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Maureen O’Hara (born Maureen FitzSimons)
(August 17, 1920 – October 24, 2015)

The great Maureen O’Hara was born 97 years ago today.

Here she is with John Wayne in John Ford’s Rio Grande (1950). They made it largely to get the chance to make The Quiet Man (1952), but they knocked out a masterpiece anyway. It doesn’t get near the recognition it deserves.

Directed by John Sturges
Starring Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens, Robert Middleton, Henry Silva, DeForest Kelley

The Law And Jake Wade (1958) is one of the best Westerns of the 50s. It’s tight, tense and in CinemaScope, which is exactly what you want in a John Sturges movie. Oh, and it’s coming to Blu-Ray from Warner Archive.

Jake Wade (Robert Taylor) wants to go straight, but his old partner Richard Widmark wants to know where he buried the loot from an old bank job. Before long, Widmark’s abducted Taylor’s fiancé (Patricia Owens) and they’re all headed into Comanche territory — and the Comanches are on the warpath.

This is as good as it gets, folks — and I’m sure Warner Archive will treat it right. Essential stuff.

Rory Calhoun
(August 8, 1922 – April 28, 1999)

Rory Calhoun would be 95 today.

His run of 50s Westerns stands up to about anybody’s. Red Sundown (1956) really knocked me out, but others are just as good — The Silver Whip (1953), Dawn At Socorro (1954), The Hired Gun (1957) and on it goes. He worked with Ray Nazarro a lot, especially when he developed his own films, which guarantees you a pretty solid 80 minutes.

This newspaper piece plugs The Treasure Of Pancho Villa (1955) from George Sherman. Wish Warner Archive or somebody would get around to that one.

There’s a feature-length documentary in the works on producer/director Al Adamson. Adamson made a number of exploitation pictures in the 60s and 70s — Satan’s Sadists (1969), Five Bloody Graves (1969), Horror Of The Blood Monsters (1970), Dracula Vs. Frankenstein (1971) and many more. His father was Victor Adamson, who made a slew of B Westerns in the 20s and 30s as an actor and director (sometimes under aliases like Denver Dixon). Many of his films are considered lost.

That’s Al Adamson in the lower left.

As a boy, Al appeared in his dad’s Desert Mesa (1935), and they worked together on another no-budget Western, Half Way To Hell in 1961. They made cheap genre movies a family business.

Footage from these films is needed for this documentary on Al Adamson. If you have anything — from a film print to a bootleg VHS, please let me know, and I’ll put you in touch with the producers. Thanks a lot.

Directed by Gordon Douglas
Starring Clint Walker, Roger Moore, Leticia Roman, Robert Middleton, Chill Wills, Gene Evans, Nestor Paiva, Vito Scotti

Did you ever think you’d happen upon a screening of Gold Of The Seven Saints (1961) in this day and age? Well, thanks to the wonderful folks at The New Beverly Cinema, it’s part of their tribute to Roger Moore. What’s more (no pun intended), they’re running it in 35mm (black and white Warnerscope). It’s August 5 and 6 — and I’d sure love to be there.

The New Beverly Cinema
7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
(One block west of La Brea)

Warner Archive has a couple early 50s pictures on the way, both of them worth your time and hard-earned dough. Look at the casts on these things!

The Lion And The Horse (1952)
Directed by Louis King
Starrting Steve Cochran, Wildfire, Ray Teal, Bob Steele, Harry Antrim, George O’Hanlon

The Lion And The Horse was an early exercise in Warnercolor, but don’t hold that against it. I’ve never seen this one, but with Ray Teal and Bob Steele that far up on the cast list, I’m dying to. Steve Cochran played a bad guy more often that not, and this gives him a chance to be likable. Shot in Utah’s Mount Zion National Park, the animals had trouble with the high altitudes and were placed in an oxygen tent from time to time. Director Louis King’s previous picture was Frenchie (1950) with Joel McCrea, and he’d follow it with Powder River (1953).

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Cow Country (1953)
Directed by Lesley Selander
Starring Edmond O’Brien, Helen Wescott, Bob Lowery, Barton MacLane, Peggie Castle, James Millican, Robert Wilke, Raymond Hatton, Tom Tyler, Jack Ingram

Cow Country plays like a series Western on a larger scale — and that’s a good thing. Of course, what would you expect from Lesley Selander? James Millican has a great part here, and Robert Wilke is badder than usual. And Peggie Castle alone is worth the price of admission. Recommended.

Warner Archive has kicked of their Christmas In July Sale — which lets you get four titles for just $44 with free shipping. This is a great, great thing — and it includes Blu-Rays!

Lesley Selander’s Short Grass (1950) with Rod Cameron and Johnny Mack Brown is one to consider. Click the banner to start shopping.