Skip to comments.Movie for a Sunday afternoon: "The Big Country" (1958)
Posted on 12/09/2012 12:34:46 PM PST by ReformationFan
Today's feature is one of my favorite epic westerns of all time. "The Big Country" features a terrific cast and perhaps the most memorable western score ever by Jerome Moross. Charlton Heston is terrific in an atypically, unheroic role for him. Wm. Wyler was so impressed with him he cast him as "Ben-Hur" the next year. The lovely Jean Simmons is fantastic as well as the beautiful and intelligent school marm whose ranch is the centerpiece of the feud. Of all Gregory Peck's leading ladies, she's the one he had the best chemistry with. The scene where they swap horror stories is a classic. Burl Ives steals the show with his Oscar-winning turn as the rough Hennesy clan patriach. All in all, a great film. Well worth watching if you've never seen it and well worth watching again if you already have.
The old movies I remember are so much better than many of the technorgasmic concoctions that tend to rip off plot lines long forgotten.
Whenever McKenna’s Gold, is on I always make a point to watch it. Peck as his usual uber-competent self, and Omar Sharif in a bad guy role....(on another topic, Omar once took out a full-page add in some ‘biz-magazine’ (Variety?) saying he was available for work — classic).
Thanks for the recommendation. I’m a huge fan of western classics, but I don’t think I’ve ever watched The Big Country.
In a totally different genre, I watched “The Machinist” last night. Wow, what a great psychological thriller that was.
Not to mention Chuck Connors as the cowardly son. I agree that this is one of the best westerns made despite the lack of action required in today’s films - more of a thinking man’s western with a good plot and excellent actors.
Indeed. Connors is quite good in a very non-Lucas McCain type cowboy role. Forgot to mention, TBC was supposedly President Eisenhower’s favorite movie as well. He screened it in the White House 4 nights in a row.
So many great scenes in that movie.
Wtch it every time it’s on TV.
It also had one of the greatest musical themes of all western movies, exceeded in excellence only by “The Magnificent Seven.”
It had a great cast, including Carroll Baker, one of my heart-throb idols as I took a run through adolescence; although her part in this show was not as a likeable character.
There was so much likeable in this show...Question to Jim McCay, "Have you ever seen anything as big (as Texas)?...McCay: Yes I have...(Incredulous) Really! What?...(Answer) A couple of oceans.
Charleton Heston played a guy who, quite literally, grew and matured in the role.
Jean Simmons was never my favorite, but was better than great in this part.
Chuck Connors as a coward was acting at its best. How about that duel?
Peck did so many heroic things outside the view of his fellow characters. Jim McCay reported only to Jim McCay.
Burl Ives played a slug with real character.
It says right here: If you can watch the Big Country and not like it...you're pretty hard to please.
One of my all-time favorites! Terrific cast — Burl Ives, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Chuck Connors, Jean Simmons — and a magnificent score.
“It also had one of the greatest musical themes of all western movies”
Another Day Another Sunset
Thanks for the link. Great movie!
You’re welcome. Is this the first time you’ve seen it? I’m curious if these old movie links I post introduce folks to classics they’ve never seen before.
“The Big Country movie had it all...like Big Jake, High Noon and The Tall T.”
Have seen all of those except The Tall T.
“It had a great cast, including Carroll Baker, one of my heart-throb idols as I took a run through adolescence; although her part in this show was not as a likeable character.”
They had to make her character very unlikable so audiences would easily accept Peck dumping her and ending up with Jean Simmons whose character was the perfect woman for Peck’s McKay. Carroll Baker did a great job with the role though. A much better part for her than her later films “The Carpetbaggers” and “Harlow”.
“Chuck Connors as a coward was acting at its best. How about that duel?”
Indeed. A far cry from Lucas McCain. He was a much better actor than he was given credit for.
“It says right here: If you can watch the Big Country and not like it...you’re pretty hard to please.”
I think this might be the first time that I watched it from beginning to end. It was neat to be able to pause it, and then rewind a scene, or look up information on the actors and filming locations, then press play.
I used to have cable and enjoyed the classic movie channels. Don’t have a TV now.
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