This week’s mystery movie was the 1966 Proteus Films release “The Shooting,” with Will Hutchins, Millie Perkins, Jack Nicholson, Warren Oates, Charles Eastman, Guy El Tsosie, Brandon Carroll, B.J. Merholz, Wally Moon, William Mackleprang and James Campbell.
Photography by Gregory Sandor, music by Richard Markowitz, production manager Paul Lewis, sound mixer Frank Murphy, assistant cameraman Gary Kurtz, art direction Wally Moon, script supervisor Walter Phelps, assistant to producers John Shaner, wardrobe consultant Bill Milton, technical consultant Maurice Seiderman, key grip Russ Namarillo, sound boom Art Names, music editor Igo Kantor, sound effects Edit-Rite and re-recording by Producers Sound Service.
Written by Adrien Joyce (Carole Eastman). Produced by Jack Nicholson and Monte Hellman. Directed by Monte Hellman.
“The Shooting” is available on DVD from TCM, with its companion “Ride in the Whirlwind.”
Note: “The Shooting” aired at 11:30 p.m. March 31, 1968, on New York’s WNBC. (This will be important later).
Aljean Harmetz, writing in the New York Times (May 16, 1971), said:
On Feb. 24, 1971, a 6-year-old western that cost $80,000 to make in 1965 and starred nobody very important had its American premiere, practically unnoticed, in Dallas.
To be accurate, the Dallas premiere was not exactly the first American screening of “The Shooting.” The film played once, a few years ago, on a local New York City television station at 2 a.m.
“The Shooting” made director Monte Hellman internationally famous in 1968 when it opened in Paris to extravagant praise. (“Reminds us of the best series B, from Budd Boetticher to Sam Peckinpah … the desire for truth approaches the documentary” — Les Nouvelles Litteraires; “A western brought back to its essence … You must see this little film which is a big success” — France-Soir.)
Yet probably not more than 462 people in America know Monte Hellman’s name. (The ones who do are film buffs, underground filmmakers, a small coterie of college students, and a cross-section of the more literate Hollywood craftsmen and executives).
J. Hoberman writing in the New York Times (Nov. 30, 2014), said:
Perhaps because of their oblique narrative or Mr. Hellman’s laconic style or because the movies were widely (but not too widely) seen only after they were sold to television in 1968, “The Shooting” and “Ride in the Whirlwind” have been identified as harbingers of druggy, countercultural westerns like “El Topo” or “McCabe and Mrs. Miller.” In fact, Mr. Hellman’s movies belong to another tradition altogether. Their long, tense interactions and existential situations refine the stripped-down westerns that Budd Boetticher made in the late 1950s. In their despair of meaning and noncomic absurdity, they seem a corn-fed equivalent to the modernist cinema of Michelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman. (Akira Kurosawa is an influence as well).
More on “The Shooting” and “Ride in the Whirlwind” are in “Monte Hellman: His Life and Films.”
For Monday, we have a mystery guest. He does not care to discuss such goings-on.
Update: This is Guy El Tsosie.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent.
He is somewhat taken aback by such goings-on.
Update: This is the Brain Trust’s B.J. Merholz. Who was shocked – shocked! – to see himself as a mystery guest.
For Wednesday, we have a mystery gent with a beard. Back of the Head Guy is not shown, due to insufficient mysteriousness, and will appear Friday.
Update: This is Charles Eastman.
Brain Trust roll call: B.J. Merholz (mystery movie and all mystery guests).
For what may be “aha Thursday,” we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Millie Perkins.
Brain Trust roll call: B.J. Merholz (Wednesday’s mystery guest).
For Friday, we have this unmysterious guest….
Update: This is Will Hutchins.
… and this unmysterious guest …
Update: This is Warren Oates.
… and also….
Update: Jack Nicholson.
Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Gary (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery woman), B.J. Merholz (Thursday’s mystery woman), Jenny M. (Thursday’s mystery woman), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast).