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Archive for the ‘1951’ Category

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Lesley_SelanderNext Thursday, April 9, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will highlight director Lesley Selander by running nine of his films, three of them part of RKO’s excellent series of B Westerns starring Tim Holt (Gunplay is a very good one).

Arrow In The Dust (1954) stars Sterling Hayden and Coleen Gray. Tall Man Riding (1955) is a solid Randolph Scott picture. And The Lone Ranger And The Lost City Of Gold (1958) is the second TV spinoff feature to star Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels.

I’m a big fan of Lesley Selander. When it comes to action, he’s one of the best. It’s good to see him get this kind of attention. His films are short, smart, fast — and highly recommended.

Selander on TCM

The times listed are Eastern Standard Time. This is a “restoration” of a shorter post. Thanks to Blake for pointing out all I’d missed.

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Apache Drums LC

Yesterday, I posted our favorite DVD releases of the year. Today’s list is made up of films we discovered during 2014. Titles that made the list were mentioned by at least three people. It’s a great lineup of fairly obscure, medium-budgeted 50s Westerns — and if you haven’t discovered them yourself, search them out.

Ambush At Tomahawk Gap (1953) Fred F. Sears was extremely prolific, and his 50s Westerns are worth seeking out. This is one of the better ones, available through Columbia’s on-demand DVD program.

Apache Drums (1951) A suspense picture dressed up in cowboy clothes, produced by Val Lewton and directed by Hugo Fregonese. With Stephen McNally, Coleen Gray, Willard Parker, Arthur Shields, James Griffith and Clarence Muse (who’s superb in a small part).

Border River (1954) With George Sherman directing Joel McCrea, Yvonne De Carlo and Pedro Armendáriz, how could it not be great? Shot around Moab, Utah.

Cow Country (1953) Coming across a new Lesley Selander picture is always a treat. This one features Edmond O’Brien, Helen Wescott, Bob Lowery, Barton MacLane, Peggie Castle, James Millican and Robert Wilke.

A Day Of Fury (1956) One of the most unusual, and overlooked, Westerns of the 50s. Harmon Jones directs Dale Robertson, Mara Corday and Jock Mahoney. I’m so glad this one’s being rediscovered.

Four Guns To The Border (1954) Rory Calhoun, Colleen Miller and Walter Brennan in an excellent Universal Western directed by Richard Carlson.

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Fury At Gunsight Pass (1956) Another good one from Fred F. Sears. Wish this one would see a real DVD release — black and white widescreen is so cool.

The Silver Whip (1953) Dale Robertson, Rory Calhoun, Robert Wagner, Kathleen Crowley and James Millican star in this taut, tight picture from editor-turned-director Harmon Jones. The staging of the climactic chase is masterful.

Stage To Tucson (1950) Rod Cameron and Wayne Morris. Lone Pine in Technicolor. Surely that’s worth an investment of 81 minutes.

Yellow Tomahawk LC

The Yellow Tomahawk (1954) Sadly, this color film is only available black and white. But it’s still a solid effort from the ever-dependable Lesley Selander — with a cast that includes Rory Calhoun, Peggie Castle, Noah Beery, Jr., Peter Graves, Lee Van Cleef and Rita Moreno.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

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In a way, I hate to put this up here. Because it shows how remote our chances are of seeing a proper release of Sugarfoot (1951) when watching it on YouTube is something actually desirable.

But, folks, that’s where we are on this one. It’s a title Warner Archive would bring us, if it wasn’t tangled up in some “underlying rights” stuff.

So with the Randy blogathon on the horizon, here’s one of his hardest-to-see 50s Westerns — in a completely watchable 360p. Click the title card, and you’re there. And do it soon, as these things don’t always last.

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A West Doc H

Let’s all congratulate Jerry Entract of the UK for being the first to come through with the correct answer(s) to the trivia question.

What was Edwin L. Marin’s wife’s name?
Ann Morriss

What show was she in that was based on a Randolph Scott film that Marin directed?
Colt .45. There was also a show based on Sugarfoot (1951), which Marin also directed.

And who played Doc Holliday in the episode she appeared in?
Adam West. Incidentally, West played Holliday in an episode of Sugarfoot, too.

The response was great, and everyone who wrote in got it right. These contests are fun. I won’t wait another million hits for the next one.

This is way off topic, but I’m so stoked about West’s Batman series coming to DVD and Blu-ray.

