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colly
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat May 28, 2011 11:26 am

Don't apologize to me - FD's the big fan of GIANT. ;)

As for me, to be honest I really found Rock to be dull in it (much to FD's chagrin) and he's a lot better in a lot of other films, but I'll disagree somewhat on wanting a scene in which Dean and Rock "express their views." Considering such a scene goes against a lot of the principles of method acting, Dean having to hamfist some dialogue opposite Hudson is an absolutely awful image; and to my mind I didnt feel shortchanged in the development of Dean and Rock's relationship - Rock gets all the ranch following McCambridge's death, allotting Dean just a tiny little spot. Not only that, Rock's life is seemingly happy and settled, he's got the hot wfie (who Dean is obviosuly coveting), and most of the other bells and whistles. Then Dean strikes oil, becomes megarich and punches Rock's lights out. And as such Rock doesnt like him anymore and Dean revels in his victory for the rest of his life, by doing so becoming an extremely empty and hollow man.

I argued with FD recently that it wouldve been tailormade for Arthur Kennedy in such a role - he kind of agreed, but even so I'd probably keep Dean in it - there's something about his final scene thats absolutely mythic. As for the children and the racism angle, I agree also that got rather dry. Its a film that I should rewatch one day to get a better grasp on, though I do remember it was well made (hence why it only won "Best Director" out of 10 nominations) in spite of all its other langerous problems.

And I did warn you - its hardly a Western. ;)
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat May 28, 2011 12:45 pm

Arthur Kennedy would have been perfect for that role, or Richard Widmark
but more importantly, who could we get to replace the Rock?
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon May 30, 2011 11:43 pm

Dont really see Richard Widmark in it - Jett Rink's not really a cynic, and by 1956 Widmark wasnt really going to go back from his cynical hero type figures. Plus I cant see him trying to pathetically snare Elizabeth Taylor. That part's something I can really see Kennedy doing. Plus his gleeful reaction at striking oil. 8)

As for Rock - to be honest I dont know who wouldve been better - Bick Benedict's a complex role thats got all kinds of angles and a lot of the 50s big stars in Brando/Clift were too young and not really the rancher type, Wayne/Stewart/Fonda were too old and probably wouldve struggled to hit all the complexities of the role, Andrews/Ladd wouldve lacked the presence to be a big cattle rancher - the only other guy I think mightve been slightly suitable for the role is Glenn Ford, though I dont think he was really capable. Nor could he have snagged a lass like Elizabeth Taylor. Really, looking at all the candidates, Rock Hudson is pretty much the best choice - maybe the role itself is just too massive.
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Tue May 31, 2011 10:53 am

colly wrote:
Dont really see Richard Widmark in it - Jett Rink's not really a cynic, and by 1956 Widmark wasnt really going to go back from his cynical hero type figures. Plus I cant see him trying to pathetically snare Elizabeth Taylor. That part's something I can really see Kennedy doing. Plus his gleeful reaction at striking oil. 8)

As for Rock - to be honest I dont know who wouldve been better - Bick Benedict's a complex role thats got all kinds of angles and a lot of the 50s big stars in Brando/Clift were too young and not really the rancher type, Wayne/Stewart/Fonda were too old and probably wouldve struggled to hit all the complexities of the role, Andrews/Ladd wouldve lacked the presence to be a big cattle rancher - the only other guy I think mightve been slightly suitable for the role is Glenn Ford, though I dont think he was really capable. Nor could he have snagged a lass like Elizabeth Taylor. Really, looking at all the candidates, Rock Hudson is pretty much the best choice - maybe the role itself is just too massive.

how about Greg Peck?
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:11 am

I actually woke up this morning thinking you'd probably counter with Peck when I eventually re-read this thread - given I also didnt factor in both Burt and Kirk, Peck would certainly be the most suitable out of those three... but I still dont really see it. The main problem is that I cant see any of these guys being able to charm Elizabeth Taylor. laugh
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:08 pm

colly wrote:
I actually woke up this morning thinking you'd probably counter with Peck when I eventually re-read this thread - given I also didnt factor in both Burt and Kirk, Peck would certainly be the most suitable out of those three... but I still dont really see it. The main problem is that I cant see any of these guys being able to charm Elizabeth Taylor. laugh

see Richard Burton, in the most challenging role of his illustrious career... as a Texas cattle baron!
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:22 pm

Young Guns
it's not bad as modern westerns go, but everyone seems far to eager too pull out their guns for my liking, which becomes tiresome after a while


Last edited by Seve on Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:55 pm

colly wrote:
Dont really see Richard Widmark in it - Jett Rink's not really a cynic, and by 1956 Widmark wasnt really going to go back from his cynical hero type figures.

Richard Widmark typecast as cynical? I'm not convinced

Broken Lance 1954
"Joe (Robert Wagner) loves his father (Spencer Tracy) and would do nearly anything for him, but Ben (Richard Widmark) resents Matt's (Tracy) emotional distance
Ben rebelled against his father with such extremity that the old man suffered a fatal stroke.
Ben is more than willing to fight his brother for taking his father's side."

Giant 1956

The Last Wagon 1956
"Sheriff Bull Harper (George Mathews) is taking "Comanche" Todd (Richard Widmark), a white man who has lived most of his life among the Indians, to be tried for the murder of Harper's three brothers.
The Apaches are gathering to avenge the massacre of their own women and children by the whites. It is up to Todd to lead the six other survivors to safety,"

Warlock 1959
"Although he was once a thug himself, Johnny Gannon (Richard Widmark) takes his law enforcement duties seriously.
Wanting revenge for their arrests, the released robbers, led by Gannon's brother Billy (Frank Gorshin), go to Warlock to confront Blaisedell and Morgan. The deputy (Widmark) urgently asks them to leave, and tells Billy, "I ain't backin' him, because you're my brother, and I ain't backin' you, because you're wrong."

and how about your pal Van Heflin for the Rock role?

Gunman's Walk 1958
"Rancher Lee Hackett (Van Heflin) is one of the old breed, used to making his own laws and settling things with a gun. He has tried to make his two sons in his own image, and with the elder he has more than succeeded, to the extent that he is accused of murdering a half-breed. But his younger son is different, eschewing the old rules and even becoming drawn to the sister of the murdered man. Lee starts to find that his way of doing things is no longer working."
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colly
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:45 pm

To me, Widmark's forte was the cynical, slightly beaten anti-hero who was a stern force of good or almost always made good in the end - stuff like MY PAL GUS, PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET, TAKE THE HIGH GROUND!, HELL AND HIGH WATER, RUN FOR THE SUN and JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG would agree with me for the most part - as would WARLOCK really; he starts out as a villain , becomes jaded with his banditing, then kind of drifts before becoming jaded with his drifting and becoming a force for good, in his typically weather beaten style. ;) Though I didnt really feel for his character in WARLOCK - I found it hard to believe him being a low level guy in a gang led by others with zero charisma... well, the whole film was disappointing for mine. Which would kind of rule Widmark out for me as Rink - Rink's a rather pathetic figure which is why Dean could make it work so well, and why I think Kennedy wouldve. Widmark just seems to powerful to me. Though I can picture him working in some scenes. :)

As for Heflin... too old. Heflin's a frontier man. ;)
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:00 am

colly wrote:

Widmark just seems to powerful to me. Though I can picture him working in some scenes. :)

I guess I'm picturing the Widmark of "Night & The City" mainly
colly wrote:

As for Heflin... too old. Heflin's a frontier man. ;)

Giant covers a generation from youth to late middle age

Dean and Hudson were both too young to play the older versions of their characters,
but they did their best with the help of makeup

Heflin would just be the reverse process

but a Kennedy / Heflin double bill just wouldn't be sexy enough for the box office
or even Widmark / Heflin
laugh
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:38 pm

Heflin couldve played Mercedes McCambridge's role without much tweaking - it was already fairly manly. ;)
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:37 pm

colly wrote:
Heflin couldve played Mercedes McCambridge's role without much tweaking - it was already fairly manly. ;)

she's da bomb, I was disappointed to see her bite the dust so soon, IMO the film went down hill from there
she was "O" for awsome in Johnny Guitar too
laugh

