Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Review of "The Outlaw Josey Wales," DVD version

Review of

The Outlaw Josey Wales, DVD version

Five out of five stars

 Clint Eastwood has stated that this was his most enjoyable movie to make. Given the onscreen interactions between the actors, it is easy to believe him. This is especially the case when Eastwood (Josey Wales) and Chief Dan George (Lone Watie) are interacting. While the humorous events between them are of the deadpan sort, they are very funny. Together they make one of the best and most unusual hero/sidekick combinations.

 The opening premise is that Josey Wales is a hardscrabble farmer with a wife and boy in the time of the American Civil War. Raiders attack his isolated farm when he is in the fields and kill his wife and boy. He himself is struck down and knocked unconscious. When he regains consciousness, he takes a vow of revenge and works to become an expert with pistols. With nothing else to do, he joins a band of Confederate raiders.

 When the war ends, the band of raiders is given the option to surrender to a Union official and take an oath to the Union. Josey Wales is the only member of the band not to surrender, which renders him an outlaw. This is the first action in a lengthy chase where Wales is pursued by bounty hunters, ex-union officers and agents of the law. Along the way, he rescues and befriends several people, proving that he is fundamentally a man of honor. One of those people is the character played by Chief Dan George.

 The action is often intense with interludes of very human interaction. Despite the extreme differences in their backgrounds, the people that Josey collects along the way develop a significant attachment to each other and at the end are willing to fight for Josey.

 This is one of the movies where it has a major star in the lead, but it could not be great without the strength of the supporting cast. Even the bit players are strong and add an essential ingredient to what is a great movie.

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