A Movie A Day #56: The White Buffalo (1977, directed by J. Lee Thompson)


whitebuffalo1977The year is 1874 and James Otis (Charles Bronson) is traveling through the Dakota Territory.  Everywhere that James Otis goes, someone tries to shoot him.  This is because James Otis is actually the infamous Wild Bill Hickcock and everyone this side of Deadwood has a reason to want him dead.  Hickcock has returned to the territory because he is losing his eyesight and he fears that he may be dying.  Hickcock has been having nightmares about a giant albino buffalo and believes that it is his destiny to either kill it or be killed himself.

Meanwhile, a young indian chief (Will Sampson) is also seeking the White Buffalo.  The buffalo previously attacked his village and killed his son.  The chief must now get revenge or lose his power in the tribe.  He is now known as Worm.  Before the buffalo attack, his name was Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse eventually teams up with Hickcock and a one-eyed hunter named Charlie Zane (Jack Warden).  They work out an uneasy alliance but who, of the three, will finally get the chance to kill the buffalo?

When Dino De Laurentiis produced The White Buffalo, he was hoping to combine the popularity of Jaws with the star power of Charles Bronson.  It should have been a hit but instead, The White Buffalo was one of the many flops that temporarily killed the western as a commercial genre.  (Before there was Heaven’s Gate, there was The White Buffalo.)  The reason why is obvious: while audiences loved to watch Bronson shoot muggers in New York, they were less willing to sit through a pseudo-intellectual western version of Moby Dick that featured more conversation than gunplay.  The obviously fake buffalo did not help matters.

I still like The White Buffalo, though.  Because of the movie’s cheap sets, fake snow, and some inconsistent rear projection work, The White Buffalo is sometimes so surreal that it could pass for a Spaghetti Western.  (When I saw Bronson, Sampson, and Warden huddled in a cardboard cave while it fake snowed outside, I immediately thought of Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence.)  Charles Bronson, always an underrated actor, gave one of his best performances as the haunted Hickcock.  The White Buffalo was, up until his small role in Sean Penn’s The Indian Runner, the last time that Bronson would allow himself to appear as anyone other than Charles Bronson on-screen.

When watching The White Buffalo, keep an eye out for several Hollywood veterans in minor roles.  Kim Novak plays a prostitute.  Stuart Whitman is a thief.  Slim Pickens drives a stagecoach.  Clint Walker’s an outlaw and Ed Lauter plays the younger brother of Gen. Custer.  The town’s undertaker is John Carradine.  The cameos don’t add up too much but it’s still good to see everyone.

Lisa Makes Her Oscar Predictions!


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Okay, here’s the moment that I’m sure you’ve all been looking forward to!

It’s time for me to make my Oscar predictions!

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Yay!  It’s good to see that everyone’s excited!

Here is who I think will win tomorrow night:

Best Picture — La La Land

Best Director — Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor — Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actress — Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress — Viola Davis, Fences

Best Original Screenplay — Manchester By The Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay — Arrival

Best Animated Feature — Zootopia

Best Art Direction — La La Land

Best Cinematography — La La Land

Best Costume Design — La La Land

Best Editing — La La Land

Best Makeup — A Man Called Ove

Best Sound Mixing — La La Land

Best Sound Editing — Hacksaw Ridge

Best Visual Effects — The Jungle Book

Best Original Song — “City of Stars” from La La Land

Best Original Score — La La Land

Best Documentary Feature — 13th

Best Foreign Language Film — The Salesman

Best Animated Short — Pear and Cider Cigarettes

Best Documentary Short — The White Helmets

Best Live Action Short — Timecode

To be honest, the only prediction that I’m 100% comfortable making is that this year’s Oscar ceremony is probably going to be the most political one in history.  Some people will love that.  Some people will be outraged.  Me, I just care about movies.

The Oscar air tomorrow on ABC, at 4 eastern and 7 pacific.  I will be live tweeting the awards and, of course, we’ll be posting Oscar-related stuff here on the Shattered Lens all through Sunday!

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Even Charles Foster Kane is excited!

And by the way, if you want get a head start on next year’s Oscars, why not check out my way too early predictions for January and February?

Enjoy!

The Dollars Trilogy Pt 3: THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE UGLY (United Artists 1966)


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THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY is the GONE WITH THE WIND of Spaghetti Westerns, Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, and definitely in my Top 5 Favorite Films. After turning the genre upside down with A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and inside out with FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, Leone’s final entry in his triptych of films starring Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name is an ambitious epic about greed, revenge, and the futility of war, told with a warped sense of humor and plenty of action. Besides Eastwood and FEW DOLLARS co-star Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach joins the cast in a performance that should have won the Oscar.

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We’re first introduced to Angel Eyes (Van Cleef), who’s one mean mutha. Sent to find information on the location of stolen Confederate gold, he kills his informant, then kills the man who hired him, and begins his search for “Bill Carson”. Meanwhile…

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“Shitty Watchmen” : My Oh My, The End Is Nigh


Trash Film Guru

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I have no idea how many words have been spent — digitally or in print — praising and/or occasionally lambasting, to say nothing of parsing the rich minutiae of,  Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, but it’s surely gotta run into the billions by now, and I confess to being one who has contributed to the ever-growing landfill of opinion on this most seminal of works, but please give me some credit — I at least never stooped so low as to regurgitate the depressingly common line that it represents “the last word on superheroes.”

Oh, sure, at one point during its gestation its creators may have harbored illusions that it could be viewed as such — and for a long time it stood as both of their final words on the genre/phenomenon — but eventually both of them (Moore in particular) decided that they each had more to…

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Music Video of the Day: Romancing The Stone by Eddy Grant (1984, dir. ???)


Here’s the second version. They shot some footage of a woman who is working as a photographer in order to get money in order to go to St. Lucia where Eddy Grant is singing the song. They filmed new footage to splice it into footage that was shot to splice into the movie footage. Interesting. That’s it!

It’s still a good song. Enjoy!