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Archive for the ‘Howard Hawks’ Category

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Recently, I’ve had the extreme pleasure of speaking with Mr. Jack N. Young, a Navy frogman turned stuntman who worked on many of the movies this blog holds dear. Look him up, it’s incredible.

“Blackjack” Young, as he became known, was a busy utility stuntman. He’d hire on for a film and provide what they needed, when they needed it. He worked frequently at Old Tucson, both in the films shot there and as part of their stunt show, and would eventually help run the place.

Transcribing it all is taking a while, and I want to hold onto some of it for the book, but this stuff’s too good to sit on. Among the many films he worked on is my favorite Western, Rio Bravo (1959), which was shot at Old Tucson.

Jack Young: “During the shootout at the end, I came out of the barn and got shot before they blew it up…  Ricky Nelson was a good kid. I play harmonica, and we’d sit around after work or something and sing. God, that kid was good!”

Rio Bravo foreign poster

Young: “Dean shot me in the saloon and I fell out of the loft. (Jack’s stunt inspired the foreign poster above.) We gaffed our own stunts. It was a whole bunch of cardboard boxes. We’d put ‘em together — about three-by-three, probably 10 of ‘em, with a rope tied around them to hold ‘em steady — and then put a tarp over it. Works perfect. I worked before the airbag. I’d do a roof fall, up to about 10 feet, without a pad. I’d hit the ground rolling, almost like a tumbler. I never got hurt.”

Talking to Jack has been an honor, and he’s provided a lot of insight into how these films were made. Watch for more, including a bit on City Of Bad Men (1953), which just showed up in my mailbox today.

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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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Rio Bravo (1959)

According to an article by Bob Thomas that appeared in the Anniston Star on July 7, 1958, Howard Hawks and John Wayne toyed with the idea of shooting Rio Bravo (1959) in the three-camera, 2.59:1 Cinemiracle process.

Hawks: “I think the time is ripe for putting a story on that big screen. Wayne and I have a story which I think would work — a kind of a Western… It won’t be easy. You’ve got to have a very special kind of story for the big screen; one that gives you a variety of backgrounds.”

I’m guessing the story of Rio Bravo changed a bit, since the finished film doesn’t boast a “variety of backgrounds” — just the sheriff’s office, a couple saloons, the hotel and a couple spots in Old Tucson.

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Eric Hilliard “Ricky” Nelson
(May 8, 1940 – December 31, 1985)

Ricky Nelson only made one Western, but what a Western he made — Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo (1959). His birthday seems like a good excuse to post this rather odd behind-the-scenes photo from my favorite cowboy movie.

Incidentally, Ricky’s older brother Dave also made a great Western in ’59, Andre de Toth’s Day Of The Outlaw.

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Rex and Roy

Rex Allen and Roy Rogers, somewhere on the Republic lot.

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Mara Corday studies the Raw Edge (1956) screenplay.

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Donna Reed and Richard Widmark at work on Backlash (1956). That’s John Sturges obscured in the ball cap.

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Howard Hawks shows Kirk Douglas how to do a fight scene for The Big Sky (1952).

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Ronald Reagan and Barbara Stanwyck discuss the arms situation on the set of Cattle Queen Of Montana (1954).

Satchel Paige and Robert Mitchum in The Wonderful Country with Julie London

Satchel Paige and Robert Mitchum shoot the breeze between takes on The Wonderful Country (1959).

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My favorite Western, Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo (1959), is coming to The Historic Texas Theater in Dallas — and Angie Dickinson’s coming along with it.

It’s part of TCM’s Road To Hollywood — a series of free screenings leading up to the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood.

Rio Bravo (1959)
Hosted by Ben Mankiewicz, with special guest Angie Dickinson
The Historic Texas Theater, Dallas, TX
Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 (CT), Tickets available Feb. 8.

If my wonderful grandparents from Strawn, TX, Zelma and Flint McCullough, were still with us, it’d be time to pay them a visit!

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