Shadow Archetypes & Gregory Peck In “The Gunfighter

Poster of gregory peck in GunfighterI have meant to watch, The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck for almost 25 years. I finally got around to.  The timing was perfect I suppose.

I became interested in seeing the movie in the mid-80’s when Bob Dylan referenced it in his song, Brownsville Girl on the album Knocked Out Loaded. I was captivated with this album in spite of the fact it was almost universally panned and if I were to name the reason I never actually saw the movie, it would be because Dylan seemed to sum it up so well:

“Well, there was this movie I seen one time,
About a man riding ‘cross the desert and it starred Gregory Peck.
He was shot down by a hungry kid trying to make a name for himself.
The townspeople wanted to crush that kid down and string him up by the neck.

Well, the marshal, now he beat that kid to a bloody pulp
as the dying gunfighter lay in the sun and gasped for his last breath.
Turn him loose, let him go, let him say he outdrew me fair and square,
I want him to feel what it’s like to every moment face his death…”

I had put the seeing of this movie off long enough and I set out to hunt it down. I thought my husband might be interested. He likes westerns and we both have become increasingly interested in watching old movies.

gregorypeckgunfighterI also thought he’d relate to what I imagined  the movie would be like, on account of  his being an ex-green beret. He’s explained in the past he never talks about his career or tells anyone he was in Special Forces because when he does, they don’t believe him and if they do believe him, they want to fight him.

This seemed counter-intuitive to me the first time I heard it but after observing him for all these years, I learned what I should have known from day one:  He knows what he’s talking about. He popped the movie in the player.

Right away someone got shot. It had to be that way because the character had to be established. Some dipshit comes into the bar and knowing full well that it’s Jimmy Ringo standing there. He takes him on and is shot dead.

“That’s exactly what it’s like,” my husband said.” “You have a reputation and that’s what happens.”

“Is it?”

“Well, P, you have a reputation.”

“Reputation for what? What is my reputation?” I asked.

“On your blog. I don’t know what your reputation is. I don’t read your blog but I know you have one.”

I didn’t answer because I was trying to comprehend how he would associate me with the gunfighter rather than himself. Did he not see himself? Did he feel we had a reputation in common? I didn’t ask because the movie was compelling. It engaged me completely by being smart and beautifully filmed and acted. By the time it was over I was thinking I’d just as soon never seen a current movie again.

If that sounds weird to you, my friend, Ben does this and always has. He refuses to see any movie filmed later than the early 60’s. He says they are lousy and insulting to his intelligence and while I’d have hated to have missed the Godfather or Apocalypse, now, 25 years beyond the first time he told me that, I am beginning to see his point.

By the time the movie ended I could totally relate to The Gunfighter archetype. I could appreciate his predicament and his wisdom in passing the baton or the hot potato or whatever it is he had. He passed the burden to the younger man. I could also relate to his not minding dying. Mostly I was just glad I had a peer.

I’ve written about this before. When I first in touch got in touch with my husband in 2003, I wrote of my experience on an astrology mailing list.  Some gal was kind enough to convey her read on the situation which was pretty daring of her in hindsight. My husband was seen as a dark figure at the time. She pointed, I sure seemed to like the black dog.   She said that I appeared to be having the time of my life with him and so I was.

And so I did when I was a teenager, and so I do now.

There is a principle in Vedic astrology, when a chart has indicators that make marriage difficult, this can be resolved by partnering with someone who has the same indicators. You are not supposed to mix Vedic with Western astrology but I think this idea crosses over.

That is, if you’re a gunfighter and you find another gunfighter… or if carry the shadow for the collective and you find someone who has the same job, then life can be pretty nice and so it is.

What do you have in common with your partner?

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Shadow Archetypes & Gregory Peck In “The Gunfighter — 25 Comments

  1. I love that song…..Brownsville Girl….have not heard it in forever and have been looking around for it recently. I can still hear Bob Dylan saying the name Gregory Peck….he says it so strongly and like he can’t wait to tell you about the scene in the movie……another classic one at that.

  2. Great post. Older films, the “black and whites,” carry a lot of wisdom within them. They unfold at a pace and within a frame far different from the one we live with or relay narratives in today, and I think they have a great deal of value for that. Also, the second part of your post – I took a lot of heart from this as there’s someone I had a lot of fun with as a kid and continue to grow to realize, as the years go, how very much linked we were in ways I had no way of understanding then. So thank you for your words of wisdom. Those concepts give me joy 🙂

  3. Has anyone seen this movie? When Peck rides into town, he meets up with the sheriff.

    “That’s like me coming into town and _____ (his brother) is the sheriff,” he said. “Or you coming to town and the sheriff is, Leon.”

