Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cowboys and . . .

Cowboys and Aliens
To coincide with this weekend's release of Cowboys and Aliens, in which extraterrestrial beings invade the Old West, here's a look at a few movies that pit cowboys against other fantastic creatures and strange environments.

Mighty Joe Young
Mighty Joe Young - Cowboys vs. Gorilla
Showman Max O'Hara wants a special attraction for his new safari-themed nightclub, so he hires a band of cowpokes to accompany him to Africa in order to capture lions — by lassoing them(!). By chance, they encounter a giant gorilla and attempt to lasso it instead, much to the annoyance of the gorilla and the young woman who raised it. O'Hara convinces the woman to headline at his club, but it soon becomes apparent that neither she nor her gorilla are cut out for the rigors of show biz.

The Valley of Gwangi
The Valley of Gwangi - Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs
In turn-of-the-century Mexico, the owners of a Wild West Show discover a unique attraction — a living Eohippus, the pint-sized prehistoric predecessor to the modern horse. When the animal is stolen and returned to the hidden valley from which it was taken, the show's wranglers give chase — and end up face-to-face with a living dinosaur bent on destruction.

Blazing Saddles
Blazing Saddles - Cowboys vs. Hollywood
The now-famous ending to Mel Brooks' send-up of the Western has a mob of brawling "rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves" and various other black hats breaking through their backlot set onto the Warner Brothers lot and wreaking havoc in the studio commissary before spilling onto Hollywood Boulevard, where Sheriff Bart finally confronts the snidely Hedy — sorry, that's Hedley — Lamarr.


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