In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb mv5bnda4ymmwmgity2mzos00odjilthmzdetyza5ngu4zjq5yjhixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjk5nda3otk . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 674 1000 al

Geostorm

God knows how many millions of dollars and hours of manpower went into making and remaking Geostorm but it turns out to have been all…

Thumb same kind of different as me

Same Kind of Different as Me

It can be hard to disagree with the heart and events of this true tale, except for when the movie reveals itself to be mighty…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Firecreek

  |  

The Jimmy Stewart hero usually isn't very happy with his job. He doesn't go around sticking his neck out. He's no John Wayne type. But finally he gets pushed beyond the breaking point and Wayne hath no fury like a Stewart scorned.

"Firecreek" presents the Stewart hero in a familiar disguise. This time, Jimmy is the part-time sheriff of a town populated with broken-down, defeated settlers. He gets two bucks a month and wears a "Sharaf" badge his kids have hammered out of tin. His wife is expecting another baby any minute now, and the last thing he wants is trouble.

Advertisement

But then a gang of bad guys rides into town. At first you don't realize they're bad guys, because they're led by Henry Fonda, who always plays good guys. He does this time, too. That is, he's not as bad as the guys in his gang. He's an essentially decent person on the wrong side, like Rommel in the desert.

But he's been wounded, and while he's being tended by a kindly landlady (Inger Stevens), his boys shoot up the town. Stewart, pushed beyond the proverbial breaking point, fights back. There's a shootdown in the great Western tradition, ending at last with the confrontation of reluctant heroism (Stewart) and reluctant evil (Fonda), both wear gray hats, appropriately.

"Firecreek" was obviously conceived with high aims. I have the feeling that the people involved thought they were making a pretty good movie. And they almost did. Several scenes, including one between Stewart and his pregnant wife (Jacqueline Scott), and another between Fonda and Miss Stevens, are filled with tenderness.

But somehow the parts don't quite come together. Despite the presence of character actors like the legendary Ed Begley, despite the effective dust-blown photography, despite Stewart and Fonda, something is missing.

The tension we need to draw us into the story isn't there; things move at too leisurely a pace, and the movie, like the Jimmy Stewart hero, has to be dragged into the excitement against its will.

Popular Blog Posts

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

"Blade Runner" vs. "Blade Runner 2049"

A Great Movie is hidden somewhere within "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049."

Oscars Could Be Facing Dearth of Diversity Yet Again

A column on the lack of diversity in this year's potential Oscar nominees.

Tears of a Machine: The Humanity of Luv in "Blade Runner 2049"

No character in “Blade Runner 2049” is more relatably human than Luv.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus