The movie of inspiration, Dances with Wolves. Made in 1990 — I can hardly believe it’s 21 years old. It seems in some ways as if I were again there, looking at that screen and being taken in by the imagery and storyline.
The movie stars Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant, Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman and Tantoo Cardinal. Since it was 21 years ago, there may actually be some people in the audience that haven’t seen the movie, and if not, I would highly recommend it — but get the extended version — my favorite.
I first went to see the movie in the long ago (it really doesn’t seem that long ago for me, however). So into the movie was I that I didn’t “get” alot of the plot line. But I remember having nightmares of the “Pawnee” Indians that night.
The picture to my left is Rodney A. Grant — one of the handsome, handsome American Indians in the picture. With his flowing black hair and handsome figure and face, he set many a heart to stir with his presense on the screen. Now the interesting thing is that Grandfather George — whose full name is George Randall — is a Native American Actor and at the time of Dances with Wolves, he was teaching an acting class. Rodney A. Grant was one of his students. Shortly after finishing Grandfather George’s class, Rodney secured this role. Off to the right here is Grandfather George at his 90th birthday party last year. As an aside, time is weird, isn’t it? While it seems like yesterday that I saw Dances With Wolves, it seems so long ago that we had that party.
Graham Greene was another actor who shined in Dances With Wolves. His acting skills were showcased in this movie as he created at first fear, then intelligence, humility, humor and abover all, understanding. As you probably know, he went on to star in many, many other pictures.
To the right here is a picture of Mary McDonnell, the beauty who captured Kevin Costner’s attention. And she was a beauty. I once heard Costner say that he wanted a woman for the role — not some young starlet, but a woman who might even have wrinkles. I remember thinking at the time that Mary certainly looked to me to be a young starlet. But I guess that’s only my opinion.
I gotta admit I really like this picture over to the left. The “butt up” picture as I call it.
Here the Indians are showing Costner the ins and outs of scouting. In the background you can see the herd of buffalo. I remember hearing again Costner talking about the scene where they were chasing buffalo and how macho those stunt Indians were.
I hope you appreciate the picture, too. I thought I’d share a little bit of the score with you. For any of you who read music, you can hum right along with the melody that’s played over and over in the movie. As soon as I started humming it, scenes from the movie came back to me.
And now for a little bit of the trivia that I promised you. I had long been a fan of Indian romance novels, but never wanted to attempt one because just the thought of all the research involved seemed daunting to me. After I saw Dances With Wolves, I started reading everything I could get my hands on concerning the American Indian way of life. I read and read and read until one day a friend of my said to me, “And now you have enough information to write that Indian romance.” At the time, I didn’t think so, I’d given up on writing. But then a plot came to mind, and … well that was the story that started my career.
Of course no story would be complete without showing you the picture of the villain of the picture — off to the right here is Wes Studi, an actor who has really mastered the art of the “bad guy.” He completely scared me when I first saw this picture. Later — much later — I met him at a First Americans in the Arts event — and he was, indeed, not scary and a very nice gentleman.
Would love to hear your thoughts about this wonderful, trend setting movie. So come on in and leave a post. I may be long in answering today as I’ll be away from the computer until this evening. But come on in and chat!