thing. Apparently he didn’t nail down the rights as firmly as he should have. This series veers off from McMurtry’s version of the sequel in Streets of Laredo. It has some of the virtues of Read more »

The Lonesome Dove Saga

Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer-winning novel Lonesome Dove was made into a four-part TV mini-series in 1989, single-handedly reviving the Western genre, and became one of the most-watched shows of the decade. I just adored everything about it, and have now seen it several times.

McMurtry re-visited the story three times, and all the books were made into ... Read more »

Želary

(Czech Republic, Slovakia, 2003)

Želary (2003) (Czech Republic) (Slovakia) It’s 1943 in what the fucking Nazis called the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, but which was really Occupied Czechoslovakia. The fucking Nazis protected the citizens so well that the Gestapo murdered thousands. Eliška is a medical student who has been helping the Resistance as a messenger, but when some of her contacts are arrested and are ... Read more »

Hope and Glory

(USA, UK, 1987)

Hope and Glory (1987) (UK) (USA) John Boorman was eight years old when war was declared and the bombing of London, known as the Blitz, began. And he has made those experiences into a unique take on it all. He shows it from a child’s point of view. And the crazy thing is, unless your own house has been destroyed or you’ve just lost a loved one, war can be fun! It creates instant playgrounds ... Read more »

The Magic Christian

(UK, 1969)

So we recently saw Candy, a disaster of a comedy, and then moved right on to this, another black comedy from Terry Southern. Peter Sellers is a multi-billionaire who adopts Ringo Starr (who once again proves that he is no movie actor) as his son, and enjoys demonstrating that people will do absolutely anything if the money is right. To prove it, he pays stacks of ... Read more »