Friday, December 23, 2005

Day 84: Two Mules for Sister Sara

It's, apparently, time for a Shirley MacLaine double feature. She was the wife of a dying businessman in Being There and here she plays the titular Sister Sara. She's in Mexico, a nun on the run from the French army sometime in the cowboy days. Clint Eastwood, playing his rough, laconic loner cowboy character, shows up and saves her from some would-be rapist banditos, and thus begins the classic "I hate you while I become attracted to you" relationship story. They do the usual Amazon Queen-style sniping at one another as they head toward Mexican revolutionary headquarters. He's upset that she requires so much care. She's mad that he's so uncaring.

So, off they go into the familiar looking deserts, on horses and mules. And it's swift and paced well, with a growing uncertainty over Sister Sara's true identity that has a nice payoff. And a scene in which Eastwood, drunk, has to shoot some dynamite to blow up a bridge is funny and exciting. Plus, the ending of the film is smart in the way it doesn't labor over the ultimate fate of a stormed fort. This is a movie about two people and it cuts to the moment most important to them while a Mexican army does its thing. The movie's also nice in the way it examines Eastwood's standard character from the vantage point of him being alcoholic.

But, really, my interest in this film? Ennio Morricone scored it. Here he adds donkey sounds made by clever instrumentation to his collection of Western musical sounds, which previously included whistling, musical watches, coyote howls, and screaming. A few years ago, I thought it would be interesting to try and watch every movie that features a Morricone score. I don't take this goal seriously since the man's scored like 8,000,000 movies, but I was grateful that this movie, chosen at random from what was playing on cable television, allowed me to cross one more Morricone scored off the vast list. I was also grateful that it was so funny, well-paced, and exciting. It also features a machete to the face and a man set on fire!


zora said...

and it features the scene in which clint cuts a line into the arrow that hit him, filling it with black powder and firing it through the wound. i fell in love with him the moment he kissed shirley.

Anonymous said...

Amazon Queen? Sure you don´t mean African Queen?