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Appaloosa is a 2008 American Western film based on the 2005 novel Appaloosa by crime writer Robert B. Parker. Directed by Ed Harris and co-written by Harris and Robert Knott, Appaloosa stars Harris alongside Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger and Jeremy Irons. The film premiered at 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in selected cities on September 19, 2008, then expanded into wide-release on October 3, 2008.
In 1882, the small town of Appaloosa, New Mexico, is being terrorized by local rancher Randall Bragg, who killed the town s marshal, Jack Bell, and two deputies when they came to Bragg s ranch to arrest two men. The town hires lawman and peacekeeper Virgil Cole and his deputy Everett Hitch to protect and regain control of the town. The pair agrees on one condition: that the town follow Cole s law and essentially cede control to him. The lawmen begin by confronting four of Bragg s men who are causing a disturbance in the saloon. Three men refuse to allow themselves to be arrested, forcing Cole and Hitch to kill them. The fourth man surrenders and leaves the saloon. Bragg has a meeting with Cole and Hitch, initiating a standoff.
Hitch sees a woman, Allison Allie French, a young widow, who just came to the town and immediately takes an interest in her. He follows her to the diner where Cole is having a breakfast. They make acquaintance with her and observing Cole and Allie are getting together well, Hitch keeps his silence. Soon, Cole and Allie begin a romantic relationship and buy a house together. However, Allie attempts to seduce Hitch when they are alone but Hitch refuses her advances out of his loyalty to Cole.
When one of Bragg s men tells Cole and Hitch that he will testify against Bragg on the triple murder case, they arrest Bragg and keep him locked up until the trial in spite of the attempts of Bragg s gang to free him. The trial finds him guilty and sentences him to death. Cole and Hitch are joined by Sheriff Clyde Stringer and a deputy before transporting Bragg via train to the prison where he is to be hanged. When the engine makes a water stop over a bridge, hired guns Ring and Mackie Shelton, old acquaintances of Cole, appear with Allie as a hostage. At gunpoint, they force Cole to release Bragg to them.
Cole and Hitch catch up with the outlaws and see Allie and Ring Shelton frolicking naked together in a stream. When the outlaws are attacked by Chiricahua Apache, Cole and Hitch force the Native Americans away. Hitch tells Cole that Allie s promiscuity is the result of her insecurity and she really likes Cole. They then turn Bragg over to the sheriff of Beauville; unbeknownst to Cole, the sheriff is a cousin of the Shelton brothers. Knowing that Cole is determined to bring Bragg to the gallows, the Sheltons and the sheriff free Bragg and engage Cole and Hitch in a gunfight. Cole and Hitch are wounded but manage to kill Ring, Mackie and the sheriff. Bragg escapes on horseback and Cole and Hitch return to Appaloosa with Allie.
After some time, Bragg is granted a full pardon by President Chester Arthur (whom he previously claimed to have known) and returns to Appaloosa in an attempt to publicly reform himself. He buys the hotel and ingratiates himself with the locals. Privately he brags before Cole and Hitch to infuriate them over their failure to hang him. Cole tells Hitch that he still wants to be with Allie, despite her fickleness. Hitch decides to leave the town to make some money and resigns as deputy. Later he discovers that Allie is having a relationship with Bragg and challenges Bragg to a duel. Cole attempts to stop him, but Hitch remains steadfast and asks Cole to permit the gunfight to occur. Hitch manages to fire first, hitting Bragg in the chest, killing him. Hitch leaves town, seeing that Allie and Cole are together; his parting thoughts express his hope that Cole can find happiness with Allie and for him, he gladly walks into uncertainty in hope of finding adventure and fortune.
- Ed Harris as Virgil Cole
- Viggo Mortensen as Everett Hitch
- Renée Zellweger as Allie French
- Jeremy Irons as Randall Bragg
- Lance Henriksen as Ring Shelton
- Adam Nelson as Mackie Shelton
- Timothy Spall as Phil Olson
- Ariadna Gil as Katie
- James Gammon as Earl May
- Tom Bower as Abner Raines
- Rex Linn as Sheriff Clyde Stringer
- Corby Griesenbeck as Deputy Charlie Tewksbury
- Timothy V. Murphy as Vince Sullivan
- Agathe Golaszewska as Kid
- Makenzie Vega as Stunt
Bob Harris, Ed Harris s father, has a small role as Judge Elias Callison.
Appaloosa marks Ed Harris s second outing as director, following the 2000 biopic Pollock, which he also starred in; Harris co-wrote and co-produced Appaloosa with Robert Knott. The budget for Appaloosa was $20 million and filming took place from October 1, 2007, to November 24, 2007, around Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Austin, Texas. Harris was drawn to Robert B. Parker s bestselling novel because it was constructed like a classic Western, but included crime themes still relevant to contemporary society. He purchased the rights to the novel and hired Parker to adapt his book into a screenplay. Harris, who also stars as Virgil Cole, wanted to make the film in the old-fashioned style of such films as 3:10 to Yuma, My Darling Clementine and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, rather than a revisionist approach. Harris also acknowledged the challenge of making a successful Western movie, saying, You can count on one hand, or maybe half a hand, the number of Westerns that were box office successes in the recent past. Production of Appaloosa slowed when New Line Cinema and producers became concerned with the box office prospects of a Western during a season with such anticipated blockbusters as The Dark Knight. Diane Lane originally signed on to play Allie French, but left the project when the film stalled. The movie got back on track due to the success of the Deadwood series on HBO and the film remake of 3:10 to Yuma. Renée Zellweger was signed to replace Lane.
Harris enjoyed working with Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence and had him in mind for the part of Everett Hitch. While publicizing A History of Violence at the Toronto International Film Festival, Harris handed Mortensen a copy of the novel and asked him to read it and consider playing the part. Harris said it was a totally awkward proposition, handing another actor a book like that, but Mortensen agreed to take the part after responding well to the character and the relationship dynamic between the two characters. Harris said he wanted to make the film because he was drawn to the unspoken comradeship of Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Though they ve been hanging out for years, they re not too intimate, but they know each other. Aside from in sports, or being a cop, I can t think of any other situation where a friendship like that is called for. Mortensen felt similarly, saying, I like to ride horses, and I like Westerns, but there are a lot of bad ones. What set this one apart is just how the characters are a little more guarded. Mortensen studied Frederic Remington drawings and other images of the American Old West to get into character and master the proper way to stand during a gunfight.
The DVD includes a number of bonus extra featurettes, including Dean Semler s Return to the Western. Although cinematographer Semler has been a pioneer in shooting digital movies, he was glad for this special opportunity to shoot a traditional old-fashioned Western using classic film stock technology.
The soundtrack to Appaloosa was released on September 30, 2008.
|1.||Appaloosa Main Title||Jeff Beal||2:12|
|2.||New City Marshal||Jeff Beal||1:47|
|3.||Bragg s Theme||Jeff Beal||0:45|
|4.||Allison French||Jeff Beal||1:50|
|5.||Allie Teases Virgil||Jeff Beal||0:40|
|6.||Dawn In Appaloosa||Jeff Beal||1:45|
|7.||Cole and Hitch Stalk Bragg||Jeff Beal||1:22|
|8.||Bragg is Captured||Jeff Beal||3:05|
|9.||Apology Accepted||Jeff Beal||1:27|
|10.||The Kiss||Jeff Beal||2:31|
|11.||Readin and Writin||Jeff Beal||1:52|
|12.||Allie is Kidnapped||Jeff Beal||2:52|
|13.||Cole Ponders||Jeff Beal||1:04|
|14.||Hitch Rides||Jeff Beal||1:39|
|15.||Finding Allie||Jeff Beal||1:24|
|16.||The Indian Attack||Jeff Beal||1:39|
|17.||The Horse Trade||Jeff Beal||3:54|
|18.||Riding Into Rio Seco||Jeff Beal||0:47|
|19.||Ballad of Rio Seco||Jeff Beal||2:38|
|20.||Shootout at Rio Seco||Jeff Beal||2:27|
|21.||Allie Goes Upstairs||Jeff Beal||0:57|
|22.||Hitch Settles a Score||Jeff Beal||2:44|
|23.||Riding Off, Appaloosa End Credits||Jeff Beal||3:45|
|24.||You ll Never Leave My Heart||Jeff Beal featuring Ed Harris||4:30|
|25.||Ain t Nothin Like a Friend||Jeff Beal featuring Donald Rubinstein||3:01|
On Rotten Tomatoes, Appaloosa has an approval rating of 76% based on 164 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The consensus reads, A traditional genre western, Appaloosa sets itself apart with smart psychology, an intriguing love triangle, and good chemistry between the leads. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 64 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews .
Early reviews of Appaloosa from the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival were lukewarm. Brad Frenette of the National Post said the film feels double its 114-minute running time, but Appaloosa redeems itself through unexpected moments of levity, Harris s steady direction and the God amongst men, Lance Henriksen. Frenette also said Renee Zellweger is mostly a bust and Viggo Mortensen oozes cool. Popjournalism reviewer Sarah Gopaul said Harris and Mortensen spend too much time talking and discussing their feelings, which she said made the film too light for the gritty Western genre. Gopaul said Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen delivered decent performances and that Renee Zellweger s character has more depth than the traditional romantic interest in a Western. The New Yorker’s David Denby called it “a well-made, satisfying, traditionalist Western with some odd quirks and turns.”
The film appeared on some critics top ten lists of the best films of 2008. Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter named it the 8th best film of 2008, and Mike Russell of The Oregonian named it the 10th best film of 2008.
|Plot||Two friends hired to police a small town that is suffering under the rule of a rancher find their job complicated by the arrival of a young widow.|
|Awards||Awards, 4 wins|
|Writers||Robert Knott, Ed Harris, Robert B. Parker|
|Stars||Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger|
|Produced by||Sam Brown, Caldecot Chubb, Toby Emmerich, Ed Harris, Kathryn Himoff, Robert Knott, Michael London, Ginger Sledge, Candy Trabuco, Janice Williams|
|Music by||Jeff Beal|
|Cinematography by||Dean Semler|
|Film Editing by||Kathryn Himoff|
|Casting By||Nicole Abellera, Allison Jones, Jeanne McCarthy|
|Production Design by||Waldemar Kalinowski|
|Art Direction by||Steve Arnold|
|Set Decoration by||Linda Lee Sutton|
|Costume Design by||David C. Robinson, Timothy Everest|
|Makeup Department||Julie Callihan, Berlinda Cantu-Lewis, Bobby Jo Coleman, Tarra D. Day, Herb Dewing, Lisa Hill, Vanessa Jaramillo, Carmen L. Jones, Mary Hedges Lampert, Mary L. Mastro, Karen McDonald, Angelique Ortiz, Kara Sutherlin, Brad Wilder, Natasha Ladek, Geordie Sheffer|
|Production Management||Mads Hansen, Nancy Kirhoffer, Ginger Sledge|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Kate Marie Boyle, Jai James, Susan Jasso, Robert Knott, Chemen Ochoa, Kaaren F. Ochoa, Kathleen Tull|
|Art Department||Eric Arellanes, Craig Ayers, David D. Baumann, Thomas Betts, Kurt Blondis, Craig P. Bradley, Thomas L. Caldwell, John C. Cameron, Thomas Steven Chapman, Lance Cheatham, Wesley B. Claunch, Jack Colmenero, April Crump, Carla Curry, Brian DeNike, Jimmy Dewnard, Ginger Dunhill, Ginger Dunnier, Mark Gadbury, James H. Gill, Darek Gogol, Linda R. Gore, Tara Grey, Graham Griswold, Paul Harman, Eric Henshaw, Mark Hitchler, Lelan Keffer, Jerry Kilber, George Kruft, Emily Latting, James M. Lewis, Dale Lotreck, David MacDonald, Pat Martine, Michael Matovich, Heidi Mayfield, Diane Min Fa, Jake Mingenbach, Orlando R. Montoya, Randy Ortega, Robert Ortega, Shane Patrick, Scott Plunkett, Jeremy Reeves, Dennis Riewerts, Jason Schulte, Robert A. Sturtevant, Wallace R. Symns, Keith Walters, James Walton, Tom Ward, Francisco Whitson-Brown, Randal Woodward, Koen Wooten, Colin Zaug, Ben Zeller, Carl Zeller, Steve Allen, Doug Butts, Sonia L. Garcia, Ellen Lampl, Nichole Miller, Randy Severs, David Thompson|
|Sound Department||Paul Berolzheimer, Johnna Chism, David Lee Fein, Alan Freedman, Cole Gittinger, Aaron Glascock, Hilda Hodges, David Jobe, Jon Mete, James Morioka, Piero Mura, Matthias Neumann, Jason Oliver, Bryan Pennington, Troy Porter, John Pritchett, John T. Reitz, David M. Roberts, Kira Roessler, Gregg Rudloff, Curt Schulkey, Zac Sneesby, Greg Steele, John Joseph Thomas, Greg Zimmerman, Sean Byrne, Andy Potvin, Steve Schatz|
|Special Effects by||David Baca, Danny Howe, Geoffrey C. Martin, Paula Martin, Sean McCormick, Abbie Dean McCreary, Gary Petersen, Gary Peterson, Jeff Strom, Peter Zari|
|Visual Effects by||Tricia Henry Ashford, Emily Fenster, Mark Freund, Alicia Johnson, Ladd Lanford, César Romero, Brian Hanable, Marios Kourasis, Thomas Mathai, Josh Mossotti|
|Stunts||Bobby Aldridge, James Augare, Mark Brooks, Mark De Alessandro, Danny Edmo, Tonia Forsberg, Ramon Frank, Patrick Mark, Rod Rondeaux, Mark Warrack, Mike Watson|
|Camera and Electrical Department||William Ambrose, Mark J. Anderson, Diego Arroyo, Joe Bacharka, Liza Bambenek, Bradley Barnes, Free Bear, Jeff Bettis, Kelly Bogdan, Theodore Y. Bott, David Brink, Michael P. Catanzarite, Brendon Clark, Scott Conn, Jacob Cottrell, Tom D Amour, Matt Ervin, John Eschberger, Chris Espeset, Harland Espeset, Tobin Espeset, Scott M. Evans, Matt Fliehler, Adam Flores, Neil Fraser, James Garcia, Justin Geoffroy, Rolando Simon Gomez, Lamarr Gray, Ian Hanna, Justin Hartery, Kim Heath, Dale Holmen, Jeff Moose Howery, Chip Huntington, Robert Janecka, Janet Jensen, John Joleaud, Jack C. Jones, Steve Jones, Jason Keene, Brad Keffer, Kurt Kornemann, Jonathan Leary, Cas Lincoln, Benjamin Lobato, Lynn Lockwood, Thomas J. Lott III, Brendon Malone, Otis Mannick, Robert L. Mant, James Marks, Tor Matson, Fred L. McLane, David Melhorn, Raul Mello, Richard Merryman, Coad Miller, Lea E. Miller, Stephen Mullen, P.K. Munson, Robert L. Palmer, Frank Parrish, J.P. Patin, William Bear Paul, Mike Pesce, Philip C. Pfeiffer, Joe A. Ponticelle, Don Reddy, Aldous Regster, Brice Reid, Donis Rhoden, Tony Rivetti, Brandon Roberts, Rodney Sandoval, Lorey Sebastian, Ingrid Semler, Tom Shaughnessy, Ferrell A. Shinnick, Peter Simonite, Sol Slavin, Eric Stillions, Pete Stockton, James R. Tynes, Steve Urban, Daniel S. Valerio, Joe Vasquez, Jorn Vylonis, Jacob Watson, Ralph Watson, Corey Weintraub, Sean Wright, Tyler Fletcher, Eric Pickett, Brandon Ponticelle, Ezra Venetos, Cody West|
|Casting Department||Joanne Bloom, Letty Chavarria, Elizabeth Gabel, Katy Houska, Leslie Woo|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department||Aleah Ames, Cha Blevins, Debra Chapman, Erica Ciaglia, Tracy Collins, Bren Cook, Scott R. Hankins, Lee Harper, Laurie Hudson, Hermine Keossian, Elizabeth Lancaster, Susan Mayes, Robin McMullan, Elspeth Lauder Mickel, Shannon Montoya, Karen Naser, Maureen O Heron, Agapi Papas, Lahly Poore, Carmen Sevilla-Torres, Brenda Smith Lustig, Paula Trujillo, Elizabeth Lancaster|
