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Archive for the ‘Burt Lancaster’ Category

OK at AFI

Today (Monday), Tuesday and Thursday, the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD will run a 35mm print of John Sturges’ Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957). It’s part of a Burt Lancaster series that’s been going on since February.

Of course, the new Blu-ray of Gunfight is wonderful, but the chance to see it on film is something not to be missed.

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Gunfight at the OK Corral RLC

VistaVision is a wonderful thing on Blu-ray, and here’s one I’ve been waiting for — Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957).

It’s coming from Warners and Paramount on March 11, 2014. Also on the way are a couple John Wayne – Howard Hawks pictures, Hatari! (1962) and El Dorado (1967).

Thanks for the tip, Paula.

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duke_175

Burton Stephen “Burt” Lancaster 
(November 2, 1913 – October 20, 1994)

This would’ve been the 100th birthday of one of my favorite movie stars, Mr. Burt Lancaster.

He’s seen here, with Kirk Douglas in the background, in John Sturges’ Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957). Gunfight is a flawed film — for instance, Lancaster didn’t like the script — that still has a certain magic about it.

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Vera Cruz pressbook sized

With Burt Lancaster’s 100th birthday on the horizon, UCLA has put together a terrific program to celebrate one of the greatest stars of them all. Running through June, it offers up a great sampling of Lancaster’s career.

For me, and readers of this blog, the best night of the bunch might be this Friday, with a 35mm screening of both Vera Cruz (1954) and The Professionals (1966). Both are terrific, with Vera Cruz being a highlight of the 50s Western. Like Shane (1953), it’s one of the films that fell victim to the widening of theater screens in the wake of CinemaScope. This time around, Robert Aldrich’s picture was cropped/blown up to SuperScope’s 2:1 ratio (it was probably shot for 1.85).

Another great evening will be the June 7 screening of Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957), a film I find flawed but wonderful. Its VistaVision should be a gorgeous thing on the big screen.

Vera Cruz (1954) and The Professionals (1966)
April 12, 2013 – 7:30 pm

Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957) and I Walk Alone (1948)
June 7, 2013 – 7:30 pm

The Billy Wilder Theater
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 206-8013

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UPDATE: Burt and Coop’s costar in Vera Cruz, Spanish actress Sara Montiel, passed away today at 85. She was once married to Anthony Mann.

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wish-list

We did a 50s Westerns Want List a couple years ago and it was a blast — and a surprising number of our wishes have since come true! So it seems about time to do another one. Last time around, I polled a few people offline, but I’ve since learned that a lot of the fun comes from watching y’all feed off each other as you load up the comments box.

So send in your lists. I’ll compile and sort the responses — then see if I can get them to someone who can actually do something about it.

I’ll start. Reprisal! (1956) and The Hard Man (1957), both from George Sherman and starring Guy Madison, and Fred MacMurray and James Coburn in Face Of A Fugitive (1959) — all from Columbia. Then there’s a Blu-ray John Sturges/Kirk Douglas/VistaVision twin-bill of Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957) and Last Train From Gun Hill (1959). I could go on and on.

UPDATE: I’m compiling and sorting all your requests and will post them Christmas day.

guymadison_hardman

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On this day in 1887 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Doc Holliday’s tuberculosis (and dependence on alcohol and laudanum) got the best of him.

Here’s Kirk Douglas as an ailing Holliday in Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957), with Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp. Some versions on the Holliday story/legend claim Earp was with him when he died. He was not.

Holliday’s tombstone reads “He died in bed.”

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Burton Stephen “Burt” Lancaster
(November 2, 1913 – October 20, 1994)

Here’s a shot from Robert Aldrich’s Vera Cruz (1954) to mark Burt Lancaster’s birthday. Compared to most of the major stars we celebrate on this blog, Burt made relatively few Westerns — but what Westerns they are: Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957), The Professionals (1966) and Ulzana’s Raid (1972), to name just a few.

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On this day in 1881, around 3PM, the infamous Gunfight At The O.K. Corral took place in Tombstone, Arizona. It involved Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan, and Doc Holliday taking on the Clanton-McLaury gang. In a lead-filled 30 seconds, three men (Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers) were killed.

Here’s a couple shots from John Sturges’ 1957 take on the event, Gunfight At The O.K. Corral, starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. It’s just one of many films to deal with the shootout, and to theorize on how it actually happened. It’s more likely that they came up with a good action sequence and left it at that. This one gets extra points for the simple fact that Lancaster spends a lot of time running around with a sawed-off shotgun.

This seems like a good time to post the lyrics to Gunfight‘s theme song, written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, and sung by Frankie Laine. It’s woven throughout the film very effectively.

OK Corral, OK Corral
There the outlaw band make their final stand
OK Corral
Oh my dearest one must die
Lay down my gun or take the chance of losing you forever
Duty calls
My back’s against the wall
Have you no kind word to say
Before I ride away
Away

Your love, your love
I need your love
Keep the flame, let it burn
Until I return
From the gunfight at OK Corral
If the Lord is my friend
We’ll meet at the end
Of the gunfight at OK Corral
Gunfight at OK Corral

Boot Hill, Boot Hill
So cold, so still
There they lay side by side
The killers that died
In the gunfight at OK corral
OK corral
Gunfight at OK corral

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Cowboys And Indians magazine has an interview with the late, great Ernest Borgnine in its October issue. Here’s a short piece on Gary Cooper and Vera Cruz (1954).

Ernest Borgnine: “When I got into this business, I’d have to say Gary Cooper was a huge role model. What a gentleman. I remember we were in a car together on the Vera Cruz movie set down in Mexico. I was going to get in the front with the driver to give him his privacy, but he said, ‘No, no, come back here with me.’ So we’re sitting there talking and he says to me, ‘Y’know, I sure wish I could act like you.’ Can you believe that? I said to him, ‘You’re Gary Cooper. You’ve got two Oscars in your house and you wish you could act like me?’ He said, ‘Aw, I just got them for saying ‘yup.’’ What a sweetheart of a man and an incredible talent he was. As unassuming as anything, but I learned a ton just by watching him… Just being honest, y’know? Being natural. Listening — I mean really listening — and responding in kind instead of just reciting lines and forgetting that you’re portraying an actual person. It sounds basic, and maybe it is, but it’s deceivingly hard and I think a lot of actors never really get it.”

You can read the whole thing here.

Image (L-R): Gary Cooper, Jack Elam, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Burt Lancaster in Robert Aldrich’s Vera Cruz (1954).

 

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Another photo gallery — this time, a handful of production photos from John Sturges’ Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957).

I’ve noticed something odd about this film. When you think about it, it’s easy to find fault with it. It’s too long. There’s a lot of talk. Lancaster’s part seems underdeveloped. It’s got some great character actors in it, but they have very little to do. And on and on.

But when you’re watching it, it’s terrific.

Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster chat near the corral set at Old Tucson.

This time, they make the scene at Boot Hill.

I love the way Frankie Laine pops up throughout the picture with stuff like —

“Boot Hill, Boot Hill
So cold, so still
There they lay side by side
The killers that died
In the gunfight at O.K. Corral”

Kirk screws around in a (obviously not a prop) wheelbarrow.

John Sturges directs Douglas, Lancaster and DeForest Kelley in the actual gunfight sequence.

And while we’re on the subject, where’s the Blu-ray of this (and Last Train From Gun Hill)?

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