Actors and Musicians

Listen in to Victor Davis Hanson and cohost Sami Winc on great actors and musicians, and the struggle with crime in our black communities.

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18 thoughts on “Actors and Musicians”

  1. I must disagree with Dr. Hanson on one thing. The Denziel Washington version of the movie Man on Fire was not great. It was a decent action film for those who like action films. But the version starring Scott Glenn made in the 1980s was better and more realistic film despite the author of the novel not liking it much and it having gotten mediocre reviews.

  2. Victor shouldn’t wonder that people like to hear his views on film and music; it’s a typical role for a public intellectual. It also emphasizes that study enhances one’s ability to enjoy common things. Seeing the classical cannon helps one understand that every form of art has it’s own history and rules for excellence and that we can develop “good taste” for any human field of human creativity. Now, if his kids will just get him addicted to Power Metal…

    I loved hanging out with film guys in college. They didn’t bequeath a love of Westerns to me, but they did introduce me to the majestic Kurosawa, whose work is foundational for the American western as it grew to maturity in the 60s. Any fan of Aeschylus also needs to see Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke at least once. Encountering them together changed my life.

    1. Kurosawa was a superb director. I think my favorite film is Ran, his adaptation of King Lear. The cinematography was often surreal, especially during the battle scenes. But it’s Kurosawa’s use of visual metaphor that makes the film so brilliant. For example, early in the film the elderly King is having an outdoor meeting with his three sons and trusted advisers. He tells them that he plans to divide his kingdom amongst his sons and go into retirement. His youngest son, the Cordelia character, sees the danger of his decision and urges him to reconsider. His blunt criticism comes across as a bit disrespectful, and this enrages the King who mistakes his son’s love and honesty for insolence.

      The King eventually gets tired and falls asleep. The meeting is over. His other sons quickly get up and leave. His youngest son, however, walks over to a bush and cuts off a large branch. He then places it alongside his sleeping father in order to shade him from the afternoon sun.

      1. Ron, amen to everything you just said. Did you notice that Throne of Blood is MacBeth (I love the twist ending) and The Bad Sleep Well is Hamlet?

  3. Hi Victor,

    According to True West magazine, Louis Burton LindseyJr.’s father did not like his son rodeoing, so Junior would sign up to ride as Slim Pickens.

  4. Charles Carroll

    I would like to put in a bid for Robert Duvall. Talk about range? Here are SOME of his film roles (not countng TV appearances like Augustus “Gus” McRae in “Lonesome Dove”.
    1962 To Kill a Mockingbird
    Boo Radley

    1963 Captain Newman, M.D. Capt. Paul Cabot Winston
    1966 The Chase Edwin Stewart
    1968 The Detective Nestor
    1968 Bullitt Weissberg
    1969 True Grit Ned Pepper
    1969 The Rain People Gordon
    1970 M*A*S*H Maj. Frank Burns
    1970 The Revolutionary Despard
    1971 THX 1138 THX
    1971 Lawman Vernon Adams
    1972 The Godfather Tom Hagen
    1972 The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid Jesse James
    1972 Joe Kidd Frank Harlan
    1973 The Outfit Earl Macklin
    1974 The Godfather Part II Tom Hagen
    1975 The Killer Elite George Hansen
    1975 Breakout Jay Wagner
    1976 The Eagle Has Landed Colonel Radl
    1976 The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Dr. John H. Watson
    1976 Network Frank Hackett
    1979 Apocalypse Now Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
    1979 The Great Santini Bull Meechum
    1981 True Confessions Det. Sgt. Tom Spellacy
    1981 The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper Gruen
    1983 Tender Mercies Mac Sledge
    1984 The Natural Max Mercy
    1986 Let’s Get Harry Norman Shrike
    1986 Belizaire the Cajun The Preacher
    1986 The Lightship Calvin Caspary
    1988 Colors Bob Hodges
    1990 Days of ThunderHarry Hogge
    1990 The Handmaid’s Tale
    1991 Rambling Rose
    1991 Convicts
    Soll Gautier
    1992 Newsies
    Joseph Pulitzer
    1992 The Plague
    Joseph Grand
    1997 The Apostle
    The Apostle E.F.
    1998 The Gingerbread Man
    Dixon Doss
    1998 A Civil Action

  5. Richard Borgquist

    Another Good Western based on True story.
    Movie – Broken Trail – Robert Duvall
    Broken Trail (TV Mini Series 2006) – IMDb
    Adventure Drama A veteran cowboy and his nephew save five Chinese girls
    from prostitution while trekking from Oregon to Wyoming.
    Stars Robert Duvall Thomas Haden Church Greta Scacchi
    See production, box office & company info Add to Watchlist
    93 User reviews 21 Critic reviews Won 4 Primetime Emmys 16 wins & 41 nominations total Episodes 2
    True Story with Mike Slater | FULL Special | 03-19-21

  6. I was thinking about the discussion around Roger Waters and his position, at least until recently, was mostly opposed to the Western military-industrial complex, than it was pro-anything.
    That said, I saw on FB a new bit of content from Pink Floyd, which featured certain colors, though a bit more muted than expected.