The Tin Star
a classic Hollywood western that deserves to be considered among the best in the genre
Henry Fonda is the disillusioned vetran sheriff turned bounty hunter
Anthony Perkins the idealistic novice sheriff
with John McIntyre as the Doc
Neville Brand as the town bully
and Lee Van Cleef the outlaw
great stuff

Henry Fonda Western-o-meter
My Darling Clementine
The Tin Star
Once Upon A Time In The West (because ultimately I prefer to see Henry as a hero)
The Oxbow Incident
My Name Is Nobody
Fort Apache
Jesse James
The Return Of Frank James
Warlock
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:17 am

three movies that revolve around the interaction of a small group of characters thrown together by chance in the face of immanent overwhelming danger
three movies where that immanent overwhelming danger is provided by the American Indian

The Last Wagon
Richard Widmark, at the height of his career, plays a man who is past being conflicted, he has chosen his path and paid a heavy price
he begins the movie on the run from a posse of four and the audience don't know why, as we watch the action unfold he manages to kill three deputies before the sheriff finally gets the better on him
we learn he killed three men, brothers of the sheriff (at this point you might ask why doesn't the sheriff kill him outright, which they cover off by saying there is a reward of $1,000 for him alive but not dead, which is a little thin, but hey, it's a movie, later you may wonder why the killing of the three deputies is never mentioned, as if perhaps killing deputies while resisting arrest doesn't count as murder, it's almost as if the three deputies are surrogates for the three brothers who are killed off screen before the movie begins, setting the posse on Widmarks trail)
Widmark and his captor fall in with a wagon train of devout Christians heading west looking for a clean start after the horror of the civil war
they take exception to the sheriffs sadistic treatment of Widmark and much character development ensues before a scuffle in which Widmark emphatically disposes of the sheriff, and he is eventually allowed to reveal that the sheriff's no account brothers raped and killed his Indian wife
most of the interaction between Widmark and the wagon train has been with the younger crowd, who are less set in their ideas, and now it is arranged for them all to be conveniently out of camp while the faceless horde of Indians massacre the adults
somehow Widmark survives, despite being attached to a wagon wheel that was pushed over a cliff... and he is left to try and lead the small group of youthful survivors to safety against overwhelming odds, while educating them in the ways of racial tolerance along the way, in between well staged action scenes involving manageable numbers of hostiles
so the characters undertake both a physical and a metaphorical journey if you will
however the ending is pure Hollywood, explosives arrive to provide the great equaliser and a kindly judge sentences Widmark to spend the rest of his life in the custody of one of the nubile young women he has saved
presumably they go off to live happily ever after (with her little brother) in Widmarks wigwam (although I think he had another term for the Indian tent dwelling)
the scenery is magnificent and our perspective of it is enhanced by the fact that much of the movie is set half way up the side of the mountainous valley where the action is set
the Indians are used as a faceless plot device representing danger, however their historical plight is also well represented and advocated by Widmark, the white man who has lived long among them

