Robert Redford as “The Sundance Kid”, exiled American outlaw in Bolivia
Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Release Date: October 24, 1969
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is brilliant. Whether it was Conrad Hall’s alluring photography, George Roy Hill’s groundbreaking direction, William Goldman’s screenplay that ranges from insanely hilarious to poignantly touching, or – most often cited – the perfect chemistry of leads Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
The film was a new kind of Western. No longer was John Wayne fighting Injuns with his rifle, kerchief, and ten gallon hat. Tom Mix’s white hat vs. black hat days were over. By 1969, the world had moved on into a place of crystal-clear ambiguity. Cheering for the outlaws was not only acceptable, it was preferred.
Of course, that’s much easier when the outlaws are charming, hilarious, and generally non-violent. Paul Newman was a natural choice for the film. After a series of cast rotations that could’ve seen Jack Lemmon, Warren Beatty, Marlon Brando, or Steve McQueen paired up with Newman, Hill and Newman rallied and got up-and-coming Robert Redford the part, despite Fox’s protestations. Interestingly, the older Newman was originally to play younger gunslinger Sundance before Redford was brought on board. The roles were switched and a now-classic film pairing was born. Continue reading
For something a little different, here’s a throwback in honor of vintage badass Al Swearengen from HBO’s prematurely cancelled series Deadwood. If you’re not familiar with Deadwood, you’d be doing yourself a favor to familiarize yourself.
Al’s suit may not translate literally to what looks good these days, but the attitude is there.
Ian McShane as Al Swearengen, frontier saloon owner and pimp
Deadwood, Summer 1877
Air Dates: March 21, 2004 – August 27, 2006
Creator: David Milch
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
Deadwood, one of the most underrated and criminally discontinued shows of all time, was a brilliant ensemble show that reflected larger American themes through the founding of a frontier camp. It featured well-known real life characters such as “Wild Bill” Hickok, “Calamity Jane”, and Wyatt Earp interacting with lesser-known historical figures Seth Bullock, Sol Star, and Al Swearengen. It was the latter that proved to be the breakout hit of the show, thanks to Ian McShane’s masterful performance. Continue reading