April 26, 2020

Movies that begin with a person entering a particular place and end with him leaving.

Help me think of examples of this sequence:

In the first scene, a man (could be a woman) approaches the place (maybe a town). Then, there are many scenes of various people he encounters there and problems that arise. Doesn't matter what. The important thing is the final scene: He's walking away from the place. Could be driving or riding a horse. That's not what matters. What matters is that the only resolution of the story is just that the guy who approached this place is now leaving the place. Nothing about where he's going or what he plans to do next or how he's tied things up or any of that. The resolution is just that he's putting that place behind him.

I saw a movie like that last night. It's a fairly obscure movie, so I'm not going to mention it or encourage you to guess. What I want is to hear about other movies that fit that pattern. Please try to avoid talking about movies that don't fit that pattern.

Also, do you like stories like that? Assuming the things that happen in the place are interesting to watch, are you okay with endings that just have the guy walking out of the town?

ADDED: Here's the movie we watched:



We have big windows behind the TV and, at one point, we saw an owl fly up and land in the tree. We paused and made our own tiny movie. Visually, it's mostly darkness, but you can hear the bird's charming 8-note tune:



The David Sedaris story on which the movie is based is not the one with "owl" in the title. It's "Naked."

187 comments:

daskol said...

Groundhog Day

Wilbur said...

High Plains Drifter comes to mind, but I could be wrong.

daskol said...

Shane

Paul Snively said...

Not a movie, but the Walking Distance episode of "The Twilight Zone."

daskol said...

(if you think about it from Shane's perspective)

Meade said...

The Graduate

Walter said...

Tampopo. He walks into a restaurant, teaches the cook how to make ramen, then leaves the restaurant.

ex-madtown girl said...

Showgirls

ex-madtown girl said...

You didn’t say it had to be a good movie

Kai Akker said...

3:10 to Yuma.

Both versions horrifyingly claustrophobic.

rhhardin said...

I've watched a couple thousand movies and don't recall any, meaning probably where it's part of the structure. It isn't part of the structure if the guy comes in and leaves with a bride.

The scene though is one of Kenneth Burke's dramatic pentad, where stuff is played out between two of the five possibilities (act, scene, agent, agency, purpose). Hence stuff like act/scene ratios.

See A Grammar of Motives. Probably he'll list a lot of dramas depending in various ways on scene (with one other of the five). Long ago, don't remember.

Meade said...

Midnight Cowboy

Ann Althouse said...

"Not a movie, but the Walking Distance episode of "The Twilight Zone.""

I saw that recently.

There, the place, is his own hometown in the past.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Pale Rider?

most of the old westerns with Clint Eastwood?

David Begley said...

Not my Frankenstein, Part II. It opens with the “It’s alive” scene from the 1931 movie. I won’t reveal the ending, but it is super great.

Freeman Hunt said...

I haven't seen it in a long time, but High Plains Drifter also immediately comes to mind for me.

ga6 said...

The Seachers 1956 non pc.

Andrew said...

I deliberately haven't read the other comments, so these might be repeats.

Shane.
High Noon.
Once Upon a Time in the West.

Interesting that these are all westerns.

Ann Althouse said...

"Shane"

I thought of that too.

Even though I've never seen the movie.

Reason I never wanted to watch the movie: I loved the 60s TV show "Shane" with David Carradine and didn't want to see another actor in the role.

mccullough said...

Die Hard 2

Jeff said...

Another Eastwood flic, A Fistful of Dollars.

rhhardin said...

What you don't see a lot of is telephone conversations with a character in a different movie. It's hard on the genre category.

Someday they'll make a movie by Blanchot and it will happen.

TickTock said...

Yojimbo - a Kurosawa film

Wince said...

Yes, High Plains Drifter and...

The widely panned (but perhaps misunderstood?) "Showgirls" begins and ends with Elizabeth Berkley hitchin' a ride into and then out of Law Vegas.

"Heck, even the throwing of (french) fries is over exaggerated."

MeanRedFink said...

The Quick and the Dead. I knew I would like that movie from the opening scene, where Sharon Stone sees a sign pointing to the next town. It's named "Redemption".

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Lost in Translation. My Dinner with Andre.

Ann Althouse said...

I told Meade that his example of "The Graduate" doesn't fit the pattern because Benjamin leaves town with Elaine — arrived alone, but left with the woman.

Meade gave a strong answer defending his choice: "But he DOESN'T leave with the girl" etc. etc. and within seconds I'm making his argument. He says "If you look at the woman..." and I'm all "Yes! She's already left him!" So we DO see him leaving town alone. The camera closes in on just Benjamin, and HE IS ALONE.

robother said...

The frame story of the Cowboy in the Big Lebowski fits this model.

tcrosse said...

Just about every episode of the Lone Ranger. "Who was that masked man?"

Freeman Hunt said...

So there can't be a big resolution at the place before he leaves?

Moondawggie said...

Forrest Gump.

Andrew said...

Double checked. For some reason I thought the Sheriff arrived at the town in the beginning, but he was already there. Scratch High Noon. Great leaving scene, though.

I agree with those above who named Clint Eastwood's westerns. Showing up at a new town in the beginning, then leaving it at the end without a known destination, seems to be his modus operandi.

Lexington Green said...

It seems to come up in Westerns.
Gun slinger shows up, cleans up, leaves.
The town is fixed, he is rootless.

Gahrie said...

Mad Max?

Jersey Fled said...

Seven Samurai?

I know it ends with them leaving.

Lurker21 said...

I think Red Rock West was like that, but I can't be sure. The idea you're talking about is a classic Western (as in cowboys and Indians, sheriffs and outlaws) trope, but it also works well in film noir. An outsider rides into town, encounters all kinds of complications and corruptions, and eventually leaves with only the shirt on his back and some deep scars.

Dashiell Hammett used it to reveal the rottenness of society. I believe Faulkner did something similar to show the corruptions of the soul. It's dramatic - a character appears on the scene and is immediately plunged into a dark abyss of human entanglements. It also dramatizes alienation and the conflict between the individual and society.

Andrew said...

Love the choice of Lost in Translation. Perfect example.

Also one of the saddest movies I've ever seen. Murray's humor made it bittersweet.

Marcus Carman said...

John Ford's classic western "The Searchers"

Lexington Green said...

Elaine was realizing on the bus that the escapade was a mistake.
Not marrying the jock is one thing.
Staying with doofus Ben is another.
Proto-feminist take: She neither wanted nor needed either of them.
Anti-feminist take: She used Ben to solve a problem, and escape a commitment she made, and she will shift responsibility to Ben while also, inevitably, ditching him.

Kai Akker said...

The Wizard of Oz.

Do I like these? Yes, the dramatic unity can certainly enhance the material's power.

Somewhere in WI said...

Either of the Jack Reacher movies. It’s basically the theme of all the books also.

Friendo said...

Momento, a great film with one of my favorite actors Guy Pearce

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

High Plains Drifter
The Hobbit is the opposite. They return to the Shire in the end.

Narr said...

I've forgotten more movies than I'll ever see-- I find myself less willing to invest time in watching actors than I used to be, and that was never much time.

That said, could this enter-change-leave structure not be a deep reflection of America's frontier and settlement experience? A cultural trope that fits us?

Narr
Some Jap films have been mentioned

Ken B said...

Yojimbo

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Every episode of Kung Fu.

Guess I’m not the only Sergio Leone fan here.

Ann Althouse said...

"So there can't be a big resolution at the place before he leaves?"

That's okay. I think that's the pattern. A whole lot of things happen in this compressed time and space. Relationships happen but have to end.

I'm most interested in the one guy leaves ending. You could even have the whole town blowing up in the background.

Temujin said...

Possibly 'Local Hero' where the character starts and ends in Houston, but in between arrives and leaves a small coastal Scottish town.

lohwoman said...

Bridges of Madison County.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Passion of the Christ.

J2 said...

Nicholas Cage goes in and out of "Red Rock West" a dozen times.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Bird Man of Alcatraz?

Can’t recall if the beginning is him entering though. Fucking Eastwood again! I sense a pattern.

loudogblog said...

Die Hard. (This is also a common theme in horror films; where the protagonist, and their friends, enter a place and the protagonist is the only one to escape alive. )

daskol said...

Showgirls! What a perfect example of the scenario, and also of the genre-bending Americana extravaganza that Verhoeven made, which is a much more interesting movie than people who've heard it panned but not seen it may think.

66 said...

Independence Day

ga6 said...

"The Spy who came in from the cold"

The wall and the barbed wire...

66 said...

Happy Texas

daskol said...

She raised a little hell, but Vegas is still Vegas when she leaves, and watch out LA. It's too bad they never made a sequel.

Sofa King said...

Rambo First Blog

Conserve Liberty said...

If you’re going to cite The Seven Samurai (which really doesn’t work since it isn’t one person leaving) you also have to cite The Professionals.

Walter said...

Escape from New York.

bagoh20 said...

Aliens
"It's the only way to be sure."

66 said...

Leaving Las Vegas

daskol said...

Shane was the first Western that I remember enjoying completely as a kid, I guess because the kid's point of view is so important to the way the story unfolds. Never saw the tv show, but that movie sticks with you. I always watched whatever Alan Ladd was in when flipping through old movies on late night TV.

narciso said...

wasn't gremlins like this, hoyt axton goes into the Chinese souvenir shop, and gets out at the end,

Jeff Weimer said...

@Wince:

And it was the same guy who picked her up on the way in and robbed her. She pulled a knife on him the second time, IIRC.

tim maguire said...

High Plains Drifter was the first movie that comes to mind.

I think Rambo qualifies.

Yancey Ward said...

High Plains Drifter immediately came to my mind along with Pale Rider.

Kevin said...

Pulp Fiction

Tacitus said...

The original Twelve o'clock High (1949) almost fits. There is a brief scene in an antique shop then the character rides a bike to a now abandoned airfield. He relives years of wartime experiences while standing on a grass covered runway. Then gets back on the bike and rides away.

TW

Narr said...

The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Narr
Some memory cells left I guess

Narr said...

Dean Jaggers as the ops officer of the B17 group commanded by Peck.

Narr
This is almost therapeutic

Yancey Ward said...

Less than Zero.

Kevin said...

Clerks

bagoh20 said...

A place definitely gets more interesting when Clint Eastwood comes to visit.

bagoh20 said...

It might be easier to list the movies that don't have this arc.

jmzf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lurker21 said...

Another Eastwood flic, A Fistful of Dollars.

That was based on Kurosawa's samurai film Yojimbo and in turn inspired the Bruce Willis gangster flick Last Man Standing. Legal questions were involved, so maybe I should have some kind of disclaimer here.

Westerns and film noir or gangster or detective movies often feature the lone drifter character. That's also found in Japanese movies. Is it something deeply rooted in Japanese history and culture, or is it something that developed under Western (in either sense of the word) influences?

bagoh20 said...

Debbie Does Dallas?

Andrew said...

"I'm most interested in the one guy leaves ending. You could even have the whole town blowing up in the background."

That reminds me of the meme going around of the bat with the (now destroyed) Earth behind it.

Rob said...

E.T.

Mark said...

Once Upon a Time in the West.

Harmonica - Charles Bronson.

Yancey Ward said...

"Debbie Does Dallas?"

Believe it or not, Bagoh, I actually thought about this title, but I couldn't remember the ending or the beginning, probably because I fast forwarded both.

William said...

Marshall Matt Dillon is about the only western hero I can think of who didn't leave town at the end of that night's episode.....I wonder which western hero set the template. I'm old enough to remember The Lone Ranger. He's the first one I remember, but I don't think he was the template setter...Roy Rogers was hooked up with Dale Evans, but I don't remember him being settled down in a particular location....Gene Autry just looked married and settled down. I think he had a thing for Gabby Hayes, but they had to keep it in the shadows back then....Hopalong Cassidy as his name implies was a wandering hero.

daskol said...

Verhoeven could have called the sequel Nomi Does LA. Or LA Does Nomi.

Mark said...

The Quick and the Dead

A rip-off of Once Upon a Time in the West in the big reveal.

Lurker21 said...



"The late novelist John Gardner once said there are only two kinds of stories: A man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town."

Or Tolstoy said it. Or Dostoevsky. Or Hemingway. Or there are only 7 kinds of stories. Or 4. Or 6. Or there are 39. It's hard to keep up.

Best guess about the two kinds of stories quote is John Gardner, who said in a book on writing for aspiring authors:

"Write the opening of a novel using the authorial-omniscient voice, making the authorial omniscience clear by going into the thoughts of one or more characters after establishing the voice. As subject, use either a trip or the arrival of a stranger (some disruption of order—the usual novel beginning)."


daskol said...

"The late novelist John Gardner once said there are only two kinds of stories: A man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town."

Did he write that movie about that pandemic? It's got both of those things.

Lurker21 said...

New Topic: Movies that begin with a guy entering a particular place with a pizza box and end with him leaving with a smile.

daskol said...

Don't be fatuous, Lurker21.

Scot said...

E.T., Starman, Six Degrees of Separation, Brother John

Unknown said...

Doctor returns home from vacation.

Discovers friends and townsfolk have developed a sudden liking for vegetables

They want to quarantine him, until he sprouts the same passion.

Doctor hits the road.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Quaestor said...

Lawman starring Burt Lanchaster fits the mode, as does High Planes Drifter

Mary Beth said...

MASH has Hawkeye arriving at the beginning and then leaving at the end. It may not count since there is a little bit before he comes into camp and it shows some other people after he leaves, but it's the closest I've come up with so far.

Unknown said...

Stuck-up teenage girl takes train to distant town to retrieve corpse of her father who was murdered by hired man

Takes up with drunken fat man and creepy Texan with bouffant hair-do.

They plunge into the wilderness.

She blasts hired man. Fat man kills his friendsm then sees her safely home....

And there's the famous....

Girl runs away from home...Kills the first person she meets, a woman....Takes up with three drifters—an idiot, a coward, and a heartless man. She kills again, this time the first woman's sister. Then returns home.

The Wizard of Oz

tcrosse said...

Bye Bye Birdie

Zach said...

High Plains Drifter.

Slightly deviates from the formula, in that the movie shows the grave of the murdered sheriff, suggesting that Eastwood may be supernatural revenge against the wicked people of the town. So the real climax isn't that Eastwood is leaving, it's the implied resolution of why he was there in the first place.

Walter said...

Big trouble in little China

Mark said...

Doesn't fit the theme, but watching at this moment Richard Pryor putting brown shoe polish on Gene Wilder's face.

Can't do that today.

Zach said...

Mary Poppins.

Annie said...

Mary Poppins

Mark said...

Mary Poppins

Ice Nine said...

So, how was C.O.G., Althouse?

Known Unknown said...

"The Seachers 1956 non pc."

I thought about this but realized they go all over hell's creation in the middle. I don't think that quite fits the criteria.

Three Amigos
The Shape of Water (maybe not a man, per se)
Barton Fink?



Known Unknown said...

More recently, Knives Out.

Lurker21 said...

The "a man comes to town" beginning works well with Westerns because the towns were new, and single men were likely to just show up in town one day looking for opportunities. The movies didn't always end with the man leaving town. The Hanging Tree with Gary Cooper begins with a man entering town. I think the same is true of Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller. The Oxbow Incident starts with two men entering town. The "man comes to town" motif is also found in Thomas Hardy's novels about England's wild West Country. A contrast between the emptiness of the surrounding landscape and the complexity of human relationships inside the town seems to go with the trope. Now, while everyone is still working on the pizza box movies, how many "a woman comes to town" movies you can name?

Zach said...

Many westerns have this theme, because it's a carryover from genre fiction.

Some roles in genre fiction or film -- detective, doctor, spy, drifter -- are essentially there as a genre convention to get to "the good stuff" faster.

You don't have to explain why a private eye takes a case. He's in the phone book and has a sign on his door. So you can send a pretty lady through his door and have him interacting with the real plot in a couple of pages. Same thing for Eastwood's drifter -- when he comes into town, he wants to water his horse, get a drink, and find a place to sleep for the night. That's an efficient way for him to learn what makes this town different from all other towns and meet the main characters of the story.

This is something that's getting lost with the increasing serialization of movies these days. Did we really need to learn that Ernst Stavro Blofeld is Bond's adopted brother? Did it add anything at all to that story, or did it just bog that movie down and distract from the good stuff?

Rory said...

Paint Your Wagon is pretty close. Though everyone arrives and leaves en masse, the central character is solitary.

what'supberg? said...

Breakfast Club

Jeff Gee said...

I think "Godzilla Vs. Mecha-Godzilla," but it's been a long time...

Squints said...

I may misremember if anything precedes Kurt Russell's opening CB radio monologue, but...

Big Trouble In Little China?

narciso said...

yes they ripped off austen powers, the real blofeld wa cunning native of the bloodlands, Gdynia, he was a lowly bureaucrat, who stole documents and sold then to the Nazis and then switched places again,

Josephbleau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josephbleau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josephbleau said...

Lillies of the Field, where Sidney Poitier comes to the mission to do well, but ends up doing good. He then leaves.

tcrosse said...

Have Gun Will Travel, but Paladin always ends up in his fancy San Francisco hotel.

rcocean said...

you've just described every episdoe of "The fugitive" and "Have gun will travel".

Michael said...

The classic is of course "Shane" with Alan Ladd, possibly my favorite movie ever. Cat Ballou was (sort of) a parody of Shane. Both are terrific.

rcocean said...

There's also "Route 66" - where two young guys drive around small town America and tell the hicks they're living wrong. And have Gay Sex.

rcocean said...

Henry Fonda cleans up the town in "Tin Star".

He cleans up Tombstone in "My Darling Clementine" but he sticks around and its the Heroine who leaves.

John R. said...

Platoon.

Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) enters South Vietnam on transport and leaves on a helicopter.

rcocean said...

Bruce Willis did a movie based on "Red Harvest" by Hammett, which has him cleaning up at town of bad guys and then leaving. Forgot the name though. It wasn't very good.

rcocean said...

We see guys embark on Guadalcanal and then leave in "The THin red line", but that's not a town.

Rhonda said...

Bad Day at Black Rock? Spencer Tracy....it was first thing I thought after reading the outlined requirements, but I’ve never seen the movie but very familiar with the story....maybe someone who’s seen it can say.

Known Unknown said...

"how many "a woman comes to town" movies you can name?"

The entire Underworld series, starring Kate Beckinsale?

Known Unknown said...

"Bad Day at Black Rock? Spencer Tracy....it was first thing I thought after reading the outlined requirements, but I’ve never seen the movie but very familiar with the story....maybe someone who’s seen it can say."

Yes.

Inherit the Wind as well.

Twelve Angry Men (Henry Fonda enters the jury room, leaves the jury room.)

hshimmin said...

In High Plains Drifter Clint Eastwood, unnamed as The Stranger, rides into the dry Sierra Nevada town of Lago, bringing something akin to rough justice to a mean corner of hell. Unlike former "Marshal Jim Duncan," Clint does not rest in peace; he rides out as blazing and merciless as he arrived.

Virgil Hilts said...

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. Um, does the main character have to leave alive?

Andrew said...

"Did we really need to learn that Ernst Stavro Blofeld is Bond's adopted brother? Did it add anything at all to that story, or did it just bog that movie down and distract from the good stuff?"

That plot "twist" if you can call it that ruined not only the movie, but the entire Bond franchise. What a bizarre choice. As if everything that happened to Bond was all intertwined with sibling rivalry.

Josephbleau said...

And Mary Poppins, who meets all established criteria of coming and going.

tcrosse said...

ET

richlb said...

Seems like a common setup and resolution to many horror movies.

Kai Akker said...

"Bad Day at Black Rock? Spencer Tracy....it was first thing I thought after reading the outlined requirements, but I’ve never seen the movie but very familiar with the story....maybe someone who’s seen it can say."

Heck, yeah; and that was the movie I was thinking of when I wrote 3:10 to Yuma way back near the start of this topic. Great Glenn Ford picture. Yuma good in its way too but doesn't fit the Althouse specifications.

Louie the Looper said...

Casablanca. Ingrid Bergman comes and goes.

Kai Akker said...

LOL, Yuma is the Glenn Ford picture. Sheesh.

Louie the Looper said...

“Then Came Bronson.” Every episode, Bronson rides into some back roads town on his Sportster and solves the locals problems.

tcrosse said...

Every Godzilla picture ever. Godzilla comes to Tokyo, Godzilla wrecks things. Godzilla goes back out to sea. Rinse and repeat.

gilbar said...

i don't know movies, but i LOVE stories that end with the opening line...
like (of course)
“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home...”

Robert G. said...

Suspiria [1977 version]
Opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYNqV-u5MEI
Closing: https://youtu.be/Fl_QqXwlkv0?t=331

gilbar said...

how about movies like; "The Budding of Brie"?
Which start with a naive young girl, sitting on a stool at Schwab's Pharmacy...
Then a Bunch of interesting plot complications...
Then, END with a DIFFERENT naive young girl, sitting on the SAME STOOL
????

traditionalguy said...

John Wayne in The Searchers begins and ends with an unattractive, but necessary to get the family a closure, man.

