Here’s wishing a happy 97th to Mr. Kirk Douglas. Here he is with Lon Chaney, Jr. on the set of The Indian Fighter (1955).
Archive for the ‘1955’ Category
My research associate here at 50 Westerns From The 50s (also known as my wife Jennifer) came across this photo of the Albemarle Road Drive-In Theatre in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A Man Alone (1955) is a very good, very overlooked Republic picture directed by and starring Ray Milland. Mary Murphy and Ward Bond co-star. It was on Olive Films’ release list at one point, but it’s been removed. That’s a real shame. The film wasn’t alone at the Albemarle Road Drive-In — it was paired with John Wayne in The Fighting Kentuckian (1949).
So many good things to be had here. How about Rod Cameron in The Short Grass (1950)? Or Robert Taylor in The Last Hunt (1956)? Or Joel McCrea in Wichita (1955)? Or Glenn Ford in The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)? Or…
It’s been mentioned on this blog a number of times that Olive Films have removed some key Republic titles from their list of future releases — The Last Command (1955, note the retitled card above) being one of them. Among the reasons for ditching these titles is that the Trucolor materials can be difficult, and costly, to prepare for release.
However, when Trucolor Republics like Hellfire (1949), The Outcast (1954) or A Man Alone (1955) show up on TV, they look fine. Not spiffy enough for Blu-ray, for sure, but good enough for a DVD release I’d be happy to have in my collection.
Richard W. commented the other day that we should reach out to a Mr. Lime on the Home Theater Forum about these titles, pointing out that we’d be standing at the ready, cash in hand, for these films.
At a time when so many of us are writing to our politicians about healthcare, national parks and pay for the military, why not squeeze in a quick note to the HTF about Hellfire?
Today was my mom’s birthday. She was a Texan, and The Last Command (1955) is a film she loved. Here are a few still from it.
Of course, it’s Republic’s take on the story of the Alamo, directed by Frank Lloyd — made after John Wayne left the studio.
Sterling Hayden is Jim Bowie, Richard Carlson is William Travis, Arthur Hunnicutt is Davy Crockett and J. Carroll Naish is Santa Ana. Ernest Borgnine, Jim Davis, John Russell and Slim Pickens are also in it.
It doesn’t have the spectacle of Wayne’s The Alamo (1960), but I recommend it highly. So does my mom. Olive Films needs to give it a DVD and Blu-ray release.
Don’t have any real details yet, but Twilight Time will issue The Man From Laramie (1955) on Blu-ray some time in 2014. Of course, it’s one of the finest of 50s Westerns — some consider it the best of the Anthony Mann/James Stewart pictures.
Also coming is Stewart (again) and Richard Widmark in John Ford’s Two Rode Together (1961).
Turner Classic Movies’ Summer Under The Stars heads West with Randolph Scott. Of the 15 movies scheduled, 12 are Westerns.
The pick of the litter might be Shoot-Out At Medicine Bend (1957), which isn’t the best film on hand, but is very hard to track down these days.
Thanks to Blake Lucas for the tip.
Posted in 1955, 1958, Budd Boetticher, DVD reviews, releases, TV, etc., Glenn Ford, Joseph H. Lewis, Lippert/Regal, Margia Dean, Marie Windsor, Olive Films, Republic, Scott Brady, William Castle on July 25, 2013 | 15 Comments »
When the Charles Bronson Regalscope Western Showdown At Boot Hill (1958) showed up on Blu-ray, it seemed too good to be true. For decades, it’s been impossible to see these things in their proper black-and-white ‘Scope glory — unless you came across a 16mm print or a bootleg tape made from one. (An adapted ‘Scope print of Escape From Red Rock sits nearby.) Designed to show off their 2.35 format, the Regalscopes are absolutely unwatchable when they’re pan-and-scan.
Now we can thank Olive Films for Clint Eastwood in Ambush At Cimarron Pass (1958), set for a September 24 release. Clint has called it the worst Western ever made, though I certainly wouldn’t go that far. Scott Brady is the star, along with Margia Dean and Eastwood as a young hothead. All the Regalscope pictures are cheap — this one isn’t able to rise above its budget in the way Stagecoach To Fury (1956) and The Quiet Gun (1957) do. Of course, an early Eastwood role will be the appeal for most folks.
