Ellen, an unknown female gunslinger rides into a small, dingy and depressing prairie town with a secret as to her reason for showing up. Shortly after her arrival, a local preacher, Cort, is thrown through the saloon doors while townfolk are signing up for a gun competition. The pot is a huge sum of money and the only rule: that you follow the rules of the man that set up the contest, Herod. Herod is also the owner, leader, and "ruler" of the town. Seems he's arranged this little gun-show-off so that the preacher (who use to be an outlaw and rode with Herod) will have to fight again. Cort refuses to ever use a gun to kill again and Herod, acknowledging Cort as one of the best, is determined to alter this line of thinking ... even if it gets someone killed ... Written by
Lance Henriksen worked on one trick for a month before production began without telling anyone. When he got to the set, he showed it to Sam Raimi, who immediately put it in the movie. See more »
When The Kid draws against Scars, the closeup shot appears to show him shooting left handed, but the film is actually reversed, indicated by his revolver's ejector rod being on the wrong side of the gun's barrel. After Scars fires, the distant shot of The Kid shows him holding his revolver in his right hand. See more »
No no no no, you see it's a gun fight. We both have guns. We aim, we fire, you die.
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As much happening behind the lens as in front ....
Yes, I know the critics at the time panned it. But if that was the baseline for greatness, films like Wonderful Life and Citizen Kane would be lost to obscurity. Bottom line, this is a "high concept" film that is much more entertaining than you would guess. The timeline is fascinating. In the 1960s, after a half-century run, and massive exposure on the new medium called Television, the classic western started to disappear. But, as they say, nature abhors a vacuum; and at the same time the sun started to set on the traditional western, it started to rise on something called the "italian westerns" or re-imaginings of the genre from Europe. This is for example how Clint Eastwood went from forgotten TV actor (Rawhide) to #1 box office attraction. This new genre lasted barely 15 years or so and soon disappeared as well. Yet out of nowhere, 20 years later someone in Tinseltown gets the idea to re-imagine the ALREADY RE-IMAGINED western, this time starring a female. Sharon Stone was past the apex of her career by this point, making the project more of a challenge. The other talent was awesome. A pre-Oscar Russell Crowe, a pre-Titanic diCaprio, and all backstopped by Hackman, I mean, wow. The big question, did it actually work? Answer yes. It was uneven in parts and an argument could be made that Hackman overdid the "bad guy" role or, alternatively, the part was over-written. Stone was awesome, proving she had the chops to take on a bizarre role and make it hers. Actually gets better with each successive viewing.
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