Friday 6 February 2009

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976

The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 revisionist Western film set at the end of the American Civil War directed by and starring Clint Eastwood (as the eponymous Josey Wales), with Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, John Vernon, Paula Trueman, Sam Bottoms, Geraldine Keams, John Russell, Woodrow Parfrey, Joyce Jameson, Sheb Wooley, John Quade, Will Sampson, and Royal Dano.
The movie was adapted by Sonia Chernus and Philip Kaufman from the novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (republished in 1975 under the title Gone to Texas) by Forrest Carter.
In 1996, this film was placed in the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
Josey Wales (Eastwood), a peaceful Missouri farmer, is driven to revenge by the brutal rape and murder of his wife and family by a band of pro-Union (Civil War) Jayhawkers—James H. Lane's "Redlegs" from Kansas.

Below: How The Outlaw Josey Wales would have opened when seen in UK cinemas with its original AA certificate

To view the original trailer, click below:

Here's a wonderful video essay on The Outlaw Josey Wales

The Outlaw Josey Wales / Magnum Force 1978 Clint Eastwood Double Bill UK QUAD 30x40
The Outlaw Josey Wales / The Enforcer 1978 Clint Eastwood Double Bill UK QUAD
The Outlaw Josey Wales / The Gauntlet 1978 Clint Eastwood Double Bill UK QUAD
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Clint Eastwood Original Belgium
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Clint Eastwood Original German A1 poster
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Clint Eastwood Original Japanese Mini Poster

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Clint Eastwood Sondra Locke UK QUAD Size 30 x 40

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Extended and Complete Jerry Fielding score soundtrack, Super Rare CD

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Japanese Original fully illustrated colour Brochure

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Jerry Fielding Original soundtrack LP full art Sleeve

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Original Lobby set x 16 French
Below: Close up example of French Lobby still

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Mini Lobby set x 8 USA
Below: Close up example of US mini Lobby card

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Original Film tie in Paperback

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Original Radio Spots 60, 60, 60, 30, 30, 30secs
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Original U.S. TV Spots 16MM
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Original Warner Brothers Press Release NEW
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 10 x 8 Press stills b/w x 70 + 4 Colour

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Eastwood in Action: The Making of Josey Wales Original Production Featurette on 8mm Format

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 UK Orig Press book
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 UK Orig Press sheet with bw art
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 UK Orig Press sheet with colour art

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 U.S. Original press book
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Very Rare copy of the Phil Kaufman script first draft 10th October 1975
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Very Rare Style B design Original rolled U.S. 60 x 40 poster, stunning artwork Mint condition.
The Outlaw Josey Wales R1 DVD Eastwood’s finest western
The Outlaw Josey Wales DVD Special Edition with new doc, vintage Featurette trailer and intro
The Outlaw Josey Wales Widescreen U.S. Laserdisc from The Eastwood Western Box Set (with Pale Rider and Unforgiven)


The Outlaw Josey Wales U.S. Widescreen Laserdisc remastered edition

The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Very rare set of 13 Original Negatives from the Josey Wales Press Conference, below are 4 of them shown in positive form

Below: Two very rare Original Trade ads, the first is a beautiful Ad for Chief Dan George's consideration for Best Supporting actor Oscar award.
Below that, a For your consideration screening at the Warner Bros studios.

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales Blu ray release of 2011, stunning picture with super extras

Some of the other Material and collectables from around the World
The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 The U.S. Half Sheet Poster

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales US 1 sheet poster

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 New York One Sheet version

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales International 1 sheet poster

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 US Three sheet poster

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 US Insert poster

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales US Lobby card set

Below: Set of original The Outlaw Josey Wales Italian Fotobustas
Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Yugoslavian Poster

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Israeli Poster size 19.75 X 27.5

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 French Affiche size 23.5 X 31.5

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 Original Thai poster (which features Sondra Locke in the artwork)

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales Japanese B2 poster
Below: Rare Outlaw Josey Wales Australian Daybill Posters
Below: A rare shot of Clint with Sondra Locke taken during production of Josey Wales

Below: A rare shot of Clint during the filming of The Outlaw Josey Wales

A friend of the Archive recently sent me this wonderful piece he wrote, I thought it was so good that I asked Bilge if it could share a home here. Thanks for your kind feedback on the site my friend.
The Outlaw Josey Wales: Mending a Patchwork Nation by Bilge Ebiri

I always find it hard to remember how The Outlaw Josey Wales ends. I keep forgetting there’s a big shootout at the end – when Josey’s longtime pursuers, a group of former Unionist militiamen led by Captain Terrill (Bill McKinney), lay siege to the ramshackle ranch house where he and his surrogate family of rootless Indians and failed pioneers have settled. I’ve seen the film something like six times – I’ve even read the script – and I pretty much never remember this ending.

