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Archive for the ‘Forrest Tucker’ Category

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The Sony Movie Channel’s Western Round-Up Marathon serves up a weekend full of excellent Westerns featuring folks like Audie Murphy (The Texican, 1966), Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster and James Garner. Of particular interest to fans of 50s Westerns is a Sunday morning devoted to Randolph Scott.

Sunday, January 26

10 AM The Nevadan (1950) Gordon Douglas directs Scott, Dorothy Malone, Forrest Tucker, Frank Faylen and George Macready. The Cinecolor looks OK, but it takes a lot more than an oddball color process to spoil Lone Pine.

11:30 AM The Tall T (1957) The second of the Scott-Boetticher-Kennedy Ranown Cycle (the first was 1956′s Seven Men From Now) is one of the best, maybe the best. Richard Boone is terrific and Skip Homeier gets his face blown off.

1 PM Comanche Station (1960) The last of the Ranowns, with Boetticher and Charles Lawton Jr. shooting Lone Pine in CinemaScope.  Claude Akins is the bad guy this time, and Skip Homeier’s back for good measure.

While we’re on the subject of Randolph Scott, Henry Cabot Beck brought a Budd Boetticher interview to my attention. Good stuff.

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A blogger friend of mine did a year-end wrap-up of his favorite DVD releases of the year. I think a lot of my friend, and imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I decided to steal his idea. Here’s my Top Five. Comment away!

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5. Ambush At Tomahawk Gap (1953, Columbia) The work of Fred F. Sears, a prolific director at Columbia, deserves a look, and this is a tough, tight little Western that nobody seems to remember. John Derek’s good and Ray Teal gets a sizable part.

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4. Randolph Scott Western Collection (Various, TCM/Sony) Four Columbia Scotts — Coroner Creek (1948), The Walking Hills (1949), The Doolins Of Oklahoma (1949) and 7th Cavalry (1956, above) — go a long way toward making all his 40s and 50s Westerns available on DVD.

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3. Movies 4 You Western Classics (Various, Shout Factory) Four medium-budget 50s Westerns — Gun Belt (1953), The Lone Gun (1954), Gunsight Ridge (1957) and Ride Out For Revenge (1957) — for an amazing price.  I’d love to have a hundred sets like this.

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2. Shane (1953, Paramount) There was so much controversy about the aspect ratio — the studio-imposed 1.66 vs. the original 1.33 George Stevens shot it in — that we all forgot to talk about what a lovely Blu-ray was ultimately released (in 1.33).

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1. Showdown At Boot Hill (1958, Olive Films) This is probably the worst movie on this list, but my favorite release. The very thought of a Regalscope Western presented widescreen and in high definition makes me very, very happy. Olive Films promises the best of the Regals, The Quiet Gun (1956), in 2014 — which you can expect to see on next year’s list.

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Olive Films have announced a few titles they’ll have to us in 2014. There are three 50s Westerns in there, and they’re good ones.

Woman They Almost Lynched (1953)
Directed by Allan Dwan
Cast: John Lund, Brian Donlevy, Joan Leslie
Dwan directs a sort-of spoof for Repubic. Good stuff.

Stranger At My Door (1956)
Directed by William Witney
Cast: Macdonald Carey, Patricia Medina, Skip Homeier, Slim Pickins
This film should be much better known than it is. The scene with the horse (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean) is Witney at his best.

The Quiet Gun (1957)
Directed by William F. Claxton
Cast: Forrest Tucker, Lee Van Cleef, Mara Corday, Jim Davis, Hank Worden
Maybe the best Regalscope Western. I’m dying for this one!

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Depending on your outlook, this latest set from Sony and Turner Classics might be seen as a prayer answered. The Randolph Scott Westerns Collection gathers up four really good ones for a September release:

Coroner Creek (1948) This tough Cinecolor picture from Ray Enright, based on a Luke Short novel, is one of Scott’s best pre-Boetticher Westerns. His character here is practically a prototype for the burned-out, obsessed guy we know from the Ranowns.

The Walking Hills (1949) is John Sturges’ first Western. Scott is joined by Ella Raines, Edgar Buchanan, Arthur Kennedy and folk singer Josh White. The crisp black and white location work in Death Valley is really something to see.

The Doolins Of Oklahoma (1949, above) comes from Gordon Douglas. George Macready, Louise Allbritton, John Ireland and Noah Beery Jr. are on hand. Douglas has Yakima Canutt on his second unit, and as you’d expect, the action scenes are excellent.

7th Cavalry (1956) comes up on this blog quite often, as we’ve warned each other about some lousy DVDs. It’s a Joseph H. Lewis cavalry picture in Technicolor and widescreen (1.85), with Barbara Hale, Jay C. Flippen, Frank Faylen, Leo Gordon, Denver Pyle, Harry Carey Jr. and Michael Pate. It’s not as strong as A Lawless Street (1955), Scott and Lewis’ previous collaboration, but the cast and director alone make it worthwhile. Cross your fingers that it’s presented 16×9.

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Forrest Tucker 
(February 12, 1919 – October 25, 1986)

To commemorate his birthday, here’s a still of Forrest Tucker from the Regalscope picture The Quiet Gun (1956). One of the better Regals, and one of Tucker’s better parts of his many 50s Westerns, it’s shame it’s so hard to see. (I have a pan-and-scan copy that I can’t make myself watch.)

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Rod Cameron
(December 7, 1910 – December 21, 1983)

Rod Cameron never made a Western that could truly be called a classic. But he made some really solid ones, such as Ride The Man Down (1952) — a Republic picture costarring Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Forrest Tucker, Barbara Britton, Chill Wills, J. Carrol Naish, Jim Davis and Paul Fix. It was directed, with the usual breakneck pace, by Joe Kane. Good stuff.

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On this date in 1866, the Reno brothers gang robbed the Ohio and Mississippi Railway. This was the first train robbery. The contents of the safe were insured by the Adams Express Company, who hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to track down the robbers. Life for the Reno boys would never be the same.

The photo is from Rage At Dawn (1955). Randolph Scott is a detective hired by the railroad to track down the Reno brothers (Forrest Tucker, J. Carrol Naish, Myron Healey and Denver Pyle). It’s a solid mid-50s Randolph Scott picture, which means it’s plenty good indeed.

Thanks to Shay for bringing this to my attention.

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One of my favorite Westerns can be seen on that Netflix streaming thing — Hellfire (1949) starring Bill Elliott, Marie Windsor, Forrest Tucker and Jim Davis. It’s a real gem from Republic and director R. G. Springsteen. And it’s in Trucolor.

But don’t just take it from me. Of all the wonderful films Marie Windsor made, she always listed this, The Narrow Margin (1952) and The Killing (1956) as her favorites.

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Today in 1860, the first Pony Express mail made its way from relay to relay. Buffalo Bill Cody became a Pony Express rider at 15.

By the way, Pony Express (1953) starring Charlton Heston as Cody (and Forrest Tucker as Wild Bill Hickock) will be making its way to DVD later this month.

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