Only The Valiant
Greg Peck is perfectly suited to the role of straight arrow Cavalry Officer
the Indians are on the warpath and Peck captures their leader, rather than kill him outright he brings him back to stand trial, only the fort is under manned and won't be able to hold him when the Indians come to try and free him
Peck plans to try and take the Chief on to another fort, thus removing the danger, but the colonel is sick and needs him to hold the fort, so poor old Gig Young draws the short straw
Gig had been trying to make a move on Greg's girl and everyone thinks Greg has arranged for Gig to be sent on this suicide mission out of spite
Gig duly gets massacred and Greg's name is mud, particularly with the girlfriend
the Indians are massing for an attack and the Cavalry don't have the numbers to hold them at the main fort, however Greg has a plan
there is another small stone fort at the mouth of a narrow pass which the Indians must use, so Greg will lead a small band of men to try and hold the pass until the reinforcements arrive
Greg proceeds to select all the men in the fort who hate his guts for various reasons, as his detail for this suicide mission
Neville Brand is the bully sergeant who has been passed over for promotion (by Greg)
Ward Bond is the drunken Irish corporal who Greg tries to keep from his grog
then there is a guy who reminded me of Sterling Hayden who flunked out of West Point and blames Greg, another guy who looks a bit like John Payne who is a confederate and a deserter, a cowardly bugle boy, a bronchial lieutenant and, most bizarre of all, a giant Armenian "Arab" strongman who survived Gigs fatal mission
after they arrive at the stone fort much character development and plot twisting ensues, in between action clashes with the faceless Indian horde
I think there may be one brief mention as to why the Indians are on the warpath, but essentially they are in this movie purely as a plot device for danger
despite some outdoor distance shots most of the film feels very stagy, the main sets at the stone fort and the narrow rocky pass are cramped and claustrophobic and there is something about the reverb sound quality... It's probably done on purpose but I don't think it quite achieves the effect intended
the ending is pure Hollywood, Greg had intended to over come the odds with explosives, but one of his treacherous colleagues sabotages that, so it's left to the Cavalry (well who else) to ride in and save him with a gattling gun, although not before Greg gets to face off mano-e-mano with the Indian Chief, then it's back to the fort, where Greg finds he has inherited command from the sick Colonel and his girlfriend has come to her senses

Comanche Station
Randolph Scott at his stone-like best, as usual the colour is provided by the supporting actors
Claude Akins is very good in the main role, as the villainous protagonist who does most of the talking in counterpoint to Scott's man of few words
here he comes across like a poor mans Robert Mitchum, with the deep voice and deceptively relaxed demeanour that Mitchum brought to his own occasional ventures into villainy
here Scott has rescued a white woman by trade from the Indians, he meets up with Akins and his two young acolytes at Comanche Station, where they learn that scalp hunters have been at work nearby and set the Indians on the warpath, thrown together they must try to survive, with the added knowledge that the woman's husband has offered a large reward for her return... dead or alive
much character development and plot twisting ensues
the Indians here favour the Mohawk hairstyle, which has always been one of my favourites and IMO we don't see enough of it outside of the last of the Mohecans
although the Indians are mainly here to represent a plot device for danger, both sides of the larger sociological coin are presented indirectly during the exchanges between the characters, with Scott vehemently opposed to scalp hunters and respectful in his dealings with the Indians
in the end the mystery of the husband and the reward are ingeniously explained and Randolph rides off alone to continue his own forlorn search
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:49 am

I saw quite a few westerns over the last week as my exams were finally over...

My Darling Clementine


There have been other versions like Tombstone which have their merits but this is arguably the best. The shootout itself is supposedly the most accurate though I doubt that even though Ford said `I talked to Wyatt Earp, he told me how it was and that's how we did it'. Whether the movie is historically accurate or not I didn't see that as a major issue. The strength in the film is the wider story. The story is well told with attention to character and has a good comic feel running right through it.


Henry Fonda is as rock solid as always as the reluctant law man. Fonda was always at his peak in these type of roles and is morally strong. His easy screen toughness really holds the attention. Mature has a good role in Doc, but is not the best Doc ever I think. The Clantons are all underused and don't really make a big impact until the final section.but it is the supporting cast that adds the necessary spice to the story, particularly Walter Brennan who shows there was far more to him than the grizzled old caricature that became his trademark as the callous and black hearted patriarch of the Clanton clan. There is also some great night time photography adding to its noirish feel and the final showdown is realistically atmospheric. It may lack the grit and spectacle of post-Leone westerns but it's an outstanding tale of the old west.


Rio Grande

Even a minor Ford Western, has a prototypical old-west charm and that is evident here. However it still feels like its just been thrown together. Really formulaic. The characters are not as powerful or engaging as Fort Apache or The Searchers.

There are some beautiful moments, some good cinematography, but it feels like Ford's just thrown the same McLaglen and Wayne stock characters, Wayne's moustache he wears in every third picture or so, the naive youngster character, a belle more beautiful than usual (Maureen O'Hara) who does lots of disapproving facial expressions, there are random scenes of a group travelling across the desert to singing, scenes of singing without travelling, some group talking in unison and a climatic shootout - This was all done for The Quiet Man of course.

