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Archive for the ‘Kirk Douglas’ Category
Posted in Andre de Toth, Audie Murphy, Budd Boetticher, Burt Kennedy, Charlton Heston, Delmer Daves, DVD reviews, releases, TV, etc., Fred MacMurray, Gary Cooper, George Montgomery, Glenn Ford, Jeff Chandler, Jeffrey Hunter, Joel McCrea, John Ireland, Johnny Mack Brown, Kirk Douglas, Lee Van Cleef, Lesley Selander, Randolph Scott, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Robert Taylor, Rory Calhoun, Tim Holt, William Castle, William Elliott on April 4, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in 1952, 1954, 1956, 1959, Barbara Stanwyck, Howard Hawks, John Sturges, Kirk Douglas, Making Movies, Mara Corday, Republic, Rex Allen, Richard Widmark, Robert Mitchum, Ronald Reagan, Roy Rogers on February 25, 2013 | 7 Comments »
Rex Allen and Roy Rogers, somewhere on the Republic lot.
Mara Corday studies the Raw Edge (1956) screenplay.
Donna Reed and Richard Widmark at work on Backlash (1956). That’s John Sturges obscured in the ball cap.
Howard Hawks shows Kirk Douglas how to do a fight scene for The Big Sky (1952).
Ronald Reagan and Barbara Stanwyck discuss the arms situation on the set of Cattle Queen Of Montana (1954).
Satchel Paige and Robert Mitchum shoot the breeze between takes on The Wonderful Country (1959).
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.
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.”
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.
There the outlaw band make their final stand
Lay down my gun or take the chance of losing you forever
My back’s against the wall
Have you no kind word to say
Before I ride 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
Gunfight at OK corral
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)?
Kirk Douglas has a new book on the way from Open Road Media — I Am Spartacus: Making A Film, Breaking The Blacklist. I’m really looking forward to this one.
“The first Bryna production was a Western called Indian Fighter. I would star in it, along with a new film actor named Walter Matthau. Matthau was a trained stage actor, very successful on Broadway. We got on well. Like me, Walter was the son of Russian immigrants. There we were, two Jewish cowboys from New York riding horses together on a wilderness trail in Oregon. This is how good an actor Walter was. His first two pictures were Westerns and he hated horses. He was afraid of them. Every time Walter got up on a horse, he’d start cursing… in Yiddish: ‘G******, mamzer! You worthless piece of drek, you should be in a glue factory.’ But on film, he was as convincing as Tom Mix. Brilliant actor, funny guy.”
If you haven’t seen The Indian Fighter, you should. Any picture with Douglas, Matthau, Lon Chaney and Hank Worden is worth checking out. It’s also interesting to see how Andre de Toth used CinemaScope.
Mr. Douglas, I yanked out all your paragraph breaks. Sorry.
According to a Movies Unlimited — I received a notice this morning — a few key 50s Westerns are going out of print on DVD.
Copper Canyon (1950)
Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957)
Last Train From Gun Hill (1959)
All three are Paramount pictures. All three are excellent films. And all three feature gorgeous transfers, with Gunfight and Gun Hill having been in VistaVision.
In this age of Special Editions, Blu-ray upgrades and streaming stuff, I’m not exactly sure what a title being discontinued really means. Let’s just say you’ve been warned, and my conscience is clear. (There are some great non-Western films on that list, too — such as Don Siegel’s Hell Is For Heroes.)
Colin over at Riding The High Country has posted another great piece — this one on Last Train From Gun Hill (1959).
Read it when you get a chance. Or better yet, watch the film, then read Colin’s post.
This is one picture where the more time I spent with it — watching it, researching it, or reading something like what Colin has written — the better sense I get of just what a good movie it really is. It’s so intense and entertaining, you lose track of its many qualities — from the performances to Charles Lang’s VistaVision cinematography to Dmitri Tiomkin’s score.
And let’s not forget the script (which Dalton Trumbo had a hand in, though nobody seems to know just how much). Here’s a taste —
Matt Morgan (Kirk Douglas): “I know an old man who’d like to kill you, Belden — the Indian way: slow. That’s how I’m gonna do it: slow — but the white man’s way. First you stand trial. That takes a fair amount of time, and you’ll do a lot of sweating! Then they’ll sentence ya. I never seen a man who didn’t get sick to his stomach when he heard the kind of sentence you’ll draw. After that you’ll sit in a cell and wait, maybe for months, thinking how that rope will feel around your neck. Then they’ll come around, some cold morning, just before sun-up. They’ll tie your arms behind you. You’ll start blubbering, kicking, yelling for help. But it won’t do you any good. They’ll drag you out in the yard, heave you up on that platform, fix that rope around your neck and leave you out there all alone with a big black hood over your eyes. You know the last sound you hear? Kind of a thump when they kick the trapdoor catch — and down you go. You’ll hit the end of that rope like a sack of potatoes, all dead weight. It’ll be white hot around your neck and your Adam’s Apple will turn to mush. You’ll fight for your breath, but you haven’t got any breath. Your brain will begin to boil. You’ll scream and holler! But nobody’ll hear you. You’ll hear it. But nobody else. Finally you’re just swingin’ there — all alone and dead.”