Judge Roy Bean Versus Cable Hogue
Hard to do. Tragic at their worst, silly at their best.
This leads us into the discussion of two movies that were released in the early 1970s. Both of them deal with very similar subject matter while trying to ignore the fact that they are the same story without being quite the same story.
The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a 1970 movie that deals with some guy in the lone wilderness who gets fucked over by his pals. This doesn't deter him in any way, and through the strength of his will, he builds a small kingdom. Also, there is a priest that shows up and does some things for a few minutes of film.
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is a 1972 film that deals with some guy in the lone wilderness who gets fucked over by some people in a cantina. This doesn't deter him in any way, and through the strength of his will, he builds a small kingdom. Also, there is a priest that shows up and does some things for a few minutes of film.
Both of them die in a legendary way.
What if I were to tell you that Sam Peckinpah made a feel-good movie that was lewd as hell in all the right places? What if I were to tell you that it features David Warner as a Super Naughty Religious Dude? And that Stella Stevens has never looked better OR been more self-confident and wonderfully dynamic? Would you believe me? You should. The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a feel-good movie. But it’s a Sam Peckinpah feel-good movie so that means that it feels-good with rough-hewn strings attached. You don’t get anything for free with Peckinpah and it’s best that way.
Roy Bean was an actual person. However, for this article's purpose, that doesn't matter. What matters is the fact that Paul Newman acts his ass off and I don't like Jason Robards.
Bean took off for West Texas to start saloons catering to railroad workers. The last and best-known was in Langtry, where he was elected justice of the peace and put up the famous sign by which he advertised himself as “The Law West of the Pecos.” The courtroom was in the saloon, where “more than once, he sentenced offenders to death by hanging, and they were hanged. ... He ruled with an iron hand.”
I like both movies. I happen to be a fan of the director of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, John Huston. I also happen to be a fan of Paul Newman. But at the same time, The Ballad of Cable Hogue was directed by the legendary Sam Peckinpah. This comparison may seem to be a wash, with both films as a tie...but there is one factor that elevates The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean over The Ballad of Cable Hogue.
I can't stand that guy. Never liked him. It may be my problem, but if it is, you are here reading about my issue with these movies. Jason Robards is why The Ballad of Cable Hogue is not as good of a movie as The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.
It is that plain and simple. Jason Robards sucks.