Friday, 13 January 2012

Week 3: Arizona

"Arizona really was a gas,
 I was screwed up, in a total mess -
 Mind-blowing all the way, you know...?"
 - 'Arizona',

Howdy pardner. Let's shake some of that cold out of our bones and get some desert sand in our boots instead. We're moseying on down to Arizona.

You might think there ain't much down there 'cept sand and saguaro cacti, but this area has been the historic area where three types of civilisation met. The Native Americans who lived in this area included such famous nations as the Apache, the Navajo and the Hopi. A quarter of the state is still made up of their 'reservations'. It was the Spanish and Mexicans who first came in from outside, and Mexican immigration is still a big ticket discussion point. And then the Americans came in - Texans, Confederates and Unionists. But this was the area that really put the 'wild' in Wild West - the veneer of that civilisation was very thin indeed.

So in the films I'm going to watch I'm hoping to see some of these interactions down on what was, in the second half of the Nineteenth Century, the wildest, roughest, least forgiving frontier in America.

The films for this week (assuming Lovefilm ever send them to me) are:
  • Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
  • Raising Arizona (1987)

Originally I was going to watch Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer et al in 1993's Tombstone before I decided to go further back in time to the golden age of the Western and check out Gunfight... instead. I'm hoping that might prove a nice contrast with the most modern version of 3:10 to Yuma, showing how tastes have changed. And then we speed on into the new West, with the first of what looks likely to be many Coen Brothers flicks...

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