At the same time, this film -- generally considered one of the director's best -- is elevated by the continuing strength of the western genre, whose archetypal images of gunmen in nascent townships are perfect for this theme. Indeed, many of the genre's best entries, from John Ford's My Darling Clementine (1946) through to McCabe, incorporate images of cities under construction into their narratives. McCabe gets bonus points for Julie Christie's blunt Mrs. Miller, a whorehouse madam of rare strength, and Vilmos Zsigmond's famously smoky cinematography.
-- Gregg Rickman
McCabe & Mrs. Miller screens Friday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at the CineClub, 100 Potrero (at Division), S.F. Admission is free (reservations required); call 864-2026. Also Saturday, Jan. 30, at 2, 4:30, 7:15, and 9:45 p.m. at the Red Vic, 1727 Haight (at Clayton), S.F. Admission is $6; call 668-3994.