Archive for June, 2012

Hank Worden.

If you’re a 50s Westerns fan, a soft spot for Hank Worden is pretty much a given. Came across this photo today of Hank with David Lynch on the set of Twin Peaks.

Worden’s goofy manner seemed like a perfect match for Lynch’s skewed vision of just about everything. Shame he wasn’t around to appear in Lynch’s The Straight Story (1999). That would’ve been perfect.

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A recent post on Ambush At Tomahawk Gap (1954) spawned a thread about director Fred F. Sears, who made some cool, and often quite good, low-budget pictures for Columbia. I’ve always been an admirer of Sears’ work — he should’ve been given some A pictures. I was happy to see others feel the same way.

So, with all that in mind, it’s terrific that Columbia’s MOD program will be releasing two Sears Westerns in August. The Nebraskan (1953) stars Phil Carey, Roberta Haynes and Wallace Ford — and was originally in 3-D. Lee Van Cleef and Dennis Weaver have early roles.

Carey’s got the lead in Wyoming Renegades (1954), too. Martha Hyer and Gene Evans co-star. Both pictures were written by David Lang, with Martin Berkeley also working on The Nebraskan. Lang wrote quite a few 50s Westerns, for various studios, before turning to TV; Berkeley later wrote Revenge Of The Creature and Tarantula (both 1955) for Universal-International.

A more in-depth post on Ambush At Tomahawk Gap is in the works.

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UCLA Film & Television Archive and
the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present
Ride Lonesome: The Films Of Budd Boetticher

The Billy Wilder Theater
July 13, 2012 – August 12, 2012

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 206-8013

Click here for films, times and other details. More about ’em here.
Thanks to Henry Cabot Beck for the info.

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Took a stroll through my image folder on Son Of Paleface (1952), and a gallery seemed like a good idea. Here’s an incredible signed still.

I’ve amassed so many images over the last few years, it seems like a real shame not to post them, especially the behind-the-scenes shots. Watch for more from other films.

Here, Cecil B. DeMille (waiting to shoot his cameo), Frank Tashlin and Bob Hope (obscured) look on as Jane Russell’s bubbles are strategically arranged.

Jane Russell: “I even took a bath in the same tub Paulette Goddard had once used.” The tub was a leftover from DeMille’s Unconquered (1947).

In a goofy promo shot, Jane and Bob help Roy feed Trigger.

Here’s makeup artist Charlie Gemora with doubles for Jane and Bob. Note Junior’s car in the background (complete with wagon wheels). Photo courtesy charliegemora.com.

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Audie Leon Murphy

June 20, 1924 – May 28, 1971

This incredible promo still for Ride Clear Of Diablo (1954) appears today to mark the birth of Audie Murphy. Dan Duryea doesn’t seem to be enjoying Audie’s birthday all that much.

A great way to celebrate would be to run something from The Audie Murphy Westerns Collection. Ride Clear Of Diablo is one of the pictures in that set.

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Kit Parker and I were going back and forth about Johnny Guitar (1954) recently. He brought up that when his company distributed 16mm films for Republic, the Johnny Guitar prints had Arizona scenery behind the titles, while the restored 35mm prints did not. (Martin Scorsese had a hand in the restoration, by the way.)

Did a little looking, and there it was. You can find anything on the Internet. Wonder what the story is on this?

Thanks to Kit Parker for giving me something to obsess about today.

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Colin over at Riding The High Country recently posted a great writeup on Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar (1954). Be sure to read it.

With a Blu-ray of Johnny Guitar coming from Olive in August, I’m getting excited about seeing the picture again (it’s been almost a year). It’s one of those films that, as Colin points out, shows us something each time we see it. A friend once described it as “the damnedest thing I ever saw” — a concise and completely accurate appraisal.

Any Western where Frank Ferguson and Ward Bond are in a group of vigilantes lead by Mercedes McCambridge has to have its merits.

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Hondo in 3-D June 21, 2012, 6:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre SCA 108 George Lucas Building USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex 900 W. 34th Street Los Angeles, CA 90007

Info and reservations here. Sure hope someone from this blog gets to go to this!

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Happy birthday to Mr. Ben Johnson. The cowboy, actor and all-around swell guy would’ve been 94 today.

Here he is having lunch on the set of John Ford’s Rio Grande (1950). Left to right: Harry Carey, Jr., Ben, Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne. (I’ve been dying to put this picture up here, and this seemed like as good a time as any.)

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Gerd Oswald’s excellent Fury At Showdown (1957), a little masterpiece waiting to be discovered by a larger audience, is scheduled to appear on Encore Westerns on Tuesday, June 19, at 9AM (Eastern/Pacific). Don’t miss it.

It stars John Derek, Nick Adams, Carolyn Craig and John Smith. A key 50s Western and a miracle of low-budget film-making — Oswald somehow pulled this picture off in a week (some of it at Iverson Ranch)!

Gerd Oswald (from a terrific Filmfax interview): “That was one of my six or seven day epics… The line producer, John Brett, said, ‘You are only allowed so much money for this picture and tomorrow we’ve got a big lynch scene. We’re supposed to have 50 extras, and I can only give you 12. That’s all — we just don’t have any more money.’ So by necessity I was forced to do certain set-ups that I normally wouldn’t have done. I filled half the screen with the profile of one man, then filled the background. I created a mob scene with just 12 people. The film got tremendous reviews in New York; they praised the inventiveness of the shots — truth was I was forced into it.”

Why hasn’t MGM made this part of their MOD effort (widescreen, please)? In the meantime, if someone out there captures this on DVD-R, please let me know!

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