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Archive for the ‘Jeffrey Hunter’ Category

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Sam Elliott (interviewed in the current issue of Cowboys & Indians): “One of the great perks of the movie business is that you get around and you get to be around some very interesting and talented people. One all sides of the camera. The first movie I starred in was a Western called Cactus (released in 1972 as Molly And Lawless John) with Vera Miles. We shot in Santa Fe; we did some interiors at Studio Center in the San Fernando Valley. One day John Ford showed up — he was there to visit Vera. John Ford! That stopped the show for a while. It might as well have been the pope.”

Photo: Ford demonstrates the kiss he wants Jeffrey Hunter to plant on Vera Miles for The Searchers (1956). Olive Carey looks on.

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Sorry for the short notice, but the Newport Beach Film Festival is screening The Searchers (1956) tomorrow at noon at the Island Cinema. The event is sponsored by the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

Ethan Wayne and Glenn Frankel, author of The Searchers: The Making Of An American Legend, will appear before the film.

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You’ve got till 4/6 at 11:59PM PST to head ‘em off at the pass. Mount up!

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Here’s Ward Bond, John Wayne and Dorothy Jordan in the greatest single scene to be found in an American film. In less than a minute, it says more than most movies say in two hours. Without a word being said, and completely without pretense.

Of course, it’s from John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), a film this blog has pretty much stayed away from. It’s been written about so much, and I’d rather help lead people to more obscure pictures like Quantez (1957). And truth be told, I don’t think I’m up to it. It scares me.

So I’ll just say the greatest (Western) film ever made will be at the Aero Theatre on the 11th. It’d make a great way to pay tribute to Harry Carey, Jr.

The Searchers (1956) 
Monday, March 11, 7:30 PM

The Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Glenn Frankel will sign copies of his book The Searchers: The Making Of An American Legend in the lobby at 6:30 PM. Monday’s my daughter’s birthday, and if the Aero wasn’t a couple thousand miles away…

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Picture 6Hop over to the Home Theater Forum for a chance to vote for what classic titles you’d like to see Fox release on Blu-ray.

Arranged by decade — the Thirties through the Sixties — you’ve got some good stuff to choose from. 50s Westerns are represented by Broken Lance (1954), The Tall Men (1955), The True Story Of Jesse James (1956) and The Bravados (1958). I’m sorry to say they’re all getting smoked by The Desk Set (1957). So get out and vote — you can vote in every decade every day — let’s give The Bravados a fighting chance.

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Jeffrey Hunter, Hank Worden and John Wayne commemorate Hit Number 500,000 on this blog with a little tequila. Thanks to all the fingers responsible for those clicks. I appreciate each and every one.

Of course, that image is from John Ford’s The Searchers (1956).

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Jeffrey Hunter (Henry Herman “Hank” McKinnies)
(November 25, 1926 – May 27, 1969)

Today let’s remember Jeffrey Hunter, an actor whose career was cut way too short. He’s seen above, at right, as Frank James in Nicholas Ray’s The True Story Of Jesse James (1956). He’s excellent in this underrated film.

Western fans also know him for his strong performance in John Ford’s The Searchers (also 1956). Not many actors could threaten John Wayne and not get laughed off the screen.

He was in the first Star Trek pilot.

And he played Jesus in Ray’s King Of Kings (1961) — he’s parlayed the role in my mind’s eye ever since. Another Nick Ray movie that doesn’t get its due.

There’s also The Great Locomotive Chase (1956), The Longest Day (1962) and many others. A remarkable body of work for someone who passed away at just 42.

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Warner Archive has come up with a real curio, something I’ve been wanting to see for some time — Gold For The Caesars (1963), an Italian sword-and-sandal picture starring Jeffrey Hunter (The Searchers) and directed by Andre de Toth (Man In The Saddle).

Hunter also made a spaghetti Western, Find A Place To Die (1968), while de Toth made a handful over films in Italy, including Morgan The Pirate (1961, starring Steve Reeves) and The Mongols (1966).

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Here’s an Italian re-release poster for High Noon (1952). Note that Lee Van Cleef has achieved third billing, that John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter (lifted from The Searchers) appear in the lower right corner, and that it plugs the theme song by Frankie Laine. Some of the other information is actually correct.

This is to mark Olive Films’ announcement of a 60th Anniversary Edition of High Noon on DVD and Blu-ray, scheduled for July 12. Gary Cooper won a Best Actor Oscar for this one, widely considered one of the greatest Westerns ever made. There are a thousand stories about this film, from its transformation in editing to it inspiring Howard Hawks and John Wayne to make Rio Bravo (1959). Its cast is one of the genre’s best: Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney, Henry Morgan, Robert J. Wilke, Jack Elam, John Ducette — and, of course, Lee Van Cleef.

Another announcement: Olive Films has a Blu-ray (and new DVD) of Don Siegel’s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in the works.

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Came across this in the Art Of Disney store at Downtown Disney. It reminded me not just of the Disney World Railroad, but of The Great Locomotive Chase (1956), Disney’s “remake” of The General (1926) — both pictures are based on the same event from the Civil War, Andrews’ Raid.

Walt being such a train nut, or “railhead,” this picture must’ve been near and dear to his heart. He gave it a great cast that includes Fess Parker, Jeffrey Hunter and Kenneth Tobey — and filmed it in Georgia and North Carolina in Technicolor and CinemaScope. It was directed by Francis D. Lyon, whose 50s Westerns include Gunsight Ridge (1957), The Oklahoman (1957) and Escort West (1958)

Released in June 1956, The Great Locomotive Chase was not a success, which is a shame, since it’s got some good performances and some really great train footage. However, another Jeffrey Hunter picture from the same year, The Searchers, did quite well.

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