The shootout in the church is one of Ford's better shootouts and its' well made but it lacks narrative drive and just rehashes the same scenes we've seen before.


The Proposition

It seems like a crossover of Peckinpah and Eastwood. The film plays much like an alternative western, similarly to Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch. The characters are all flawed, some more than others. The brutality is certainly harsh and shown is somewhat graphic detail.

That being said, its a very well made movie. Using the Australian outback as a setting is a wonderful choice in terms of the film's cinematography. The actors are all in top form, particularly Danny Huston, who gives a brutally sly and charming performance. The standout roles I believe are Jellon Lamb and Arthur Burns. While John Hurt, who played Jellon Lamb has a reasonably small role in the film as a bounty hunter looking to capture the Burns brothers, he gives the character just enough insanity to make him the most puzzling and interesting of them all. Huston not only portrays Arthur Burns as a self-aware psychopath with a tendency to turn killing into torture, but also as an intelligent man, who is compassionate towards nature and loyal to his family.

It has standout performances from John Hurt and Danny Huston and the rich script and score from Nick Cave is highly effective.


Gallipoli

Not really a Western but a fine film, paced so that you can appreciate the story rather than being rushed through it like a theme park ride. It's a good story, well-told in a pivotal period of Australian history and how it relates to recent world history. Stupendous performance by Mark Lee. Mel Gibson looks amazingly young.

I didn't see this as a generally anti-war movie. Absent were any philosophical monologues about the state of man, the horrors of warfare, etc. What we have instead is a touching tale of two men who were caught in a storm which encompassed the whole world. Proficiently directed by Peter Weir and an heartfelt ending which will be difficult to forget.



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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:39 am

Seve, have you seen ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO or PILLARS OF THE SKY?

They're similarly Indian themed but have more angles to them; FORT BRAVO's a mix of civil war tensions and indian wars, with a love story that actually works (because its part of the plot and the actress involved), and PILLARS combines the Indians and Christianity, with some extreme badassery by Jeff Chandler leading the line. Plus Lee Marvin attempting an Irish accent.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:41 am

colly wrote:
Seve, have you seen ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO or PILLARS OF THE SKY?

They're similarly Indian themed but have more angles to them; FORT BRAVO's a mix of civil war tensions and indian wars, with a love story that actually works (because its part of the plot and the actress involved), and PILLARS combines the Indians and Christianity, with some extreme badassery by Jeff Chandler leading the line. Plus Lee Marvin attempting an Irish accent.

no, I'll have to add them to my list
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:53 pm

Sabata
Lee Van Cleef at the peak of his post Leone Spaghetti Western Career
The film is clearly an "A" grade production by SW standards, nicely shot, well cast and with some fine music, however the story and dialogue are rubbish
the set pieces are poorly put together and build no tension and it rushes along with minimal character development
Van Cleef has been in cheaper productions that were more exciting to watch
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:12 am

The Law & Jake Wade
Robert Taylor & Richard Widmark try their hand at a Randolph Scott movie
Robert Taylor has not been one of my favourites and isn't the greatest actor in the world, despite his great voice,
however he's quite well suited for the Randolph Scott "man of stone" part in this one
which leaves plenty of opportunity for Richard Widmark to fill the space with one of his trademark nasty yet likeable villains
Robert Middleton, De Forrest Kelly (Dr McCoy) and particularly Henry Silva, add further colour as other members of Widmark's gang
throw in a band of marauding Injuns and a nifty ghost town and you've got the recipe for an above average entertainment
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:37 pm

DeForrest Kelly's Western roles somehow just piss me off - I found him absolutely atrocious in both JAKE WADE and especially WARLOCK.