|Editorial Department||Steve Bowen, Stephen Byrne, G.C. Cunningham, Roland Eisinger, Sean Lawrence, Richard Lowe, Jim Passon, Katie Pastore, Christian Prejza, Khadijah Rashid, Catherine Rowe, David Townsend, Lisa Tutunjian, Benjamin Wiser|
|Location Management||Jason Bonnell, Granville Greene, Rusty Nye, Jonathon Slator, Duprelon Tizdale, Monica Walters|
|Music Department||Dondi Bastone, Jeff Beal, Rob Brophy, George Doering, Chris Glennon, Jimmy Hoyson, Brian Kilgore, David Low, Andy Martin, Sid Page, Craig Pettigrew, Lise Richardson, James Thatcher|
|Script and Continuity Department||Karoline Bota, Joanna Kennedy|
|Transportation Department||Linda Daniels Anderson, Andy Boyd, George M. Brown, Thomas Bunker, Charley Bob Burnham, Sam J. Campbell, Al Cantu, Kelly Carter, Tracy Craytor, Clifford Crouch, Billy Cude, Fred Davis, Tony Drosis, Jesse Esquibel, Mario Estarella, Cecil D. Evans, Greg Faucett, Josh Foley, Billy L. Butch Frank, Steve Gallien, Roy A. Grace, Peggy Grounds, Margaret Hickman, Brian Kay, Janice Knox, David McAree, Pete Meda, Charles Montgomery, Paul Salard III, Lee Stepp, Joe Bernier, Randy Kinyon, James W. Nelson|
|Additional Crew||Doug Acton, Sara Carmen Alvarez, John Arszyla, James Augare, Jeffrey G Baca, Cassandra Barbour, Manuel Barboza, Gary Bensman, Elizabeth A. Bergman, David Bethel, Eric Borja, David Boyle, Jess Brackenburry, Ashley Burleson, Thomas Campbell, Tim Carlson, David Carrico, Tim Carroll, Alyssa Cashman, Javier Chapa, Ryan Cheevers, F.A. Clingman, Thomas Cobb, Cristie Schoen Codd, Caroline Connor, Cletus Cotton, Quentin Day, Rachel de la Torre, Gil Dean, Jennifer Dickey, Sherman Donegan, Don Draper, Windy Earls, Janie Elliott, Breanna Ellis, Juliana Farrell, Jonathan Fischer, Nicholas A. Gonzales, Francey Grace, Elizabeth Grave, Charles Greathouse, Steve Greathouse, Richard Grigsby, Paul Harris, Cody Haynes, Richard Heller, Ryan Hintz, Allison Jandreau-Heil, Vicki V. Johnson, Cheryl Kurk, Jeb A. Lemos, Stephen Light, Michael London, Dirk Q. Long, John Lucas, Brinton Lukens, Alvin William Dutch Lunak, David E. Lynch, Cathy Marshall, Ismael Martinez, Michael Mattioli, Sarah Anne Milliken, Steven Montgomery, Jennifer Mosley, Susan Muir, Tim R. Muncy, Molly Murray, Walter E. Myal, Edward A. Navarro, Tara Norris, Dale O Malley, Reid Overstreet, Jason Owen, Bruna Papandrea, Richard Payton, Rex Peterson, Gayle Phelps, Perry Phillis, Daniel Pipski, Colleen Porth, Anne Marie Rapp, Lucy Kim Robertson, Arthur Roses, Scott Rushforth, Kerry Russell, Nicholas Salinas, Sara Scarritt, Wolf Schneider, Laura Sevier, Adrian Simpson-Riddle, Graham Sonnenberg, Clayton Stambaugh, Sharon Steinhauser, Rebecca Stover, Faith Strongheart, Girard Swan, Sonia V. Torres, Glenn Towe, Lisa Vanallen, Robert Vertrees, Jeremy E. Wilcox, James Wilkerson, Janice Williams, Josh Wood, Karen Yokomizo, Jorge Zul Jr., Mark Brooks, Celli Crawford, Colin Garza, Jim Giesler, Johan Grimm, Brent Lambert, Bryan Lane, Anne Lockhart, Tiffany Patterson, Breanna Perera, Rachel Varnell, Gabby West|
|Thanks||Vincent Joseph Flaherty, Joe Gareri, Peter Herzig, Catherine Olim, Danielle Panabaker, Michael Papac, Ed Pennybacker, Scott Wannberg|
|Genres||Action, Crime, Drama|
|Companies||New Line Cinema, Axon Films, Groundswell Productions|
|Languages||English, Apache languages, Spanish|
|Keywords||horseback riding,tooth knocked out,train,unfaithfulness,telescope|