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Archive for the ‘Cowboys On Demand’ Category

It’s not a 50s Western, but it’s got Audie Murphy in it, which is close enough. Murphy was fighting the good fight well into the mid-60s, as The Quick Gun (1964) shows. You’ll find more details about the Columbia Classics release here.

It was directed by Sidney Salkow and features James Best, Frank Ferguson, Ted De Corsia and Raymond Hatton (in one of the last of his nearly 500 pictures). Audie’s schoolteacher love interest is Merry Anders, who also played one of The Dalton Girls (1957, which is available from MGM’s MOD program).

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Came across a few Fred MacMurray Westerns on YouTube. I’m not a big fan of watching movies on the computer, since it’s a pretty lousy approximation of the theaterical experience. But these pictures are hard to see otherwise. Many of them were in CinemaScope and are presented pan-and-scan here, so beware.

Face Of A Fugitive (1959) features an early role for James Coburn. A Columbia picure, it was 1.85 — so it looks OK on YouTube. Pretty good picture, too. Link here.

Day Of The Badman (1958) from Universal-International gives MacMurray a fabulous cast to work with: Joan Weldon, Skip Homeier, Marie Windsor, Lee Van Cleef, Edgar Buchanan and more. It was in Eastman Color and CinemaScope. Watch it, or about half its width, here.

At Gunpoint (1955) from Allied Artists boasts another great cast: MacMurray, Walter Brennan, Dorothy Malone and Skip Homeier. Another one that screams for a widescreen transfer. It’s showtime!

While he had his own ranch (now a vineyard), it’s said that MacMurray didn’t like all the riding these pictures required. But he did quite a few of them in the late 50s and plays quite well in a Western. A Good Day For A Hanging (1958), which is available on DVD, is well worth seeking out.

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Gun Brothers (1956) is a cheap Western released by United Artists, featuring Buster Crabbe, Ann Robinson, Neville Brand and an incredible supporting cast — Slim Pickens, Roy Barcroft, Michael Ansara and others. It was directed by Sidney Salkow, and shot on the Corriganville Ranch.

It’s currently available on Hulu. The transfer is beautiful, though it needs to be cropped to 1.85. These low-budget things are a matter of personal taste, I guess, but they’re a great to spend an hour and some change.

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The Bushwhackers (1952)

Producer Herman Cohen: “Lawrence Tierney, Wayne Morris (he’d just left Warner Brothers), Dorothy Malone, John Ireland … for a cheap picture, it had a hell of a cast. And we signed a young guy who had never directed before, named Rod Amateau… For The Bushwhackers, we rented the Western Street from Warners, and we also used the Western Street at Columbia a couple days. We shot in and around town, we didn’t go on location any further than the Western Streets.”

From a Tom Weaver interview found at The Astounding B Monster — he forgot to mention Lon Chaney!

more about “YouTube – The Bushwhackers (1952)“, posted with vodpod

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Hulu’s offering up a 1957 Western starring John Derek, Fury At Showdown.

Director Gerd Oswald performs a minor miracle here, since this cool little picture was shot in a week. His credits also include A Kiss Before Dying (1956), Crime Of Passion (1957, an excellent film noir starring Barbara Stanwyck and Sterling Hayden) and tons of TV: Star Trek, Perry Mason, The Outer Limits, Bonanza, etc.

The Director of Photography, Joseph LaShelle, was nominated for a number of Oscars, and won for Laura (1944). LaShelle shot big films (How The West Was Won, 1962) and small films (I Was A Teenage Werewolf, 1957) — color and black and white, flat and ‘Scope and Cinerama — ending his career with a varied and impressive list of credits.

When you’ve got a spare 75 minutes, check it out.

UPDATE: Hulu has taken down Fury At Showdown, which is a big drag.

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Gunman_s_Walk smaller

They don’t get much better than this. One of the movies that got me writing this book. Sorry it’s not widescreen (don’t be fooled by the titles).

Van Heflin is superb, as always. Tab Hunter does a really good job. And Phil Karlson demonstrates why he’s so ripe for rediscovery. (You can also watch his 99 River Street on Hulu. It’s not a Western, but it’s sure good.)

more about “Gunman’s Walk (1958)“, posted with vodpod

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Lesley Selander began in the film lab back in the Silent days, and enjoyed a career that spanned 40 years and almost 200 films (then there’s tons of TV). His work in series Westerns, from the Hopalong Cassidys to those great Tim Holt pictures for RKO, shows just how good those films could be. They look great and really move.

By the mid-50s, the series Western was done, and pros like Selander found themselves looking for something to do. He wound up directing a string of medium-budget Westerns like Tall Man Riding (1955) with Randolph Scott and The Broken Star (1956). His simple style served these films well.

The Broken Star stars Howard Duff, has a script by John C. Higgins (Anthony Mann’s Border Incident, 1949) and was shot by William Marguiles (Revolt In The Big House and The Ghost And Mr. Chicken). It runs a brisk 82 minutes.

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