In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I’d never say that The Unforgiven is a good movie. But I also can’t say that I wasn’t entertained by it.”
“I’ve left my family. They’ve changed. Turned into Indian lovers; Injun lovers.”
John Ford and John Wayne’s The Searchers is widely recognised as one of the greatest westerns ever made. In fact, when I wrote about it here on Bored and Dangerous, it was as part of my countdown of the American Film Institute’s Top 100 American movies. While the performance from Wayne is one of his absolute best, and the film making of Ford only gets more impressive with every rewatch, the political and social views haven’t aged so well. So when I read that The Unforgiven (similar to Clint Eastwood’s 1992 masterpiece in name and genre only) was director John Huston’s answer to those troubling political and social views, I was intrigued to see what he had to say. The Unforgiven is a response and polar opposite to The Searches. It just does something I had assumed was impossible, and presents something even more troubling than the movie it’s responding to.
With his father dead, Ben (Burt Lancaster) has become the patriarch of the Zachary family. There’s his old but spry mother Mattilda (Lillian Gish), hot head brother Cash (Audie Murphy) and adopted sister Rachel (Audrey Hepburn). It’s Rachel and her adoption that brings trouble to the Zachary clan and drives the plot of The Unforgiven. (more…)