  7. Interesting podcast but I don’t get why you live in the 50s movies so much. What is wrong with Tom horn the Missouri breaks open range and as for John Wayne how do you leave out John Wayne westerns in the 60s and 70s – for examples sons of Katie elder El dorado an my favorite John Wayne Big Jake.

    As for actors and actresses – somebody once said if you want to be a star study John Wayne if you want to be an actor study Marlon Brando. No mention of Marlon Brando Lee Marvin and in terms of actresses Maureen O’Hara an the biggest miss I think of all Barbara Stanwyck. I believe her career was about as long as Wayne’s. And of course there was Kirk Douglas great movie lonely are the brave.

    I love the Wayne movies from the 50s and earlier you mention but I think much of his later work was just as good. And sticking to westerns the above are some that I think great – perhaps to you they were just bad.

    I think you should revisit the idea of this podcast in a series of podcasts maybe westerns, war movies, an any other categories you like. Same with music.


    Gary Oldman was great as Zorg in “The Fifth Element”, too, great character role and he played it so well.

  9. I share your boycott of the NYT, the WP, the legacy-network TV news, the NBA, the Super Bowl, etc. I’ve done that (boycotted) for years. I have only one voice, but my voice will not support the dishonest, unethical media and race-obsessed organizations.

    Yes, it started with Obama. People moan about “how divided America is,” but they don’t seem to realize that many, if not most, of the divisions they see in America started with and were made worse, much worse, by the racist BHO and his hateful wife.

  10. Barbara Humphreys

    When an individual receives much but actually earned little of it, they do not appreciate what they received and have no understanding of what the truly deserving had to do to earn what they have. Michelle Obama is such a person. Whatever she has was given to her. Nothing was earned. The result? Deep resentment but no appreciation. Her hubby is the same ilk, as his grandmother discovered from under the bus.

  11. Not that anyone cares, but my favorite actors are:
    Jack Nicholson, Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Morgan Freeman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chow Yun-fat, and Clint Eastwood. No woman actresses. Sorry!

  12. The movie Breaking Away was a favorite growing up and think of it when Victor refers to his “muscular class” manual labor friends and family verses some of the college snobs he works with at Stanford. The Cutters win. Also liked watching Braveheart recently because it was a great example of the noble rulers and their horrible lies and impact on the people of the land and common workers that I have learned through listening to his podcasts. Thank you Victor-

  13. As an Alabamian, my ears perked up when you and Sami touched on Neil Young while discussing famous musicians. Especially his being mentioned, by name, in “Sweet Home Alabama.” It’s understandable that y’all couldn’t quite remember the pertinent lyrics, since they don’t pertain to you, but I can quote them by heart:
    “I hope Neil Young will remember/A Southern Man don’t need you ’round anyhow.”
    There’s some nuance here – a tone of understated menace. Basically, Lynyrd Skynrd is telling Neil that if he ever shows up in the same room with them, he should promptly remove himself or the band just might put a whupping on him.
    The theme of “Sweet Home Alabama,” I think, is defensive pride in one’s origins, especially when others take umbrage in those origins. Civil War. Institutionalized racial prejudice. It’s in us white Southerners’ roots, but yet…. I know it’s tribal, Dr. Hanson, and I agree with the proposition in “The Dying Citizen” that tribalism can degrade people’s adherence to the valuable concept of citizenship. But yet, it’s there, and we all probably have some of it in us. The best we all can do is recognize it and tamp it down when it gets destructive.
    I think the defensive pride aspect of “Sweet Home Alabama” displays itself in the fact that it appeals to people other than Southerners. There’s a cover done by the Leningrad Cowboys (a Finnish band, I think) on Youtube. Worth watching.
    I enjoy your podcasts!

  14. Dear VDH and friends:

    As to your entertainment discussion. It was interesting. I keep thinking about my recent recollection of movies. There were none. It came to me. I am living in drama every day.
    Philadelphia, PA is city is out of control nuts. Currently, right now, my neighbors and I are the bulwark against chaos here Kensington. We have Chinese / Mexican chemicals literally eating the flesh and life of hapless users often found crumpled on our streets. Then there is the daily public, systemic, and outrageous criminality (pretty sure that efficiently names it.)

    Everyone here in Kensington knows the criminal demographic. Namely, young Black males 13 years to 30 years of age. Every day some other outrage from this group. I am ALWAYS vigilant whilst approaching young males. But, until recently, this has been the case for a long, long time. What has changed?

    Ponder this: what has changed in Western society for these young males? Perhaps, the status of males in society has changed? How – what mechanism you say? Clearly, the bureaucracy has marginalized males through institutions with Toxic Masculinity, human relations departments, endless and incomprehensible regulations, and biased and onerous child support laws, among many, many other things. Yea, yea, yea . . . whatever . . . never mind . . . .

    Working people will work, create, and fix. Everyone else get out of the way. Life will go on. DIXI

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