Directed by: ROBERT ALTMAN
1971, TSPDT Rank #124
In my opinion the 1960s and '70s were the best years in the history of the western film, because there was so much originality and change going into the genre at that point - a genre which before then had been more of a cheap entertainment was becoming an art, the past a means of expression. McCabe and Mrs. Miller is Altman's ode to the Old West, a film that dismisses the traditional image of the Western frontier (gunfights in the blazing desert) and transports it to the Pacific Northwest, with a sense of historical realism along with a modern feeling, that helps the viewer connect more easily with the people of the past. The film has some beautiful cinematography, and Altman's directorial style encompasses a fairly large cast with ease and control. The images are very poetic; in particular the ending gunfight and pursuit sequence, which despite it's gritty violence, possesses a sort of tragic serenity. I don't think this is one of Altman's best films, but it's definitely one worth watching, with a perspective on the American Frontier life that still feels fresh today.