Also on the way is The Americano (1955), with Glenn Ford, Frank Lovejoy, Cesar Romero and Ursula Thiess. This troubled production was begun by Budd Boetticher in Brazil and finished some time later by William Castle (seen below with executive producer Sam Wiesenthal and Ursula Thiess).
Also on the way is John Wayne, Marie Windsor and Oliver Hardy in Republic’s The Fighting Kentuckian (1949) and Joseph H. Lewis’ The Big Combo (1955, not a Western, but terrific).
Posted in 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, Budd Boetticher, Columbia, Delmer Daves, DVD reviews, releases, TV, etc., Ernest Borgnine, Fred MacMurray, Gary Cooper, George Montgomery, George Sherman, Glenn Ford, Jay Silverheels, Joseph H. Lewis, Phil Karlson, Post-1959, Pre-1950, Randolph Scott, Sam Katzman, Sidney Salkow, Van Heflin, William Castle, William Witney on June 19, 2013 | 14 Comments »
Sony Movie Channel is focusing on Westerns next month, with a terrific all-day marathon scheduled for Sunday, July 28 that should keep readers of this blog firmly planted on their sofas — or scrambling to make room on their DVRs.
The directors represented here — Boetticher, Sherman, Daves, Karlson, Castle, Witney — make up a virtual Who’s Who of 50s Westerns directors. The times listed are Eastern. Put the coffee on, it’s gonna be a long day!
4:40 AM Face Of A Fugitive (1959, above) One of those really cool, tough Westerns Fred MacMurray made in the late 50s. James Coburn has an early role, and Jerry Goldsmith contributed one of his first scores. It’s not out on DVD in the States, and the Spanish one doesn’t look so hot, so don’t miss it here.
6:05 AM Relentless (1948) George Sherman directs Robert Young, Marguerite Chapman, Willard Parker, Akim Tamiroff, Barton MacLane and Mike Mazurki. Shot around Tucson (and the Corrigan Ranch) in Technicolor. I may be in the minority, but I like Robert Young in Westerns.
7:40 AM A Lawless Street (1955) Joseph H. Lewis knocks another one out of the park, directing Randolph Scott and Angela Lansbury. This film doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
9:05 AM Decision At Sundown (1957) Part of Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott’s Ranown cycle, this one tends to divide fans. I think it’s terrific. It’s certainly more downbeat than the others (Burt Kennedy didn’t write it), with Scott’s character almost deranged vs. the usual obsessed.
10:25 AM The Pathfinder (1952) Sidney Salkow directs George Montgomery in a low-budget adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper, produced by Sam Katzman. Helena Carter and Jay Silverheels round out the cast.
11:45 AM Battle Of Rogue River (1954) William Castle directs George Montgomery (seen above with Martha Hyer) the same year they did Masterson Of Kansas. I’m a real sucker for Castle’s Westerns, so it’s hard to be objective here.
1:05 PM Gunman’s Walk (1958) Phil Karlson’s masterpiece? A great film, with a typically incredible performance from Van Heflin, that really needs to be rediscovered. Not available on DVD in the U.S. Don’t miss it.
2:45 PM They Came To Cordura (1959) Robert Rossen directs a terrific cast — Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Van Heflin, Tab Hunter and Dick York. Set in 1916 Mexico, it has a look somewhat similar to The Wild Bunch (1969). Looks good in CinemaScope.
4:55 PM Jubal (1956, above) Delmer Daves puts Othello on horseback. Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, Valerie French, Charles Bronson, Jack Elam, Felicia Farr, Harry Carey, Jr. and John Dierkes make up the great cast. Charles Lawton, Jr. shot it in Technicolor and CinemaScope.
6:40 PM Arizona Raiders (1965) Wiliam Witney directs Audie Murphy in a picture that plays like a cross between a 50s Western and a spaghetti one. Murphy got better as he went along, and his performance here is quite good.
8:20 PM 40 Guns To Apache Pass (1966) Witney and Murphy again. This time around, Murphy is after a missing shipment of guns.
If all that’s not enough, there’s the Back In The Saddle sweepstakes, a chance to win a three-day dude ranch getaway. Check SonyMovieChannel.com to find out more.