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 tried to rob him. During his escape, Lewis stumbles on to the set of a Wild West movie and through mishap and chance becomes a star of Hollywood Westerns.
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This is a fun film for anyone who loves Jeff Bridges. Like any good Western, there are good guys and bad guys, good girls and bad girls, and there are surprises along the way.
This is a true sleeper!I saw it years ago at the theatre, but have met only a few other folks that caught it at the time. Andy Grifith is great as the 'bad guy'. Jeff Bridges plays a Tom Mix-type hollywood cowboy that really only wanted to be a writer of western novels. The look and color of the visuals really capture Hollywood of the era.
A would-be writer with a fervid imagination heads west to enroll in a "Famous Writers School" to further his ambition to pen Zane Grey-type westerns. The "school" is just a mailbox in a whistle-stop town, but the young writer finds himself with a suitcase of grifters' money and bumbling killers on his trail. The natural destination for this fantastical story is Hollywood, and that's where the movie smartly (and lovingly) pokes and jokes at the myths of both the Wild West and movie-making. Jeff Bridges is perfectly cast, Blythe Danner is every boy-man's dream of affection, and Andy Griffith does some serious acting. PLEASE get this into DVD.
This movie should be released on DVD, as it is a minor comedy classic. It has always been one of my favorites, so felt like I should go ahead and get the VHS version before it vanishes. Jeff Bridges is great in this one, and there are many supporting roles that are filled with great character actors.
The movie was rather average but not too bad. I watched it until almost the end when the scene opened with a stripper on stage twirling her boobs around to an audience of idiots. A star covered each nipple but she was otherwise bare on top. I turned it off. With that and some rather base language, this is not appropriate as a family movie.
This film is full of scoundrels and opportunists and still manages to make life seem delicious. Long before Gwenyth Paltrow was famous her mother, Blythe Danner, was known by aficionados as someone that picked superb material. She's here as The Girl, savvy but still sweet enough to fall for the truly endearing and monumentally naive Jeff Bridges. Alan Arkin does a sublime high strung director of 1920s cowboy movies, and you won't believe what Andy Griffith can do. See it and feel great not in a sappy way: a truly grown up delight.
Jeff Bridges was wonderful in this little gem- a hint of good things to come! What fun seeing Andy Griffith as a meanie! Glad I found this video at amazon.com
This is a nice simple melodrama about an young aspiring writer whose love of the west comes into conflict with the mythology of the west. He ends up in California making movies. The casting is excellect across the board. Andy Griffith shows the level of acting he was capable of. Its a smart and sentimental film that can poke fun at the mythology of the west without attacking it. It really deserves to be on DVD.
I saw this movie years ago but didn't catch the title at the time. Ittook several years to locate the title and to see it again. I thoughtthis was a very funny and well done movie. Lewis Tater has has aninnocent enthusiasm that makes him instantly likable. His Overacting inthe gunfighter scenes and cracking the invisible whip in the lobby ofthe boarding house were hilarious. It reminded me of Myself in myyounger years. This movie is loaded with fun and there is a certainnostalgic atmosphere about it that just leaves you smiling. Veryunderrated movie. For a just plain feel good fun movie I highlyrecommend it.
The plot is a little loose-limbed and meandering but it's anaffectionate and amusing look at Povery Row studios, also known asGower Gulch, that ground out cheap Western movies to be shown as secondfeatures. If you've seen a John Wayne Western from the 1930s you'llknow what they look like. Wayne, on a white horse, racing after a pickup truck, dashing past the telephone poles, in the Old West.Jeff Bridges is Lewis Tater, an aspiring writer of Western stories whocomes to Hollywood from Iowa armed with a diploma from a phony writingcorrespondence school. Throughout the movie he is pursued by twovillains connected with the scam who want money from him.Meanwhile, nearly broke, he manages to stumble into a role as an extrain these cheap Westerns made by a studio -- Shoot 'Em Up Productions,or something -- that is run by the penny-pinching Alan Arkin, who givesa splendid performance. Bridges is adequate as the kid consumed by hisfantasies. Blythe Danner, with her hoarse voice sometimes ending in asqueak, is skinny, sexy, and grounded. Andy Griffith is fine as theextra who acts as Bridges' mentor and who is later revealed as a fraudwho tries to steal the manuscript of Bridges' Western novel.Except for the two stereotypical villains -- Richard Schull and AnthonyJames -- who are mostly comic figures, it's hard to dislike anycharacter in this fey atmosphere. It's 1933 and the location shootingand set dressing make Los Angeles far more attractive than it is today,now that it is a tangled snare of freeways with colorless settlementsin between them. The musical score uses a lot of source music --cheerfully and not in-your-face obvious. The sun seems to be shiningall the way through, even when it's raining. It's charming when thedisingenuous Bridges stands on the beach of a rich producer's house,gazes Westward, and remarks in awe to himself -- "The vast Pacific."
At some stage in 1976 there was a misguided attempt to release thischarming feature under the name "Hollywood Cowboy". Post THAT'SENTERTAINMENT 1974 most studios seemed to flood the market with 30smovie biographies since moviegoers apparently were fascinated withHollywood's history courtesy of the MGM doco successes.. HEARTS OF THEWEST fits into the release pattern of GABLE AND LOMBARD, W C FIELDS ANDME, DAY OF THE LOCUST, NICKELODEON, and ultimately the horribly unfunnyWON TON TON THE DOG THAT SAVED Hollywood and UNDER THE RAINBOW...eachand every one about Hollywood in the 1930s. I think they all lostmoney. However except the last two, all are very good and HEARTS ispossibly the most endearing but sadly unseen. The always affable JeffBridges proves he was hilarious and watchable even at 25. The BruceWillis film of the 80s called SUNSET owes a lot to HEARTS. Young guyJeff in this one, gets to Hollywood attempting to write westerns andends up in stunt roles in what look like Republic or Monogram oaters.Beautifully made at MGM and well worth finding and delighting friendsand family.
What fun this movie is! Naive tenderfoot writer Jeff Bridges goes off toHollywood to write B Westerns. And, every note is enjoyable. AndyGriffithis magnificent as bigger-than-life Howard Pike. Alan Arkin hasall-kinds-of-fun as the egomaniacal director and Blythe Danner lights upthescreen in her role. This is a great piece of Americana.
Who knew that Andy Griffith could really act? And he's the bad guy! See this movie, you won't regret it.
This film is pure and timeless gold, as out of character with its timeas it is with present times. Jeff Bridges, Alan Arkin, Blythe Dannerand Andy Griffith are perfectly cast in a comedy that spoofs bothAmerican innocence and American cynicism about that innocence. If "TheGreat Gatsby" is a classic story of the American Dream gone wrong,"Hearts of the West" is a classic rendering of the American Dream goneright in spite of itself. This film is deceptively artful (e.g., the coherence provided by theleitmotif of the bad guys' increasingly dusty and dented automobile).Its "simplicity" is the "simplicity" of all great comedy, which dealswith the essences as well as the particular manifestations ofsituations. (Moliere would have liked this one!) It's a film that makesyou want to rewind it immediately and watch it again.Five minutes into "Hearts of the West," I decided I had to own a copy.Funny, redemptive, and to be watched again and again. The laughs willnot stale.What I wonder is this: did Howard Zieff also intend it as a critique ofthe mindset and films of the mid-seventies? Because it is that.Don't miss this one. It will brighten even the dreariest day!
This review is from: Hearts of the West (Amazon Instant Video) Jeff Bridges is fabulous, as usual, in this semi-romantic comedy about a plains kid who dreams about being a cowboy-western writer. The Hollywood stuntmen he falls in with are a real laugh and Andy Griffith is amazingly good as their chief.
