Monday, April 25, 2005

George Cosmatos, R.I.P.

One of my favorite movies is 1993's Tombstone. You know, the Wyatt Earp saga. I have the Vista Series DVD with commentary by director George Cosmatos. His accent was a little hard to understand, but you could hear how dedicated he was to telling the story right.

Tombstone was one of two Wyatt Earp movies (the other was the namesake movie with Kevin Costner) that actually based its plot on the actual events surrounding the OK Corral. People tended to like the Cosmatos version more, if only because it was a strong ensemble cast (and Val Kilmer as Doc has to be seen to be believed).

Cosmatos also directed Rambo: First Blood Part 2. That's the one that really turned Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo character into the Reaganite symbol of the Cold War 1980s. Rambo is a product of the first Hollywood backlash against the angst of Vietnam, one of the first movies that showed the people who fought in that war didn't have to be ashamed of themselves for doing so.

Cosmatos died last week in Victoria. I hadn't realized he'd settled in Canada; I always figured him for a major Hollywood animal.

Ah well. He may have died in Canada, but with Wyatt Earp and Rambo he'll always be remembered for bringing life to the American hero.