Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Reaching for the sky just to surrender...

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) - Altman
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A rumored dangerous gunslinger John McCabe (Warren Beatty) arrives a snowy mountain town to open up a salon and a whore house. His affable manner wins the villagers over soon enough. Words travel fast and enterprising whore house madam Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie) offers her service and business partnership. She convinces him to upscale the whore house equipped with baths for hygiene. McCabe is smitten by no-nonsense Miller who still keeps everything business-like.

A powerful local mining company tries buy McCabe out but out of boyish pride, he refuses their offer. Soon they will dispatch hired thugs to kill him. Miller, sensing danger of losing her share and perhaps fearing for his life, tried dissuade him to no avail, falls back into her opium habits.

Beautifully shot by Lazlo Kovacs, imitating old velvet paintings of yesteryears with a melancholic soundtrack by Leonard Cohen, cold, dark and brooding, McCabe & Mrs. Miller is one of the best westerns I've seen.

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