Jason, I'm glad you wrote that response because it clarified your first post really well. I was probably misunderstanding your intent with the first one, but that's usually they way it goes around here. Still, misunderstandings aren't bad; honestly, what else is there to argue about?
I can like happy endings and I can like bleak endings. It depends on the movie and the idea that is being conveyed. I did like WAR HORSE but not for its verisimiltude about war. WAR HORSE is more a fantasy film than a document of the horror of war, in my opinion. But that's why I liked it–because it was fantasy. But, I do get what you are trying to say here. Still, I maintain that the bleak ending to LONELY ARE THE BRAVE is essential and true to its story, just like WAR HORSE's sappy ending is true to its sappy story.
I get the HIGH NOON comment now. At first, I thought you were criticizing LONELY ARE THE BRAVE for being a copy of HIGH NOON, and I just didn't see it.
I guess I can't blame you for being bummed about the horse dying. I probably would have been bummed more had I not known that it was coming. This isn't to say that the ending was obvious, but that I had actually been spoiled and knew how the film ended thanks to a novel I read a while back where it is mentioned. I forget what the title of it was. Damn book.
As much as I love Brandon and would stick up for an old movie any day, I almost regretted defending him as soon as I read his "dummies" comment. haha. No, I kid; I do think he's right about the death of the individual man and wanted to mention that in tandem with my death of the western talk but couldn't fit it in. Kirk Douglas' character wants to exist as a nondescript wanderer, a free spirit without indentification or boundaries. He's a man who belongs in a time like the old west, but he's caught within a modernity where he is constantly being hemmed in. Because he recalls a western anti-hero figure I still think there is a lot about the passing of the western in this, even if Brandon doesn't agree. God forbid Trumbo write a script that could be interpreted in a way other than he intended haha. Of course there is a lot to the film about feeling individually persecuted, but also a lot about dealing with change. It's 1962; big changes were happening all over, even in the film industry. I think there is awareness for changes within the western genre and its changing appeal in the film. But, maybe I'm wrong. Also, I think Brandon meant that we were reading the film too symbolically not literally. It seems to symbolically deal with the passing of the western, but it literally deals with the passing of the individual man.
John, I need to watch ROMAN HOLIDAY again. I loved it the first time I saw it, but that was a long time ago. I'm sure it's better than I even remember.
About PORT OF SHADOWS: " Both protagonists make unselfish choices that end in personal loss. But, in the process of acting out these choices, they love and live brighter and louder and more truly than ever before. It is precisely in the moment of self-abegnation that these two are most fulfilled in their own selves." Yes! You nailed it. I don't think Carné could have said it better as to what he was trying to accomplish. I think that's why drew me to the film so strongly; the idea of characters in the murk and haze who learn to give meaning to their lives. Even if that meaning is a form of self-repudiation, it's still an expression of total immersion within life. It's like a form of doomed redemption. Anyway, great thoughts. Glad you liked it. It's one of the best around.
I watched Preminger's ANGEL FACE (1952) last night. It has to have the most shockingly brutal ending to classic film I've ever seen. No doubt about it. The Hays Code must have caught the Brandon Musa cut of this thing because I can't fathom how they let this one slip by. It's a great ending too, by the way. Really great.