Hearts of the West (1975)

PG   |    |  Western, Comedy


Hearts of the West (1975) Poster

Lewis Tater writes Wild West dime novels and dreams of actually becoming a cowboy. When he goes west to find his dream, he finds himself in possession of the loot box of two crooks who ... See full summary »


6.4/10
1,264

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  • Jeff Bridges and Andy Griffith in Hearts of the West (1975)
  • Jeff Bridges in Hearts of the West (1975)
  • Jeff Bridges in Hearts of the West (1975)
  • Alan Arkin in Hearts of the West (1975)
  • Jeff Bridges and Andy Griffith in Hearts of the West (1975)
  • Jeff Bridges in Hearts of the West (1975)

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12 July 2010 | dougdoepke
A Bridges Gem
What a likable farm galoot Jeff Bridges makes. His Lewis Tater wants to be a Western writer and by golly neither pursuing crooks, nor double-crossing buddies, nor phony correspondence schools are going to stop him. Like his literary alter-ego The Kid, he's just too eager to get discouraged. Across burning deserts and thundering hoofs, he soldiers on toward fame and fortune and Hollywood and Vine.

And what a hoot his purple prose is. Like an amiable Walter Mitty, minor events get spun into major events for "The Kid" in such deathless passages as, "Twirling, The Kid fired with all he had into the phantom riders", or " A Colt in either hand, he scattered lead at the retreating dust."

What a great sleeper movie this is, thanks to the comical Bridges and some unerring light touches. Take for example the cheap Western they're filming. Catch how a groaning Lewis steps on the big romantic clinch, or how his curtain-chewing death throes put the director (Arkin) into a murderous tizzy. But I especially like that awkward little turn on the sidewalk where he brushes against the potted palm and wins the affection of Miss Trout (Danner).

The movie's also a telling look at the making of matinée Westerns, a staple of kids' viewing in the 1930's and 40's. As a former Front Row kid, I viewed those parts with mixed emotions. I guess I still want those guys to be real cowboys and not the shrewd businessmen-actors they likely were.

Anyhow, in my little book, this is a little gem from beginning to end, with scarcely a misstep along the way. It never ceases to amaze me that the Hollywood-bred Bridges (his dad was veteran actor Lloyd Bridges) can play such a convincing hayseed, but he can. Speaking of hayseeds, watch for a very unMayberry Andy Griffith, again showing what a fine, versatile actor he is. I'm just sorry this style of clever low-key comedy has given way to today's frantic bathroom kind. Maybe Hollywood needs to hire more Lewis Tater's, after all.

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