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Archive for the ‘William Wellman’ Category

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Why go to Walmart and get punched in the face over a cheap toaster when you can sit at home and buy cowboy movies? Click the image above and have at it.

And if you haven’t done it yet, do yourself a favor and get Westward The Women (1951). If nothing else, it’ll give you something to be thankful for next Thanksgiving.

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My daughter caught Beverly Garland in Gunslinger (1956, above) yesterday (on broadcast TV!) and loved it. She thought Beverly was about the coolest thing ever — which, of course, she is. She also thought her horse was pretty.

Blake Lucas suggested Johnny Guitar (1954) as a followup, and I thought of Hellfire (1949, below).

By then, this was looking like something we could all have fun with. So, while I have the opportunity to turn my little girl into a (cap) pistol-packing 50s Western fan, let’s program a 12-year-old girl’s 50s Western Film Festival. Put your picks in a comment.

You know, maybe it’s time 50 Westerns From The 50s had a guest blogger.

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iipsrvDid your aunt Suzy put a twenty in your Christmas card? Well, here’s a good place to use it.

Warner Archive is having a Thank You sale through the 14th, with more than 1,000 titles at five DVD-Rs for just $45. And free shipping. The link is here.

There are some really fine films in the Warner Archive Collection, including some terrific 50s Westerns like Westward The Women (1951), Carson City (1952), The Command (1954), Wichita (1955), The Fastest Gun Alive (1956) and The Hanging Tree (1959). Columbia’s Choice Collection and sets like the Tim Holt RKOs are not part of this promotion.

So have at it. And remember, it’s only good through the 14th!

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The first drive-in theater opened on this day back in 1933 in Camden, New Jersey. By the 50s, there were thousands of drive-ins in the U.S. And, of course, Westerns and monster movies were their bread and butter.

Thanks to Jennifer and Dick for the images. Have you seen today’s Google Doodle?

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Being on the East Coast, I’m thankful that there are people covering where many of these 50s Westerns were shot. Who knows when I’ll get out that way.

Today I came across Joe Maddrey’s post on film locations around Kanab, Utah, including a Western street from Westward The Women (1951). See below.

It’s part of a series — be sure to check out his photos of Ford locations.

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Back in the early days of this blog, I solicited Want Lists from whoever was out there reading this thing — and the picture y’all wanted above all others was William Wellman’s Westward The Women (1951). It’d been quite a while since I’d seen it, so I tracked it down and it was soon at the top of my list, too.

Laura, a real evangelist for this picture, just passed along the fact that Warner Archive is releasing it tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow.

Researching it for my book (it’s a shoe-in for a chapter), I found out that a promotional short subject, “Challenge The Wilderness,” was done on how the shoot was as hard on the cast and crew as the fictional trek in the film. Well, it turns out Warner Archive’s serving that up along with a commentary by film historian Scott Eyman. Thanks to all concerned for giving this film the kind of treatment it deserves.

This is a great Western.

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Denise Darcel has passed away at 87. The French actress’s film career was a short one, but it included two important 50s Westerns.

Above, she’s seen with Gary Cooper in Vera Cruz (1954). This scene with Denise in a rain barrel does not appear in the film. (Do her shoulder straps look like photo retouching to you?)

She’d previously appeared in Westward The Women (1950, below) along with Robert Taylor and an incredible ensemble female cast. She’s great in this one, handling the demanding physical stuff with ease.

You’ll find obituaries for her here and here.

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Warner Archive has announced a handful of Clark Gable pictures as their newest DVD-R releases. Two of them are Westerns.

Across The Wide Missouri (1951) is an excellent film from William Wellman. The story goes that after a preview, MGM got a little scissor-happy with it, leaving us with a fast, tough, beautiful 78 minutes. Joining Gable in the top-notch cast are Ricardo Montalban, J. Carrol Naish, Jack Holt and Timothy Carey (uncredited in one of his first films).

Timothy Carey (from a Psychotronic interview): “I was just an extra in Across The Wide Missouri. Gable had a home up there they rented for him. I went up there and said I was working on the picture. They invited me in and gave me tea and crumpets and were very hospitable to me. I started working on the show three days later and he was a little embarrassed that he wined and dined an atmosphere player at his home. I worked on the show, I played a dead man in it; it was a great part! You could only see my back, I was lying in the water. I’ll never forget the director (William Wellman,) he was a great director, a tough director. I had two arrows in my back lying in the water. I couldn’t hold still, it was so cold and my teeth were chattering. The director said, ‘Keep that jerk still, he’s supposed to be dead.’ I had just come from dramatic school in New York. I thought I was a great actor; I’m the only one who did.”

Also on its way is Lone Star (1952) which puts Gable up against Broderick Crawford, with Ava Gardner in the female lead. Directed by Vincent Sherman, it’s not one of Borden Chase’s better scripts.

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Looks a lot like Track Of The Cat (1954) out there.

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Turns out The Big Country (1958) was a favorite of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had it shown at Camp David a few times.

One of those screenings seems to have been in September, 1959 when Nikita Khrushchev was visiting. During that visit, Khrushchev revealed that Stalin also liked cowboy pictures.

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