Silverado (1985)

I started Silverado last night, actually, but fell asleep about an hour and a half through as accumulated lack of sleep finally caught up to me.

I finished it this evening, just now, and it was indeed a thoroughly enjoyable film.

Now, as far as my taste in westerns go, most people know I’m more of a Leoné and Peckinpah man than a Ford and Hawks type. This is not to imply that I think poorly of the latter, rather that my taste is, I suppose, more cynical and/or modern. That said, Silverado would be much better characterized as an American western–ie, in the classic sense, such as Ford or Hawks or almost anything with John Wayne. This, of course, is not my preferred style, but that’s mostly related to the production values in a sense, or at least the film quality, and a lot of the traditions of the time. Silverado, by virtue of its age (approximately 21 years, having been released originally in 1985) overcomes those qualities and has a more modern score that maintains the bombastic, full, epic tonality of old scores (such as Elmer Bernstein’s for The Magnificent Seven) and even a lot of the bombastic, epic–but very cliché–moments in the film, such as suddenly overcoming injuries when a character is needed. But we accept it because it fits like it always does in classic westerns. Unless we’re boring, cynical, jaded modern viewers. Which I can be, but usually not about westerns.

That said, this film has got your sleazy, bastard, bad guys, your backhanded thieves, your fancy gunplay, horse tricks, quick thinking, bar brawls, saloons, shootouts–all the good old standards.
It has a nice Harmonica/Britt type character in Scott Glenn, which is always nice to see. Danny Glover and Kevin Kline played nicely, interestingly “normal” characters–I usually see Danny as Murtaugh (the other Glover films I own being Lethal Weapon 1-4 and Lethal Weapon 5: Murtaugh vs. Predator…er…) and Kevin as yknow, Inside and Out or A Fish Called Wanda (something heavily comedic)–and they didn’t automatically pair off with women or anything. Kevin Costner, having not yet established himself as anything, was interestingly cast in a hyperactive role as Scott Glenn’s younger brother.
Between those four alone, the addition of Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum and John Cleese (who has the funniest fucking line ever when he first appears) the film works just perfectly as a modern, classic-style western.

The DVD is in a DVD roughly the size of two DVDs, because it has a small cardboard sleeve over the whole thing that holds another cardboard box, which has saloon-style swinging half-doors that open (!) to reveal a deck of cards (not terribly exciting, but what the hell?). Something about Sony and decks of cards…
The first disc is just the film in Superbit, with the ultra-rare Superbit with commentary! It’s a historian one, though, and not Lawrence Kasdan (who directed it, most known probably for his work on the Indiana Jones and Star Wars films). The second disc has a 20 minute interview with Kevin Costner that pretty much focuses on his own experience, and a 36 minute making-of that carried over from the previous edition. It makes for a pretty nice package on the whole, and with a nice little “scrapbook” as well, hey, good stuff.

One of the villains really reminded me of Kevin J. O’Connor, who I now just want to see in more films, dammit. Oh well.

Good purchase, I’d say. Interesting to see the beards on all these familiar people, too.

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