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Old 25-09-2008, 02:09   #1
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what am i missing with deathwish, searchers and bullit?

Watched these both recently but couldnt see why in the case of bullit and searchers that they are held in such high regard.

Searchers was ok but nothing amazing and even though the scenery was nice didnt feel it was filmed very well.

Bullit again didnt really amount to much and the car chase was quite boring. Also what was all the out of focus closeups about?

The only redeeming feature of both discs was that the hd dvd was Ł1 and they both contain excellent bonus content.

Also deathwish had a lot of poor editing especially at the beginning. Also the acting wasnt up to much, a bit wooden. Even though I like charles bronson in other films. Was it just a case of being released at the right time?
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Old 25-09-2008, 02:33   #2
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With "Deathwish" I think it's definitley a case of scratching the audiences itch. It's not technically brilliant, it's just a simple case of everyone loves a revenge flick. And it was pretty violent for it's time.

I haven't seen the others you mention - I really don't fancy them at all.
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Old 25-09-2008, 07:47   #3
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I also watched Bullit a couple of years ago after years of hearing it was a "classic" and couldn't work out what the fuss was about.

The music and the car chase are good, but otherwise, not so much.

Something like Dirty Harry is way, way better.

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Old 25-09-2008, 08:04   #4
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I love The Searchers. Fantastic film.

Agree the other 2 are very overrated. Especially Bullitt.

At least with Death Wish you get the satisfaction of seeing scumbags gunned down
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Old 25-09-2008, 08:24   #5
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IMO, The Searchers is a great classic Western, worth any collection unless one hates Westerns.

Bullitt is OK at best but the car chase scene, while good for its time, is enormously overhyped and seems a bit tame now.

Deathwish? Waste of space and time even for Bronson fans.

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Old 25-09-2008, 08:27   #6
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Death Wish 3 is the best of the lot. All semblence of reality out the window + Bronson butchering dozens of ***** = top entertainment.

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Old 25-09-2008, 08:48   #7
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At least with Death Wish you get the satisfaction of seeing scumbags gunned down
I have to agree to that sentiment though. Wish he'd come across and get rid of some of the UK scumbags in the same way.
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Old 25-09-2008, 09:26   #8
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Searchers.........didnt feel it was filmed very well.
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Old 25-09-2008, 11:27   #9
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Originally Posted by tdevon1 View Post
Watched these both recently but couldnt see why in the case of bullit and searchers that they are held in such high regard.

Searchers was ok but nothing amazing and even though the scenery was nice didnt feel it was filmed very well.

Bullit again didnt really amount to much and the car chase was quite boring. Also what was all the out of focus closeups about?

The only redeeming feature of both discs was that the hd dvd was Ł1 and they both contain excellent bonus content.

Also deathwish had a lot of poor editing especially at the beginning. Also the acting wasnt up to much, a bit wooden. Even though I like charles bronson in other films. Was it just a case of being released at the right time?
The Searchers is simply a classic western with one of Wayne's best performances in it. ("OK but nothing amazing..." It seems to me that you need to refine your analysis somewhat!) Every scene is memorable, and the final five minutes or so are amongst the most emotional in cinema, in any genre. It's a masterpiece. Bullitt is not a movie that I have looked at very often, but I can pick things out that I love - not least, the opening sequence (complete with Schiffrin music), McQueen (I'm a huge fan) and the car chase (which is over-shadowed by Friedkin's better chase in French Connection.) As for Death Wish - it's an appalling piece of trash, and I shouldn't like it, but I do. It's a nasty guilty pleasure which has no redeeming quality as film art (and shouldn't really be mentioned in the same breath as Ford's film), but the story has a simplistic and relentless momentum to it, and it did spawn some hilariously entertaining sequels.
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Old 25-09-2008, 15:27   #10
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First of all Bullet and Death Wish are not held in anywhere near such "high regard" by the vast majority of critics and film historians as is The Searchers. The former two are fairly average films but The Searchers is a true masterpiece of cinema as numerous informed writers have said. Iconic, multi-faceted, superbly photographed and directed. Of course, we all have our blind spots - I for one cannot understand what people see in the Godfather!
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Old 25-09-2008, 15:56   #11
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I would like to know the original poster's ideas of what constitute a well-filmed film, if, for him, The Searchers, one of the most beautifully shot and directed westerns ever, IMO, constitutes one that isn't well-filmed.

Of course the car chase in Bullitt seems tame - it's been ripped off so many times and the stakes have been risen so many times, how could it not? Context is a wonderful thing, and sometimes one must have context when watching a film like Bullitt. I always have to laugh when kids watch Psycho today - they say, "what's the big deal?" Context. It was a very big deal. As big a deal as there has ever been in the cinema, because it opened the door and paved the way for a lot of inferior films trying to do the same thing.
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Old 25-09-2008, 16:43   #12
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The best western imo is ouatitw followed by goodbadugly.

the funny thing is I know that quite a few directors were influenced by ford, including leone, and the searchers but I just didnt get it. Also in regards framing the scenery i thought leones was better.

I can appreciate the story arc but maybe Im used to less dramatic acting, ie more natural. Maybe I need to rewatch the film.

It cant be a case of transfer as I watched the hddvd on a projector.

In regards bullit, can you comment on the numnerous times it had closeups for no reason?

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Old 25-09-2008, 16:52   #13
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Of course, we all have our blind spots - I for one cannot understand what people see in the Godfather!
Neither can I! Never could, probably never will.

