Only one of the following productions is specifically referred to in the text of MR CHEN’S EMPORIUM, but as a movie and television buff myself, I like to imagine that these are some of Angie Wallace’s favourite Westerns.
This was everyone’s favourite Western TV series in the Sixties, along with Bonanza, Rawhide (in which a young Clint Eastwood rose to fame) and Wagon Train. As a kid, I always wanted to be Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake). She was the prettiest woman on television. Thinking about it now, the fact she ran a saloon should have given me an indication that Miss Kitty was possibly not a Western lady in the school marm tradition. Then again, her relationship with the Sheriff always seemed to be oddly circumspect.
The Magnificent Seven
Based on Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai, this is the quintessential American Western movie of the early Sixties. Brimming with sex symbols including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and a young Robert Vaughan (still to become the ‘Man from UNCLE’ and better known nowadays as the elderly Albert Stroller from the late lamented Hustle), it is the archetypal story of a band of heroes saving an oppressed populace from an evil villain.
The Outlaw Josey Wales
When Angie Wallace makes an allusion to an attractive and enigmatic outlaw, it’s Clint Eastwood’s Josey Wales I have in mind. In this 1976 film Eastwood becomes an outlaw after the massacre of his wife and children. The film was directed by Eastwood, the second in a series of Westerns he made from the Seventies, culminating in 1992’s superb Unforgiven for which he won an Academy Award for Direction.
The Quick and the Dead
Although this film is rather patchy overall, Sharon Stone is convincing as its gunslinger heroine. And you won’t find a better Western villain than Gene Hackman’s Herod. Imbuing his character with charm and evil in equal measure, Hackman looks great in a long black coat and Stetson hat. What’s more, he does a menacing smile better than anybody else.