(King Vidor, 1955)
So let’s get started.. This site’s going to be somewhere for me to put some of my tentative musings about cinema and anything else arty etc that strikes my fancy. Nothing heavily analytical or academic, tho if you want to see some of my work of that sort try: http://www.ayearinthedark.wordpress.com .. That said, I’m not an idiot so it oughta be interesting for anyone with a brain for smart movies!
The title: It refers to the fact that Kirk Douglas plays a man who isn’t a sheriff. Just a tough guy who rolls into town with a chip on his shoulder about barbed wire. But doesn’t want to get involved in violent cowboy rivalries. He reckons you should tear all the wire down and keep the land open and free..
Then maybe an hour in he switches. He realises that pulling down barbed wire for a wealthy landowner actually helps her to push out small farmers and he starts putting the stuff up again instead. Sure it’s a nice, healthy dose of anti-capitalist sentiment. But I particularly like the idea that a guy without a star has the right, or the mentality, to flip-flop, where another guy might not..
I saw this film a couple of years ago in Paris and it had an absolutely visceral effect upon me. I think it was the moment when Kirk Douglas, wrapped up in barbed wire, was thrown onto the ground- that made me think this was something a little different.. Visceral is good. Cinema isn’t about looking, any mug who tells you that needs his head checked. It’s all about the barbed wire..