Cowboy Crossroads Meet

Bosque Film Society hosts 2nd Annual Wild Western Weekend Free Film Festival featuring six free classic westerns in four days July 27-30 at The Cliftex Theatre in Clifton

Take a trip back to the American Old West for some tales of cowboys, settlers and outlaws exploring the western frontier and taming the Wild West. Offering an air-conditioned break from the harsh Texas summer just before returning to school, the Bosque Film Society invites everyone to a diverse selection of movies for the Second Annual Free Wild Western Weekend Free Film Festival at the historic Cliftex Theatre in Clifton July 27-30.

Delivering six free films over a four-day weekend, the festival opens with the legendary John Wayne delivering his 1969 Academy Award-winning performance in True Grit at 7 p.m. Thursday. Following up with a double feature on Friday, the evening begins with an all-star ensemble cast in the 1985 fun-loving western Silverado for the 4 p.m. matinee, then turning to the 1972 mountain man adventure Jeremiah Johnson for the 7 p.m. evening show.

Family Film Saturday features the 2011 animated swashbuckling tale Rango as the 4 p.m. matinee followed by the 1960 against-all-odds showdown The Magnificent Seven at 7 p.m. in the evening. The festival concludes with Sunday’s 4 p.m. matinee featuring the 1968 epic Spaghetti Western classic Once Upon the Time in the West.

Although admission will be free to the public courtesy of the Bosque Film Society, seating will be limited on a first-come, first serve basis, thanks to the generous donations by Phyllis Gamble & Mechelle Slaughter, Joanne Freeman & Thomas Blossom, Jay LaRue & Kathleen Jones, Punky & Wally Penberthy, Laurie & Wayne Johnson, Amy & Kenon Perry of Loblolli, Ves & Sally Box, Anita Diebenow, Don Spitzenberger and Clifton Main Street.

“After the success of last year's event, we are very excited to once again offer exactly what we know everyone wants to see – four days of nothing but good, old westerns,” Bosque Film Society founding board president Brett Voss said. “We hope to fill the house for all six films.”

“We can’t say enough about the support we have received from our charter members and the community at large. It’s exciting to be able to open up the longest continuously operating movie theater in Texas to anyone who wants to visit. When you really think about it, it’s hard to imagine that movie lovers have been coming to The Cliftex since 1916. When you walk through the doors, you are truly taking a step back in time.”

Last year, the Bosque Film Society successfully launched their first Wild Western Weekend – a fun weekend of free admission to some all-time favorite western movies over the years. Focusing on John Wayne and Clint Eastwood classics in 2022, this year offers a new, star-studded, iconic line up, striving to offer something to everybody’s liking during the four-day festival of all types of Western films.

Starring the Duke as the incomparable Rooster Cogburn, the classic western True Grit, the award-winning film directed by Henry Hathaway also features Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper.

While the 2010 version with Jeff Bridges might be more popular with audiences, the 1969 original shows a worn-in, larger-than-life John Wayne playing the rough and gruff U.S. Marshal, who is persuaded by a stubborn, gritty young girl to avenge her father’s death by hunting down his killer. Along the way, they are joined by a young Texas Ranger thirsty for bounty money. The move tagline “The strangest trio ever to track a killer” says it all.

Capturing the spirit of an old-fashioned Hollywood western in the greatest sense of the genre, Silverado – produced, directed and written by Lawrence Kasdan – stars Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover and Kevin Costner in a story about a misfit bunch of friends who come together to right the injustices which exist in a small town – a fun right-versus-wrong Western.

“Westerns were very much out of style at that time and generally have had a very spotty commercial record since, with a few exceptions,” Kasdan said in the book “The Making of Silverado. “But we wanted to remind people of the pleasures that we had had from westerns growing up…it’s a post-modern western in that it’s very much aware of its antecedents and tries to use them in ways that are fun and interesting.”

Partly based on the life of the legendary mountain man John Jeremiah Johnson recounted in Raymond Thorp and Robert Bunker's book “Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson” and Vardis Fisher's novel “Mountain Man,” Sidney Pollack’s Jeremiah Johnson recounts the story of a man, seeking a life of solitude in the Rocky Mountains after fighting in the Mexican War. Instead of the peace he seeks, he unwillingly becomes part of a long-time vendetta with Crow Indians, pushing his life to extremes to survive.

Beautifully filmed in the remote mountains of Utah, the movie’sdeliberate pace demands an investment from the viewer. But audience will be rewarded with a thoughtful drama anchored by a starring performance from Robert Redford in the title role and Will Geer as the wily old fur-trapper who teaches Johnson the first lessons in mountain survival.

Winning the Oscar for the Best Animated Feature Film in 2011, the animated western Rango directed by Gore Verbinski stars the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone and Timothy Olyphant. In this animated Spaghetti Western, ordinary chameleon Rango accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

Rango's story shows a hero's journey in the purest style of a classic Western. For kids of all ages, the PG-rated movie delivers a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world.

Taking Akira Kurasawa’s 1954 Japanese epic Seven Samurai to the Old West, The Magnificent Seven stars an ensemble cast including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn. In the film directed by John Sturges, Mexican peasants hire seven gunfighters to liberate their village from oppressive bandits with each of the gunfighters having their own personal reason for being there.

Contemporary reviews were mixed to positive. But over time, the film grew greatly in esteem, primarily due to its cast – several of whom were to go on to become superstars over the decade following the film’s release – and its music score, but also due to the quality of the script.

While the movie did not win any significant awards upon its release, Sergio Leone’s epic Spaghetti Western Once Upon A Time in the West developed a greater standing among critics in subsequent years, as well as a cult following. Directors such as Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Quentin Tarantino and Vince Gilligan have cited the film as an influence on their work.

Now regarded as one of the greatest westerns of all time and one of the greatest films of all time, Once Upon A Time In The West stars Henry Fonda, cast against type as the heartless villain, harmonica-playing gun-for-hire Charles Bronson, bandit Jason Robards and the stunning widow Claudia Cardinale.

In contrast to Leone’s other Spaghetti Westerns, the film features long, slow scenes with very little dialogue and little happening, broken by brief and sudden violence. Leone preferred to portray the rituals preceding violence than the violence itself. Highlighted by Ennio Morricone’s classic score, the tone of the film remains consistent with the arid semi-desert in which the story unfolds.

So plan to beat the heat by immersing yourself in all flavors of Western movies with the Bosque Film Society’s free to the public, four-day, six-film Second Annual Wild Western Weekend at the historic Cliftex Theatre in Clifton. In the process, take a step back to days gone by in more ways than one at the longest continuously operating movie house in Texas, showing films on the silver screen since 1916.


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