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- It's ok
Hombre isn't up the standards of Newman's best movies--The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But it is a pretty good movie. The characters border on stereotypical, the story is simple, and they don't touch too much on the prejudices of the times, but Newman puts in a good performance, making worthy of watching (for Newman fans). And the ending is particularly well done, and a bit unexpected. It's the ending that makes the movie worth the price.
As a dvd, Fox has created a failure. There are virtually no extras. There's a few behind the scenes stills and trailers for this movie, and a few of Newman's other films, but no commentary, documentary, or anything.
If you already have it on VHS, don't worry about buying the dvd. If you don't have it, rent it first, then decide if you want to buy it, and in what format....more info
- Newman and Ritt make Western magic again
Whenever Paul Newman and Director Martin Ritt("Hud", "The Outrage") team up for a western it's pure magic. "Hombre" is a shining example of that.Western lovers will love this film. And if you already know you love it, you'll be thrilled with the DVD.
As the story opens we see an Apache Indian, quiet, crouching behind a rock,eyeing the horses that will soon be his. This Apache though is different from the rest. He is a blue eyed Indian. A white man raised by the Apache, outcast from the world he was born to. He is HOMBRE! He is his own man.
After word comes to him that he has inherited a boarding house from the man who once tried to raise him and gave him his name, John Russell, he sells it. cuts his hair and embarks on a stagecoach trip. Some of the other passengers are outraged when they learn of his upbringing, and don't even want him inside the coach with them. But the stagecoach runs into trouble,overtaken by outlaws.
They are left in the desert to fend for themselves against the outlaws and the elements. He may be their only salvation. Will he help the people that outcast him, and if he does at what cost to him?
The cinematography gives that pure western feeling.The music score by David Rose is moving.The story based on a novel by Elmore Leonard is gripping.Paul Newman IS HOMBRE! Richard Boone is the baddest of the bad guys as only he can portray it. The cast also includes, the great Fredric March as the theiving Indian Agent, Barbara Rush as his biggoted wife,and Martin Balsam as Russell's only allie, and the driver.
The DVD is a real treat.Beautiful widescreen, sharp clear pictures of the rugged terrain.Vivid colors. The sound is surprisingly crisp(I love the sound of horses hooves) in the Dolby Surround 2.0 stereo. The muscial score terrific. Dialouge was clear although a little low at times.The special features include a Still Gallery of photos taken during the shoot, some theatrical trailers for other Newman movies, and there are subtitles in English or Spanish if needed. There is also a French version.
For a great western, great drama,and well just plain great Newman,check this one out!.........Laurie
3/09 update:The Outrage is finally available on DVD...more info
- The Greatest Western Ever Made
I am very surprised that "Hombre" is not available at major movie rental outlets or in DVD format. In my opinion, it is a masterpiece, the greatest western I've ever seen, and among the greatest films of any genre I've ever seen. I note, however, that AMC does feature this film from time to time, so somebody agrees with me somewhere.
The film is perfect; without a wasted word of dialogue, stunning cinematography, brilliant acting and perfect editing. It is full of irony and is absolutely unpredictable. It is near to poetry on film as can be. It brings to mind every study of philosophy and Human nature that one has undertaken from high school through college and beyond, while at the same time being entertaining, amusing and thrilling. I will never forget Paul Newman's "John Russell," or Richard Boone's "Cicero Grimes," the two opposing forces of this film, with the uniquely essential characters of "Mendez" (Martin Balsam), "the Mexican" et. al. in between. A truly great film, in the opinion of one who has been driven to write only one movie review in his entire life; this one....more info
Based on an Elmore Leonard novel by the same name. the story is somewhat typical for Elmore Leonard which means it's somewhat eccentric for anyone else. Paul Newman is Hombre & he's a half-breed (no offense meant) who has been living as an Indian. He's approached by a white acquaintance who tells him that his white father has died & that he should look into his inheritance. Hombre cuts off his long hair & dons the white man's clothes but not the white man's ways. He ends up on a stagecoach with other passengers who don't appreciate who or what he is. To them he's a cold-blooded individual seeking only his survival. Of course he gives in but not completely; it will be his way which is the Indian way. The ending is a good one.
Paul Newman is excellent in his title role. This is his most dramatic western & perhaps his best, not counting Butch Cassidy... which wasn't a "straight" western. Richard Boone co-stars as the sadistic heavy & is very good also. Frederic March, in a character role, is good. The film is directed by the underrated Martin Ritt who directed Newman in five previous movies; in fact, this one made four movies in a row for the pair. Hombre might be the best of the bunch....more info
- Newman at his absolute best
This is one of if not Paul Newman's best performance. He cooly delivers numerous cynical one liners that are unforgettable. Several have been referenced by the other reviewers below. The acting of Frank Silvera as a Mexican bandit has not been mentioned by anyone else here and while he has a secondary role the scenes in which he is featured are some of the most memorable in the movie. He comes up the hill waving a white flag and he and Newman face off in an unforgettable sequence>when Silvera says "this Grimes -he thinks it is going to be easy" Newman responds "it's going to get harder"
Overall this is my favorite Western with great characters beautiful scenery and a tremendous screenplay....more info
- I Believe this is the Best Western of them all!
I know that is a bold statement, but this movie is simply the best Western I've ever seen. It's simple but its AWESOME. Newman has more profound, one-liners in this movie than most actors have in a lifetime. He is a tough man without a conscience. He is a survivalist. His friends and foes don't understand him, and thats okay with him. But in the end, his one attempt at humanity and compassion is his downfall. Richard Boone, is also a tough man without a conscience. But he is nothing short of evil. This movie is the best. If you got a little time and patience (not terribly fast paced)I think you will agree with me, and give this movie a big thumbs up....more info
- A mixed review
Hombre is a very good western. Newman is cool, Boone is a great Villian, the action is well done, and there are some pretty good lines of dialoge.
However, its a 60s movie and full of liberal attitudes. Paul Newman (Hombre) is the most noble, intelligent, capable native-american who ever existed on planet earth. And every white person in the movie is immoral, stupid, racist, and cowardly. (Except for Richard Boone who is brave but a murderous criminal.) Which is pretty amazing considering that the Old West was a dangerous place where almost everyone had to self-relient and know how to handle a gun.
Anyone who watches the movie has to wonder why Hombre (Newman) doesn't leave these horrible honkeys to their own fate. I guess it because he's the most the noble native-american ever....more info
Paul Newman is a half breed brought up by Indians in an unforgiving environment where patience, endurance and serenity count far more than bluster and bravado. Here he helps a mixed bunch of people survive through a hostile environment as they are chased and beaten by some rough characters. Though he appears to be selfish and self-centered, Hombre displays qualities that enable others to survive and not give up easily and where death is only one of many options. ...more info
- A genuflection to life!!
This movie is a painful but beautiful slice of life.The phrase 'noblesse oblige' fits perfectly with the story.The noble permise of 'those with special gifts'should use them' fits perfectlly with John's character.His character seeks only confirmation that,in the context of this situation, another person is willing to give generously ie.possibly their life.In the end,as Malcolm pronounced on MacBeth's life 'nothing became him like the leaving of it'....more info
- Maybe Newman's best (along with Nobody's Fool)
Okay, I admit it. I love a great western movie. This is one of them. It fits neatly within my collection that includes "The 3:10 to Yuma," "The Wild Bunch" and my perhaps my all time favorite, "The Grey Fox."
One of the things I love about this film is its European-like pace. Certainly not in the Sergio Leoni context but rather more like "Manon of the Spring." And that suits me fine. Newman's first encounter with Richard Boone sends chills down the spine.
The liberal tone can seem a bit preachy yet, as a proud liberal myself, I like the message. Americans are not always at ease facing the truth about our government's role in the horrifice demise of Native American life and culture. So a dose of enlightenment works here.
And this film is about enlightenment as is "Little Big Man" and "Dances with Wolves." "Hombre" will remain a classic and kudos to Paul Newman for playing the role so beautifully as a not-particularly likeable character who still demands, and gets, a lot of respect as a human being....more info
- What's with the blood?
This is a simple review of Hombre. It's just great. I would never miss it on TV even though I have the tape. One of Paul Newman's best parts, not to mention Richard Boone as the very, very bad guy. He makes me shudder every time. It's easy to hate the part played by Frederic March too.
Now to the question, when Newman shoots the first outlaw from the top of the stage coach, the blood seems to be painted onto the movie frame itself, NOT on the man getting shot. No one ever mentions this in any review or movie goof or Hombre trivia. Does anybody have any comments on this? It fascinates me every time!...more info
- AN OVERLOOKED CLASSIC
This is a flat-out great western, even though often it is overlooked on many "Best" lists. It is existential, yet spiritual. It has action, but not too much. It focuses more on the interaction of its characters; the human condition. The cinematography by James Wong Howe, one of his last efforts, is crisp and expansive; shown magnificently on the DVD version. The score, by David Rose, is energetic and melodic. Director Martin Ritt made the most out of an unconventional plot with his powerhouse of a cast; and ultimately he filmed a picture that delivers a message without preaching.
Paul Newman, a giant among actors, found something in his character, John Russell; a stillness, an incredible strength buried deep within honed survival skills, a quiet confidence, and ultimately a compassion for others. It is a very layered, compex, and brilliant portrayal.
The supporting cast was excellent, surrounding Newman with talented adversaries and cronies. Diane Cilento, as Jesse, was willful, pragmatic, outgoing, yet still sexy; the earth mother of the piece. Richard Boone was the bad-to-the-bone Cicero Grimes; adding a new dimension to villiany. Yes he was mean, was a bully, was hard-as-nails, yet Boone still was able to show us an interesting man with deep shadows on his past; a gem of a performance. Fredric March, as the San Carlos Indian Agent, Mr. Favor, allowed us to dislike him, then pity him. He managed to dredge up a form of redemption out of the shoals of a potentially one-dimensional character. Martin Balsam found an odd humanity within his Mexican character, the stage driver Mendez; a man prone to compromise, a survivor. And in a small flashy part of a Mexican bandit, Frank Silvera made a tremendous impact. He helped us to like this brigand, and he shined with every gesture and line.
Barbara Rush as Mrs. Favor, and Margaret Blye as the young Mrs. Blake, were both quite competent. One false note in the casting was Peter Lazer as Billy Lee Blake. Even with repeated viewings, his performance never improves. There is no real substance to it. He never managed to rev up his character to the level of those around him; like a Shetland pony competing in race with thoroughbreds. Cameron Mitchell and David Canary had great energy and smooth professionalism fused into their supporting roles.
The most haunting moment of the film, what stays with you, is the death of John Russell. Newman had carefully established that this Hombre would not "bleed" for others. He was like a coyote bedding down with domestic dogs; an outcast. Yet it was his strength that all the others clung to in a crisis. So why, in the last gasp of the plot, would this hardened pariah suddenly sacrifice himself to save a woman who had demonstrated contempt for him ? We are left without a real answer, just a sweet sadness, and the awesome realization that we have witnessed some level of greatness....more info
- Cicero Grimes, meet John Russell
A magnificent dramatization of a self-reliant egoist struggling to exist in a world of altruists, parasites, racists and pragmatists. The parasites (Grimes and the other outlaws) try to kill Hombre (also known as John Russell) physically; the pragmatist (Mendez) tries to convert him into a go-along-to-get-along, subservient type, trying to kill his ambition; the racists (the Favors, who are also parasites, and a couple of the minor outlaw characters) treat him like dirt, assaulting his self-esteem; and the altruists (Jessie Brown, and the young married couple) try to load him with a guilty conscience for the unforgivable sin of pursuing his own self-interest, his own happiness, to kill his spirit.
None of them succeed in changing him one iota. He goes down fighting, uncompromising. ...
Some great lines from the movie:
After not intervening on behalf of a victim of Grimes, and being berated for it by Jessie, Hombre says: "If it's all right with you, lady, I just didn't feel liking bleeding for him. And even if it isn't all right with you."
Jessie: "You mean you'd just let that (hostage) woman die?"
Hombre: "That's up to Grimes (the outlaw who held the woman hostage)." Hombre refuses to accept guilt for what is clearly Grimes' responsibility: the life of the hostage.
Jessie, after the stagecoach passengers are robbed, and are in a state of helplessness, speaking to Hombre: "Why do we keep trotting after you?"
Hombre: "Because I can cut it, lady."
Finally, Grimes comes up to "parley" with Hombre and the others trapped in an old mining shack. Hombre determines that Grimes has no right to any parley, as he was holding them there at the point of a gun. He therefore lets Grimes come out into the open and talk, and when he finishes talking, Hombre says:
"I got a question. How you gonna get back down that hill?" I leave it to your imagination as to what happens next. It was directly after that encounter when Jessie made this comment: "Cicero Grimes, meet John Russell."...more info
The blue-eyed Paul Newman as a half-breed Apache? Weren't there quite a few folks a-waiting on a stage considering that the stagecoach company was practically defunct, presumably because of a lack of customers? Why didn't most of them, `ceptin' the women folk, ride horses rather than take the stage? Why did they leave the water in the mine shaft? If you're sure the nasty bandito is going to shoot at you, why tell the kid to "wait `til he reaches for his gun" before shooting him?
I asked a lot of questions while watching HOMBRE, and that usually ain't a good thing. Considering this was taken from a novel written by the usually reliable Elmore Leonard, it's a little mystifying as well.
A cynic would say these plot pimples were necessary to make things work. Look, you ain't gonna put brown contacts on Paul Newman's eyes, for criminy sake, and in 1967 there weren't many stars with stronger box office than Newman. We had to get the folks together on a stagecoach so Barbara Rush, the wife of corrupt Indian agent Frederic March, could get the vapors and see to it that half-breed John Russell (Newman) would be asked to ride on the roof. We had to keep the boys off the horses and on the benches because we needed to see bad guy Grimes (Richard Boone, excellent as usual) stink up the coach with his boorish manners and his cigars. They had to leave the water in the mine shaft so that the corrupt Indian agent Dr. Alex Favor (March) could reunite his venal self with the group.
