Man in the Wilderness 1971 (1971) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Left for dead after a bear attack, a fur-trapper exacts revenge on his fellow companions who abandoned him in dangerous Indian territory. Runtime: 104 mins Release Date: 19 Dec 1971
Excellent period film, story of survival in the bleak, bleak wilderness. Richard Harris plays a fur trapper in 1820s America who is left for dead by his expedition party after surviving a bear attack. Harris amazingly manages to keep himself alive and catch up with the hunting party. Minimal dialogue and action. More a mood piece than anything else, but a very effective one.I really enjoyed "Man in the Wilderness". It's fairly obscure, and its easy to see why. It basically presents nature as hellish and threatening in every way. It also wonder of wonders presents the <more>
situation realistically. Most films that take place in the 1800s look terrifically groomed and contemporary, as if the stars had spent the day filming and the night relaxing in a jacuzzi. Not so here. This is grimy and gritty. Lots of gray and black and brown. Harris looks dirty and beat-up. I love it.I also love all the scenes of the expedition members pulling that big, muddy boat all over creation.A really good film. Highly recommended if you like films that attempt a certain realism - like robert altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller"
Savage and unrelenting, but, compassionate and immensely rewarding tale of a fur trapper, near-fatally mauled by a bear, surviving to exact revenge upon those who left him for dead. A distant and withdrawn character, Zachary Bass Harris , who through a series of ordeals, recalls both the tumultuous and neglected events in his life that he is now compelled to resurrect. His quest is both a harrowing and moving experience, with a sincere, thoughtful performance by the late Richard Harris."Man in the Wilderness" boasts breathtaking scenery, a memorable score, and supporting <more>
performances played with conviction, particularly by John Huston and Percy Herbert. While it might draw parallels with Harris' "Horse" trilogy, this role is a more complex characterisation, developed without the benefit of dialogue, but through actions, expressions and emotions.I've read reviews of this film that claim that the movie is uninvolving and gratuitously violent, but nothing, in my opinion, could be further from the truth. If ever there was a character with whom you could empathise, and follow to a poignant and satisfying conclusion, Zachary Bass is that character. A metaphoric journey from his own personal "wilderness" to a state of self consciousness in both his existence, and purpose. If ever there was a movie that could depict the challenges that he would face, and intertwine them with the complex motivations for his desire to survive, "Man in the Wilderness" is that movie. A rare gem.
This film follows the trials of Zack Bass Richard Harris , a hunter for an expedition led by Captian Henry John Huston. He gets malled by a bear and left to die. The crew along with Captain Henry are faced with guilt and fear he is coming to haunt them. At one point even the indians believe he is dead. Zack survives the ordeal and uses his wits to survive. He encounters many things along the way back, that teach him just how precious life really is. The photography in this film is stunning. It is well directed and although there are very few lines in the movie, the soundtrack is beautiful. <more>
It is a pleasure to watch and you come out of this movie feeling wonderful. Highly recommended!
only dull if your looking for precooked adventure (by jmdeschamps)
This movie's only problem is that it requires a contact with some of the elements portrayed in it: the place, the weather, the bears, the furs, the protagonists fur trappers or aboriginals . The movie is great because because it does not pretend to be : it just delivers on its premise, a man in the wilderness! The cinematics is beautiful, and even if one could wish on going in deeper in the psyche of the main characters, maybe you just can't, maybe things are more simple than our techno-psychological outlook of modern society hides from us. ANd that is what makes this an incredible <more>
movie. It's plain crazy and believable, the pinnacle of human spirit and and it's loathsomeness.
