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The Outlaw Josey Wales

"Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up, then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is."

For Clint Eastwood’s fifth directorial effort, he returned to one of the genres he’s most well-known for — the western — and created an absolute classic, The Outlaw Josey Wales. A western affected both by the revisionist movement within the genre that had been growing for nearly a decade as well as by the overall darker, more realistic tones exhibited in 70s cinema, this film took a lot of old elements from classic westerns and turned them on their heads: the Union soldiers are the bad guys, the outlaw is the hero, the Native Americans are not just real characters but actually integral to the story, and the final shootout takes an unexpected — and ultimately very gratifying — turn. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we talk about one of our favorite westerns and continue our series of films from 1976. We discuss classic western elements and look at how they shift within this sub-genre, the revisionist western, as well as discuss what this sub-genre is really all about. We talk about the wonderful collection of actors, both leads as well as unforgettable supporting roles filled by amazing character actors, and how they all lend a sense of reality to the film (even if their scruffiness can make them hard to distinguish from one another). We chat about the troubles with the making of this film and why Philip Kaufman was fired as director after a week of production. And we discuss Forrest Carter, the author of the original novel “Gone to Texas” on which the film was based, his history as a KKK leader and segregationist supporter, and how that affects our views on the film. It’s a glorious western that is an interesting precursor to Eastwood’s 1992 masterpiece Unforgiven, and we have a great time discussing it. Listen in!

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