Lurker21 said...

I'm pretty sure that whatever was going on in George Maharis's private life, that his character and Martin Milner's weren't having sex in the show. The "wanderer" theme was common in 60s/70s TV because it allowed a series to become something like an anthology with a totally different story and characters in every episode. Route 66, it's said, was shot on location, in a different city each episode.

Other examples: The Rebel, Branded, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Then Came Bronson, Alias Smith and Jones, Kung Fu. Most were westerns, maybe influenced by The Searchers. Then Came Bronson was Route 66 with one guy instead of two and a motorcycle instead of a car.

There was also a distinction between the lone wanderer shows and those with two buddies or relatives on the road. The pairs were less morose and existential and their quests may have been less philosophical/psychological and more practical. Sometimes, like in Maverick, a show could even take a comic turn.

narciso said...

loosely based

steppin' razor said...

With David Carradine: he was Quia Chang Cain, not Shane.

My favorite: a play, The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan

Roger Sweeny said...

In the 1953 film noir Wicked Woman, the title character enters town on a bus at the beginning and leaves on a bus at the end.

RichL said...

Not a movie but an entire TV series--Homicide: Life on the Street started with a character entering an alley and ended with the same character leaving the same alley.

Ozymandias said...

Another great Kurosawa film, Sanjuro.

Josephbleau said...

Movies imitate life, like the corporate seagulls that fly in, eat your lunch, crap on you and fly home.

ga6 said...

Bruce Willis did a movie based on "Red Harvest"


Last Man Standing 1996 A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town.

Lawrence Person said...

It's a trope of the Gothic/haunted house film, but I'm not sure I can think of a film that meets the strictest definition of the premise. The Haunting and Rebecca might, but it's been a while since I've seen either.

House on Haunted Hill would qualify, except it's the audience, not the protagonist, who moves away.

If you use a very, very loose definition of "house," I think Das Boot qualifies, though the last shot is of his "house" leaving him.

Ditto Assault on Precinct 13, substituting the police station for the house.

Lawrence Person said...

Son of Frankenstein fits the looser definition; he enters town at the very beginning and leaves at the very end.

jimbino said...

Besides Shane, there is the entire radio series starring James Stewart as the "six-shooter," where in he showed up in the beginning and left at the end.

rcocean said...

Bad Day at Black - wish I'd thought of it. Fits it to a tee. Tracy arrives by Train, Even though he whole town only has 20 people.

rcocean said...

"Last Man Standing 1996 A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town."

Thanks!

Ann Althouse said...

“ So, how was C.O.G., Althouse?”

I liked it. An east coast upper middle class guy goes to live in an apple picking milieu in Oregon. Life among the deplorables.

eddie willers said...

Zach said...
Mary Poppins.
4/26/20, 11:50 AM

Annie said...
Mary Poppins
4/26/20, 11:50 AM

Mark said...
Mary Poppins
4/26/20, 11:51 AM


How often does THAT happen? Sign of the apocalypse?

jk said...

The Prisoner. A TV series, yes, but a very film-y TV series for its time... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlFiHhN8aew

William said...

Out of an abundance of quarantine ennui, I watched the trailer for C.O.G. It looked mildly interesting, but I bet a lot of the scenes were clunkers. I think Hollywood has too much ambivalence about the white working class to portray them honestly. White farm workers are not Tom Joad anymore. Hispanics, however, retain their innate dignity and are nearly always ennobled by their struggles in life. Whites of a similar background are brutalized and made coarse by such struggles....I don't think Hollywood ever feels comfortable dumping on the underdogs. The movie probably gave the proles a few good lines, but that's not where the sympathies of the moviemakers lie. The stubborn fact remains that many of these people voted for Trump. Their ignorance and bigotry to some extent explain why their lot in life is so miserable.

Charlie Currie said...

Paladin - Have Gun Will Travel

Charlie Currie said...

Then Came Bronson

Charlie Currie said...

Route 66

Two white dudes in a Corvette enter a town, then leave. Never seemed to have luggage, but always had clean clothes.

dbp said...

El Mariachi and of course the English language remake, Desperado.

A mariachi comes into town hoping to make a living with his guitar, but he is mistaken for an expected assassin and chaos ensues.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse (10:26) so I guess you don’t know what it means when someone calls you a “low-down, Yankee, liar.”

