ITV4: Saturday 24 October, 8pm
Ruthless rancher Michael Gambon makes peaceable cattle drovers Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall pay a high price for ‘free-grazing’. Duvall’s Boss Spearman and Costner’s Charley Waite are marvellous western characters fit to ride alongside the High Country’s finest. Bone-weary, honourable men, they chew the fat, spill the beans and – when riled enough – pull the trigger. The screen is filled with sweeping vistas and vast skies, but the drama is intense, even intimate.
Despite all the Oscars for Dances With Wolves, this is Costner’s finest work (he directed it, too) and he’s canny enough to concede star billing to the magnificent Duvall. There are a couple of other exceptional westerns this evening. Like Open Range, Ed Harris’ underrated Appaloosa (Sky Atlantic at 9pm) has a rich vein of pawky humour and a leathery lived-in feel that goes far beyond mere elegy.
Both of them took their mark from Clint Eastwood’s masterful Unforgiven (TCM at 10.45pm), the 1992 Oscar winner that painted an unforgettably gritty picture of frontier frailty while confronting big themes in a shabby town called Big Whiskey. ITV4 has an altogether different kind of Eastwood western with High Plains Drifter (also at 10.45pm), a merciless revenge story made by Clint 20 years before Unforgiven.
|Other Showings||Date & Time|
|ITV4||Thursday, 29 October at 12:10AM|