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scott fort worth

A million hits calls for some kinda something. So how about a trivia contest? This one’s complicated, so read carefully.

Director Edwin L. Marin’s last eight features were Westerns, six of them starring Randolph Scott. Marin died in May 1951, just before the release of Fort Worth. (That’s Randy on the set.)

After his death, Marin’s actress wife returned to work, and eventually appeared in an episode of a TV show based on a Scott Western (that Marin directed).

Here’s the question, which is in three parts:
What was Marin’s wife’s name?
What show was she in that was based on a Scott film that Marin directed?
And who played Doc Holliday in the episode she appeared in?

Email your answers to fiftieswesterns@gmail [dot] com. The first person to come through with all three parts correct will win the Randolph Scott triple-feature DVD: Fort Worth (1951), Colt .45 (1950) and Tall Man Riding (1955). The first two were directed by Edwin Marin, the third’s from Lesley Selander.

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Raton Pass HS

Directed by Edwin L. Marin
Starring Dennis Morgan, Patricia Neal, Steve Cochran, Scott Forbes, Dorothy Hart

The last seven films Edwin L. Marin directed were Westerns. All but one starred Randolph Scott. That non-Scott film is Raton Pass (1951), and he died shortly after its release.

It’s a fairly heavily-plotted story of a fight over a ranch, starring Dennis Morgan and Steve Cochran, with strong women’s roles for Patricia Neal and Dorothy Hart. What’s interesting here is that it’s the rancher’s wife trying to take things over.

Raton Pass is coming from Warner Archive in September. It’s interesting to note that Patricia Neal was put on suspension by WB for refusing to appear in one of the Marin/Scott pictures I mentioned previously, Sugarfoot (1951).

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Directed by Lesley Selander
Produced by Herman Schlom
Screen Play by Adele Buffington
Story by Carroll Young
Director Of Photography: J. Roy Hunt, ASC
Music by Paul Sawtell
Film Editor: Samuel E. Beetley, ACE

CAST: Tim Holt (Tim Holt), Richard Martin (Chito Jose Gonzalez Bustamonte Rafferty), Gail Davis (Terry Muldoon), Hugh Beaumont (Brad Roberts), Mari Blanchard (Stella), George Nader (Paul Manning) Robert J. Wilke (Bellew), Cliff Clark (Terence Muldoon), Russell Hicks (Colonel Marvin), Robert Bray (Steve), Fred Graham (Joe).

__________

This time around, Tim Holt and Chito get involved with the transcontinental telegraph. Terry Muldoon (Gail Davis) and her father are running the wire westward, and its completion will close down a number of military outposts. This will destroy Paul Manning’s supply business and keep him from paying off his loans to Brad Roberts (Hugh Beaumont). Roberts and his bunch (which naturally includes Robert J. Wilke) take matters into their own hands —a “Gang-Stooge Terror Plot,” according to the ads — and eventually run afoul of Tim and Chito.

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Overland Telegraph (1951) is one of my favorite Holt pictures. It’s a lot of fun to watch Hugh Beaumont as a bad guy. Mari Blanchard doesn’t have much to do but look pretty as Nader’s saloon-girl fiancé. But having Gail Davis on hand is a real asset, displaying a bit of the riding and shooting skills that would make her such a great Annie Oakley on TV. The Iverson Ranch is featured quite a bit, too.

b70-5266Gail Davis: “It was a good part for the girl, not just one of those smile into the sunset pictures. Tim was really cute, he had a friendly personality but was a bit of a kidder. So was Dick Martin, but both were very conscientious about their pictures.”*

Of course, director Lesley Selander and editor Samuel Beetley deserve a lot of the credit. They keep things moving at such a clip that the hour’s over before you know it. If you’ve ever seen a lousy B Western, you know that in the wrong hands, an hour can last forever. Selander is such a pro and has such a flair for these things that his films stand apart from the rest. He should’ve written a textbook on film pacing.

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Overland Telegraph is part of Warner Archive’s fourth volume of the Tim Holt Western Classics Collection. It has several of the earlier entries and the last few, providing a great overview of the series. B Westerns didn’t come any better than these. As with the previous sets, the transfers are exquisite — a real tribute to the care and craftsmanship that went into these films. Highly, highly recommended (as if you hadn’t figured that out already).

SOURCE: * Westerns Women by Boyd Magers and Michael G. Fitzgerald.

 

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