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Archive for September, 2013

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Roger Corman’s Gunslinger (1956), maybe my daughter’s favorite 50s Western (take that, Mystery Science Theater!), has been announced for DVD release from Timeless Media Group on October 15. The set, another Movies 4 You Western Film Collection — also offers Clint Walker and Barry Sullivan in Yuma (1971), Terence Hill in the spaghetti western Man Of The East (1971) and Pioneer Woman (1973). An odd grouping, maybe, but you can’t beat the $6.95 list price.

I’ve written about Gunslinger before, and I’m happy to know it’s going to be available Stateside. Beverly Garland is always terrific, and she’s so cool in this one. Not sure if it’ll be widescreen or not — the PAL version is, and it’s as nice-looking as this cheap little picture is probably capable of looking. And as ridiculous as it sounds, all of us in the Roan household would love to see it make its way to Blu-ray.

UPDATE 9/30/13: Timeless has served up the same widescreen transfer of Gunslinger as the UK release. It’s 1.85, which AIP called “Wide Vision”on the poster. The contrast levels fluctuate a bit, probably the result of the constant rain that plagued its six-day shooting schedule — this is a nice transfer of a cheap movie. Any issues come from Iverson Ranch in 1956, not from the film transfer suite.

As far the other titles, Man Of The East looks terrific — I love the look of those Techniscope spaghetti westerns. Yuma is soft.

Gunslinger HS sized

What a great poster, too! Reynold Brown, I think.

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Universal’s Vault Series is serving up a handful of 50s Westerns, basically taking the TCM Western Horizons set and selling them as single discs (available exclusively from Amazon).

Horizons West (1952) has Budd Boetticher directing Robert Ryan, Julie Adams and Rock Hudson in a Technicolor post-Civil War tale.

Saskatchewan (1954) puts Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters, J. Carrol Naish and Hugh O’Brian in the hands of the great Raoul Walsh.

Dawn At Socorro (1954) was directed by George Sherman, which is enough for me. Factor in Rory Calhoun, Piper Laurie, Mara Corday, Edgar Buchanan, Skip Homeier, James Millican and Lee Van Cleef, and you’ve really got something going.
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Pillars Of The Sky (1956) stars Jeff Chandler and Dorothy Malone. Support comes from Ward Bond, Olive Carey (both appeared in The Searchers the same year) and Lee Marvin. George Marshall directed in CinemaScope. I love this film.

Backlash (1956) comes from John Sturges and stars Richard Widmark, Donna Reed and William Campbell. Good stuff.

These will make a welcome addition to anybody’s collection, but what I want to know is: where are A Day Of Fury (1956) and Last Of The Fast Guns (1958)?

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The Man from Laramie poster sized

Don’t have any real details yet, but Twilight Time will issue The Man From Laramie (1955) on Blu-ray some time in 2014. Of course, it’s one of the finest of 50s Westerns — some consider it the best of the Anthony Mann/James Stewart pictures.

Also coming is Stewart (again) and Richard Widmark in John Ford’s Two Rode Together (1961).

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To call The Beast Of Hollow Mountain (1956) a Western might be pushing things a bit. After all, dinosaurs don’t turn up in too many cowboy movies. But it’s got Guy Madison in it, which counts for a lot, and Patricia Medina (The Buckskin Lady, 1957).

1175303_331993213604363_732954294_nBased on a story by special effects genius Willis O’Brien (King Kong), this Mexican co-production finds Madison as a rancher trying to find out why his cattle are disappearing. It’s a shame Willis didn’t get to handle the animation, because the effects are only so-so. He had been shopping this story around for years. It was eventually made a second time as Valley Of Gwangi (1969), with effects by O’Brien’s former student Ray Harryhausen. It’s a fun film, and very cool in CinemaScope.

Hollow Mountain will be paired with The Neanderthal Man (1953) for a 2014 Blu-ray release from Shout Factory. As you may know, Shout Factory has a horror specialty label called Scream Factory. I’d like to propose that they launch an all-Western division — Shoot Factory, perhaps. They take great care in their releases.

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lasttrain

I was a recent guest on Todd Liebenow’s excellent podcast Forgotten Filmcast, which features a film blogger covering a movie they consider under-appreciated. We focused on Last Train From Gun Hill (1959). Todd had never seen it, and I was so happy to hear he loved it. It’s a great 50s Western, one of my favorites, and I hope we did it justice.

The show’s now available from iTunes or the Forgotten Filmcast site.

The terrific illustration of Kirk Douglas in Last Train From Gun Hill was done by Roger Koch, who goes by the name Zombie Dad. Permission to use it is greatly appreciated.

Last Train podcast

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In my mind, Labor Day belongs to Jerry Lewis. His annual Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) telethon saw to that.

So today seems like the perfect time to highlight Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in Pardners (1956), their next-to-last film together.

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Jerry Lewis (from his book Dean And Me: A Love Story): “The best thing about Pardners, for Dean, was — after having been in love with Westerns all his life — he was actually starring in one. If he had known then that in only four years he’d be making Rio Bravo with John Wayne, he would have been in heaven.”

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Lewis: “The best thing for me was learning, from a man named Arvo Ojala, to quick-draw and twirl a pistol…”

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin

Lewis: “The hardest thing about the picture was the crushing irony of Dean and me singing the film’s title number, written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn:

You and me, we’ll always be pardners, 
You and me, we’ll always be friends…”

You can support the MDA and their Show Of Strength Telethon here.

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