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Archive for the ‘Audie Murphy’ Category
Posted in Audie Murphy, Joel McCrea, William Elliott, Andre de Toth, Randolph Scott, Budd Boetticher, Lesley Selander, DVD reviews, releases, TV, etc., Gary Cooper, William Castle, George Montgomery, Tim Holt, Delmer Daves, Kirk Douglas, Rory Calhoun, Glenn Ford, Robert Mitchum, Fred MacMurray, Robert Taylor, Jeff Chandler, Jeffrey Hunter, Charlton Heston, Burt Kennedy, John Ireland, Robert Ryan, Johnny Mack Brown, Lee Van Cleef on April 4, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
All this debate about colorization and Shane in 1.66 is making me tired.
So here’s a picture of Eddie Arnold, Roy Rogers and Audie Murphy. We believe it’s from a 1959 episode of The Chevy Show. Eddy Arnold and Audie Murphy were Roy and Dale’s guests. A quick check shows that a copy sits in the Library Of Congress.
Thanks to Mike Richards for sorting this out.
We walked around Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon — it was a beautiful day. While there, we paid a visit to a few of our heroes.
We were told there was a desire to give Audie Murphy his own monument at Arlington. But in his will, he requested that he be buried just like his buddies.
Lee Marvin is buried next to boxer Joe Louis. The nice lady in the Visitor’s Center knew exactly where Marvin was, rattling off his location (Section 7A, grave 176) in a split second. He’s a popular one, she says.
Burt Kennedy is also in Section 7A (grave 15). Took these with my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality. Also, the subject line is lifted from Harry Carey Jr.’s book.
Posted in 1950, 1951, Alan Ladd, Audie Murphy, DVD reviews, releases, TV, etc., George Sherman, Joel McCrea, John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Paramount, Pre-1950, Randolph Scott, Ray Enright, Universal (-International), Van Heflin, Yvonne DeCarlo on March 6, 2013 | 5 Comments »
If you don’t have these, consider this essential. If you do, it’s a good way to free up some shelf space. Universal has packaged 10 previously-released Westerns — including a couple only available on DVD-R — in a snazzy package. You get:
When The Daltons Rode (1940) George Marshall directs. Randolph Scott leads an incredible cast — Kay Francis, Brian Donlevy, Broderick Crawford, Andy Devine, George Bancroft, Edgar Buchanan. I prefer Scott with more age on him, but this picture has do much action, you don’t have time to care.
Texas Rangers Ride Again (1940) A 67-minute Paramount Western — a sequel to their Texas Rangers (1936) — starring Ellen Drew, John Howard, Broderick Crawford and Anthony Quinn.
The Spoilers (1942) John Wayne and Randolph Scott in the same movie. (Yet some people still wonder if there’s a higher power.) Marlene Dietrich and Harry Carey are in it, too. The climactic saloon brawl is terrific.
The Virginian (1946) Joel McCrea is stunning Technicolor. Universal’s getting a lot of mileage out of this one — it’s also available on DVD-R from the Universal Vault Series and as part of the Joel McCrea Westerns Collection.
Albuquerque (1948) Ray Enright directs Randolph Scott again, this time in color and with Gabby Hayes, Scott Hayden and Lon Chaney on hand.
Whispering Smith (1948) Any movie that has both William Demerest and Frank Faylen in its cast is worth seeking out.
Comanche Territory (1950) The great, and unsung, George Sherman directs Maureen O’Hara and Macdonald Carey.
Sierra (1950) Audie Murphy is joined by Wanda Hendryx, Burl Ives, Dean Jagger, Tony Curtis, Houseley Stevenson and James Arness. It was directed by Alfred E. Green, in Technicolor. Murphy and Hendryx were husband and wife at the time.
Kansas Raiders (1950) Audie Murphy again,backed by Brian Donlevy, Marguerite Chapman, Scott Brady, Tony Curtis and Richard Arlen. Ray Enright directed.
Tomahawk (1951) stars Van Helfin and Yvonne De Carlo and was directed by George Sherman. Also available as part of the Universal Vault Series, where this one film costs more than the set we’re looking at here. Do the math, order one today.
By the way, its release date is Tuesday, March 12. Thanks to Mike for the tip.
Directed by James Neilson
Produced by Aaron Rosenberg
Screenplay by Borden Chase
Based on a story by Norman A. Fox
Director Of Photography: William Daniels, ASC
Music composed and conducted by Dimitri Tiomkin
Film Editor: Sherman Todd, ACE
CAST: James Stewart (Grant McLaine), Audie Murphy (The Utica Kid), Dan Duryea (Whitey Harbin), Dianne Foster (Charlotte Drew), Elaine Stewart (Verna Kimball), Brandon de Wilde (Joey Adams), Jay C. Flippen (Ben Kimball), Herbert Anderson (Will Renner), Robert J. Wilke (Concho), Hugh Beaumont (Jeff Kurth), Jack Elam (Shotgun), Tommy Cook (Howdy Sladen), Paul Fix (Mr. Feeney), Olive Carey (Miss Vittles), James Flavin (Tim Riley), Donald Curtis (Jubilee), Ellen Corby (Mrs. Feeney), John Day (Latigo).
Over the three-year life of this blog, few topics have generated the level of response as a recent post — nothing more than a few production photos, really — on Night Passage (1957). It’s a film with quite a history, and that history has affected its reputation to a large degree.
That history, in a nutshell. By the time Night Passage came around, James Stewart and Anthony Mann had collaborated on some of the greatest Westerns of all time (I’ll assume you know what those are). Stewart proposed Night Passage as their next film. And while there are numerous variations on how it came about (and which I will outline in my book if the film makes the cut), Mann did not end up directing the picture. That job went to James Neilson, a TV director and former still photographer making his feature debut on a very grand scale. (What a thankless task: there was no way this film wouldn’t be compared to the Mann-Stewart films.)
Producer Aaron Rosenberg: “I think Jim had grown tired of playing the anti-hero — the man with hate in his heart and a rage that leads him to violence.”**
Grant McLaine (Stewart) is a former railroad trouble shooter reduced to playing the accordion for tips. He’s re-hired to escort the payroll to the track’s end — the workers are plenty tired of having their pay stolen by Whitey Harbin (Dan Duryea) and The Utica Kid (Audie Murphy). Along the way, Stewart comes into contact with a number of people from his past — including his brother, The Uttica Kid. To go much further might spoil some of the fun.
The story is pretty simple, but Borden Chase’s script feels a bit over-plotted. Every character seems to have some kind of history with the others, bringing up relationships that don’t really impact the story. Of course, throughout the picture, we’re awaiting the meeting between Stewart and Murphy — the advertising was built around it — and our patience is certainly rewarded. Their scenes together are terrific, with Stewart trying to save his little brother’s soul and Murphy torn between the two sides of his personality. It all concludes with a well-staged shootout at a deserted mine.
The first film in Technirama — basically, VistaVision squeezed anamorphically to combine improved clarity and depth with the full Scope width — and shot around Durango, Colorado, Night Passage is a truly gorgeous thing to behold. William Daniels’ photography gives the picture a real epic feel, and avoids the tighter shots a TV director like Neilson tends to gravitate towards. It seems like the bulk of the film takes place outdoors, and the location work was grueling.
Dianne Foster: “That was a hard picture to do. We started in late autumn and were trying to get out by winter because snowfall would have changed the landscape, so we were on a tight schedule. We had trucks with oxygen masks and cots in them, set up like a mini-hospital… We would do a sequence and then get so winded and exhausted that we’d have to go lay down for a while, get some oxygen and then go back in and finish the scene… the schedule stretched from weeks into months, and in the end we still had to shoot some scenes with rear projection in the studio.”*
Along with its grand scale, action sequences and startling location work, the performances really stand out in Night Passage. Stewart is as good as ever, though his part isn’t as troubled, or flashy, as in the Mann films. He’s at his best in the touching, pivotal scene with Audie Murphy. This may be the best performance of Murphy’s career. From his enjoyment in taunting Duryea to his powerful scene with Stewart, everything he does rings true. It’s a complex part and he nails it.
The way Dan Duryea plays Whitey is rather odd. The character is a bit under-developed, which may have led Duryea to play it broadly, and loudly — he screams every line. But his scenes with Murphy, as the Utica Kid needles Whitey, are tense and funny. Elaine Stewart and Dianne Foster don’t have much to do, but do it well.
The supporting cast is terrific: Jay C. Flippen, Brandon de Wilde, Hugh Beaumont, Jack Elam, Robert J. Wilke, Paul Fix, Olive Carey and Ellen Corby. And Dimitri Tiomkin’s score is as excellent as you’d expect.
Night Passage delivers on everything it promises, and it’s time for it to come out from the sizable shadow created by its older brothers, the Mann-Stewart films. Kinda like the Utica Kid.
To promote Night Passage, Murphy made an appearance in Salt Lake City before its premiere on July 18, 1957, touching on his PTSD in a newspaper interview. Stewart hit the road for the picture as well, and he never worked with Anthony Mann again.
* Last Of The Cowboy Heroes by Robert Nott; ** Jimmy Stewart: The Truth Behind The Legend by Michael Munn.
Night Passage (1957) is a film I’ve taken my time getting around to. It’s been years since I sat down and watched it, though I’ve looked at bits and pieces of the gorgeous transfer Universal cooked up for the DVD. (The Technirama would be incredible on Blu-ray.) William H. Daniels’ cinematography is some of the best widescreen outdoor stuff I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t take much to make Durango, Colorado look good.
One of the problems with Night Passage is that we don’t look at it as 50s Westerns fans. We come at it as Anthony Mann snobs, putting it (and its eventual director, James Neilson) down and speculating about what it could’ve been if he’d hung around long enough to direct it.
But the truth is, anything with Jimmy Stewart going up against Dan Duryea is gonna be worthwhile. Add in Audie Murphy, not to mention Jack Elam, Dianne Foster, Elaine Stewart, Hugh Beaumont, Jay C. Flippen, Brandon de Wilde, Olive Carey and Paul Fix — how could it miss?
I’ve been reading up on it — from it being the first use of Technirama to the various versions of why Mann left to Stewart being excited about the chance to play accordion in a film — and I’m eager to revisit it. Watch for a post on it soon.
Today we honor the service and sacrifice of Audie Murphy and all veterans.
Another Audie Murphy Western coming to DVD is always good news. In January, Cast A Long Shadow (1959) will arrive from Galam (Shout Factory’s parent company). It was directed by Thomas Carr and co-stars Terry Moore, John Dehner, James Best and Denver Pyle.
ClassicFlix lists it as widescreen. More info here.
Universal is in the middle of their 100th anniversary shindig. A restored Blu-ray of Jaws (1975) hits the streets today, in case you’re interested. (I can’t wait.)
The Movie Stills Title Collection, a great Web resource, is marking the occasion with a collection of title cards from Universal Westerns. This one for the Audie Murphy picture Drums Across The River (1954) is just one of many. These are really beautiful. Be sure to check them out.
(WordPress says this is the 600th post on 50 Westerns From The 50s.)
Audie Leon Murphy
June 20, 1924 – May 28, 1971
This incredible promo still for Ride Clear Of Diablo (1954) appears today to mark the birth of Audie Murphy. Dan Duryea doesn’t seem to be enjoying Audie’s birthday all that much.
A great way to celebrate would be to run something from The Audie Murphy Westerns Collection. Ride Clear Of Diablo is one of the pictures in that set.