Rancho Notorious, Little Jo, film, Doris Day, Chuck-A-Luck, WESTWARD THE WOMEN, Robert Taylor, Jessica Drummond, Jessica, Maggie Greenwald, Roy Whitman, Barbara Stanwyck, Denise Darcel, Hope Emerson, Beth, Samuel Fuller, Vern, Frenchy, Buck, Vern Haskell, Altar Keane, Robert Aldrich, Frenchy Fairmont, William A. Wellman, Denise Darcel Hope Emerson, Monaghan, Charles Schnee, Fritz Lang Daniel Taradash Silvia Richards, Buck Wyatt, Frank Capra, Buck Taylor, Fritz Lang, Ballad of Josie, Fred Murphy, Conchata Ferrell, Brockie Drummond, Ned Logan Dean Jagger Brockie Drummond John Ericson, Griff Bonell, Sam Fuller, Noting Fuller, John Sturges, Josie Minick, Bo Hopkins, Claire Johnston, Josephine Monaghan, Clint Eastwood, The Ballad of Josie, movie directors, Jim Thompson
Westward the Women
USA | 1951 | 118 minutes
Credits Director Screenplay Photography Music
Willliam Wellman Charles Schnee Frank Capra (story) William C. Mellor Jeff Alexander
Cast Buck Wyatt Fifi Danon Patience Hawley Roy E. Whitman
Robert Taylor Denise Darcel Hope Emerson John McIntire
In Brief William A. Wellman ("Across the Wide Missouri"/"The Robin Hood of El Dorado"/"Blood Alley") directs this wonderfully ridiculous feel-good offbeat western based on the story by Frank Capra and written by Charles Schnee. In 1851, in California, wealthy rancher settler Roy Whitman (John McIntire), of Whitman Valley, hires the misogynist hard-boiled trail guide Buck (Robert Taylor) and fifteen men to bring 100 women from Chicago across the country to be mail-order brides for his mateless lonely men. The film is played mainly for comedy, and it gets a few laughs while it also shows the ladies learning to become more masculine as they handle guns and the reins of the wagon train and becoming equally good pioneers as the men. The black-and-white film looks good, and Wellman made it look more authentic as a pioneer crossing over harsh terrain by having his cinematographer, William Mellor, use filters as sparingly as possible. This gives the film an impressive austere sunbaked look.
Here's a movie that even fans of movies in general and westerns in particular have told me they've never seen or heard of when I mention it and I can well understand why. WESTWARD THE WOMEN is by no means a traditional western and every time I watch it I'm kinda amazed that it was made in 1951 since the story is told in such a raw, unglamourized fashion. It features women and minorities prominently in the cast and they are treated not as stereotypes but as honest human beings
. Sex and death are handled with realistic brutality and this is a movie where the happy ending is truly deserved by the characters and not just a manufactured one to make the audience feel good. The characters in thismovie well and truly go through Hell and when they co me out on the other side we feel as though we've made every step of the hideously horrible journey with them. Roy Whitman is an extraordinarily wealthy landowner who owns an entire California valley that he's turned into a thriving community. Now the only things his men need are wives.`Good women'Whitman insists and not the floozies and harlots his men have become used to consorting with. Whitman intends to go to Chicago and recruit 150 brides and bring them 2000 miles across country to his valley for his men. To accomplish this he hires Buck Wyatt (Robert Taylor) one of the best guides and wagon masters around. Wyatt turns down the job at first and for good reason. He's a confirmed misogynist, doesn't like anything about women, and doesn't even want them to cook for him. This guy's not only a member of The He-Man Women Haters Club, he's the president. After Roy promises him a thousand dollar bonus, Buck agrees to take the job. They go to Chicago and recruit the women for the journey. Among them is Fifi Danon (Denise Darcel) a dancehall girl who wants to go to California, leave her past behind and make a new life for herself. Patience Hawley (Hope Emerson) is a woman of Amazonian proportions from a Massachusetts whaling town who has recently lost her husband and three sons in a storm at sea. Maggie O'Malley (Lenore Lonergan) is a bespectacled schoolmarmish type who turns out to be a better shot, rider and roper than any man. She soon finds herself in a rivalry with Jean Johnson (Marilyn Erskine) whose skills easily equal hers. Mrs. Maroni (Renata Vanni) and her young son Tony (Guido Martufi) are also determined to go along despite the fact they speak not a word of English. Right from the start the trip doesn't go well. The sexual tension between Buck's crew and the women would be obvious to Stevie Wonder and there is a brutal rape that Buck handles in an equally brutal fashion by killing the man in a scene that you don't find in most westerns. The guy says to Buck, "Aren't you going to give me a fair chance to draw?" Buck doesn't say a word, simply pulls his gun and shoots the dude dead before his hand even touches his gun. The next morning Buck and Roy awaken to find that Buck's crew has abandoned them along with about a dozen of the women. The only other men besides them is Ito (Henry Nakumura), the Japanese cook and Sid Cutler, one of Buck's crew who has fallen in love with one of the women and wants to be the father of her unborn child. Despite Roy's misgivings, Buck insists that he can get the women through to California and he'll do so if he has to turn them into skin, bone and muscle. "They're going to hate your guts," Ito warns Buck who answers back without missing a beat, "I hope they do." And the rest of the movie is a grueling marathon of suffering and pain as we watch these women encounter Indian attacks, deadly flash floods, starvation, hailstorms, deserts, and that's just the easy stuff as they make their way across an America that back those days was really savage and wild and hostile and death could come without warning and frequently did. There's a lot of things in WESTWARD THE WOMEN that makes it different from your average western. First off, the cast is mostly women but they're not all your average glamorous Hollywood starlets. Except for Denise Darcel who is exceptionally gorgeous the other women Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
Westward the Women are remarkably realistic looking. Some are very pretty. Some are just pretty. Some are okay looking. Some are thin. Some are fat. Some are ugly. Some look like something you'd buy in a live bait store. But all of them have their share of screen time. We're not just looking at Denise Darcel all the time. And even when we are we grow aware of some disturbing things about her character Fifi Danon. Y'see, she falls in love with Buck and it seems that she spends most of her time deliberately pissing him off so that he can whomp on her. Their whole relationship seems based on violence and there's a disturbing scene where Buck lashes her with a horsewhip as well as smacking her around with the back of his hand a couple of times. "Is that what you wanted?" Buck asks. Fifi looks up at Buck, wipes the blood drooling from the corner of her lip and there's obvious sexual satisfaction in her voice and eyes as she answers, "Yes. I'm okay now." Equally surprising is Buck's relationship with Ito, the Japanese who signs on as a cook but we never see him cook a single meal in the entire movie. In fact, after the rest of the men leave, Buck finds himself relyingmore and more on Ito for friendship and counsel. Ito isn't played as an offensive coolie type spouting pidgin English. For much of the movie he's riding side by side with Buck and there are scenes where he and Buck argue about how to handle the women and how they're going to finish this insane journey. They bond one rainy night over a jug of rum they've dug up out of a grave. They bicker and quarrel. They make up. They watch each other's backs. And when and if you watch this movie notice how every suggestion Ito gives Buck, he takes and acts upon. With success. The performances are first rate starting with Robert Taylor and going all the way down to the pooch playing Tony Maroni's dog. I've never been a big Robert Taylor fan but I like him a helluva lot in this movie. His character of Buck Taylor may not go from being a misogynist to a profeminist which I would have found highly unrealistic but by the end of the movie he has come to an understanding and respect of women he didn't have before. Hope Emerson is a standout as Patience who refers to everything in nautical/whaling terms and the relationship between her, Buck and the other women is interesting. Henry Nakumura is wonderful as Ito. I really liked the scenes he has with Buck and what I like even more is there never any mention made of Ito's race outside of when he and Buck first meet and after that, we never hear anybody refer to Ito being Japanese and in fact, there's quite of bit of Japanese, French (Fifi Danon is French) and Italian spoken with no subtitles which isn't as much of distraction as you might think and indeed, is quite powerful in one scene where Mrs. Maroni breaks up a fight between two women and chastises them in Italian. Nobody understands a word she's saying but everybody knows exactly what she means. So should you see WESTWARD THE WOMEN? I would certainly recommend that you do. It's a remarkably well-made movie that has a realistic feel and tone to it. The filmmakers really tried to show how hard and difficult it was for people to get across the country back in the days of The Old West
. It was tough enough for whole families but for a bunch of women by themselves...well...lemme put it this way: there's nothing in this movie that says it was based on a true story
but it should have been because WESTWARD THE WOMEN is filled with enough heart and truth in it's story to have been real. And it probably was. Derrick Ferguson's Movie Review Notebook edinburgh film guild Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
USA | 1952 | 89 minutes
Director Screenplay Photography Music
Fritz Lang Daniel Taradash Silvia Richards (story) Hal Mohr Ken Darby Emil Newman
Altar Keane Vern HaskellMarlene Dietrich
Frenchy Fairmont Mel Ferrer
In Brief Pauline Kael predicted that this 1952 effort would not be among the films Fritz Lang would be remembered for. Fortunately, she was wrong. At first glance it seems like a silly, stagy Western, but Lang managed to use the film's shortcomings to his advantage. Vern (Arthur Kennedy) is bent on finding the man who killed his beloved fiancйe. He spends years searching and following leads, and one name keeps coming up: Altar Keane (Marlene Dietrich). A former showgirl, Keane now runs a ranch called the Chuck-a-Luck that specializes in hiding wanted outlaws. Vern helps break Altar's beau Frenchy (Mel Ferrer) out of jail, and Frenchy leads Vern straight to the ranch. But has Vern found the right man? Rancho Notorious is unique for its noticeable lack of sprawling landscapes and sweeping movements. Because the small budget kept Lang sequestered on the studio lot, he found a way to use the sets for their claustrophobic, caged feel. The revenge-lust thread plays through the entire film and never lets up, and the garish colors and lighting seem to emphasize this. It's a superb achievement, and it led to two more similar Freudian masterworks, Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar (1954) and Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns (1957). According to some sources, Lang and Dietrich had an affair during production, but were no longer speaking by the time the film wrapped. Howard Hughes produced. Co-star George Reeves went on to play "Superman" on TV.
A fascinating Western noir, Fritz Lang's Rancho Notorious is propelled by a recurring ballad of "hate, murder and revenge." The images seem to elaborate on the song, "Legend of Chuck-A-Luck." Therefore, the song (with music and lyrics by Ken Darby) seems to attribute the film to a legendary domain, pointedly distancing us the viewer from the unfolding drama. This deepens the distancing achieved by the remoteness of the Western setting sometime in the 1870s and the use of color. (The cinematographer is Hal Mohr, whose specialty is dreaminess: A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1935; Phantom of the Opera, 1943.) Flamboyant yet elusive, convoluted in the machinations of its meanest characters yet as persistent as a train going down a track, Lang's third and final Western--the other two are The Return of Frank James (1940) and Western Union (1941)--altogether seems a dream existing in a dream. Along with You Only Live Once (1937) and Clash by Night (1952), it is Lang's finest American film. Even the meaningless title, imposed over Lang's objections by RKO studio head Howard Hughes, fits the material perfectly. (Lang had wanted the film to be called Chuck-A-Luck.) What sets the narrative wheel in motion is the rape and murder of Beth, a girl alone at the counter one day in her father's General Store
in a small Wyoming town. Set to marry her in eight days, cowboy Vern Haskell is left with a gaping hole in his psyche, which instantly is filled with hatred for the anonymous wrongdoer and a determination to exact revenge. Michael E. Grost, an Internet film critic, thus finds the film to be "deeply feminist, in taking with great seriousness the horrible crime of rape."This is certainly possible, so long as we admit that Vern's course of action divorces him from a feminist impulse. Vern's pursuit of "justice" objectifies the victim all over again, consigning her memory to the status of mere touchstone for his vicious, oppressive rage, and implying that the crime committed is one of a violation of his property rights
. By extension, one may infer--although, of course, he himself would be incapable of such a formulation--that Vern felt only he, as her husband had she lived, was entitled to rape Beth. There is a sourness to the tone of all this psychosocial complication that, while not excluding the possibility of frustrated feminism on Lang's part, suggests that other meanings may be more central. Indeed, the film's Langian sense of determinism all but requires the rape and murder of Beth--hardly a felicitous springboard for feminist inquiry. In addition, at some point the pun contained in Vern's last name, Haskell, likely kicks in: has kill, as in has to kill, may imply that Beth's fate is mere pretext--rationalization--for Vern's murderous impulses and vengeful mission, making the death of his beloved, in fact, a matter of convenience for him. Perhaps her end spares Vern the forfeit of his idealization of Beth; this cancellation of their wedding spares him the ordeal of embracing the reality of her with which marriage would have confronted him. Vern has been left with an image of Beth that he hopes to hold onto--and an image of himself, as her avenger, that may tighten the psychic grip necessary to accomplish the task. Underscoring the theme of possessiveness is the glittering brooch that Vern pins on Beth at their last meeting and which her killer confiscates as a memento of the rape. In effect, Vern is after this prize to reclaim it as his own. This all but identifies Vern with Beth's (as yet) unknown rapist and killer. Certainly Vern's quest fails to characterize him as any sort of shining knight, for as the ballad tells us, " . . .
Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
Rancho Notorious deep within him burn the fires of hate, murder and revenge." Different viewers will interpret Vern's tenderness toward Beth differently. Some may take it at face value. But, for me, what is so startling about that opening scene between the two on the threshold of their wedding is its unreality, its adolescent nature. It's a purely conventional moment between young lovebirds that's undercut by a curious remark Vern makes. When giving Beth the brooch, Vern boasts that the person who sold it to him said the brooch came all the way from Paris. Later, this ridiculous comment will connect the brooch to the world of an outlaw and gunslinger named Fairmont, who goes by the nickname Frenchy. Initially, though, it strikes us as juvenile that Vern seems to be unaware he has been the victim of a merchant's puffery; he seems to believe that the piece of jewelry crossed the Atlantic Ocean and the U.S. just to flatter his ego as gift-giver and to adorn his soon-to-be-bride. This is a presumably grown man speaking, but his impossible innocence here reflects on the impossible purity and innocence to which he has mentally consigned Beth. It is he who has thus made her, at least symbolically, ripe for rape. Of course, the exchanges between Beth and Vern are no less realistic for being giddily foolish. It is often the case that in wooing a girl, after all, a man is after a prize that marriage will suddenly convert into a flesh-and-blood woman--one who cannot help but contest the ego that her succumbing to his wooing previously nurtured and stroked. Weddings consummate the wooing; marriage is another matter entirely. The fact that Rancho Notorious is prevented from ever reaching Vern and Beth's wedding, let alone their nuts-and-bolts, two-human marriage, is one of the film's dream, even fairy-tale, elements. One is reminded here of Much Ado About Nothing, whose merry romp stops short of Beatrice and Benedick's wedding, sparing them (and us) the undoing of their love that marriage, according to Shakespeare, would likely have brought about. In tune with this idea, at the other end, is Ingmar Bergman
's film Scenes from a Marriage (1974), which shows a couple who become friendly, finally, after divorce, after marriage. Whatever its nature, Vern's quest involves the unravelling of a mystery: Who assaulted and murdered Beth? If, as I have suggested, in some sense (out of Sophocles's OEdipus Rex) the answer to this is "the quester, or detective, himself," then a significant motivation on Vern's part is to deny this truth by pinning the rap on somebody else. Like OEdipus and Hamlet,* Vern Haskell looks outside himself to keep looking too closely or carefully within. In part, the fatalism of the film derives from the fact that, afflicted with a lack of self-knowledge, Vern cannot help but do this. All the while he is searching for the solution of the mystery at hand, he is venturing deeper and deeper into fantastic territory that removes him more and more from the truth about Beth's death, their planned wedding, and himself. Unlike OEdipus, Vern--and Lang's film along with him--will remain embedded in a dream. Vern will never face the truth because something in the American experience denies him tragic dimension and renders him, instead, cheap, evasive and dishonest. In many ways, Rancho Notorious is, thematically, the mirror-opposite of, four years hence, John Ford's The Searchers (1956), which also centers on a quest, but one that is tragic regarding its quester, Ethan Edwards, and the America he represents--a film in which self-discovery and self-awareness are results of his quest. From an old man, the partner whom the rapist-killer (the projection of Vern's denial of responsibility) has shot in the back, Vern gets this clue as the man expires: "Chuck-A-Luck." This is the film's Rosebud, Grost notes; if only Vern can find out what Chuck-A-Luck means, he will learn, he believes, everything. Of course, chuck-a-luck is a gambling game involving a wheel of fortune and bets placed on colorcoded numbers on a board. The game was popular in the Southwest, into which Vern rides ever deeper and deeper in search of his solution. Instinctively, however, he knows that the dying man's utterance refers to something other than the game, to a place, perhaps, where he will learn the identity of Beth's assailant. It is worth noting that the game chuck-a-luck derives from the French roulette. Vern's trail is littered with things French. As Vern questions people along the way, he encounters a series of recollections and accounts that come to us as dreamlike, exaggerated, borderline surreal flashbacks--dreams within the housing dream of the quest. They involve a fabulous woman of mystery, the powerfully alluring and unforgettable Altar Keane, who has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. Keane, which sounds like Kane, as in Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941), tweaks us a bit, given that Chuck-A-Luck has already asserted itself as a facsimile of Rosebud from that film. It turns out that, years earlier, with Frenchy Fairmont's help, Altar Keane, a saloon singer, right after being fired, made her fortune at the chuck-a-luck table in the saloon and has since retreated to her (relatively) palatial domain, a horse ranch which hills hide in its valley, and which is also called Chuck-A-Luck. Vern gains his entrance to this world-within-the-world by befriending Frenchy Fairmont, an outlaw, "the fastest gun in the West," and Altar's longtime lover, and by helping him escape jail. Vern's first distant view of Chuck-A-Luck, on horseback from on high, identifies it as a dreamlike vision--as glittering as the brooch that will reappear there, worn by Altar. The place is a dream within a dream. Indeed, the film questions its own reality, shifting its images to dreams. I noted the flashbacks that are conjured for us by people's recollections or accounts of Altar Keane. Are the images in these real? Dreams? How much is accurately remembered, how much exaggerated, how much wishfully invented? (In a deputy sheriff's account, for instance, Altar is lasciviously riding him, as if he were a horse, Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
in a saloon race, in which she is wearing a fall, a golden faux-pony tail that rounds out an impossible portrait conjoining corruption and innocence.) Daniel Taradash's splendid script (from a story by Silvia Richards) pokes at us with these possibilities as some of those invoking Keane make comments such as these: "I don't swear this is true, because I wasn't here. But this is how they tell it.""I was told a story . . . If you want to believe what you hear . . . I don't know if it's true, but . . . ."Those familiar with the rhetorical strategies of the trickster narrator in Billy Budd will recognize American author Herman Melville
's method for throwing into question military officialdom and its pronouncements, as well as the instant history, the so-called truth, promoted by newspaper accounts.** But Lang's aim in Rancho Notorious is somewhat different. Lang is questioning the reality, as well as the morality, of the ragsto-riches American experience that Altar Keane represents. Keane got her gains through Frenchy's cheating intervention and she has used the money to build her own Chuck-A-Luck, a hideout for thieves 10% of whose stolen acquisitions she appropriates. The faзade of American capitalism, that wealth is won by honest work, is a dream, according to Lang's film; the sordid reality lies underneath.
The night she met Frenchy Fairmont at Baldy's Palace, Altar, according to the flashback, was dressed in red and black. A wall painting
is an abstract design consisting of red, white and black. The chuck-a-luck wheel is red, white and black. Moreover, when first we see Frenchy in his jail cell, he is dressed in these colors, and the same colors, in a more subdued incarnation, dominate Altar's residence and place of operations, Chuck-A-Luck. Without doubt, this color scheme is a parody of the red, white and blue of the American flag, but the virulence of Lang's parody fully kicks in only when we recall that red, white and black were also the colors of the Nazi flag, which was adorned by a swastika instead of a brooch. Half-Jewish, Lang fled Nazi Germany
once Hitler came to power. Interestingly, his first stop on his eventual journey to the United States was France, the nation that produced Stendhal's (MarieHenri Beyle's) novel Le rouge et le noir, in which the color red is identified with the military and black is identified with the Church. I don't know quite what to make of all this, but it's interesting, in this context, that Keane's Christian name is Altar. In another context, she is so named because she is a constant reminder to Vern of the wedding that did not take place owing to Beth's brutal death.
Lang's cinema had always been fatalistic; in light of the Holocaust, it could scarcely become less so. The nightmare of Nazism haunts Rancho Notorious as Lang addresses, and attacks, the dangerous nature of idealistic national myths, whether they are promoted in Germany or the United States. Vern's lack of self-knowledge is an index of the delusions that such myths generate, and his grimly hilarious series of wrong assumptions as to who killed Beth from among the suspects at Chuck-A-Luck underscores his incapacity for self-criticism. Like the Nazis, this film implies, McCarthyite America pins its problems on "the Other." The Nazis had their Jews to scapegoat; the Americans, their communists. (Actually, the Nazis also scapegoated communists.) In the latter case, the film further implies, the scapegoating is a distraction from America's delusional foundation in myths about enterprise and financial success. Chuck-A-Luck, a parody of the American Dream
, represents the nightmare of capitalism, which entraps human lives in a circle of luck and unfair competition
, with its hidden or denied elements of advantage and disadvantage, and which promotes itself as providing fair, open opportunity. One shot is trenchant in this regard: Altar Keane, dressed in lavender, riding triumphantly in an open carriage, her black maid, dressed in black, sitting right behind her, shielding her from the sun with a black parasol.
Arthur Kennedy is good as Vern, who betrays his friendship with Frenchy by becoming Altar's lover, Mel Ferrer is (for a change) excellent
as Frenchy, whose reputation as a fast gun, it turns out, exceeds his actual skill, and Marlene
edinburgh Dietrich, who had had a brief affair with Lang a lifetime earlier, is brilliant as Altar Keane, whose land, Vern roughly points out to her, is a graveyard. The film implies, I am afraid, we
Americans are all buried there. * See my Hamlet essay,"The King's Caught Conscience,"Ball State University Forum, Vol. XIX, No. 2 (Spring 1978), 3-11. ** See my essay "Preinterpretation and Billy Budd," Essays in Literature, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Spring
Dennis Grunes guild
Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
The Ballad of Little Jo
USA | 1993 | 121 minutes
Photography Declan Quinn
Josephine 'Jo' Monaghan Suzy Amis
In Brief The Western has taken many forms, from singing cowboys to Italian epics. But The Ballad of Little Jo is the first gender-bender, feminist horse opera. If nothing else, director Maggie Greenwald has scored a footnote in the history book. She's done much more than that, though. The Ballad of Little Jo was inspired by a real woman, Josephine Monaghan, a cowboy whose gender wasn't discovered until after her death. Much of the film attempts to recreate the harsh realities of life in the West that explain why a woman would find it preferable to pose as a man.
A 19th-century frontiersperson takes the adage "Go west, young man" quite literally in "The Ballad of Little Jo," a gritty herstory about a tough little tootsie in a ten-gallon hat. A feminist western from fringe filmmaker Maggie Greenwald, this intriguing if rough-hewn drama is as ruthless in its revisionism as "Unforgiven." Like Clint Eastwood's film, it dismantles the frontier mythos, albeit with a heavy heart and an even heavier hand. Greenwald, whose 1989 film "The Kill Off" made the festival rounds, both wrote and directed this harrowing yarn, which is drawn from what little is known of Josephine "Little Jo" Monaghan, a woman whose manly ruse was discovered only after her death. Inspired by period portraiture and other, better-documented cases of transvestism, Greenwald has created an altogether remarkable, if sour, western heroine. Monaghan -- played unconvincingly by Suzy Amis of "Rich in Love" -- is a genteel Bostonian whose misadventures on the trail transform her into Little Jo, a squeaky-sounding adolescent boy who becomes a sheep rancher in 1880s Montana. The disguise not only protects her from the local lunkheads but also frees her from the familiar role of wife, whore or teacher. The film begins with deceptive lyricism on the open road. A slight strawberry blonde with a silk parasol walks through the dusty wake of a horse-drawn cart and a crescendo of fiddle music. Most folks pass her by, and then a jaunty peddler (Rene Auberjonois) stops and offers her a ride. However, it's not kindness but profit that motivates him, as she discovers when he sells her to a pair of hooligans. After narrowly escaping the would-be rapists, she replaces her torn dress and petticoats with outsize breeches and a coarse cotton shirt, ignoring the warning of the store's grumpy proprietor: "It's agin' the law to dress improper to your sex." Josephine weeps as she cuts her hair and thinks back on the consequences that set her on this path: A scarlet debutante, she was banished after bearing an illegitimate son, whom she left behind in her sister's care. With her bright hair in a boyish cut, Jo suddenly goes Rambo on us and slashes open her cheek with a straight razor. Is this ritual scarification some type of penance or merely an attempt to make her transformation more convincing? In any case, Little Jo is now uniquely suited to play the fly on the bunkhouse wall, to thoroughly investigate the wonderful world of testosterone. The character's purpose isn't to walk a mile in the boys' stinky boots but to muddy their gallant legend. This brings her to Ruby City, a scrappy mining town populated by skunks, bullies, racists and homophobes. It's not a surprising look at western low life, but a tediously one-dimensional one. Without exception, every white man Jo gets to know proves one step below a horny toad on the evolutionary scale. Sir Ian McKellen is among the most reprehensible as an assayer whose amusing disdain for marriage becomes pathological misogyny when he drinks. Little Jo, who has been bunking at his place, is obliged to stop him from killing a mute prostitute whom he has already beaten and maimed. Jo's explosively violent neighbor, Frank (Bo Hopkins), is the best of this wild bunch, probably because Hopkins brings some welcome swagger and humor to these inert proceedings. The film's one decent male character is Tinman (genial David Chung), a hunky Chinese drifter who becomes Jo's housekeeper after she rescues him from a lynch mob. Doesn't this sound fun? A shirtless Tinman bathes seductively in the creek beside her cabin, and all Jo's pent-up longings surface at the sight of this little bit of dim sum. Tinman quickly discovers her secret -- maybe he notices her salivating or maybe its just that he's a sensitive man of color. Whichever, they are soon contentedly making love and puffing opium under her wolf pelt comforter. Happiness is Jo's at last, when danged if the evil Eastern capitalists don't arrive and demand to buy her sheep ranch. A distaff variation on Robert Altman
's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" -- or would be Mr. Miller? -- comes to mind at this turn of events. Jo, a peaceable sort, is Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
The Ballad of Little Jo
obliged to take up a gun to protect Tinman and the homestead -- just like Clint Eastwood. Yep, it's a traditional portrait of Rugged individualism
, but Greenwald's film does debunk Hollywood's Old West, should anybody out there still be harboring any illusions of happy bawds and howdy, ma'ams. Still, Jo herself turns into a dour sort and a man killer. In the end, she's not so different from the slashed whore in "Unforgiven." Liberated or not, she still spends her entire life scarred by the violence of men. Rita Kempley - Washington Post
Our Heroes Have Sometimes been Cowgirls
When a woman film-maker stakes acclaim to genres like the Western does she betray feminism by adopting male stories and male myths? When a woman makes a Western about a cross-dressing female hero, should we read it as an allegory of the female director in Hollywood? Does female success in the world of popular entertainment
mean that a woman's gotta do what a man's gotta do?
In the early years of feminist film theory, writers such as Claire Johnston urged feminist filmmakers not to abandon the formulas of the entertainment film which have given so much pleasure to women, but rather to work at transforming them. Many feminist critics began to study women's genres like Hollywood maternal melodramas and television soap operas in order to examine how women's fantasies have been shaped and how feminists might begin to reshape them. Although the fantasies of many women have
surely been influenced by male genres too, we didn't really think much back then about how women might appropriate these genres. At the time, such an appropriation might have struck many of us as an affirmation of the very values and storytelling traditions we wanted to subvert.
In those days female "transvestism"-a term we used figuratively to designate an identification with the opposite sex-was often held to be a sorry condition; in fact it became a major metaphor for the tragic plight of the female spectator, who because she was forced to project herself onto a male hero was thought to be unable to "achieve a stable sexual identity
," as Laura Mulvey
put it in her analysis of Duel in the Sun. Recently, however, transvestism has taken on a more positive meaning, and the idea that one should strive to achieve "a stable sexual identity" has increasingly come to be seen as retrograde and severely limiting. Marking this shift in attitude is Maggie Greenwald's 1993 Western, The Ballad of Little Jo, a landmark in the history of women's cinema and a major artistic achievement by almost any standard. Partly about the pleasure and freedom enjoyed by a woman who crossdresses as a man, the film invites us to rethink the position of woman in and at the movies, as well as that of the woman behind the camera.
Greenwald is among the most talented of a new breed of women directors emerging today who refuse to remain confined to their traditional spheres in the realm of fantasy, but range freely across both male and female territory, transforming the land they roam.
The Ballad of Little Jo-the first Western written and directed by a woman since the silent era-stars Suzy Amis, who gives a stunningly subtle performance as a young Eastern society woman cast out by her family when she has a child out of wedlock. Initially frail and vulnerable, Josephine Monaghan comes out West, adopts male dress, and becomes Little Jo Monaghan, a self-sufficient sheep farmer
who successfully fights off the brutal Western Cattle Company when it attempts to force the sheep farmers off their land.
The film retains what feminist critic Annette Kolodny has seen as the hallmark of female fantasies of the landscape: a sense of intimacy with the land and its creatures. At the same time, with its breathtaking cinematography, it assumes the traditionally masculine prerogative of glorying in the sublimity and solitude of the West. Ballad is not Greenwald's first incursion into male worlds. The Kill-Off (1989), Greenwald's second film (after Home Remedy in 1987, which the director describes as "a black-comedy
about an anti-yuppie's crisis in a yuppie world"), is to my mind the most successful and interesting adaptation of the work of the noir novelist Jim Thompson
. Greenwald is relentless in exploring the seediness of Thompson's settings and his characters' moral and psychological degradation. Yet "transvestism" in the case of the Greenwald-Thompson interaction works both ways: in adapting the book, Greenwald faithfully adhered to the male writer's vision, but at the same time, she actually detected and elicited a "feminine" current in the work of a writer whom many would consider the ultimate hard-boiled novelist. Unfortunately, The Kill-Off remains unavailable here, having barely opened in this country; in contrast, when it was released abroad in 1990, it created a great stir-at Cannes as well as other festivals (including the Torino Film Festival
, where it won the Best Director Award). Tania Modleski
edinburgh film guild
Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
USA | 1976 | 96 minutes
Credits Director Screenplay
Richard Pearce Beth Ferris Bill Kittredge (additional scenes and dialogue) Elinore Stewart(letters)
There are two very different ways of recalling the lives of the pioneers who settled America's frontiers and carried civilization westward. One way is to remember the terrible physical hardships that had their equivalents in the settlers' psychological dislocations and disorders. These were the things that Boynton Merrill Jr. recorded in his remarkable book "Jefferson's Nephews," about the decline and fall into poverty and madness of the members of one branch of the Lewis family when, in the early 19th century
, they moved from Virginia into the Kentucky wilderness.
Photography Fred Murphy
Elinore Randall Stewart Conchata Ferrell
By far the more popular method is to recall the pluck and perseverance that overcame all obstacles and made America great. There's nothing wrong with this method, though it does tend to be sentimental, prompting us to grieve for an innocence that probably never was. It also gives rise to the sort of myth about "the American character" that Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
celebrates five nights a week in a 90-second syndicated radio show
(WOR-AM) sponsored by International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. If I understand Dr. Peale correctly, the young men who save strangers from burning automobiles and the housewives who know how to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at the supermarket are the direct descendants of Virginia Dare.
The nicest thing about "Heartland," a new, low-budget, uncommonly beautiful film written by Beth Ferris and directed by Richard Pearce, is that even though it celebrates
the people of the American frontier, with emphasis on the women, it largely avoids sentimentality. The screenplay, based on the real-life story of Elinore Randall Stewart, is about an impoverished Denver widow who, in 1910, moves from the comparative ease of the city to the wilds of Burntfork, Wyo., to become the housekeeper for a taciturn Scottish rancher named Stewart. With her small daughter from her first marriage, and with Stewart, whom she eventually married, Mrs. Stewart survived just about everything the frontier could throw at her, including the death of a newly born baby and the loss of most of the ranch's livestock, as well as the sort of weather in which someone might freeze running from the house to the barn.
Though Mr. Pearce has made documentaries and features for television and was the cameraman for Peter Davis's Oscar-winning "Hearts and Minds," this is his first theatrical feature as a director. It is also Miss Ferris's first theatrical screen credit as a writer. Together they have made an unusually accomplished work.
"Heartland," which was shot entirely in Montana under what must have been difficult circumstances, also has the benefit of three remarkable performances -- by Rip Torn, as the dour rancher, a man whose humor, though buried, is as real as his courage; by Conchata Ferrell, as the no-nonsense housekeeper, a big, hearty woman who is strong without being tough, and by young Megan Folsom, as her small daughter, reminiscent of Peggy Ann Garner in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Barry Primus is also very good as the ranch's hired hand, and Lilia Skala brings a kind of highly theatrical energy to her role as the local midwife. I just wish she hadn't plucked her eyebrows.
Because the seasons are as important as anything that happens in them, the photography by Fred Murphy is very much a part of the film's success. The movie seems to have been shot mostly in the drained colors that Alan Pakula wanted for his "Comes A Horseman," though what we saw on the screen was often so dark we couldn't tell what was going on. Mr. Murphy seems to have achieved his effects with high color contrasts that are never too bright and that have the texture of early black-and-white photography.
edinburgh film guild
"Heartland" doesn't entirely avoid the clichйs of the genre. It may be time to declare a moratorium on the slaughter of pigs on camera to indicate the fundamental laws that rule the farm. Also, there must be ways to celebrate the so-called miracle of life without forcing us to endure both human and animal births. After a point, they all look alike. Most of the time, though, "Heartland" is firm and realistic in its appreciation of its people and the quality of their lives. One feels they are so stubbornly independent that they would have little patience with prefabricated pep talks about the American character. In Mr. Torn and Miss Ferrell the film also has two actors who look and behave as if they were quite capable of coping with nature's worst and smiling about it afterward.. Vincent Canby - New York Times - Published: September 22, 1979
Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
USA | 1957 | 79 minutes
Credits Director Screenplay Photography Music
Sam Fuller Sam Fuller Joseph F. Biroc Harry Sukman
Jessica Drummond Barbara Stanwyck
Sheriff Ned Logan Dean Jagger
Brockie Drummond John Ericson
In Brief A remarkable, typically eccentric film produced, written, and directed by the irreplaceable Samuel Fuller, Forty Guns (1957) is quite unlike any Western made before or since. It's floridly melodramatic in the Douglas Sirk manner and, for its time, was explicitly violent with outrageous sexual innuendo. The film is as unapologetically dirty as was possible in 1950s Hollywood. Some of the film's most outrageous dialogue is spawned of a romance between cigar-chomping Wes and Louvenia (Eve Brent), a tough-talking lady gunsmith straight out of a Howard Hawks movie. "I'd like to stay around long enough to clean her rifle!" Wes says. Similarly, as Jessica admires Griff's pistol: "May I feel it?" she asks. "It might go off in your face," he warns. "I'll take a chance." The banter throughout is on this level, with endlessly quotable dialogue: "I was bitten by a rattlesnake...when I was fifteen," says Jessica. Griff's reply: "I'll bet that rattler died."
In his "Great Directors" entry on Samuel Fuller, Adrian Martin lists Forty Guns among a proposed pantheon of films that would define an unjustly maligned figure, often described as a "barbarian" or "primitive", as a bonafide great director. Noting Fuller's unique employment of the noir and melodrama styles of the 1950s, Martin argues that we move our attention beyond style and analyse the films themselves which are "all about drives, impulses, emotional state
s that are imprinted on the social being, as traces of ideological socialisation, as much as they issue from within the hearts, minds and guts of individuals" (1). Any serious analysis of Forty Guns should consider issues of both style and substance as well as the role of a director who not only transcended the generic formulas of his era but influenced other directors in different national cinemas by directing a film scandalously denigrated as an over-excessive B-movie at the time of its release, but one whose dynamic qualities and influence still remain scandalously unacknowledged to date. Forty Guns provides a great illustration of the auteur theory at its most concrete. Written, directed and produced by Samuel Fuller, it is also a key example of how a creative mind not only subverted the so-called"genius of the system"promoted by corporate-minded critics today but also one which radically reworks generic premises. Photographed by the great Joseph Biroc (also noted for his collaboration with another "excessive" talent Robert Aldrich), Forty Guns is not only a classic example of 50s widescreen cinematography but also that radical noir sensibility employed in Attack! (Robert Aldrich, 1955), China Gate (Samuel Fuller, 1957), The Garment Jungle (Vincent Sherman, 1957), Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Robert Aldrich, 1964), The Killing of Sister George (Robert Aldrich, 1968) and Hustle (Robert Aldrich, 1975) that analyses the destructive nature of socially dangerous drives imprinted on vulnerable human beings whether they are conscious of them or not. Fuller certainly transcends genre but he also responsibly uses style to radically undermine the normative presuppositions of both his characters and audiences. The influences behind Forty Guns are not difficult to detect. Set in Tombstone, Arizona, during 1881, the film is Fuller's version of The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (John Sturges, 1957) with the Bonell brothers substituting for the Earps and Jessica (Barbara Stanwyck) and Brockie Drummond (John Ericson) representing the Clantons. After the death of the assassin Charlie Savage (Chuck Hayward), Brockie displays a "murdered sign" on his corpse inside an undertaker's window based upon the real-life aftermath of the original O.K. Corral incident also employed by John Sturges in Hour of the Gun (1967). The presence of Ford regulars Hank Worden and Chuck Roberson (who doubled for John Wayne for 30 years) certainly evokes the director who loved to be known as the man who made westerns. However, far from displaying these references in the smug and selfsatisfied manner of a Quentin Tarantino, Fuller quotes these sources to destabilise former traditions in the same manner that he attempted with his war films and novels. A crucial factor in this process is the presence of Barbara Stanwyck. Working at a time when most Hollywood actresses were supposed to accept graceful retirement or relegation to demeaning roles in horror film
s, Stanwyck's presence in this film not only presents viewers with a pre-feminist icon of a mature woman using her body not only to manipulate the body politic and her "forty pricks" (as Fuller humorously Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
Forty Guns described her employees) but by single-handedly building up her cattle empire by herself, unlike the characters she played in Anthony Mann's The Furies (1950), Allan Dwan's Cattle Queen of Montana (1954) and Joseph Kane's The Maverick Queen (1956). Her Vance Jeffords of The Furies is the obvious blueprint for Jessica Drummond but Fuller has reworked the excessive female oedipal emotions of this character into one for whom love represents an uncontrollable battleground. As she says to Griff Bonell (Barry Sullivan), love resembles a war in being "easy to start (but) hard to stop". Like many other Fuller films, Forty Guns influenced the director's younger European counterparts. Godard borrowed the rifle-framing of Eve Brent in A bout de souffle (1960) along with Fuller's raw emotional cinematic style. Sergio Leone borrowed the extreme close-ups of the eyes and the Bonell brothers walking style for his Italian Westerns (2). Fuller also employed several long takes using dynamic camera movement in an accomplished manner, thus anticipating Godard's later use of montage as mise en scиne especially in his use of deep focus composition, and significant use of editing techniques involving the relationship of a multiplicity "of planes in a meaningful format" (3). Fuller often employs long takes that involve the camera moving right to left as a varied number of different actions occur in the background. After Griff and Wes see Chico off on the stagecoach, so he will not become a "freak" by following his brother's "gladiator" path by becoming a gunfighter, the camera follows Wes to the gunshop in the background where he obtains a rifle to back up Griff moving in the foreground of the image who is being unknowingly set-up for assassination. The sequence ends as Griff approaches the deadly alley where Charley Savage waits in an upstairs room. Following a number of edited shots, the sequence ends with Chico now beyond redemption after shooting Griff's assassin in the back. It is a masterly use of screen composition containing significant relationships of meaningful elements within the scene. Chico can no longer return to the family ranch as an innocent youngster. Also, another deadly scenario of violence is set in motion which will encompass all the film's main characters. The five minute sequence involving Jessica, Griff and Ned Logan (Dean Jagger), which leads to Logan's suicide announced by the sound of his feet against the wall immediately following Griff's kiss of Jessica, is one of the most brilliant sequences in American cinema. It also employs subtle camera movement as well as an avant-garde employment of Griff's disappearance from one part of the frame before he surprisingly appears in another part without Fuller giving the audience any hint of this destabilising movement (4). The ballads "High Riding Woman" and "God Has His Arms Around Me", both sung by "Jidge" Carroll not only recall Fuller's use of the ballad of the "dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard" in I Shot Jesse James (1949) but also anticipate the use of the musical theme as "leitmotif" in the Italian Western. Like Godard, Fuller employs his own version of those long take and mobile camera movements earlier used by Welles and Ophuls and also uses a judicious editing technique to add resonance to a particular scene. The sequence begins with a low-angle shot of the recently widowed Louvenia (Eve Brent) standing by the funeral hearse before the camera tracks left to reveal the previously off-screen singer of the ballad in medium shot. It then cuts to a close medium shot of Barney ("Jidge" Carroll) as he continues his song, ironically delivering the message that love leads to death. The image returns to the previous medium shot of Barney before tracking right at a different angle to stop at the figure of the bereaved widow. This is one of many instances where Fuller utilises a genre in terms of his stated philosophy in Pierrot le fou (1965): "The film is like a battleground; love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word EMOTION." Forty Guns is a 50s Western but one by a director fully attuned to those wartime emotions repressed within an era of men in grey flannel suits which would soon erupt in the next decade. As Fuller recalled, this was one of his many Juvenile Delinquency
