High Plains Drifter

High Plains Drifter

4.5 2
Director: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Mitchell Ryan

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Mitchell Ryan

     
 

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"Who are you?" the dwarf Mordecai (Billy Curtis) asks Clint Eastwood's Stranger at the end of Eastwood's 1973 western High Plains Drifter. "You know," he replies, before vanishing into the desert heat waves near California's Mono Lake. Adapting the amorally enigmatic and violent Man With No Name persona from his films with Sergio Leone, Eastwood's second film

Overview

"Who are you?" the dwarf Mordecai (Billy Curtis) asks Clint Eastwood's Stranger at the end of Eastwood's 1973 western High Plains Drifter. "You know," he replies, before vanishing into the desert heat waves near California's Mono Lake. Adapting the amorally enigmatic and violent Man With No Name persona from his films with Sergio Leone, Eastwood's second film as director begins as his drifter emerges from that heat haze and rides into the odd lakefront settlement of Lago. Lago's residents are not particularly friendly, but once the Stranger shows his skills as a gunfighter, they beg him to defend them against a group of outlaws (led by Eastwood regular Geoffrey Lewis) who have a score to settle with the town. He agrees to train them in self-defense, but Mordecai and innkeeper's wife Sarah Belding (Verna Bloom) soon suspect that the Stranger has another, more personal agenda. By the time the Stranger makes the corrupt community paint their town red and re-name it "Hell," it is clear that he is not just another gunslinger. With its fragmented flashbacks and bizarre, austere locations, High Plains Drifter's stylistic eccentricity lends an air of unsettling eeriness to its revenge story, adding an uncanny slant to Eastwood's antiheroic westerner. Seminal western hero John Wayne was so offended by Eastwood's harshly revisionist view of a frontier town that he wrote to Eastwood, objecting that this was not what the spirit of the West was all about. Eastwood's audience, however, was not so put off, and an exhibitors' poll named Eastwood a top box-office draw for 1973.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
High Plains Drifter, Clint Eastwood's first Western behind the camera -- and only his second effort as a director, may owe a lot to his former collaborator Sergio Leone, but it also marks the point at which he begins to come into his own as an artist. The leisurely, dialogue-heavy asides may bog this film down at times, but it's an approach that would bear fruit later in Eastwood's directorial career. But Drifter works quite well even outside the context of Eastwood's other work, thanks to a harsh, wind-swept mysticism all its own. Leone and Eastwood's Man With No Name films helped usher in an era of revisionist Westerns, but with this film Eastwood doubles back, reconnecting those films' dark humor and mysterious loner character (introduced riding ominously through the entire length of a small town) to the realm of folk tale and myth. The script by Shaft author Ernest Tidyman is as unforgiving as its protagonist -- it might be argued that an early rape scene goes too far -- but there's no denying this film's unique appeal. It's a revisionist Western extreme even by the standards of the time. Like the Machiavellian hero who defends it, the film looks upon a superficially idyllic Western setting and finds virtually nothing to like.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/15/2013
UPC:
0025192117336
Original Release:
1973
Rating:
R
Source:
Universal Studios
Time:
1:45:00
Sales rank:
12,066

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Clint Eastwood Stranger
Verna Bloom Sarah Belding
Marianna Hill Callie Travers
Mitchell Ryan Dave Drake
Jack Ging Morgan Allen
James Gosa Tommy Morris
Stefan Gierasch Mayor Jason Hobart
Mitch Regan Actor
Billy Curtis Mordecai
Scott Walker Bill Borders
Walter Barnes Sheriff Sam Shaw
Robert Donner Preacher
Anthony James Cole Carlin
John Quade Jake Ross
Jane Aull Townswoman
Dan Vadis Dan Carlin
Reid Cruickshanks Gunsmith
Jack Kosslyn Saddlemaker
Russ McCubbin Fred Short
Belle Mitchell Mrs. Lake
John Mitchum Warden
Carl Pitti Teamster
Chuck Waters Stableman
L. William O'Connell Barber
Ted Hartley Lewis Belding
Geoffrey Lewis Stacey Bridges
Paul Brinegar Lutie Naylor
Richard Bull Asa Goodwin
John Hillerman Bootmaker
Buddy Van Horn Marshall Jim Duncan

Technical Credits
Clint Eastwood Director
James Alexander Sound/Sound Designer
Dee Barton Score Composer
Henry Bumstead Art Director
Robert Daley Producer
Jim Fargo Asst. Director
Jennings Lang Executive Producer
George Milo Set Decoration/Design
Bruce Surtees Cinematographer
Ernest Tidyman Screenwriter
Buddy Van Horn Stunts
Ferris Webster Editor

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High Plains Drifter 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago