- Format: NTSC, Import
- Number of tapes: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Warner
- VHS Release Date: May 30 2000
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- ASIN: 0790741059
Life & Times/Judge... [Import]
A remarkable blend of otherwise disparate philosophies about legendary men, this 1972 film was inspired in part by the epic dimensions of a John Milius (The Wind and the Lion) script, which was toned down by Paul Newman's charmingly eccentric approach to the title character, who in turn was deepened by director John Huston's sensitivity to the subject of fleeting dreams. The story concerns the famous outlaw-turned-lawmaker who rules over an empty stretch of the West that gradually grows, under his iron fist, into a thriving town. The film follows the quirky Bean's episodic adventures as the years pass and a variety of colorful characters come and go, including the muse who captivated his soul, the actress Lily Langtry (Ava Gardner). Huston's textured approach has an almost Altmanesque feel to it, though he demands more (and rewardingly so) obvious performances from the cast, particularly a hilarious cameo by Stacy Keach as the one tough-as-nails SOB who makes Bean a tad nervous. Highly entertaining. --Tom Keogh
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When I first saw this in the theaters in '72 I was attracted by the action, the humor, and the sentimentality ( I still can't keep a dry eye when I watch the final scene with the watch bear....) As I got older I realised that there is a lot more to this movie. There is a consistent theme about Law and Justice, and the distinction between them.
When we first see Roy Bean he is a petty outlaw, less than a man. He has total contempt for law and justice, which he doesn't distinguish between. Then, when he first becomes a "Judge", it is in dubious title only- to fill his own pockets. As time goes on he intuitively dispenses true Justice in the name of the Law. By the final climactic scene, when asked who he is , he replies simply, "Justice." He has gone full cycle, from a scoff-law and less than a man, to the embodyment of Justice itself, to more than a man.
You'll notice that his chief adversary is a Lawyer Gass, a man that knows everything about the Law and nothing about Justice. A "man" that steals more with legal trickery than the old outlaws ever dreamed of stealing. It was this movie that made me see that Law is the creation of men, while Justice is an ideal that emanates directly from God.
I don't know if this is the theme that John Huston had in mind, but it is what I get out of it.
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