That said, with all its question, HOMBRE is a good movie. In a beautiful opening scene a boss horse leads a group of wild horses into a corral. Director Martin Ritt is a master at sustained scenes that build with little or no dialogue.
HOMBRE belongs in that herd of movies that came out in the 60s and 70s that cast a critical eye on American culture. They reflected the tensions in society - hawks versus doves, pacifists versus Joe hardhats, the silent majority versus the vocal minority. Like other movies of that ilk, HOMBRE has a quasi-religious outsider at the center of the movie, and that central character is used to reflect and magnify the failures of society. In HOMBRE the white men are venal, immature, corrupt, evil and impotent.
The transitional figure, the one that links the hero to the dominant society, is the Mexican Henry Mendez (Martin Balsam.) That a movie attacking racism should cast the anything-but-latino Balsam is one of the sweet ironies of the time. Balsam is good, though, and in a pivotal scene with Russell he lays it out for him. Russell's adoptive uncle has died and leaves him a boarding house and some land. Leaves him a stake in society. He tells Russell, who is living on the reservation at the time, to get his haircut. Look like a white man. Make it easier on yourself. "A Mexican," Mendez says, " is closer to a white man than an Apache. I'll tell you that." Tune out, turn off and drop in, Hombre.
Well, quasi-religious figures in a Judeo- Christian culture haven't got a lot of options left by the time they reach the end of the last reel. For some strange reason we find ritual bloodletting deeply satisfying and a road sign to Higher Meaning. So be it. Many people will love HOMBRE for its passion. For my part, I'll remember with fondest pleasure watching Richard Boone guffaw, threaten, and intimidate his bad bad self through an otherwise okay western.
The only extras on this dvd are a clutch of theatrical trailers for Paul Newman movies. The trailer for THE HUSTLER has a snazzy, jazzy feel to it and I recommend it....more info
- Newman's Classic Western
Hombre teams Newman with director Martin Ritt in one of the best Western's yet made.Ritt assembled a stellar cast,shot the film in a desolate lands of Coronado national park in California.The opening scene shows Newman,a white man raised by th Apache indians and obviously a "horsecatcher" waiting to capture a herd of wild horses.For the first time,we are introduced to a character unlike Newman has ever played,deeply troubled,intense,deadly quiet,someone lost in the anguish,of a life of abuse,starvation,and giving up only to become a white apache, dealt the realities of Indian life;death,disease,prejidice,hate...the amenities of native american life in the late 1800's,so cruel all you can do is shut the rage of a non-life,somewhere deep within, which makes you pathologically quiet,to the point of seeming a bit retarded when you are around other white folks.This is Newman's character in Hombre.
Ritt tells a little story,of betrayl,robbery,murder,stagecoaches,threats,in a country devoid of water,where the quiet makes sounds crisp an echoed,even loud.
Hombre's last scene,a shootout, plays out perfectly relative to the way the film unwinds it's tale.
Richard Boone is gives a excellant performance as a bad guy.
Diane Cilento is better than good as "Lady" a middle aged born loser one her way to who knows where.Martin Balsam is tops as a good guy,who is really a good,compassionate guy.Frederick March is great and sleezy as a banker turned theif.Paul Newman has never been better.
Ritt's direction is direct and masterly;He uses sound,and suspense as well as any director you will see,even Hitchcock.Ritt's vision of Hombre's west is a land,so stark and viscious that a man is a perishable commodity draped by a place,that's open,and lonely.
Hombre is a great Western..
- Doesn't Work
This has got to be one of the worst Westerns of all time, on a par with some of the 60's Italian offerings. The script is ghastly, the acting is absolutely terrible. I am not a Paul Newman fan, as I believe he has always been highly over-rated as an actor, but he outdoes himself with bad acting in this movie. Richard Boone sorrily plays his usual predictable part, exactly the same role he played in "Big Jake".
I hate it when a director takes a movie that could be entertaining and ruins it by trying to make it a PC social commentary. And that is exactly what happened in this movie....more info
- Newman & Ritt make a memorable Western
Elmore Leonard wrote a few Westerns in the '50s that became successful films and this one along with "3:10 to Yuma" still stands out as one of the best of its kind. Kevin Costner has stated in interviews that this film really influenced him in the making of his revisionist Western "Dances with Wolves"--and one can see why. A suspenseful Western with a social consciousness rarely found in films of that era, "Hombre" scored with a solid cast of pros, with Newman in his best Western role ever even over "Butch Cassidy" or "The Left-Handed Gun". Though he plays a stoical character who was raised by the Indians, his John Russell finally reveals himself in the end to be a man of compassion even over his apparent hatred of the White man when he takes action to save a white woman who professed prejudice over the Indians and humiliated him in an earlier scene. A excellent story with great dialogue and a fine villainous turn by Richard Boone--how can you miss?...more info