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Prolific TV and film director Ted Post has died at the age of 95.
Although Post had his hand in a number of genres, he’s perhaps most famous for his work on Westerns like “The Peacemaker,” “Hang ‘Em High” and “Rawhide” with Clint Eastwood, “Gunsmoke,” and “Stagecoach.” He also directed Eastwood (pictured above on set) in the “Dirty Harry” sequel “Magnum Force.” Eastwood and Post didn’t collaborate after that due to various disagreements.
Post also helmed the sequel “Beneath the Planet of the Apes,” the pilot for “Cagney and Lacey,” and more than a few episodes of “Peyton Place.” Some of his more outré offerings include freaky horror exploitation flick “The Baby,” “The Harrad Experiment” about swingin’ sexual experimentation, and the Chuck Norris actioner “Good Guys Wear Black.”
Post’s legacy includes Pro Bono Productions, the nonprofit he started in 1996 to elevate the profiles of older actors in show business. “Our industry is suffering from a nationwide Peter Pan complex,” he told the Los Angeles Times at the time. “There are many who have been in the business for quite a long time who are feeling the pinch because of age. Because of the nature of this horrible disease that was created by this youth cult, they are literally burying the people who brought so much experience to the field.”
Gallery | 7 Recent Westerns That Don’t Suck
- ‘True Grit’ (2010)
As directed by the Coen Brothers, it stuck closer to the book and provided more grit than the beloved John Wayne version. Jeff Bridges was born to play crusty old coot Rooster Cogburn, Matt Damon was perfect as the talkative, annoying marshall, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld more than held her own. The only complaint: A worthy villain (Josh Brolin) is barely in the movie.
- ‘3:10 to Yuma’ (2007)
You have to love a movie that matches up such acting heavyweights as Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Crowe is all dastardly charm as the criminal who’s being taken to jail by the dogged farmer, and Ben Foster’s enjoyably showy sidekick damn near hijacks the movie.
- ‘Open Range’ (2003)
Kevin Costner has become one of the few directors who’s really at home in this old-fashioned genre. Here, he had the good sense to cast the impeccable Robert Duvall as his partner. Everything about the film feels just right, from their friendship to the unexpected romance to the inevitable showdown.
- ‘Django Unchained’ (2012)
Quentin Tarantino’s loving homage to classic Spaghetti Westerns is delivered with QT’s usual panache and over-the-top violence, all ably served by a badass Jamie Foxx, scary Samuel L. Jackson, and showboating Leonardo DiCaprio. Then there’s Christoph Waltz, who’s even (dare we say) more “glourious” than he was in his first Oscar-winning role, as Hans Landa in “Inglourious Basterds.”
- ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’ (2007)
Although it’s leisurely paced and focuses more on character than action, this beautifully shot drama features Brad Pitt in one of his best roles as the mythic gunslinger and an Oscar-nominated Casey Affleck lending surprising depth and humanity to the “coward.”
- ‘Rango’ (2011)
Animated flicks can be Westerns, too. “Rango” was a deliciously demented desert adventure that kids and their parents both enjoyed.
- ‘The Proposition’ (2005)
Talk about grit, this extremely bloody Aussie western written by Goth rocker Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat follows a man (Guy Pearce) on the trail of his brutal outlaw brothers. The Outback is as desolate and unforgiving a landscape as anything in the American West and the score (also by Cave) is appropriately haunting.
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