That said, he was good in TENSION AT TABLE ROCK.
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:19 pm

One of the favourite things I've been doing with my movie watching this year - in addition to reading about them on the 50s Western Blog - has been my discovery of many a new 50s Western. I'm nowhere near finished on my travels yet (I can't wait to get that Boetticher/Scott boxset, for one), but since I'm trying to wind back my spending before I go away, I'm not going to be watching many for a while - I'll probably go to my other craze at the moment of WW2 films made during the war.

Consulting my lists, I've had 25 first watches so far this year, and to recap, here's a magnificent 7...



7. Count Three and Pray
Year: 1955
Director: George Sherman

This isnt a very traditional Western - its a post civil war story of a Southerner who fought for the North returning to his home town, not for gunplay, but to become a preacher. However its undeniably a quality one, spurred on by the presence of Van Heflin, a man perfectly suited to playing men of turmoil and fatherly authority - two qualities that are perfectly used when his character has to confront his past (in the form of gambling, fighting and women) and also the present, that being the orphaned teenage tomboy Joanne Woodward, who brings plenty of spark to what was her first film role. The villains in Raymond Burr and Allison Hayes dont really bring much to the table, but the rest is both thoughtful and delightful as Heflin wins over the town and Woodward. Great stuff.



6. Thunder Over The Plains
Year: 1953
Director: Andre DeToth

I had to include at least one Randolph Scott western out of the many I've watched recently, and THUNDER OVER THE PLAINS fit the bill. A story of post-war Texas and the pain it was put through by carpetbaggers and corrupt tax officials, its complemented by solid performances by a cast boasting some familiar names (Charles McGraw, Henry Hull and Elisha Cook, Jr), some excellent action sequences and a fantastic style by director DeToth that immediately places it a rung above the average western.



5. The Raid
Year: 1954
Director: Hugo Fregonese

Another western starring a conflicted Van Heflin, he's again perfectly cast as the leader of the Southern raid (from Canada) of the very Northern city of St Albans in Vermont - he enters the town a few days early and unwittingly becomes both a hero of the town and a love interest of local widow Anne Bancroft, only to have to turn it around by ransacking the town. A film thats both intense and contemplative - the fates of Heflin and Bancroft leave one wondering about how much this war has cost, and what could've happened for them had there been no war. And also mark it down as a rare Civil War pic in which the South wins.



4. Tension At Table Rock
Year: 1956
Director: Charles Marquis Warren

An intriguing mix of both SHANE and HIGH NOON, its the story of gunman Richard Egan, who shot his partner in self-defence but was instead tarred with the brush of murder, and forced to roam the West, friendless and despised. Adopting a new name, he gets a job at an isolated corral with a man and his boy, and becomes a surrogate father to the kid after the man is shot by bandits. Upon taking him to his aunt (Dorothy Malone), Egan becomes involved with both the woman and her jaded husband (Cameron Mitchell), who's unable to handle the town's criminal elemtns on his own. Its a cracking Western that features great performances and a fine atmosphere, terrific stuff.



3. Great Day In The Morning
Year: 1956
Director: Jacques Tourneur

Another superb civil war Western, this one takes place pre-war in Colorado, a town owned by Raymond Burr (though he ends up being ineffectual, like COUNT THREE AND PRAY) and full of Northerners. However in blows Southerner Robert Stack, a man who's quick with a gun, smart with the cards, fairlly attractive to the ladies and before long he's won Burr's saloon and warehouse, the affections of ladies Virginia Mayo and the superb Ruth Roman, the suspicions of the Northerners and the hopes of the Southerners in town, except there's a catch: Stack wants nothing to do with the upcoming war - he looks after his own hide, but soon enough and man's going to have to take a stand. And when he does, this finely crafted film gets even better.



2. Wichita
Year: 1955
Director: Jacques Tourneur

I only watched this a day or two ago, but it was an instant love. Who gives a damn if its historically inaccurate, a film with Joel McCrea lending his sturdy heroism to Wyatt Earp, buffalo hunter who finds his moral crusade is cleaning up towns, has got to be at least decent. Fill it with Tourneur's style, scope photography, a fantastic cast of chracter actors and some of the best hard-hitting themes one could put into a Western, and you turn out an absolute peach. A beauty.