William said...

I just re-read Robert Frost's great poem The Death of the Hired Hand. The hired hand knows how to bale hay and that's about all. His life is worthless although he never did anything so bad. He engages with a smart college kid who's working on the farm for one summer. The hired hand spends years afterwards thinking of how he could have gotten the better of him in an argument. The smart college kid goes on to a teaching job, and the hired hand continues drinking and then he dies....I don't know if it's the most heartbreaking poem in the English language, but it's got to be in the top ten percent.....I think Frost covered some of the territory Sedaris explored, but he missed the comic potential.

Big Mike said...

“Mary Poppins,” yes, but even more so the two “Nanny McPhee” movies.”

“When you want me to stay, then I must go.”

dbp said...

The book Moby Dick worked this way, if the Pequod is the "place". Ishmael joins the crew, lots of things happen and Ishmael leaves the ship in order to be tell the story. Lots of movie versions have been made and one would assume that at least one would keep this element of the original plot. I've only read the book, so I don't know if it is true.

Tomcc said...

No movie title submission; just wanted to say I much prefer "Owl hoots in darkness" to "Democracy dies in darkness".

Lurker21 said...

I believe The Great Escape begins with characters arriving at the POW camp and ends with the survivors taken to the camp again and Steve McQueen being sent to the "cooler" with his baseball and glove one more time.

A character leaving a place at the end that the character came to at the beginning is a satisfying way of achieving closure. So is a significant repetition. The audience can fill in for themselves how the character feels about the experience. The repetition underlines the experience and makes you feel like some kind of statement was made by everything the character went through.

“What is a repetition? A repetition is the re-enactment of past experience toward the end of isolating the time segment which has lapsed in order that it, the lapsed time, can be savored of itself without the usual adulteration of events that clog time like peanuts in brittle.”
– Walker Percy, The Moviegoer, New York: Vintage books, 1960.

BudBrown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BudBrown said...

Red Sun

Lhx said...

The man who shot liberty valance

Huisache said...

The Mad Max movies (except the first) fit the mold. I think the Nolan Batman trilogy does, too. Actually, I’ve noticed that The Dark Knight has basically the same structure as Red Harvest, but with the Joker as the Outsider With No Name, and Batman as one of the parties that get neutralized by the end.

gpm said...

Never much cared for it (even though I'm a big Jean Arthur fam), but Shane seems to be the winner.

Also like as answers The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, Inherit the Wind, and Gone with the Wind.

I think a *lot* of peplums/sword and sandal movies would probably fit (though, in many but certainly not all cases, the hero leaves with the gal, if that's disqualifying).

--gpm

BudBrown said...

Sound of Music

Unknown said...

I believe that the owl is a Barred Owl. Its call is characterized by many as "Who cooks for you?" but I think that is a bit creative. We hear them sometimes here in the Upper Peninsula.

Lem said...

The movie Big Fish had the main character coming to a town at some point in the movie and leaving the town before the end of the movie.

Your next post has a possibly accidental clue.

Lem said...

The Straight Story has the lead leave his home town to get to his brother, it ends with him getting to see his brother. it's more like a road movie.

Ty said...

Also not a movie, but the first thing I thought of.

JMW Turner said...

Apocalypse Now. The last spooky sequence when Martin Sheen's character and the other survivors on the Navy river gun boat travel past the last symbol of civilization: a massive bridge lit at night with explosions and lights. After that, the trip up the river towards Captain Kurtz's jungle empire,silently passing an enormous downed B52 bomber,arching over the river. From the bright, noisy nightmare of modern warfare to the heart of darkness.

David Begley said...

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Just watched it again. Great movie. John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart.

Unknown said...

In the first scene, a man (could be a woman) approaches the place (maybe a town). Then, there are many scenes of various people he encounters there and problems that arise. Doesn't matter what. The important thing is the final scene: He's walking away from the place.

Slight twist. We enter Casablanca, and then watch Bogart exit Casablanca.

Unknown said...

On the Town

LakeLevel said...

The Breakfast Club.

Unknown said...

Roman Holiday

Scot said...

Elmer Gantry, Being There, Sweet November, The Fantasticks, A Delicate Balance (x2)

Scot said...

Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Island of Lost Souls (Are we not men?)

William R. Hamblen said...

Every episode of the television series The Lone Ranger. "Who was that masked man?"