films, a subject influenced by Rebel without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955), seen in Run of the Arrow (1957), Verboten! (1958), and Underworld U.S.A. (1960) (5). This even occurs in his role as Van Meer in Larry Cohen's A Return to Salem's Lot (1987) when he disciplines Michael Moriarty's son. But, in Forty Guns, Fuller relates Brockie's violence to an endemic part of American culture
which runs throughout the entire film and the resolution of which may be emotionally tragic (as in the "first" version of the film where Griff kills Jessica to eliminate Brockie's threat to the community) (6). Despite its generic framework, Forty Guns represents the world of America of the past, present and (ominously) future. Griff takes on the sheriff's badge not by overpowering a drunken Indian but the spoiled brother of a woman using the legal and political machinery to her own advantage. Uncontrollable sexuality and violence dominate the film both on narrative and visual levels. Wes Bonell (Gene Barry) courts tomboy Louvenia, who works alongside her father in a gunshop, by gazing at her through the barrel of a rifle as an object of desire before the next scene abruptly cuts to their kiss. At night, the couple are framed by the criss-cross shadows of rifles which denote the film's links between sexuality and violence as well as the tragic conclusion of their romance when a photographer's request for another kiss for the bride leads to the bridegroom's death. The camera certainly initiates an episode that combines sexuality, violence and death. Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
Forty Guns Unlike most Hollywood narratives, a weak male commits suicide like the tragic hero
ine of a melodrama. The younger brother will not be saved from following the path of his elders. After saving Griff's life by killing a man, Chico Bonell (Robert Dix) crosses the path of no return leading him to mature rapidly into the persona his older brother wished to reject until he finally "kills" the woman he loves. Forty Guns is an exemplary film in many ways. It reveals a filmmaker ahead of his time who pioneered techniques which were appropriated by acclaimed art movie directors while Fuller himself is still regarded as a B-movie director. Fuller's comments on violence and politics in American society
are stated subtly within the image, never didactically bombarding the audience into insensibility but leaving them to consider the implications for themselves. It is much more subtle than anything which appears in Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980) or the message-ridden films of Oliver Stone. Style and substance unite in this film linking history, politics and emotion together in a significantly cinematic and meaningful combination. © Tony Williams, September 2005 Endnotes 1. Adrian Martin, "Samuel Fuller", Great Directors Database: Senses of Cinema 21, July-August 2002. 2. The Internet Movie Database entry on Sergio Leone mistakenly credits him with instigating three out of five trademarks that Fuller actually initiated in the Western. These are the deployment of the extreme close-up; the depiction of ugly and violent acts with unglamorous simplicity; and long periods of silence followed by quick bursts of action. 3. See Brian Henderson, "Toward a Non-Bourgeois Camera Style (Part-Whole Relations in Godard's Late Films, 1970-71)", A Critique of Film Theory, E.P. Dutton, New York, 1980, p. 79. 4. For the possible influence of Fuller's use of long takes on later European directors such as Miklos Jansco and Andrei Tarkovsky, see Jean-Pierre Coursodon, "Desire Roped In: Notes on the Fetishism of the Long Take in Rope", Rouge 4, 2004. 5. Samuel Fuller, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking, Alfred A. Knopf
, New York, 2002, p. 34. 6. Fuller, 357. Fuller had to reshoot the ending to appease the marketing people but, like most creative Hollywood directors, made the second version entirely unconvincing. One perceptive critic titled a key still from this film as "the death of Jessica". See Nicholas Garnham, Samuel Fuller, Secker and Warburg, London, 1971, p. 6. edinburgh film guild Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
The Ballad of Josie
USA | 1967 | 102 minutes
Credits Director Screenplay Photography Music
Andrew McLaglen Harold Swanton Milton R. Krasner Frank De Vol
Josie Minick Jason Meredith Arch Ogden Judge Tatum
Doris Day Peter Graves George Kennedy Andy Devine
As was the case with her recent films, Doris Day felt that "The Ballad of Josie" was far below the standard that a star of her magnitude should ever consider. However, aware that film is a permanent record and that her performance would forever be judged, she approached the part of Josie Minick with the same professionalism which had become her hallmark, and saved the film from being dismissed as just another western. The conviction and energy which she brought to the role of an abused frontier wife with a small son (Teddy Quinn), made this innocuous oater a minor triumph. After the accidental death of abusive drunkard, Whit Minick (Robert Lowery), his wife, Josie, is accused of killing him with a billiard cue, brought to trial and is eventually acquitted by knowing members of a Wyoming Territory jury. Josie tearfully relinquishes her son to his grandfather until she determines what path to take as a widow with a young child. Independent and not eager to fall into another submissive relationship, she decides to raise sheep in order to provide for her small family.
Despite the fact that her town, Arapaho, is cattle country, Josie defies tradition, purchases herds of sheep, renovates a dilapidated ranch she owns, dons a pair of pants (cultural shock) and challenges the resistance of enraged cattle ranchers. Amidst Josie's plight, women's rights, Wyoming statehood and male/female relationships are material sub-themes covered in the picture. Because no major male star was present for "Ballad of Josie", Doris Day took sole star billing above the title and Peter Graves, television star of "Mission Impossible", was cast as the male lead, Jace Meredith, who defends Josie against the cattle barons. Her major foe is Arch Ogden (George Kennedy, fresh from his Oscar win for "Cool Hand Luke"), a cattle rancher determined to organise and chase Josie out of the sheep business. There are fights, gunfire, an all-out riot by the ladies of Arapaho who come to the aid of Josie against their own cattle-owning husbands and, eventual compromise with Josie entering the cattle business and marrying Jace, who is elected to public office
. Producer, Norman MacDonnell, assembled a wonderful cast of character actors to support Doris Day. There was a virtual who's who in "Ballad of Josie". Andy Devine (his last film), William Talman ("Perry Mason"), David Hartman (Good Morning America), Audrey Christie ("Mame" "Splendour in the Grass"), Harry Carey, Paul Fix, Don Stroud, John Fiedler, Elisabeth Fraser ("Young at Heart" "Tunnel of Love") and starlet, Karen Jensen added authenticity to this period piece. Doris Day had several good scenes. She clashed with her chauvinistic foes at a dinner invitation, proclaimed that she was independent and didn't need a man, used 'profanity' and instead of drinking 'lady-like' cherry, defiantly drank brandy, with amusing results. Also, in a showdown with Arch Ogden, Josie warns him that she would not be bullied and would stand her ground. The Techniscope photography was beautiful, the Frank DeVol score appropriate, Day's costumes by Jean Louis authentic and the direction by Andrew V. McLaglen was precise. Unfortunately, "The Ballad of Josie" was not received in New York as a first class project. It opened as a double-bill with Charlton Heston
's "Counterpoint" in wide release all over the state in neighbourhood theatres and on 42nd edinburgh Street at the New Amsterdam, signalling the beginning of the end of Doris Day's great film career. film RalphMcKnight,NewYork,June2000.
Petticoats or Pistols: Women in the Western
B Wyatt, F Danon, P Hawley, RE Whitman