Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Man's Gotta Do

Six and out
High Noon
There is bright sunlight.  There is a strip of ground.  There is a tense hushed silence.  One man waits.  He watches.  He is ready.  Hes gonna do what a mans gotta do.  His eyes squint in the sun.  There is another man.  He is eager.  He is not afraid……………

What is this?  It could be a gunfight in the old west or it could be the first ball of a Test match.  It is hard to tell the difference. Both are life or death, one on one encounters.  Undoubtedly a single wicket competition might have been a preferable way to resolving all the issues that gave rise to gunfights in the west and it is a pity that no one with imagination made this suggestion. Cheat at cards?  See if you like my bouncer.  Rustle my cattle?  Watch my doosra.

While Test matches are documented events, for the most part the gunfight is the creative confection of the movies which fetishised and mythologised it far beyond the occasional and ugly events that may or may not have taken place in the frontier times of not so long ago.  The 'quick on the draw go for your guns' duel is show business - stylised violence.  Far better if there had been stumps set outside the saloon and 6 balls bowled and faced. 

Nevertheless Westerns were a favourite genre of Fantasy Bob in his long lost days as a film buff It is a sad day when FB has to resort to a list, but here is his First XI of Westerns.  None of them has a single wicket competition, or, indeed, any other representation of cricket in them.  However several have shoot outs where the bowling is pretty quick.  (Not in batting order.)
  • The Searchers
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  • My Darling Clementine
  • The Man from Laramie
  • The Far Country
  • High Noon
  • Red River
  • Heaven Can Wait
  • Once Upon  Time in  the West
  • Shane
  • Unforgiven  
Test Match quality each and every one.

A characteristic of the Western outside the shoot out is the soaring theme tune against the vistas of endless prairie and sky with not a cricket pitch to be seen.  Here is FBs all time favourite western theme tune - from Once Upon a Time in the West composed by Ennio Morricone.  Magnificent.

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