"You're a troublemaker, stranger. You spell 'bad cess' in letters that stretch from here to Seattle."
“Pale Rider” marks Clint Eastwood’s 10th time directing himself in a film, something he went on doing until 2008’s “Gran Torino” and something he clearly knows how to do well. This seems to hold true especially in westerns, even though he only directed himself in four of them. Perhaps that’s because he had so much experience in them and learned from other directors like Sergio Leone how to stand, how to ride, how to stare, how to shoot on film. And while “Pale Rider” is an obvious retelling of the classic 1953 film “Shane,” it can stand on its own merits and doesn’t feel like a ripoff. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we come to the last film in our Richard Dysart series, 1985’s “Pale Rider.” We talk about the story of this film and how lean it is, while also apparently being a ghost story, something neither of us ever caught on to until reading up on it. We discuss the actors, notably Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress, Richard Kiel, Sydney Penny, and of course Richard Dysart, and how well they work in this film. We chat about the Biblical references in the film, the idea of Eastwood’s character, Preacher, being a ghost, and how that structure works in context of this story. We talk about the nature of the little man versus the corporate machine, something we’ve talked about in a few recent episodes, and how it works in this film. We go over the look of this film and discuss what Bruce Surtees and Eastwood bring to the film by using low lighting, particularly for the night and interior scenes. And we touch on Lennie Niehaus’s music and why it works so well in context of the film. It’s a classic western with some great moments that further cement Eastwood as the true iconic ‘stranger’ character. Give it a watch then tune in!
- Original theatrical trailer
- Original poster artwork
- Ambush at Dark Canyon (starring Sydney Penny)