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Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Starring Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, James Coburn, Michael Anderson Jr., Mario Adorf, Brock Peters, Senta Berger, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Slim Pickens, Dub Taylor, Michael Pate

Western fans and Peckinpah nuts have spent decades debating the merits of Major Dundee (1965). Nowadays, we also debate the merits of one DVD or Blu-Ray release of the picture over the other. It’s coming in a nice new set from Imprint out of Australia in October.

For me, the participation of Mr. Glenn Erickson puts an immediate Seal Of Approval on anything to do with Major Dundee. It’s his favorite movie, he’s certainly an authority on it (along with lots of other movies), and he’s a really nice guy. Nick Redman and Paul Seydor are also represented. 

Special Features and Technical Specs:
• Limited 2-Disc hard box edition with unique artwork on the first 1,500 copies
• Includes the 2005 4K extended cut scan and original theatrical cut
• NEW 2020 Audio Commentary by film historians Glenn Erickson and Alan Rode (Extended Cut)
Passion & The Poetry: The Dundee Odyssey – Mike Siegel ‘s 2019 feature length documentary on the making of Major Dundee with L.Q. Jones, James Coburn, Lupita Peckinpah, Chalo Gonzalez and more
Mike Siegel: About the Passion & Poetry Project – New English language version. Filmmaker Mike Siegel talks about his beginnings and his ongoing film historical project about Sam Peckinpah
Passion & Poetry: Peckinpah Anecdotes: Nine actors telling stories about working with Sam Peckinpah
• English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (new score by Christopher Caliendo) (Extended Cut)
• English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (original score by Daniele Amfitheatrof) (Extended Cut)
• English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (original score by Daniele Amfitheatrof) (Theatrical Cut)
• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle
• Isolated score by Christopher Caliendo in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo (Extended Cut)
• Isolated score by Daniele Amfitheatrof in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo (Theatrical Cut)
• Extended deleted scenes/outtakes with commentary by Glenn Erickson
• Original Trailers
• Trailer Artwork Outtakes
• Exhibitor Promo Reel Excerpt
• Vintage featurette: “Riding For A Fall” 

That’s a lot of stuff. I’m getting really excited about this one. Not sure what the Region info is on it.

UPDATE (8/4/2020): The word is, Imprint Blu-Rays are Region Free.

Directed by Edward Dein
Starring Eric Fleming, Kathleen Crowley, Michael Pate, John Hoyt, Bruce Gordon

Kino Lorber has announced an October release for the terrific Western/Horror mashup Curse Of The Undead (1959). The story of vampires in the old West, it’s a better picture than you’d expect it to be — pictures like Billy The Kid Vs. Dracula (1966) set the cowboy/monster bar pretty low. U-I excelled at both Westerns and monster movies in the 50s, and Curse Of The Dead succeeds as both.

Ellis Carter’s cinematography is really nice on this one, and it should look terrific on Blu-Ray. Can’t wait to get my hands on this thing!

Directed by Edwin L. Marin
Starring Randolph Scott, David Brian, Phyllis Thaxter, Helena Carter, Dickie Jones, Ray Teal, Michael Tolan, Paul Picerni, Emerson Treacy, Bob Steele, Walter Sande, Chubby Johnson

Warner Archive has been righting a few wrongs lately, bringing some pictures back to DVD that’ve been missing for a while. One of the latest to be announced is Edwin Marin’s Fort Worth (1951). (Click the lobby card for the Warner Archive link.)

It’s a pretty good one, with a great cast and gorgeous Technicolor photography from Sid Hickox. It was the seventh Western Scott and Marin did together. It was also the last, with the director passing away a couple months before it opened. (Wish a Blu-Ray was also on the way.)

RIP, John Saxon.

John Saxon
(August 5, 1936 – July 25, 2020)

John Saxon has passed away at 83. He was a very good actor who never got the recognition he was due. He’s terrific in The Appaloosa (1966), where he easily outdid Marlon Brando. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for that one.

He also did the Westerns The Unforgiven (1960), Death Of A Gunfighter (1969) and Joe Kidd (1972), Mario Bava’s The Evil Eye (1963) and the Bruce Lee picture Enter The Dragon (1973). He stayed busy on TV, too.

Posse From Hell (1960) was one of the U-I Audie Murphy pictures produced by Gordon Kay. It’s worth a second look. Saxon’s really good in it.

Play Ball — Take Two!

Today, the LA Dodgers play their first home game of the virus-infected 60-game 2020 season (against the Giants). I won’t be there. Neither will anybody else.

Here’s a photo of John Ford sporting a Dodgers cap (in Monument Valley) to commemorate what’s left of season. Posting this picture, one of my favorites, has been a tradition here, and this year I got to do it twice — when the season was supposed to start, and today. Go Dodgers!

Directed by Henry Hathaway
Starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Martha Hyer, Michael Anderson Jr., Earl Holliman, George Kennedy, Paul Fix, James Gregory, Dennis Hopper, John Doucette, Strother Martin, Percy Helton

Paramount has announced a September Blu-Ray release of The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965). It’s a terrific movie, with an incredible cast and gorgeous cinematography from the great Lucien Ballard. Paramount’s Blu-Rays of pictures like this can be stunning, if they’re not overly processed like El Dorado (1966) was. Still, it comes highly recommended. 

With this announcement this week, and last week’s news of The Gunfighter (1950) from Criterion, things are looking pretty good.

Directed by Henry King
Starring Gregory Peck, Helen Wescott, Millard Mitchell, Jean Parker, Karl Malden, Skip Homeier, Anthony Ross

Criterion has announced the October release of one of the absolute key Westerns of the 50s, Henry King’s The Gunfighter (1950). 

This is one of those movies that introduced a theme that’s been ripped off so often, we have a hard time understanding how fresh and innovative the film really was. In the case of The Gunfighter, it’s so good, we can always appreciate it for that. That theme, of course, is the gunman who wants to hang up his guns and live a normal life — here, he has a wife and son to reconnect with. There have been dozens of variations on that idea since, but this is where it came from.

You can always expect a sterling transfer from Criterion, along with a healthy stack of supplemental stuff. They do a terrific job on whatever they take on. The Gunfighter is essential (it gets a chapter in my 50s Westerns book, by the way), and I’d consider the Criterion disc just as essential.

Thanks to everybody who sent in the news!

There’s something about this blog I’ve always been uncomfortable with. Through DVD/Blu-Ray new release information or reviews, by plugging a Kickstarter campaign to restore something, or by mentioning a book that’s on the way (including mine), I have a tiny influence on people’s buying decisions. I work in Marketing and Advertising and do this every day, so I ought to be OK with it, but it’s different at this more informal, semi-personal level. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know quite a few of you, and I make a point of not telling my friends how to spend their money.

Having said all that, now I want to tell you how to spend your money. Not really, but kinda.

Back in the 90s, before 50s Westerns took over my life, I used to watch a lot of old Poverty Row horror and 60s spy movies (especially those goofy European James Bond ripoffs). A great source for such things was a company in Oregon called Sinister Cinema. Maybe you’re familiar with them. A friend and I (how ya doing, DV?) ordered from them quite a bit (it was VHS back then) or would rent their stuff from a mail-order place called Video Vault. 

Nowadays, Sinister Cinema deals in DVDs, of course, and they’ve taken a real shine to B Westerns of the 30s and 40s. You’ll find some terrific pictures on their site, from Hoot Gibson to Bob Steele to Ken Maynard. And some titles I’d been looking for decent copies of — Riders Of The Whistling Skull (1937), Hell Canyon Outlaws (1957) and A Lust To Kill (1958).

The folks at Sinister Cinema are talking about shutting down. First, I’d hate to see that happen because old movie nuts aren’t supporting them like we should. So I encourage you to visit their site. Click on the logo above, and away you go! And I highly recommend Hell Canyon Outlaws. (Click the lobby card up top for that link.) It was directed by Paul Landres and has a great part for Dale Robertson. Sinister’s copy is from a well-worn 16mm print, but it’s very watchable. It’s full-frame, so if your TV will let you zoom a bit, you can approximate its 1.85 framing.

And since these titles are less than $10 each, I don’t feel so bad about trying to make you part with your dough. You might even thank me for it.

This coronavirus mess has many of us stuck in our homes, whether we want to be or not. I’ve been using some of that time to make some progress on 50 Westerns From The 50s, the book-in-progress that is this blog’s namesake.

Thought it would be fun to “sneak preview” some of the 50s Westerns (50 of ’em) the book will highlight (with a chapter dedicated to each). So click on the old ad up top and you’ll be transported to the book’s Facebook page. The ad says 8:40PM, and who am I to argue with Hollywood circa 1957? The first one will appear on Facebook at that time tonight (Eastern Standard Time).

Directed by Henry Hathaway
Starring John Wayne, Betty Field, Harry Carey, Beulah Bondi, Ward Bond, Marjorie Main, John Qualen, Fuzzy Knight

Kino Lorber has announced a Fall Blu-Ray release of Henry Hathaway’s The Shepherd Of The Hills (1941). It’s not a Western, really, since it takes place in the Ozark Mountains, but some Western elements were worked into the novel’s plot to make it more of a John Wayne movie. Wayne was well on his way to becoming a major star — this was just a couple years after Stagecoach (1939).

It was Wayne’s first time working with director Henry Hathaway. They’d do a number of pictures together. It was also the first time we got to see John Wayne in Technicolor, and that gorgeous color will certainly be one of the delights to be found in this new Blu-Ray. This is a beautiful movie. Highly recommended.