1. 3:10 to Yuma
Year: 1957
Director: Delmer Daves

Couldnt be anything but the best one I've seen this year.

A 50s Western in every sense of the word, Van Heflin (again) stars as Dan Evans, a poor farmer crippled by drought with two young boys and a loving wife. His boys love him, sure, but they dont idolize him in the way they do for outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford). Humiliated once after Ford steals his horses, Heflin ensures that he gets captured. Like his best characters, Heflin knows he has to stand for whats right, and volunteers to take Ford to Yuma, to catch the 3:10. He's deserted by his friends, pursued relentlessly by Wade's gang, faced with certain death in the move from hotel to train station, but Heflin gets it done. And its that final shot - he's alive, he's won the respect of his boys, and it starts to rain. Its absolutely god damn glorious.

And I suppose thats it for this first half of the year - here's hoping for many more later on!
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:04 am

that was an impressive Scott-a-thon back there, possibly more Randolph Scott than I could handle in such a short space of time
for me Scott's career breaks down into two parts, younger, often supporting roles, where he seemed more relaxed and easy going
and the older "man of stone" movies he made in the 50s

from category one I've seen films like "Rage At Dawn", "When The Daltons Rode" (where he is overshadowed by Brod Crawford)
but have most enjoyed his supporting roles in "The Spoilers" (with Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne, with whom he takes part in possibly the greatest western bar brawl ever filmed) and "Virginia City" (with Errol Flynn)
however there are a many films from this period I haven't seen and would like to, including a version of "The Last Of The Mohicans" and "Frontier Marshall (where he plays Wyatt Earp)
I often find him a more likeable engaging personality in these, than in the later films for which he is more well known

from category two I've been working my way down form the most recommended and have seen "Seven Men From Now", "The Tall T", "Ride Lonesome", "Comanche Station" and "Ride The High Country"
In these films Scott's character is often too stoic for my taste and it's left to the supporting caste to breath life into the film, which they do

as for the "Big Gay Randy" comments that keep cropping up I say "bah humbug!"
the same sort of comments are made about Errol Flynn, a serial womaniser who was once charged with statutory rape
why? because he used to share a house with David Niven? like most young men don't share a house with other young men at some stage
because he used to associate with the John Barrymore set? Barrymore happened to be the premier actor in Hollywood at the time and an interesting conversationalist
as for Randy, so what if he shared a house with Cary Grant?
on the other hand...

"Scott married twice. In 1936 he became the second husband of heiress Marion duPont. Marion had previously married George Somerville, with Randolph Scott serving as Best Man at the wedding. Reputedly the couple spent little time together and the marriage ended in divorce three years later. Prior to and between his first and second marriages Scott was romantically linked with several prominent film actresses, including Lupe Velez, Sally Blane, Claire Trevor, and Dorothy Lamour. In 1944 Scott married Patricia Stillman, with whom he adopted two children. The marriage lasted until Scott's 1987 death."
"In 1944 Scott and Grant stopped living together but remained close friends throughout their lives."
"During his retirement years he remained friends with Fred Astaire and also became friends with the Reverend Billy Graham. Scott was described by his son Christopher as being a deeply religious man. He was an Episcopalian and also a York Rite Freemason."

"The first publicity images containing information about Grant and Scott began after they became friends while filming the movie Hot Saturday in mid–1932."
"The pair continued their domestic relationship even after Grant’s marriage to Virginia Cherrill in early 1934. Reporters noted, “The Grants and Randolph Scott have moved, all three, but not apart.” Indeed, this choice for living arrangements appeared preplanned."

