Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I guess it was sometime in the early 1980s when I first saw what I believe to be the best Willie Nelson western movie ever made. I had an uncle who happened to be the only member of our family who had cable tv. He would record movies on his vcr and loan them out to us. Right from the get go I loved this movie. I cant explain why, but it has always held a special place in my heart.

Barbarosa is an aging outlaw who is tough as nails, rough as a cob and wise with age. He has been through it all and it shows in his demeanor and weathered face. He was forced into the outlaw life as the result of a misunderstanding which has been perpetuated by the patriarch of the prominent Zavalla family. Anyone who can kill Barbarosa will become a hero in the eyes of the Zavalla family. Barbarosa has now grown tired of being on the run and hunted by members of this family who have all been raised up hearing the many tales of the outlaw gringo.

This movie is full of great scenes and comical exchanges as Barbarosa unwittingly becomes the mentor for a disillusioned farm boy (played by Gary Busey) who, in time, will take up the mantle and carry on the legend of Barbarosa.

One funny scene unfolds as the farm boy finds himself in a gunfight when his "would be" assasin runs out of bullets and has to stop and reload. Barbarosa impatiently looks at his partner and says, "Well... hurry up farm boy... dont let the sunuvabitch reload!"

This is a must see western, but you can only find this one in full screen. I truly hope that the folks in control of this film will one day remaster this film and release it in widescreen format so we can enjoy the cinematography and view the film as it was meant to be seen.

I want to make sure and say thanks to Texas artist Charles Phillip Vaughn for allowing me to use his portrait of "Willie Nelson as Barbarosa" as it perfectly illustrates the essence of this character. Please visit his website to see more of his great work: http://www.cpvaughn.com/index.html

Cap'n Ron

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Name Is Nobody

There were no DVD players when I was a kid. We had one of those old top loading VHS machines. The remote control was not cordless as they are now, but was attached with a long wire. I remember my dad and I would sit in the living room with the lights out watching westerns on TV. We didnt have the money to go buy movies so we would record our westerns off of the TV. Unfortunately, when you try to record movies off of the TV you are also recording all of the commercials. Dad decided that he did not want to record commercials so it became my job to hold this remote control in my hand through the whole movie and hit the pause button before and after every commercial. This was the scenario as I watched "My Name Is Nobody" for the very first time.

I laughed out loud at the performance given by Terence Hill as he portrayed "Nobody". He appears to unwittingly avoid all kinds of disaster until you catch a little gleam in his eyes which lets the audience know there is more going on up stairs than meets the eye. One of my favorite scenes in this movie is one in which a seemingly drunken "Nobody" uses his super fast reflexes to slap a would be assassin into submission without ever pulling his own pistol.

While Terence Hill plays the quirky "Nobody", Henry Fonda plays it straight as an old gun fighter named Jack Beauregard who knows his time is coming to an end. He wants to put his guns down and have a normal life, but alas, there is always someone wanting to prove he is faster. He plays it cool, but he shows an underlying uncertainty as to who he can trust. He refuses "Nobody's" offer to help him go out in a blaze of glory until the end when, at "Nobody's" urging, he takes on the entire Wild Bunch. That is another of my favorite scenes: The Wild Bunch have saddle bags full of dynamite. Each saddle bag has a silver star sequin which glints in the bright sunlight. Beauregard takes aim at these silver sequins and with each shot a horse and rider are blown to kingdom come.

I also love the soundtrack to this film as well. It was scored by Morricone who scored many of these Sergio Leone films. I have the DVD of this movie and it has an option to play the score by itself. I have always enjoyed this music even as a kid.

"My Name is Nobody" has long been one of my all time favorites in the Spaghetti western genre. I highly reccommend you check it out for yourself.

FYI: I never could pause the VCR fast enough catch all the commercials.

Cap'n Ron

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day of the Evil Gun - 1968

Today's movie is called "Day of the Evil Gun" starring the late, great Glen Ford. This is a classic story about a man who is on the verge of putting his guns down and changing his ways, but when he arrives home from his wanderings he finds that the family he had left behind has been taken by Apache Indians. This prompts him to embark upon a mission to find and rescue them. Unfortunately, during his long absence another man has stepped in and began courtng his wife. This other man refuses to stay behind and joins him in his quest. The tension between these two unlikely comrades is thick enough to slice with a dull knife and it doesnt take long for them to feed eachother knuckle sandwiches.

This movie is great for many reasons but my favorite part of the movie is when the two rescuers are captured by the very Apache they seek. The Apache ride in on their horses and as the chase ensues they handily utilize their ropes as they proceed to lasso pistols out of hands and rifles from their very scabbards. The whole movie is a good adventure, but this scene alone makes it a must see movie.

I am not sure if this is available on DVD but it is occasionally replayed on the Western Channel.

Cap'n Ron

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I'd like to kick this blog off by starting with the most recent Western I have seen. My wife and I were preparing to celebrate our 13th anniversary. We usually go out for dinner and a movie of her choice. Now you have to understand that she has stated on many an occasion her disdain for Western movies. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when she suggested the latest western called "Appaloosa". She really does love me! Anyway, I had read an article about this movie in "True West" magazine so I had an idea that it was going to be a good one. However I did not realize just how great this would be!

According to the article I read, Ed Harris had been wanting to do this movie for quite some time. I believe he and his crew really did the research required to create this wonderfully authentic period piece. The town, the clothing and the firearms that would have been present in that period are all here. I also apreciated the fact that there was no "flashy" gun play. It was just happening and that was that. Nothing fancy.

The title of the film is the town in which the film is set. Ed Harris plays the tough, no nonsense gun for hire. He has a set of morals which he believes is the only way to be. His partner is played by Viggo Mortensen. He is faithful to his pal even when he doesnt seem to fully understand the reasons behind his pal's sudden violent outbursts.

This movie is now out on DVD and I highly recommend you give it a shot as it is, in my opinion, one of the best westerns I have seen in quite awhile.