Last night I watched a high-def streaming version of Lonely Are The Brave, and was dazzled once again by Philip Lathrop‘s immaculate black-and-white photography, and especially the exquisite balance in his framings. Lathrop also shot The Americanization of Emily, The Cincinnati Kid and Point Blank.
Posted on 7.29.12: “All my life I’ve been telling people that Lonely Are The Brave (’62) is one of Kirk Douglas‘s finest films, and that his performance as Jack Burns, an obstinate old-school cowboy, was his most touching. I said this to Douglas when I interviewed him 30-odd years ago in Laredo, Texas [i.e., fall of ’82], and he agreed with me. But have you watched it lately?
“I respect Lonely Are The Brave for what it does right. I love the plainness and the simplicity of it. I love Walter Matthau‘s performance as the sheriff who gets what Douglas’s Jack Burns character (or the Burns metaphor) is basically about, and who sympathizes with him. I love the widescreen black-and-white photography. And early on there’s a very well-handled scene between Burns and an ex-girlfriend, played by Gena Rowlands.
“But Burns is too much for me these days. He’s such a romantic fool, a stubborn nine year-old, a middle-aged guy who never thinks farther than the next job, the next pretty girl in a bar, the next shot of rye, the well-being of his horse. He’s basically just swaggering around and saying ‘fuck it…I’m a romantic construct…a metaphor for the last sentimental cowboy battling the encroachments of civilization.’
“I still like Lonely Are The Brave, mind. But not as much as I used to.”
Here’s a passionate praise piece by director Alex Cox, posted in the N.Y. Times on 7.27.12.