Instead, when I consider the climax of Clint Eastwood’s magnificent 1976 film (which came out last month in a gorgeous Blu-ray edition), I always think about what comes not long after this shootout. The battle has ended, Terrill is dead, and Josey, who is wounded, has decided it’s time for him to leave. He passes through the nearby, desolate town of Santa Rio and steps into the bar, where he finds a small party of Texas Rangers, who have also been hunting him for many a moon. The townspeople in the bar, seeing Josey, call him “Mr. Wilson” in an effort to put his pursuers off the scent; they also tell the Rangers that they saw Josey Wales die in a gunfight some time ago. One of the Rangers, however, is Fletcher (John Vernon), who served with Josey during the Civil War and recognizes him, yet still plays along with the whole Wilson ruse. We expect, at this point, that Fletcher and our hero will have one final mano-a-mano once they’re alone. Outside the bar, however, with no one else in earshot, Fletcher continues to call Josey Wilson, and discusses his plans to keep searching for the outlaw elsewhere. “I think I'll go down to Mexico to try to find him,” says Fletcher. “And then?” Josey asks, quietly. “He's got the first move,” Fletcher replies. “I owe him that.

Then, Fletcher utters the most haunting line in this incredible movie: “I think I'll try to tell him the war is over.” It’s a goosebump-worthy moment (especially paired with the still-bleeding Josey’s final response, “I guess we all died a little in that damn war”) and it is, in many ways, the movie’s true climax: The showdown that never happens. A fragile peace must coexist with wounds that may never heal. The power of this exchange is so great that it pretty much obliterates any memory of the elaborate gunfight that came not long before, at the farm. Here lies the uncomfortable heart of this disturbing and melancholy film.
The Outlaw Josey Wales was billed in many ways as a typical genre movie, and it’s still regarded by some as one of those canonical early Eastwood Westerns -- from before his resurgence as an acclaimed, award-winning director. (“An army of one” was its tagline.) But it also contains some of his subtlest filmmaking, and tackles perhaps his most complex theme: How a disparate nation starts to become whole.

Released during Eastwood’s vigilante heyday (he’d already made three Dirty Harry movies, as well as such revenge-driven Westerns like High Plains Drifter and Hang ‘em High), Outlaw Josey Wales begins in familiar fashion: Josey Wales is a quiet Missouri farmer whose wife and child are murdered by a rampaging band of pro-Union guerillas (also known as “Redlegs”). Battered, mourning, and pissed off, Josey joins a band of Confederate bushwhacker vigilantes. We see their brutal handiwork, along with other generalized scenes of Civil War combat, over the opening credits, set to the rousing and martial fife-and-drum of Jerry Fielding’s Oscar-nominated score.

It turns out, however, that this is the extent of the revenge part of the story. We pick up the thread with the bushwhackers surrendering to Union soldiers and Redleg irregulars. Josey, having grown into a typically stoic Eastwood character, refuses. Sure enough, the invitation to surrender proves to be a trap, and Josey’s fellow guerillas are mowed down just as they’re about to take an oath to the Union. The oath itself is worth noting:

“I pledge that I will be loyal to the United States of America, and recognize that it is one nation…Though I be murderous, verminous, lying Missouri scum…” [Open fire]

Despite the slaughter, it’s hard not to chuckle a bit at that “lying Missouri scum” line. But there’s more to it than that: any union here is a myth, and this corrosive regionalism infiltrates the entire film and its characters. Much later, when Josey visits a bustling Texas town, we come across an old Yankee woman (Paula Trueman) buying some supplies in a general store. “The wheat is from Kansas and the molasses is from Missouri,” the shopkeeper is telling her. “We’ll do without the molasses,” she replies. “Anything from Missouri has a taint about it.”