The mid-70's saw a misguided false nostalgia for early Hollywood. I'dlike to think it was on account of the last few octogenarian (and up)moguls dying off (Samuel Goldwyn died at 94 in '74, Jack L. Warnerpassed in the fall of '78 at 86, Darryl F. Zanuck, ill withAlzheimer's, dying in '79) and that the younger turks sensed something.Unfortunately what spewed forth was mostly crap: Gable and Lombard,W.C. Fields and Me, the dull interpretations of The Great Gatsby andThe Last Tycoon, and the cinematic nadir: Won Ton Ton the Dog thatSaved Hollywood... a film so utterly awful that they must've thoughtRin Tin Tin would sue. But along the way there were a few minor gems,namely, underrated The Day of the Locust (particularly for BurgessMeredith's performance) and Hearts of the West, which I saw in atheater in Portland it's brief release. I don't think it rated a week'sscreen time. Inarguably the plot's thin stuff, but Jeff Bridges' LewisTater ranks as his best pre-Starman turn as an actor. He took naivetÃ©to an entirely new plateau. Andy Griffith delivers a nice performanceas an amiable if duplicitous character actor who's descended into alife in poverty row oaters. 50-year old Griffith had just recoveredfrom a serious medical condition and hadn't been seen in a feature filmsince a 1969 flop, Angel in My Pocket. Griffith here is far, farremoved from anyone's image of Sheriff Andy Taylor. The supporting castis superb, especially Alan Arkin who captures the essential cheapnessof a Gower Gulch producer/director... he seems to be based on Mascot'sNat Levine. Don't look for the picture to go much of anywhere, justenjoy the ride. I liken the experience very similar to 1982's CanneryRow; you know you've seen better pictures, but you never somehowenjoyed one more and you don't exactly know why.
Jeff Bridges portrayal of the innocent Lewis Tater combined with the slickperformances of Alan Arkin and Andy Griffith make Hearts of the West a trueHomage to the Republic pictures style of westerns Also keep an eye out forthe sultry performance of Blythe Danner as Tater's love interest.
"Hearts of the West" opens by suggesting Iowan "farm boy" Jeff Bridges(as Lewis Tater) wants to be a Hollywood western star, then he tellshis family he's going to a Nevada writers' correspondence school. Hewants to be another Zane Grey. The "University of Titan" turns out tobe a scam, and Mr. Bridges quickly lands in Los Angeles. He gets extrawork and a shot at movie stardom after washing dishes. Helping out andsometimes not, is "B western" player Andy Griffith (as Howard Pike).Providing feminine companionship is script girl Blythe Danner (as MissTrout). Others characters come and go...Bridges is convincing as an early talking pictures western actor;however he combs his hair, it looks terrific. The film benefits fromfamiliar character actors. Winning the "New York Film Critics"supporting actor award for the year is "director" Alan Arkin (as BertKessler). A wall advertisement next to the "Rio Cafe" heralds GarboTalks! in "Anna Christie" (1930), though MGM would have more likelypainted it for a 1960s reissue. The setting can be taken right up tothe "present" 1970s black-and-red typewriter ribbon Bridges uses. Hesmartly switches to an all-black ribbon for a letter dated "August 4,1933".***** Hearts of the West (10/4/75) Howard Zieff ~ Jeff Bridges, AndyGriffith, Blythe Danner, Alan Arkin
I really love this movie. I saw it in the theaters when it first cameout and recommended it to everybody I knew. Somewhere in my house is abad VHS copy of it but I haven't seen it in a million years and it'snot available on Netflix. If it gets released again on DVD I wouldrecommend it - I'll bet it hasn't dated or aged one bit. Wonderfulwonderful movie.How do you campaign to get a movie re-released on DVD? This film haseverything, a beautiful young Jeff Bridges, a typical excellent AlanArkin performance, Blythe Danner! who should have been a much biggermovie star, hilarious script.
They say that your best writing comes from experience. This is not thecase by the ending of this dreadful 1975 film. The N.Y.C. film criticsgave its best supporting actor award to Alan Arkin, who portrayed BertKessler, the director. With his high-pitched tone when he was angry,Arkin, as Kessler, utters the Yiddish phrase-"Ver Gerharget," meaninggetting killed as he throws someone out of his office.With his boyish good looks, Jeff Bridges was a natural to play LewisTater, the young lad who sets out west as he feels that he is a westernwriter. Instead, he gets side tracked to making movies as he flees theguys who tried to fleece him into going to a writer's college in Nevadathat really never existed.The film takes place in 1933, at the heart of the depression. Yet, wesee little to no proof of this occurring. In fact, we're subjected to aparty where smoked salmon and sturgeon are being served.With its dull color to reflect the period, the film is really afirst-class stinker. Andy Griffith co-stars as Howard, a movie man whoputs one over on Lewis, but saves him at picture's end. Sorry, but hecouldn't save this film.