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The Joel McCrea Blogathon
November 4 – 6, 2016

Joel McCrea stands tall as a true icon of Hollywood’s West. Before becoming so associated with cowboy pictures, he appeared in classics like Most Dangerous Game (1932), Foreign Correspondent (1940) and Sullivan’s Travels (1941). Let’s mark what would’ve been his 111th birthday, November 5, with a celebration of his work.

Here’s what you do:
• Pick a McCrea picture. Any one will do.
• Let me know you want to participate (email fiftieswesterns@gmail.com), what you want to cover and when you plan to post it — Friday November 4th through Sunday the 6th. Your posts can be in any form, of any length, and on any topic as long as it relates to McCrea, but I’d like to manage things a bit to make sure we don’t end up with 14 people writing about the same thing.
• Post your piece on the scheduled day, using the official blogathon banner and link (to come).
• Send me the link so I can post it on the master list.

This should be a lot of fun.

johnny-guitar-np-ad

I’m gonna make this quick because time’s running out. Olive Films’ Signature Edition of Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar (1954) comes our tomorrow. Today, the pre-order price at Amazon is only $16.99 (the list price is $39.95).

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Get the new Blu-Ray of Johnny Guitar, or Frank’ll let you have it.

Watched it over the weekend, and I really urge you to get it (a real review will be coming soon). Don’t have a Blu-ray player? Well, now’s the time. This thing’s incredible. As much as I love this movie, seeing it in hi-def and its proper 1.66 framing, I love it even more. Essential.

outlaw-country-tc

Directed by Ray Taylor
Starring Lash La Rue, Fuzzy St. John, Dan White, House Peters, Jr., Nancy Saunders

This may be the first time Lash and Fuzzy have graced the “pages” of this blog. Folks have written in a few times asking when I’m going to get around to these guys, and I’m sorry for the oversight.

Outlaw Country (1949) is one of the later Lash pictures, and at 72 minutes, one of the longest. It features La Rue’s long-lost twin brother, the Frontier Phantom — who turns up again the last Lash/Fuzzy movie, The Frontier Phantom (1952). Made for Western Adventure Productions, these had even lower budgets than the previous PRC pictures.

Outlaw Country is paired with Law Of The Lash (1947, a PRC picture) in VCI’s Lash La Rue Double Feature. Both were directed by Ray Taylor, one of the most prolific directors of them all, with more than 150 films to his credit.

rawhide1

The lineup for the 54th New York Film Festival — which runs from September 30 to Octoebr 16 — includes a terrific Henry Hathaway retrospective that doesn’t skimp on his Westerns.

Rawhide (1951)
Starring Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Hugh Marlowe, Dean Jagger, Edgar Buchanan, Jack Elam, George Tobias, James Millican

Garden Of Evil (1954)
Starring Gary Cooper, Susan Hayward, Richard Widmark, Hugh Marlowe, Cameron Mitchell

From Hell To Texas (1958)
Starring Don Murray, Diane Varsi, Chill Wills, R.G. Armstrong, Jay C. Flippen, Harry Carey, Jr.

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North To Alaska (1960)
Starring John Wayne. Stewart Granger, Ernie Kovacks, Fabian, Capucine, Joe Sawyer, James H. Griffith

The Shepherd Of The Hills (1941), Kiss Of Death (1947) and Niagara (1953) are among the other Hathaway pictures being shown. Good stuff.

The restored One-Eyed Jacks (1961) is also part of the festival.

Hugh O’Brian, RIP.

Brass Legend NP ad

Hugh O’Brian
(April 19, 1925 – September 6, 2016)

I can always count on this blog to be a total joy to work on — except for when it comes to posts like this. Hugh O’Brian, who for so many will always be TV’s Wyatt Earp, has passed away at 91.

Before making his way into movies and TV, O’Brian — whose real name is Hugh Charles Krampe — dropped out of college to fight in World War II. At 17, he became the Marines’ youngest drill instructor.

O’Brian appeared in a number of Westerns before landing the Earp role, from The Return Of Jesse James (1950) to The Lawless Breed (1953) to The Brass Legend (1956). He’d go on to appear in The Shootist (1976).

He was tremendously dedicated to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, a non-profit leadership development program for high school kids.

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Knights Of Range OS

Directed by Lesley Selander
Starring Russell Hayden, Victor Jory, Jean Parker

1940 is typically outside the rough confines of this blog (have you noticed how “squishy” the Fifties thing has become lately?), but being that it’s from one of our collective favorites, Lesley Selander, I figured it was worth pointing out.

VCI now offers a remastered copy of Knights Of The Range (1940), one of Paramount’s many Zane Grey adaptations. Judging from the sample on their website, it looks plenty good.

Dakota HS

Directed by Joseph Kane
Starring John Wayne, Vera Hruba Ralston, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond

Kino Lorber has gotten hold of some of the Republic titles under Paramount’s control. They’ve announced Dakota (1945), a solid Western from Joe Kane starring John Wayne, for release before the end of the year. This could be a terrific arrangement, folks!