Cowboy Noir

As Topman showcase the cowboy noir look, we mine the 10 best moments of the dark Western

Arts+Culture Feature
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This year's Topman Design for menswear SS14 sees the brand redefine the cowboy of Marlboro adverts and Spaghetti Westerns through a scanner darkly. The cultish look is a seductive take on the desperado image, and the cowboy reemerges as a decadent outsider of fashion. We had a look at the origins of this sinister bronco-bucker, from Cormac McCarthy to Daughn Gibson.

3:10 to Yuma

Before Russell Crowe and Christian Bale's 2007 remake was the 1957 tale. It told the story of rancher Dan Evans escorting a desperado cowboy to the train at Yuma, in stark monochrome.

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Daughn Gibson

A Marlboro Man straight out of central casting, Daughn, former member of punk band Pearls and Brass and interviewed in the current Dazed & Confused, is now a rough and ready singer-songwriter. He looks at the darkest depths of country & western music through a modern lens. 

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Daughn Gibson Photography John Clayton Lee

Midnight Cowboy

Texan-turned-male-prostitute, Jon Voight slips into gritty character as Joe Buck, the naïve cowboy clad in denim shirts, fringe jacket and cowboy hat. Originally X-Rated, it’s the only film with this rating to win an Oscar.

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There Will be Blood

American drama film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film is the tale of a gold miner’s merciless quest for wealth during turn-of-the-last-century Southern California oil boom. The ruthless, somewhat sinister attitude of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) envelopes everything around him as he takes land for his oil pumps.

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Cormac McCarthy

Dubbed ‘Hollywood’s Favourite Cowboy,’ Cormac McCarthy is author of critically acclaimed novel turned film ‘All the Pretty Horses’. Famous for sporting the crisp denim jeans and cowboy boots, his novels are known to often talk of cowboy’s spilling blood over women, land and power .

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Badlands

Based on a true story, Holly Sargis falls in love with Kit Carruthers - a bin collector played by Martin Sheen - because he ‘looked just like James Dean’. They flee to the Badlands of Montana after they kill Holly’s father who disapproves of their relationship.

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Hud

Legendary Hollywood cowboy Paul Newman plays Hud, the immoral adolescenct who taints everything (and everyone) he touches. Brimming with shadowy decadence, his dark persona is the Western man of mystery we all want to be.

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Dead Man

A post-modern ‘psychedelic Western’ starring Johnny Depp as William Blake. Evoking a sense of cruelty and chaos, the film is entirely shot in black-and-white and gives the characters a decaying edge.

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Louis L’Amour

Growing up playing ‘cowboys and Indians,’ L’Amour took to writing novels perhaps in a bid to legitimize his enduring obsession as an adult. Rarely seen without his trademark rancher’s hat, L’Amour brought the Wild West to life and being ‘one of the world’s most popular writers,’ his influence even extends to fashion.

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The Great Silence

A mute, gun-wheeling avenger named Silence (Jean Louis Trintigant) is hired by Pauline (Vonetta McGee) to hunt down and kill bounty hunters who killed her husband. A spaghetti Western set in the snow-covered lands of Utah, the darkly-clad Silence appears all the more menacing against the white backdrop.

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