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THE BIG COUNTRY – Jerome Moross

June 26, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

MGM set out to bring an epic tale of Americana to the big screen. For this massive production they hired William Wyler as director and producer. A screenplay authored my a multitude of writers created a complex narrative, which sought to move beyond the genre’s traditional narratives to explore the darker and more ambiguous psychology of old west. A stellar cast was assembled, which included Gregory Peck (James McKay), Jean Simmons (Julie Maragon), Burl Ives (Rufus Hannassey), Charlton Heston (Steve Leech), Caroll Baker (Patricia Terrill) and Chuck Connors (Buck Hannassey). The story involves romance and the battle for water and grazing rights on the high plains. We see Captain James McKay, a wealthy and now retired sea captain who has come west to marry fiancée Pat Terrill, who seems pampered and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. As a military seaman McKay’s formal personal affect, values and approach to life seem culturally incongruous and pretentious. When he eschews the code of the west of settling disputes with violence he creates an instant animus with the locals, especially ranch foreman Steve Leech. His apparent cowardice also loses the respect of Pat. Read more…

THE BIG COUNTRY – Jerome Moross

September 8, 2014 1 comment

bigcountryMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

With The Big Country, MGM set out to bring an epic tale of Americana to the big screen. For this massive production they hired William Wyler as director and producer. A screenplay authored my a multitude of writers created a complex narrative, which sought to move beyond the genre’s traditional narratives to explore the darker and more ambiguous psychology of old west. A stellar cast was assembled, which included Gregory Peck (James McKay), Jean Simmons (Julie Maragon), Burl Ives (Rufus Hannassey), Charlton Heston (Steve Leech), Caroll Baker (Patricia Terrill) and Chuck Connors (Buck Hannassey). The story involves romance and the battle for water and grazing rights on the high plains. We see Captain James McKay, a wealthy and now retired sea captain who has come west to marry fiancée Pat Terrill, who seems pampered and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. As a military seaman McKay’s formal personal affect, values and approach to life seem culturally incongruous and pretentious. When he eschews the code of the west of settling disputes with violence he creates an instant animus with the locals, especially ranch foreman Steve Leech. His apparent cowardice also loses the respect of Pat. In the larger picture we find unfolding an escalating clan battle over cattle watering rights on the arid plains. Rufus Hannassey and Henry Terrill both covet “The Big Muddy”, land owned by Julie Maragon that is abundant with water. She wisely keeps a fragile peace by allowing both clans access to her water. McKay, who is increasingly estranged from Pat meets with Julie, and they discover a mutual attraction, which leads in time to Pat ending their engagement. McKay eventually convinces Julie to sell him the water rights, thus triggering a confrontation with the Hannassey clan, which ultimately results in both patriarchs killing each other in a duel. The film concludes with McKay and Julie riding off to start a new life at the Big Muddy. Read more…