Archive for December, 2011

These don’t require much explanation. It’s the cover and one spread from the original program for Anthony Mann’s Bend Of The River (1952). Click on ’em, they get bigger. Enjoy.


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Sam Peckinpah’s first film as director, The Deadly Companions (1961), is coming from VCI in what promises be a nice anamorphic transfer.

Starring Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara (who’d just appeared together in The Parent Trap) — and shot in 21 days for $550,000 in Old Tuscon, The Deadly Companions has been represented over the years by shoddy, pan-and-scan tapes and DVDs that were an insult to anybody who worked on it.

Brian Keith and Peckinpah had just collaborated on the terrific The Westerner TV series. O’Hara’s brother, producer of The Deadly Companions, approached Keith. Keith requested Peckinpah, thinking he’d patch up the script.

Though Peckinpah was not allowed to do a rewrite or supervise the editing, his direction is assured and bears his strong visual stamp. It deserves more attention than it normally gets — this is more than just a first-picture curio.

It’s based on the novel Yellowleg by A.S. Fleischman, which at one point was optioned by Marlon Brando’s Pennebaker Productions. Nothing came it, though a script was prepared, and Brando’s Western eventually ended up being One-Eyed Jacks (1961).

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Trim the tree with lead.

Hope everyone had a nice holiday, and that the transition back to everyday life is a smooth one.

Above is my Roy Rogers cap pistol, a gift from my lovely wife. I’ve wanted a genuine RR shooting iron since I was a kid, and have a suspicion it won’t be my last. It’s surrounded by cowboys from a cool little set Santa brought my daughter.

Over the holiday, we managed to sneak in Trail Of Robin Hood (1950). It’s just as wonderful as I remembered.

Hoping to make the most of the span between Christmas and New Year’s — and get some real writin’ done. But it’s hard to type when one hand’s busy twirling this pistol!

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Republic’s Hellfire (1949) — starring Willilan Elliott, Marie Windsor and Forrest Tucker — is one of my favorite Westerns.

The cowboy firing his guns at the camera in the “Man with his misdeeds…” opening montage is stuntman Fred Carson.

So now you know.

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Merry Christmas.

Here’s John Wayne and family coming down the steps Christmas morning — or at least something set up to look that way.

Hope you all have a holiday you’ll look back on as a really good one — and that you can squeeze a cowboy picture or two in there somewhere.


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From the fabulous Kiddie Records Weekly comes The Story Of The Nativity (1950) by Gene Autry.

Click here and scroll down to “Week 51.” Be sure to look around — there are plenty of other terrific things to be found here, from Tex Ritter to Mr. Toad. Roy Rogers’ tale of Pecos Bill is a personal favorite.


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The Last Posse (1953), directed by Alfred Werker and produced by Harry Joe Brown, is coming from Columbia’s MOD program. It’s been a while Columbia offered up a Western — let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come.

It stars Broderick Crawford, John Derek, Charles Bickford and Wanda Hendrix. Farther down the cast list is Skip Homeier. Crawford, who I always think of from Born Yesterday (1950) and Highway Patrol (1955-59), seems a bit out of place on horseback. But he’s quite good in this one. He’s also in Lone Star (1952), a film I have many problems with (he’s not one of them), and The Fastest Gun Alive (1956), a picture I love.

The Last Posse makes good use of Lone Pine locations, is black and white and runs just a bit over 70 minutes. These are all good things.

Not sure what the release date is.

Thanks to John Knight for the tip.

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Warner Archive has announced the second volume in their Monogram Western series, appropriately titled The Monogram Cowboy Collection, Volume 2. This time, they turn their attention to Whip Wilson (six titles) and Rod Cameron (two pictures).

Rod Cameron stars in Fort Osage (1951) and Wagons West (1952). Monogram Pictures seemed to spend a bit more money on these Cameron Westerns, and both of these are in Cinecolor. Fort Osage was directed by Lesley Selander, a real expert at this sort of thing.

Whip Wilson came along a bit too late to make a big splash in series Westerns, but his pictures are quite good. Directors Thomas Carr and Lewis D. Collins and writer Dan Ullman were also working on the excellent Wild Bil Elliott Monograms around the same time as the films in this set, which are: Canyon Raiders (1951), Stage To Blue River (1951), The Gunman (1952), Night Raiders (1952), Montana Incident (1952) and Wyoming Roundup (1952).


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This just in (thanks, Paula). John Ford’s Wagon Master (1950) will be screened December 28, 29 and 30 as part of the Museum Of Modern Art’s An Auteurist History Of Film exhibition.

They say New York is a very special place around the holidays. Indeed.

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Plans for the holidays?

Some recent posts have spurred a few of us to make preliminary plans to watch certain films — Westerns, of course — over the holiday break.

Colin mentioned Escort West (1959). I’m thinking about Trail Of Robin Hood (1950), Roy Rogers’ Christmas picture. Then, of course, there’s stuff like It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), The Bishop’s Wife  (1947, if you haven’t seen this, I urge you to) and A Christmas Story (1983) — which aren’t Westerns, but we won’t hold it against ’em.

As the weather gets colder, I always get the itch to drag out Track Of The Cat (1954) and Day Of The Outlaw (1959). A 16mm adapted ‘Scope print of 1958’s Escape From Red Rock is sitting here, too. And I’ve purposefully avoided the TCM schedule. So many movies, so little time.

So what’s stacked beside your DVD player, waiting its turn?

[The wonderful John Falter illustration appeared on the November 9, 1957 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.]

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