Saturday, February 11, 2012
THE BIG SKY
Howard Hawks 1953 western about fur traders on a trip up the Missouri River starring Kirk Douglas and Arthur Hunnicutt (who got an Oscar Nom). On the surface, it's just about a group of traders trying to reach the Blackfeet Indian nation to trade with them; but the subtext tells the story of a group of traders who set up a socialist cooperative in which they will all split the profits equality fighting against a greedy capitalist business trying to become a monopoly. It's a wonder everybody wasn't called in front of the HUAC. It's beautiful to look at; has a nice music score; the dialog has a great colloquial ring to it; and the way the different ethnic groups and nationalities relate to each other has a realistic feel to it. But it also never really rises above what it is, a standard western with a standard plot with performances that are a bit too cute and ethnic for the movie to work as well as it might.