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FILM / The bad and the beautiful: Laurence Earle canvasses opinion on 1992, the year of The Player, Unforgiven and Beauty and the Beast
Friday 11 December 1992
GORE VIDAL, writer: 'I have seen a lot of films on video this year but I really can't say that anything marvellous springs to mind, although I did like The Player - anybody who's had anything to do with Hollywood knows how extraordinary and funny and precise it was. My contribution might be a more general observation: that a movie on video cassette always looks better than it is, but is somehow less interesting; whereas in the cinema films often look worse than they are, but are more interesting. You figure it out.'
Saturday 24 October 1992
MOHAMMED ASHRAF has got used to evenings such as these. 'There is always a group who come in drunk. I just hate it when they're difficult and argue over the bill,' he said. 'The bad side of this job is satisfying the customer, but then that's the same in any restaurant.'
Friday 25 September 1992
I LIKE westerns. More precisely, I like westerns without Indians and without pretensions. Which ought to exclude, on the latter count, Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. But since I found it as magnificent as everyone else apparently did, I would argue that, if you define pretension as 'overreaching ambition', then Unforgiven is indeed a western without either Indians or pretensions. (Dances With Wolves, of course, had both in spades.) And while I'm striking a strictly personal note, let me say that I'm also not crazy about westerns set in Mexico (with their fiestas and cantinas and Speedy Gonzales comic relief), westerns about fur trappers (boring), and westerns in which grizzled oldtimers sport long red underwear.
Sunday 20 September 1992
A MAN beside a grave, silhouetted by sunset: such is the image that opens and closes Unforgiven. It looks too corny by half, but then westerns have always taught us that really high-grade corn can ripen into poignancy. We know the liturgy so well - the lonesomeness, the matching crags of paleface and rockface, the coat peeled back like a curtain to show the holstered gun; it should go stale, but the promise of adventure feels more reliable every time. Come home to real gunfire.
Friday 18 September 1992
When Clint Eastwood is preparing a western, he wears the gear around for a while. He pretty much lives in the shirt and pants. He spends time in the hat. This sounds like a standard American film-star approach, until you realise that Eastwood is at the opposite extreme to say, Robert De Niro in his preparation. It's not that he needs to practise how it feels to wear a cowboy hat, if he's to get properly inside his part. It's a method acting lesson all right, but it's for the benefit of the wardrobe not the actor. The shirts and pants have to feel right about what they're doing. The hat needs to get used to being worn by Clint Eastwood.
Hidehisa's tall in the saddle: When a Japanese company bought the Lazy Eight ranch, one executive's dreams came true. Jeremy Hart meets the cowboy who doesn't want to go home
Monday 10 August 1992
Hidehisa Mori was 15 when he went to see A Fistful of Dollars, half a world away from the Wild West in Fukuoka, one of Japan's most industrialised cities. Clint Eastwood grunted coolly from behind his revolver in Japanese, Mori was riveted.
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