“Now grandma, you gotta tread lightly now that we’re in Texas,” her traveling companion advises her. “Lots of nice settlements from Missouri coming West.”

“Never heard of nice things coming from Missouri,” she snaps back. “And treading lightly is not my way. We’re from Kansas. Jayhawkers. And proud of it.”

“I know how you feel,” the shopkeeper offers, trying to keep the peace. “I’m a hoosier myself.”

To which the old woman responds: “Personally I don’t think much of hoosiers neither.”

America doesn’t really exist in The Outlaw Josey Wales, at least not at first; instead we’re shown a grab bag of allegiances and mutual distrusts, with everybody recognized by their ostensible tribes; a ferryman muses at one point that he can sing either Dixie or the Battle Hymn of the Republic depending on whom he’s transporting. 
If one were to abandon all nuance it’d be easy to read a kind of States’ Rights apologism into the narrative: It’s worth noting that the film is based on a novel (which I haven’t read) by Forrest Carter, nee Asa Earl Carter, a former Klansman who spent much of his life fleeing his former identity as a speechwriter for legendary segregationist George Wallace. (He was partly responsible for Wallace's notorious "Segregation now, segregation forever" speech.) But under his assumed identity, Carter also wrote the sentimental bestseller The Education of Little Tree, which won great acclaim from the likes of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Oprah Winfrey and is still widely read today. 
Eastwood’s film, however, goes beyond the tribalism it presents so compellingly for so much of its running time. By the end, the old woman and her daughter, having been waylaid by a band of white outlaws looking to sell them to Indians, cast their lot with Josey, who has also become riding companions with the elderly Cherokee Lone Watie (Chief Dan George) and the Navajo woman Little Moonlight (Geraldine Kearns). The wounded and broken people who attach themselves to Josey thus become not just a family for him, but almost a Noah’s Ark for the country. These folks who would ordinarily never rely on one another (and who are mostly incapable of defending themselves alone) become united through fear and mutual dependence. Even Josey finds in their embrace a kind of tolerance and peace: When they have a dance one night, he asks that they play "The Rose of Alabama," a lovely song sung to him earlier in the film by a young riding companion (Sam Bottoms) who was dying. Geography may divide us, but it can also make us whole again. 
So that by the time Fletcher tells Josey that the war is over, the conflict in question is no longer the Civil War specifically, but rather the fragmented puzzle of identifications and rivalries that once was America. The uneasy peace endures. And maybe Fletcher, by mentioning Mexico, is signaling to Josey that there may no longer be room here for men like them, who still carry the raw scars of a dark time bathed in violence and hate. 

Perhaps. In the end, we don’t know where Wales is headed after he leaves Fletcher. I like to imagine that he’s going back home, but the final shot just shows him riding, with no destination indicated. Is he headed back to the America he’s helped make possible? Or into the mythical wilderness reserved for Western heroes who can’t find their place? That’s up to the viewer to decide.

Original Reviews

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

By Richard Eder, New York Times
Published: August 5, 1976

Each time Clint Eastwood, in The Outlaw Josey Wales, kills someone, or is about to kill someone, or is on the verge of some other major policy decision, he spits. This is to establish the character.
Mr. Eastwood has established several pints of character by the time he rides off into the sunset fully two hours and seventeen minutes after the movie begins. A number of other characters are established by devices every bit as worn and dribbly.

A hard-luck but winsome Indian girl repeatedly gets knocked off her feet or worse; a sneaky boatman cringes and leers; a spry old woman bustles about with a broom, shrills out hymns, and grabs a rifle to shoot marauders; a doe-eyed young woman opens her eyes reindeer-size to convey fear, passion, or bashfulness; a young follower of the outlaw manages three distinct and radiant deathbed scenes on one bullet hole.

The Outlaw Josey Wales, which opened yesterday at various local theaters, is a soggy attempt at a post-Civil War western epic. Josey Wales, a peaceable Missouri farmer, has his farm burned and his wife and child killed by Unionist freebooters. He joins a gang of Confederate marauders, goes through the war—conveyed briefly by a montage of war shots—mows down a platoon of Union soldiers, and flees to Texas with a price on his head and an array of vicious lawmen and bounty hunters after him.

