This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. As I begin to close-out my Versus AFI: 10 Top 10 arc, this month looking at one of my favorite genres, the venerable Western, it was only fitting I’d chronicle another film in this theatre-memory series. This one was timely, as well, as we only recently passed this particular film’s 20th anniversary.
“That’s right. I’ve killed women and children. I’ve killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I’m here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.”
The Beverly Connection 6:
August 7, 1992: Summer, in August. Both my wife and I were born and raised in Los Angeles. We recall as children, well and perhaps none too fondly, that the eighth month of the year used to be the hottest of the season in the southland. Neither of us grew up with air conditioning. I think I first time I heard and fully understood what the term ‘sweltering’ meant must have occurred during August.
By this time, three years into our marriage, things were a lot different for us as adults. It wasn’t even the same kind of summer we’d experienced. Oh, sure. It could, and did, get real hot. But, by the 90s, even though L.A. still lived next to a desert, the same month for both our births, just wasn’t the same. Somehow, over the decades, in between monsoonal July and Santa Ana Winds-blasted September, August had somehow become the coolest.
So, on the Friday Clint Eastwood’s seminal film, Unforgiven, opened across the U.S., what was that day’s high temp here? 80° F, at least where we lived (according to the weather historical of the Farmer’s Almanac). My spouse was well aware by now, ducking into a movie theater to cool off from the heat, as we once did as kids, was no longer the aim. Especially, since we’re talking about the Man With No Name, and a Western, at that.
For me, there’d be no waiting with regard to this film. I headed to the movies right after work for the start of the weekend. I walked the few blocks over to the Beverly Connection 6 and made the early evening’s screening. And what I’d thought about the genre to that point, one that I followed since early age, would be turned on its head by the time the end credits arrived.