One of the hardest things about writing 50 Westerns From The 50s, the book, has been actually settling on the 50 Westerns. There are so many to choose from, and putting together a well-rounded sampling has been very, very hard. I’m still trying to sort it all out.
From the very beginning, I wanted to include a Roy Rogers movie — why wouldn’t I? — and that has presented a problem. His films of the 50s, a terrific string of action-filled pictures directed by William Witney, are poorly represented on DVD. (His earlier pictures fare a little better on video.) Republic did a good job with their transfer of Bells Of Coronado (1950) — it’s uncut and the Trucolor looks good. Aside from that, you’re left with a lot of heavily-edited titles from Goodtimes or junky-looking stuff from those public domain companies. I’ve bought a bunch of them, and aside from lucking into a decent-looking, unedited Trigger, Jr. (1950) for a dollar, I’ve been ripped off.
With this book, I feel kinda funny recommending a film that no one can find a watchable copy of. After all, my goal is to make you want to watch these things!
Timeless Media Group has a new six-disc, 20-movie set out: Roy Rogers: King Of The Cowboys. It includes some really great ones, including personal favorites Trail Of Robin Hood (1950) and Spoilers Of The Plains (1951). I was so stoked when I heard this thing was coming. But I’d heard some grumbling about the label’s previous Rogers releases, so I decided to wait for a verdict before whipping out my debit card.
Tonight I noticed a comment on the set from Roy H. Wagner, ASC. A cinematographer should know a good transfer from a bad one, so I’m gonna take his advice — and spend my $50 or so on something else.