A vastly underrated film-- Richard Harris' best (by dfgrayb)
This film is ostensibly about a man Richard Harris who is left for dead by the leader of his expedition into the Northwest Territory in early 1820. As other reviewers have pointed out, there actually was a man mauled by a grizzly who managed to survive in much the way that Richard Harris does in the film. In this respect, it is based upon a true story.This film actually has only three main characters: Zach Bass Harris , the expedition leader John Huston , and the Wilderness. The photography is stunning. And the Zach Bass theme is beautiful and haunting. The film is full of action and <more>
excitement, as revenge stories usually are. Bass survives by his courage, by his strength, and by resourcefulness.And on that basis alone, this film is an enjoyable movie experience.But this movie exists on an additional plane that moves it from being just a great action movie to instead being a great film.The movie it is most like is the John Wayne/John Ford film The Searchers. In that movie, John Wayne's search for his niece is actually his search for inner peace, which he finds by not seeking revenge but, instead, by finding his capacity for love and compassion.The "Wilderness" in this film is actually the wilderness in Zach Bass' mind--memories of a life full of regret and loss. As he works his way back to Huston to exact his revenge, he actually is working his way to a better mind, which by the end of the film is no longer a wilderness. It is, instead, a place of love, with, finally, clarity of purpose. The film is almost flawless in its execution. It is beautiful, moving, exciting, and touching. There is very little "dialogue" because the wilderness has its own richness of dialogue. Richard Harris is a fine actor. This is his best film, in my opinion.I first saw Man in the Wilderness almost 40 years ago. And I have allowed myself the pleasure of its company every few years since. And I will for many more years.
Encounters at the End of the World (by chaos-rampant)
Far from the arid deserts and dry arroyos of Arizona and Texas, the goldfields of California and the rowdy cattle towns of Kansas and Missouri, before the Mexican or the Civil War, indeed before the frontier myths that shaped America's collective consciousness into a coherent nation were even tall tales told around a fire at night or spectacles to be toured around the country by wild west shows, the war for another kind of America was being fought. Loosely based on the 1818-20 Missouri Expedition, director Richard Sarafian, the very same year he carved on the face of cinema the name <more>
Kowalski and the beautiful sight of a Dodge Challenger R/T tearing through empty stretches of asphalt with the indomitable VANISHING POINT, created another kind of western.A stark gritty survival story that veers between the vividly realistic and the dreamlike, between a plot and no plot, between the story of a man coming to terms with his past in a journey of self-discovery revenge and redemption and the Sissyphian story of a ragged band of half-crazed mountain men towing against all hope a large boat borne on wheels through the mudfields of the Oregon Territory, if anything, MAN IN THE WILDERNESS cannot be accused for not trying to succeed on its own terms. At the beginning of the film the expedition's scout, Zachary Bass Richard Harris , is mauled half to death by a bear. The leader of the party, Captain Henry John Huston leaves him to die and pushes on towards the Missouri River, pressed on by the bands of Indians that roam the territory.From this dichotomy the story moves in two different directions. On one hand we see Zachary Bass make a terrible painful recovery from near-death, having to fight wild dogs for the raw meat of a dead buffalo, building fires against the coming cold with twigs and branches, laying traps for food, traversing the rocky terrain in pursuit of the men who abandonded him, witnessing on his way scenes both of random violence and unexpected joy, his anguished return from the dead interspersed with flashbacks to his childhood. On the other hand Captain Henry, the stark realist, the grizzly pioneer dressed in his doublebreasted jacket and high-top hat, the monomaniac navigator of uncharted lands, standing rigid and steadfast on the deck of his boat like some other Captain Ahab, toiling away in the mad voyage he elected for himself, not even knowing yet he's carrying his boat to a dry riverbed, being haunted by guilt and remorse for the man he left behind.If the imagery of a boat filled with poetic metaphor towed through a stark hostile landscape reminds us of something Werner Herzog once did, it must be said that Sarafian was there years before either AGUIRRE or FITZCARRALDO and one year before Sydney Pollack would tackle similar motifs with the frontier western of JEREMIAH JOHNSON. The themes that resound through the movie, men set against a savage land that bears them false witness, the confidence of the director to avoid explanatory narrations and rely on minimal dialogue, the beautiful open vistas the movie was shot in Andalucia, Spain - not far from where Sergio Leone made filmic history , the iconic monomaniac antagonist played by the great John Huston not quite the despicable Noah Cross he played for Polanski's CHINATOWN three years later, more human this time, with the capacity for surprise and defeat , the violent final battle that has enough mud and grime to make the closing battle in SEVEN SAMURAI look polished - everything comes together to paint MAN IN THE WILDERNESS as another sadly overlooked gem of American cinema. My only complaint, apart perhaps for the lack of a better score, is that Sarafian didn't probe 'enough' the depths of his story and the world it takes place in. Given the characters, setting and story, there's an even better movie lurking somewhere in there...
Man in the Wilderness is based on the story of Frontiersman and trapper Hugh Glass who was part of an expedition to the upper Missouri River in 1823 organized by General William Ashley called Ashley's Hundred. The 100 men were split into groups and Glass was part of a group that was led my Major Andrew Henry. Several members of Henry's party had already lost their lives in the summer of 1823 when the oldest member of the party Glass, on a scouting hunt for food, was mauled by a mother grizzly bear. He fought off the bear and two members of the party hearing his screams rushed to his <more>
aid and finished off the bear with their rifles. Glass appeared to have been mortally wounded and as the party continued on two men Jim Bridger and John Fitzgerald stayed with Glass until he died. After three days with hostile Indians in the area they left him alive to an inevitable death. They took his knife and gun with them to prove that he had died since no one would leave such valuable items with a dead man. He didn't die however and this is his story of his months of survival alone in the wilderness, nursing his wounds and trying to get to the nearest fort 200 miles away. A man compelled to live to enact vengeance on those who would leave him to die defenseless. This film is a dramatized and partly fictionalized account of Glass and his legendary story of survival. Richard Harris stars as the Hugh Glass character, here named Zach Bass. John Huston is the character called Fillmore Henry in this film. Richard Sarafin directs in his film that followed his critically acclaimed Vanishing Point. Gerry Fisher is the Cinematographer in this beautifully photographed film. This film is not to be confused with the Richard Harris movie from the year before called A Man Called Horse and is not a sequel to that movie and is an entirely different story. This is not a great film but it's a great story and Harris delivers a strong performance. I've only seen this a couple of times and it's been a while but it's a memorable film and I would give it an 8.0 out of 10.
Based on the same true story that inspired the much more recent "The Revenant", "Man in the Wilderness" is a truly impressive survival drama. It stars Richard Harris as Zachary Bass, one of a group of fur traders in the Northwest Territories in 1820. They've spent two years collecting their wares, and are now making their way South to a particular river that will take them to trading posts. However, as the film opens, Bass is very badly maimed by a bear. His companions believe he's a goner, and leave him behind. But Bass has an incredible will to live. His <more>
struggles to exist in the wilderness - and possible desire for revenge - form the balance of the film."Man in the Wilderness" is exquisitely shot in scope by the talented Gerry Fisher, written with heart by Jack DeWitt, and directed extremely well by Richard C. Sarafian of "Vanishing Point" fame. Bass' resolve is simply amazing, and Harris does a very fine job of creating a vivid and engaging character, a man who lived his life not particularly caring for what others consider "Gods' will". This man earns his sympathies honestly, and his situation is compelling every step of the way. There are some beautifully poignant moments throughout, both in the past we see flashbacks to earlier parts of Bass' life and present.At the head of the supporting cast is a typically commanding John Huston as Captain Henry, the leader of the trappers who insists that everything be done his way. Henry demands that their ship continue to be transported along with men, mules, and supplies, despite the fact that it really slows them down. Henry Wilcoxon, Percy Herbert, Dennis Waterman, Prunella Ransome, Norman Rossington, and James "Scotty" Doohan are all fine as well.There are some scenes that may be upsetting to some in the audience, but things remain convincing and believable for the duration of this well executed production.Eight out of 10.
