Two Rode Together (1961)
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- 109 min.
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Interesting and thought provoking. It feels like a companion piece to The Searchers.
I would say there are two reasons to watch John Ford's Two Rode Together. The first is the relationship between Jimmy Stewart's greedy, bluntly pragmatic marshal and Richard Widmark's Army Major. The two are friends and have an easy banter that feels improvised, and their friendship is strained when they are tasked with going on a mission to recover white folk kidnapped by the Comanche, and in many cases integrated into the tribe. And that's the other reason, just how this "rescue" leads to tragedy by showing the real-life consequences of such kidnappings, and what happens to the people brought back to a world they scarcely know, or that scarcely knows them. But while there's a lot of dialog I liked, I sometimes felt Stewart was basically delivering some of them as himself, the folksy, stammering talk show guest. And structurally, the film gives up its stake at being a revisionist western when in the last act, the boys race to complete their romantic subplots and get married. And of course, there's always the matter of non-Natives playing Natives, which I understand as an artifact of the time, but even in that context, the wigs are terrible and they cast a blue-eyed white dude to play the Comanche chief. In a movie that is about spotting the non-Natives who are part of the tribe, this is especially distracting.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #89 in BFI's 100 Westerns
This movie ranks #266 in Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series
This movie ranks #500 in Cahiers du Cinéma's Annual Top 10 Lists