I concur with the consensus about The Searchers and regard it as one of the great Westerns. We should remember however that Lindsay Anderson, a huge admirer of John Ford, did not feel The Searchers was anything special.

Bullitt always was overrated. Most fans of the movie seem not to have noticed that the famous car chase is completely irrelevant! You could take the car chase out of the movie and the story would be unaffected! (The chase in The French Connection - another massively overrated movie - is similarly irrelevant.) What Bullitt does have going for it is an excellent depiction of a smarmy career politician: both the writers and Robert Vaughan are entitled to be proud of that aspect of the movie. The film's other great asset of course is Steve McQueen's star quality. If I had to show one movie to demonstrate screen charisma, I might well choose Bullitt.

Death Wish I've seen only once which indicates that it's not my kind of movie. I remember that like Dirty Harry it showed both sides of the argument and did not suggest that unbridled vigilante-ism was an ideal solution to anti-social behaviour. Perhaps I should have another look at Death Wish. Is the DVD any good?
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Old 25-09-2008, 17:01   #14
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. . . maybe Im used to less dramatic acting, ie more natural.
How natural was Eli Wallach's performance in The Good, The Bad And The Ugly?
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Old 25-09-2008, 18:12   #15
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The original Death Wish really doesn't show much consequence at all to Kersey's actions - it's not like the book, where (to a certain extent) there's a dialogue about a humble, liberal sort of guy who embraces violence and the lex talionis/an eye for an eye, taking it to a horrible conclusion. Casting Charles Bronson as a supposedly wishy-washy man who's not comfortable around guns doesn't really convince, does it? All having the cops turn a blind eye to it (ultimately) does is endorse the notion that vigilantism is something necessary in cities where the streets are crawling with all sorts of people with ghetto blasters and ethnic hair.

It's certainly not in Dirty Harry's league, although it's miles ahead of any of the DW sequels.

I don't agree that The French Connection is overrated - I can see that with certain other Friedkin flicks, most certainly The Exorcist, which I've never thought was the earth-shattering experience that most fans do, but then I'm not Catholic nor an adolescent of the '70s, and sure, the car chase sticks out like a sore thumb saying LOOK AT ME. But then, Friedkin went down 'n' dirty and guerilla and went out and did it, and it's an amazing bit of filmmaking/driving, in comparison to the rather static sequence in Bullitt, which I've never admired that much, other than enjoying McQueen's hair and elbow patches.

I think it does illustrate Popeye's obsession and mania at an appropriate point in the film, culminating in him shooting a guy in the back. That it does in an exciting, crowd-pleasing way is purely incidental. And, sadly, it meant that Friedkin felt it was a trademark of his and constructed several lesser films (To Live and Die in LA, Jade) around his "reputation" as a master of the car chase, not to mention the lynchpin of his fall from grace being predicated on machismo and machines. It's hardly a surprise, though, in Bullitt that you could remove the car chase and it make no difference to the film, structurally - it's the same deal with deferring to McQueen in The Great Escape and engorging his petrolhead ego.
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Old 25-09-2008, 18:40   #16
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Interesting . . . I was terribly depressed by Chris 21, No.2 post, who said he didn't fancy Bullitt or The Searchers. And that from a man with 5000 posts on his record! Then I looked him up and thought, OK, he's not one of us and, this not being Zimbabwe, he's entitled to his opinions, his own aesthetic, and live in a world of schlock horror and trash. And then subsequent posts, all very interesting. All I would add is this: aren't Death Wish, Bullitt and The Searchers all studies of the same thing: revenge and anomie. The heroes of each movie become alienated and feel betrayed by their own society and opt out of it.

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Old 25-09-2008, 19:03   #17
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Of course, we all have our blind spots - I for one cannot understand what people see in the Godfather!
Agreed 100%; in my case, it is not helped by the fact that I cannot stand the sight (and much less the sound) of Marlon Brando. He is a hugely overrated actor of limited range who ahppened to get some roles that suited him.
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Old 25-09-2008, 20:12   #18
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. . . I was terribly depressed by Chris 21, No.2 post, who said he didn't fancy Bullitt or The Searchers.
Never be depressed by someone having a different point of view or even different values! It keeps forums such as this alive.
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Old 25-09-2008, 20:39   #19
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Here’s what I find memorable about The Searchers:
  1. John Wayne’s uncompromising performance, his characters bitter hatred towards the Apache and some of the terrible ways it manifests itself. You don’t see it throughout the film but it’s always there in the back of his mind. It’s arguably his best performance.
  2. The single-minded determination of the two central characters, how they are resolute in their search when all others have given the chase up as futile.
  3. How, because of their obsession with the search, they don’t even care they’ve put their own lives on hold.
  4. How as we watch the film, we realise about the completely opposite reasons why the two continue the search. One through a desire for vengeance and the other to bring his half sister home.
  5. How each time they have doubts about continuing the search they come across a piece of news that revives their determination.
  6. The way in which they come across the group of Apaches they’re searching for.
  7. When the moment comes, how one of the central characters has a change of heart and doesn’t carry out his intentions.
  8. The symbolism and poignancy of the film’s closing shot making it one of the greatest endings to a film ever.
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Old 25-09-2008, 20:40   #20
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I think a movie like The Searchers kind of grows on you over time. I know that in my own case, the older I get the more I appreciate this film. Needless to say, it's also the kind of film that rewards multiple viewings as there always seems to be something new to find whenever I revisit it.
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