    ::laughs::

    Yeah, we’re interchangeable in the role but when it comes the love story – I am her and he is him which is another angle.

  4. Just for anyone who may be interested, I talked to Ben today about his passion for old movies and his being 20 some years ahead of my time (Aquarius rising), he says you have to go pre 1934 to see the real gritty movies and the mid 60’s is right on the edge of what he can stand to watch. (pre uranus pluto conjunction).

    He cannot stand all the moralizing and of course the PC movement has ruined everything.

    “Talent has been replaced by looks.”

  5. Scorp, I don’t know what you mean by that but I think this is interesting. Ben is an individual with specific tastes. He is a connoisseur of old movies and certainly entitled to like what he likes.

    You may have noticed I am attracted to the anomaly and Ben is one. He made this statement (pre mid 60’s) 25 years ago and to this day he has seen ONE movie pre this era (Pulp Fiction) which makes him a purist of sorts. I am not sure you meant to be mocking but if so it’s not welcome.

  6. I haven’t seen a movie in theatres since 2005. The past 4 years of movies have been horrible!

    But yes Elsa, it is comforting to find someone who holds the same burdens as you! I see what you mean!

  7. No, it wasn’t meant to be mocking. There was a big shift in behavior at theaters at that time (it’s something I came across researching for a sociology paper). I was just voicing my own specific, individual tastes; I’m sorry if it crossed the line into threadjacking.

  8. Thank the Hayes code for the post-1934 straitjacket. Nothing like sociosexual demagoguery to jack the fun out of everything. There’s PC for ya. Fatty Arbuckle, we hardly knew ye.

    Can’t beat the 30s for movies…

  9. All I know is that I’m very happy you two have each other, and that life is good together, Elsa. I’m not sure if anyone can comprend the amount of hope that provides :o).
    Angie

  10. Old movies are the bomb. And you are right gunfighters do attract gunfighters. Ox and I share the Neptune point of view or non-view. However you wish to take that.

  11. I heard an astrologer once put the different movie era’s down to Neptune. Neptune in Leo has a particular glamour etc. So pre Nep in Leo would have been Virgo right? I wander if that explains anything of the type of movies made in that era? Just thinking out loud . . .

  12. lol at Scorp in a suit, references to good theatre are used from theatre before 1820, i think the referral is named “the classics”.

  13. I don’t have a partner but I would need someone who shares my total disdain for monogamy and acknowledges how boring and miserable sex with one partner can be once the honeymoon period is over. That’s why if I ever marry I’d rather be with someone I like and am attracted to but not actually in love with and vice versa so his extracurricular activities don’t bother me.

  14. I took a Western lit class. Wrote my paper on Tarantino’s Django Unchained. But yeah, I dig the classics. The Searchers. Original 3:10 To Yuma. High Noon. Me and my boo both have tight Mars Pluto squares. Most intense, passionate sex I have ever experienced. And we both have water Mercuries. His is Cancer. Mine is Pisces. Oh how we communicate.

  15. Although I have never been much of a fan of westerns, I did really like Tombstone. I believe that Val Kilmer should have gotten an Oscar for his performance. He made the whole movie. High Noon was really a character study dressed in a Western format. It’s one of my husband’s favorite’s. I have been married for 46 years and we share many of the same interests now; we gradually merged over time and found that we liked each other’s interests. You grow with a person if you allow yourself to be open to the possibility. He loves James Cagney; I will watch when it’s one of his musicals. I like William Powell and Tyrone Power. He will tell me in advance when they are going to be on and we watch together. Marriage is compromise with caring for the other person without sacrificing your self respect. It’s easy when you really love one another.

  16. So interesting! Can I ask why your husband doesn’t read your blog…does he not like astrology? Or does he want to respect your privacy or something? Or does he view the blog as not the “real” you? It’s interesting.

    My partner and I are opposites in just about every way except in our Venus and our Sun energy. As much as we bunt heads, we love being affectionate- we touch and cuddle and kiss all the time because our Venus’ trine and while his is in Sag in his 1st, mine is in Aries in the 9th so in each other’s natural houses….and our suns are interchanged like that too…our egos tend to get off on our union somehow…lol. But we do have the opposites. The opposites were great in the beginning, but over time became annoying.

    • He read my blog (secretly) for three years, before we got together. But once we did, I guess he figures it’s my job, he doesn’t want to interfere and reading my blog is a bit disorienting to people who know me in real life. I guess I don’t seem to be thinking the things I am thinking. 🙂

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