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RIP, Jack N. Young.

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Jack N. Young
(September 25, 1926 – September 12, 2018)

Just heard that Jack N. Young, a veteran stuntman from a slew of 50s Westerns, has passed away at 91.

I interviewed Mr. Young in 2014, and he was a blast to speak with. He performed my favorite stunt in my favorite Western — he’s the guy Dean Martin shoots off the balcony in the saloon in Rio Bravo (1959).

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Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, Rock Hudson, Lori Nelson, Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, Royal Dano, Stepin Fetchit, Chubby Johnson

The second of the Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart Westerns, and a very gorgeous thing in Technicolor, Bend Of The River (1952) is coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber. I’ll be putting together a commentary for it, and I can’t tell you what an honor that is.

Which of the Mann-Stewart Westerns is best is a matter of personal taste, and probably a good way to get an argument going among fans of this stuff. But it’s easy to say that they’re all among the finest Westerns ever made — and absolutely essential.

Directed by Sam Fuller
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson, Gene Barry

Criterion has announced a December 11 date for their edition of Sam Fuller’s Forty Guns (1957). The extras sound terrific and I can’t wait to see its black and white Scope in high definition.

This is one of those movies where you find something new to be dazzled by each time you see it. Absolutely essential.

Happy Birthday, Clayton Moore.

Clayton Moore
(September 14, 1914 – December 28, 1999)

The great Clayton More was born 104 years ago today. He was a terrific heavy in tons of Westerns and serials. He was a inspiration to kids everywhere as The Lone Ranger. And by all accounts, he was a really nice guy.

Robert G. Springsteen 
(September 8, 1904 – December 9, 1989)

R.G. “Bud” Springsteen was born 114 years ago today.

Springsteen broke into the movie business as an assistant director at Universal in the 30s — and later performed similar duties at Fox and Republic.

Of course, at Republic, he went on to become one of their key directors. Springsteen did quite a few Wild Bill Elliott pictures, from some of the Red Ryder films to Hellfire (1949), along with a few Rex Allen and Allan “Rocky” Lane movies. When Republic came to an end, Springsteen made the move to Allied Artists for a handful of films, where he mixed Westerns like Cole Younger, Gunfighter with stuff like Revolt In The Big House (both 1958).

In the Sixties came a few Westerns for Universal, including a couple with Audie Murphy, then a few of those Westerns A.C. Lyles produced for Paramount. Pictures like Apache Uprising, Johnny Reno and Waco. There were tons of TV shows, too, from Rawhide to Daniel Boone.

Springsteen’s 50s Westerns may not have the snap to them that William Witney or Lesley Selander always provided. But some of them are really, really good.

Directed by Nicholas Ray
Starring Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Hope Lange, Agnes Moorehead, Alan Hale Jr., Alan Baxter, John Carradine, Rachel Stephens

Nicholas Ray’s mangled masterpiece The True Story Of Jesse James (1957) is coming to Blu-Ray from Twilight Time. It’s one of my personal favorite 50s Westerns — for Ray’s incredible use of CinemaScope if nothing else, and it’s the subject of what I think is my best post ever for this blog.

It’s coming November 20. Not sure what the extras will be, but I can’t wait.

Paul Landres

Paul Landres
(August 21, 1912 – December 26, 2001)

Director Paul Landres was born 106 years ago today.

Landres got his start as an editor, cutting series Westerns and serials at Universal, and made the move to director in the very early 50s — in both features and TV. He retired after a 1972 episode of Adam-12.

He’s one of those little-heard-of directors whose films have a certain something that makes ’em special. From a very effective, yet cheap, Western like Hell Canyon Outlaws (1957) to a cool monster movie like The Vampire (1957), Landres delivered the goods. His work is worth digging around for.