"Grant was married five times. He wed Virginia Cherrill on February 10, 1934. She divorced him on March 26, 1935, following charges that Grant had hit her."
"In 1942 he married Barbara Hutton, one of the wealthiest women in the world. The couple was derisively nicknamed "Cash and Cary", although in an extensive prenuptial agreement Grant refused any financial settlement in the event of a divorce. After divorcing in 1945, they remained lifelong friends."
"In 1949, Grant married Betsy Drake. He appeared with her in two films. Drake introduced Grant to LSD, and in the early 1960s he related how treatment with the hallucinogenic drug —legal at the time— at a prestigious California clinic had finally brought him inner peace after yoga, hypnotism, and mysticism had proved ineffective. Grant and Drake divorced in 1962.
"He eloped with Dyan Cannon on July 22, 1965 in Las Vegas. Their daughter, Jennifer Grant, was born in 1966. He frequently called her his "best production" and regretted that he had not had children sooner. The marriage was troubled from the beginning and Cannon left him in December 1966, claiming that Grant flew into frequent rages and spanked her when she "disobeyed" him. The divorce, finalized in 1968, was bitter and public, and custody fights over their daughter went on for nearly ten years.
"On April 11, 1981, Grant married long-time companion Barbara Harris, a British hotel public relations agent, who was 47 years his junior."









Last edited by Seve on Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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colly
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:14 pm

Those pictures really dont help with the Randy being straight angle. laugh

There's a story about Flynn from one of his early films - he was sitting atop a horse applying makeup, and one of the extras, assuming he was gay, incited his horse to buck him off as a joke. Infuriated, Flynn took the guy out back and beat his lights out, after which they became the best of friends. laugh
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:53 pm

colly wrote:
Those pictures really dont help with the Randy being straight angle. laugh

There's a story about Flynn from one of his early films - he was sitting atop a horse applying makeup, and one of the extras, assuming he was gay, incited his horse to buck him off as a joke. Infuriated, Flynn took the guy out back and beat his lights out, after which they became the best of friends. laugh

I'm afraid your right about Randy, but hey, Cary Grant is so good looking I might even tempted...

Errol Flynn's autobiography "My Wicked, Wicked Ways" is one of the best I've ever read, he led a "swashbuckling" life even before he found his way to Hollywood, and not remotely gay
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Seve
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:39 pm

Ride On The Whirlwind
Jack Nicholsen made a handful of Westerns, the most well known and probably best of them being "The Missouri Breaks"
this is one of the others, which might best be characterised as "Jack Nicholson's The Oxbow Incident" as it focuses on the issue of vigilantism and mistaken identity
it's a bit slow and sparce at times, but with plenty of integrety
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PostSubject: Re: The Western Thread   Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:03 pm

Yellow Sky
Greg Peck heads a gang of bank robbers who escape across an uncrossable desert and end up in a ghostly boom town called Yellow Sky
where they come across an old miner and his nubile but feisty niece, who have discovered a secret stash of gold
it's a western of the type where small group of disparate people are thrown together to interact, in a wilderness beyond the regulating influence of civilisation
Peck plays an outlaw, but the dislocating experience of the Civil War is used to provide mitigating circumstances,
Greg may have crossed over to the dark side, but it's not yet too late for him to redeem himself
Richard Widmark plays the ambiguous townie gambler type, always weighing the odds, Peck's mental equal and covert rival for leadership of the gang
the rest of the gang are the usual suspects
there's also the overt rival, who matches Greg's physical prowess but not his intelligence
the fat old guy with a weakness for hard liquor
the baby faced younger guy who gets picked on
and the short guy who gets ordered around (played by Col Potter from MASH)
IMO it's well on it's way to being a classic, until the last third lets it down
the Indians arrive en masse, to ratchet up the tension, but then leave again without much incident
a final shootout is engineered between the 3 main protagonists in the gang, but it is disappointingly handled
Widmark and the other rival guy have made their way into the darkened saloon, Peck arrives, steels himself and bursts in through the swing doors…
but we remain outside, listening to bangs and watching the muzzle flashes from outside
we only enter with the girl, after it's all over, to see the bodies lying about the place, including Peck
is it more suspenseful that way? I don't believe so
personally I think it would have been much more satisfying to show the action of the shootout
Peck could still be hit and fall and leave us wondering
as it is it's anticlimactic
worse there is a further scene where Peck and co recross the uncrossable desert, waltz into the bank and give the money back, then waltz out of town again
no questions asked, all is forgiven, ride into the sunset, cut, that's a wrap, just in time to catch the 5.30 bus for the valley…
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