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Absolutely fascinating viewing. A difficult movie but an unforgettable one!
Monte Hellman has my vote for the most underrated and overlooked American director of all time. Like so many excellent film makers he got his first big break from legendary b-grade producer/director Roger Corman, and he co-directed (uncredited) Corman's 'The Terror' and edited his biker classic 'The Wild Angels'. Jack Nicholson starred in 'The Terror' and he an Hellman soon bonded together personally and professionally. Their greatest collaborations were the two 1960s westerns 'Ride In The Whirlwind' and 'The Shooting', filmed simultaneously, but released separately. Both are great movies but 'The Shooting' is the more interesting of the two, and along with Hellman's classic road movie 'Two-Lane Blacktop' his finest achievement. Both movies are close to being masterpieces, but rarely get mentioned except by other film makers, like Quentin Tarantino, who is a major fan, and enlisted Hellman's help in getting his debut 'Reservoir Dogs' to the big screen. 'The Shooting' is difficult viewing for most people. It requires you to pay close attention and fill in the blanks yourself. It isn't exactly a puzzle movie, but not everything is blatantly spelled out. The viewer has to work a little, but it's really worth it! The four main actors are all excellent. Not just Nicholson, and the legendary Warren Oates, but also Will Hutchins (of 50s TV western 'Sugarfoot'), and the beautiful Millie Perkins, who also appeared with Nicholson in 'Ride In The Whirlwind', though her role here is much more substantial and impressive. 'The Shooting' is one of the most original westerns I've ever seen, and easily one of the most underrated movies of the 1960s. I highly recommend it!
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