High Plains Drifter (1973)

“They say the dead don’t rest without a marker of some kind.” Directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, this highly entertaining existential Western involves a mysterious stranger who shows up in Lago, Arizona, and prepares the timid townsfolk for the ambush of three outlaws who are on their way to wreak havoc upon the small community. The town is even painted red and a welcoming banner is set up in anticipation of the arrival of the outlaws. High Plains Drifter also stars Verna Bloom (“Marion Wormer” from Animal House) as “Sarah Belding,” Mariana Hill (Messiah of Evil) as “Callie Travers,” Billy Curtis (The Terror of Tiny Town) as “Mordecai,” Mitchell Ryan (Electra Glide in Blue) as “Dave Drake” and Geoffrey Lewis (“Orville” from Every Which Way But Loose) as “Stacey Bridges.” Scripted by Ernest Tidyman, who won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The French Connection, High Plains Drifter was shot on the shores of Mono Lake, California. Filming was completed in just six weeks. Look for tombstones reading “S. Leone”and “Don Siegel” during the final graveyard scene. According to legend, John Wayne was so outraged about the film’s revisionist portrayal of the Old West that he wrote Eastwood an angry letter and vowed never to work with him on a Western.

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