Planet Earth

Western Cinema Lore

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorMar 9, 2009 10:35 PM


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If you love Westerns (who doesn't?) and you always wanted one of those ridiculous "best of" guides, then check out the "100 Greatest Westerns" special issue published by the editors of Wild Westmagazine. You gotta pay for the hard copy (which I did), but I'm having fun thumbing through the trivial anecdotes related to each movie, as well as the colorful biographies of some actors who played important side roles. For example, the guy who played General Mapache in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (one of my all-time favorite movies and ranked 14) was Emilio "El Indio" Fernandez, himself a legendary movie director in Latin America. As a young man, Fernandez fought (on the losing side) in the Mexican Revolution, got a 20-year prison sentence, but escaped to Los Angeles. According to Wild West magazine, Fernandez continued indulging his taste for off-screen violence:

His savage side suited his role as General Mapache. He was convicted of manslaughter for killing a farm laborer, and once shot a film critic over a bad review.

Even Sam Peckinpah, who got his share of nasty reviews, never did that.

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