Mauled frontiersman survives impossible odds after left for dead. (by weezeralfalfa)
This film gives a rather graphic idea of what it took for the real man Zach Bass is based upon, Hugh Glass, to survive and reach a distant outpost of European civilization, after being badly mauled by a mother grizzly and left for dead by his companions. As such, it ranks among the elite in unbelievable survival stories.The film begins following Glass's account quite closely,but gradually diverges somewhat as the story continues. Whereas Bass's companions are returning southward with the year's furs, Glass's historical mauling occurred while they were en route northwestward <more>
toward Ft. Henry, near the present MT-ND border.I wish the film had continued to follow Glass's account of his journey to Ft. Kiowa, in present central SD, being aided by Sioux at one point. The film fails to give credit to his subsequent perilous search for all those responsible for leaving him to die, some of whom had since left the expedition. This search for explanation and vengeance consumed about 8 months, much longer than his original epic journey, and often involving traveling long distances alone in winter over the northern plains, with the ever present dangers of hostile 'indians', wolves, starvation and freezing to death. During these journeys, he should have died at least twice, along with most of his companions, at the hands of the Arikaras, and was reported as apparently killed for the second time in less than a year. In a sense, in the film, this period was fused into Bass's epic journey, when he had to travel through snowstorms and snowfields before catching up with his companions. Glass's epic journey occurred from late Aug. to early Oct.Of all the men on the real expedition, Glass was probably uniquely qualified to have any chance of surviving his severe injuries. Although he was around 40, one of the oldest expedition members, he obviously had a very resilient physical constitution. He also probably had the most experience in this environment, having spent several years with the Pawnee after being captured, absorbing their survival skills. He also had incredible luck over the years in surviving situations that his companions often didn't survive. Finally, he was basically a loner, used to relying on himself to survive in this challenging environment.Perhaps I don't fully understand the symbolic nature of John Huston's role as Captain Henry.He seems like a Captain Ahab-like figure, riding on that keelboat on a wheeled carriage, being hauled overland by a team of mules and men. When the men object to the insanity of this operation, he replies that the boat is his only remaining symbol of command of this expedition. In place of Moby Dick, he has a paranoid fear of Bass Richard Harris , based on his past experience of Bass having a seemingly supernatural ability to escape certain death. Thus, even though Fogarty and Lowrie swear they buried a dead Bass, taking his survival equipment, Henry is certain he is alive and seeking revenge, and periodically looks in the distance for him. Fogarty begins to share his paranoia, and shoots into the darkness around their camp, certain he saw Bass hiding. Of course, Bass does eventually appear. But, instead of being a nightmarish seeker of revenge, he inadvertently saves the others from an attack by a large party of Arikaras. Evidently, the Arikara chief is impressed by Bass's bravery and skill at surviving alone, and decides to spare him and, by extension, the other expedition members, whom he has not yet joined. Yet again impressed by the quirkiness of fate, Bass decides not to press his desire for revenge and, after retrieving his rifle, walks off into the unknown, perhaps having concluded that he is better off relying on himself for survival. Captain Henry seems to sympathize with this decision. If this interpretation is correct, Bass is basically like Jeff Webster in "The Far Country", who prefers to face adversity by himself and not get involved in other people's problems, having been betrayed by others in the past. Alternatively, one reviewer suggests that Bass was going home to see his small son. The first interpretation is more in keeping with Glass's subsequent life.Incidentally, the real Glass did not forgive Fitzgerald, whom he most blamed for his abandonment. Rather, he was refrained from killing this man only by the fact that he had since enlisted in the US army, with a capital penalty for his murder. He had earlier spared Jim Bridger because of his youth and the fact that Bridger had felt compelled to follow the lead of his older companion. Of course, Bridger would go on to become one of the grand old men of the West: one of the lucky few to survive all the hazards of this life.During his epic journey of rebirth, Bass witnesses a squaw brought into the woods, then left alone to give birth in the traditional squatting position. Later, her husband returns to help with the infant and take her back to the village. This brings back memories of Bass's deceased wife and his small child. But, I think he also identifies with her as someone who must also sometimes endure great pain and loneliness in order to fulfill her purpose in life. This helps give him more determination to survive his desperate situation.