It is a long exodus, in the course of which Wales kills a great many people and, despite his contention
that he wants to travel alone, picks up a whole variegated convoy of stock characters.
They are tedious companions on such a long trip, especially because most of them—Paula Trueman as the old woman, Sondra Locke as the doe-eyed daughter, Sam Bottoms as Wales's dying follower—overact beyond belief. Their lines don't help them. "Clouds are the dreams floating across the sky of your mind," doe-eyes tells Wales.

Will Sampson, who played the Indian in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and another Indian in Buffalo Bill, does a blue-painted Navajo chieftain and gets to say, among other things: "Your words of death carry iron." Mr. Sampson has specialized in displaced-Indian roles. As a real warrior Indian he seems embarrassed.

Playing a civilised Indian who attaches himself to Wales, Chief Dan George has moments of dry humor and whole stretches of damp whimsy. Mr. Eastwood, as indicated earlier, doesn't act; he spits. He is also the director.
The movie tends to muffle and sell short whatever points it may be trying to make. There seems to be a ghost of an attempt to assert the romantic individualism of the South against the cold expansionism of the North. Every Unionist is vicious and incompetent, whereas Wales, despite his spitting, is really a perfect gentleman.
There is something cynical about this primitive one-sidedness in what is not only a historical context, but happens also to be our own historical context. To the degree a movie asserts history, it should at least attempt to do it fairly.
Directed by Clint Eastwood; written by Philip Kaufman and Sonia Chernus, based on the book Gone to Texas by Forrest Carter; director of photography, Bruce Surtees; edited by Ferris Webster; music by Jerry Fielding; production designer, Tambi Larsen; produced by Robert Daley; released by Warner Brothers.

Running time: 137 minutes.
With: Clint Eastwood (Josey Wales), Chief Dan George (Lone Watie), Sondra Locke (Laura Lee), Bill McKinney (Terrill), John Vernon (Fletcher), Paula Trueman (Grandma Sarah), and Sam Bottoms (Jamie).

Below: The Outlaw Josey Wales Rare double page advert from Warner Bros.
Below: A superb photo of Clint which arguably inspired the film's original artwork


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this movie from Clint Eastwood. I especially enjoyed his meeting with "Big Bear" in which he made Peace with the Native Americans as the British and French invaders of the North American Continent should have a long time ago in 1600's.
Steve H., Chicago, IL

Clint's archive said...

Hey Steve, many thanks for leaving a comment! And I actually agree with you, for me, Josey still remains Eastwood greatest western. Drop by anythime, best to Chicago!

Unknown said...

My father has a book called ''the rebel outlaw Josey Wales'' by forrest carter its a red hard back book copyright 1973 i want to know if its rare and worth something i heard clint has a book like this too. but if you can reply i would appreciate it thank samantha wilson joelton tn ..

Clint's archive said...

Hello Samantha,
A very nice edition! This was in fact the first ever edition which I think was a private edition published for the author Forrest Carter. You are right, Clint did/does have a copy of this and was the edition which prompted him to adapt it into a film.
The book was re-released under the title Gone to Texas and finally The Outlaw Josey Wales (to tie-in with the movie). I'm not sure as to the value of this item, a quick search on Ebay has returned nothing in both the current listings and completed auctions. But I would certainly think this is the hardest to find edition. Did your father acquire this in 1973? It would be wonderful if you could provide a quality scan of its cover and would be happy to feature it on the site. Either way, please let us know if you find out anything else about it.
Best wishes

tr said...

I have a question: Do you think that Josey killed Tom Turner during the rebel "surrender" scene - the scene when he turned the gatling gun on the union army?

This is hinted at in the movie (Grandma says something about Missouri roughnecks that struck him down, or something like that) I've always wondered about this.

Alexander said...

Definitely one of the really great Western movies. The above review is really hitting it, while the NYT review is just embarrassing, but maybe this great movie is just not politically correct enough.
I saw it now three times, any time I would watch it again.

Alexander said...

Definitely one of the really great Western movies. The above review is really hitting it, while the NYT review is just embarrassing, but maybe this great movie is just not politically correct enough.
I saw it now three times, any time I would watch it again.