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A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
The film was not called "Mountain Man" or "The Mountain Man" despite the fact that the book "Mountain Man: A Novel of Male and Female in the Early American West' (1965) by Vardis Fisher was one of the two written works the film was based on. Yet in 1980, around eight years after this picture debuted, a Charlton Heston movie was made and released called The Mountain Men (1980). See more »
The time period is around the 1830s, yet when Johnson is guiding the soldiers to rescue the civilians stuck in the snow, he asks the lieutenant in charge how "the war with the president of Mexico is going." The lieutenant says, "It's over." Johnson asks, "Who won?" The war with Mexico was from 1845 to 1847. The trade in beaver pelts was over by 1840. See more »
His name was Jeremiah Johnson, and they say he wanted to be a mountain man. The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit, suited to the mountains. Nobody knows whereabouts he come from and don't seem to matter much. He was a young man and ghosty stories about the tall hills didn't scare him none. He was looking for a Hawken gun, .50 caliber or better. He settled for a .30, but damn, it was a genuine Hawken, and you couldn't go no better. Bought him a good ...
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A film which is glibly categorized as a `western' but goes somewhat deeper than that. The Pollack/Redford combination works well, and the photography of those magnificent mountains of Utah is spectacular. With all that beautiful scenery in Montana, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, I am surprised that the US government never does very much for saving it and cleaning up all that contamination ..
Thirty years on and after several viewings, I find this story grows on you, like the aging of fine wine in oak casks, such that another recent viewing gave me as much if not more pleasure. Precisely because it is not the standard `western' formula. One gets a little tired of John Wayne getting saddle-sore, killing indians and wooing women; at times watching `Jeremiah Johnson' I cannot help comparing a little with `Dances with Wolves' (qv), not because of any story similarity but more from certain situations being played out.
Robert Redford has given us numerous films in which his characterization is pretty good in general, but in this film I rather fancy he was inspired, even to the point of throwing off that silly category so beloved of those suffering Hollywooditis. Most notable in `The Sting' (qv), `All the President's Men', `Out of Africa', and `A River Runs Through it', without forgetting his excellent directing of `Ordinary People', one of the best true-life dramas I have seen.
`Jeremiah Johnson' is now one of the classics of the genre and even of cinema as a whole: always worth another viewing.
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