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Archive for the ‘1953’ Category

Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring Ronald Reagan, Dorothy Malone, Preston Foster, Alex Nicol, Ruth Hampton, Russell Johnson, Chubby Johnson, Dennis Weaver, Tom Steele

Just a reminder that Nathan Juran’s Law And Order (1953), a solid Western from Universal-International, is coming to Blu-Ray next month from Shout Factory. Can’t wait to see Clifford Stine’s gorgeous Technicolor photography in high definition.

Ronald Reagan’s a fed-up lawman who decides to hang up his guns. But you know how those things work out — soon he’s having to strap em back on to settle an old score. Reagan’s cool, Dorothy Malone is beautiful in three-strip Technicolor, and director Nathan Juran settles in for a good run of Westerns at U-I.

I don’t care what your politics are, this one comes highly recommended.

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Directed by​ ​Edward Dein ​& ​Carlos Véjar Hijo
Starring Cesar Romero, Katy Jurado

Okay, so it’s not a Western. But Sword Of Granada (1953), also known as El Corazón Y La Espada and The Heart And The Sword, has plenty to recommend it. First, there’s the cast — Cesar Romero and Katy Jurado. Then there’s the fact that is was co-directed by Ed Dein, who also did Shack Out On 101 (1955) and Curse Of The Undead (1959). Dein wrote it with his wife Mildred. Then there’s the fact that it was the first Mexican film in 3D.

The folks at The 3D Archive have a Kickstarter campaign going to restore this thing in 3D — and include it in the second volume of their 3D Rarities series. Part of the plan is to track down the English tracks, too. All in all, a very cool endeavor.

If you’d like to be part of it, click on the half-sheet above.

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Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring Ronald Reagan, Dorothy Malone, Preston Foster, Alex Nicol, Ruth Hampton, Russell Johnson, Chubby Johnson, Dennis Weaver, Tom Steele

It’s good to have another 50s Western making its way to Blu-Ray. It’s been a bit of a desert out there. Shout Factory has announced a July release for Nathan Juran’s Law And Order (1953), a solid Technicolor picture from Universal-International. The DVD is quite nice and I’m eager to see how much better Clifford Stine’s gorgeous cinematography comes off in high definition.

Ronald Reagan’s a fed-up lawman who decides to hang up his guns. But you know how those things work out — soon he’s having to strap em back on to settle an old score. Reagan’s cool, Dorothy Malone is beautiful in three-strip Technicolor, and director Nathan Juran settles in for a good run of Westerns at U-I.

I don’t care what your politics are, a Universal 50s Western is coming to Blu-Ray — and that always gets my vote. Recommended.

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Julie Adams (Betty May Adams)
October 17, 1926 – February 3, 2019

Just heard the sad news that Julie Adams has passed away at 92. One of my favorites actresses, she made some great Westerns for Universal-International in the 50s — and she was always so beautiful in Technicolor.

She was born Betty May Adams in 1926 in Waterloo, Iowa. In 1946, at 19, she was crowned “Miss Little Rock.” From there, it was off to Hollywood. Betty May worked as a secretary and appeared in a few B Westerns. She used her real name until 1949, when she signed with Universal-International. She then became “Julia” — and eventually “Julie”.

Universal kept her plenty busy. She appeared opposite James Stewart in Anthony Mann’s Bend Of The River (1952), Van Heflin in Budd Boetticher’s Wings Of The Hawk (1953, up top) Tyrone Power in The Mississippi Gambler (1953), Rock Hudson in Raoul Walsh’s The Lawless Breed (1953, above), Glenn Ford in The Man from the Alamo (1953) and Rory Calhoun in The Looters (1955), to name just a few. Away from Universal, she was in The Gunfight At Dodge City (1959) with Joe McCrea and Tickle Me (1965) with Elvis Presley.

She had a leading man of a different sort when she starred in 1954’s Creature From The Black Lagoon. The Creature would become the last of Universal’s roster of movie monsters, a real icon. Julie in her custom-built one-piece bathing suit became pretty iconic as well.

Julie did lots of TV, too. She was a county nurse on The Andy Griffith Show. She was on Perry Mason four times, including the only episode where Mason lost a case. You’ll also find her on The Rifleman, 77 Sunset Strip, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Maverick, McMillan & Wife, Police Woman, The Streets Of San Francisco and more.

Westerns are often criticized for not having strong roles for women. Julie Adams was so good, that never seemed like a problem for her. She always impressed.

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George Randolph Scott
(January 23, 1898 – March 2, 1987)

Let’s mark Randolph Scott’s birthday with the original poster art for The Stranger Wore A Gun (1953). It’s by the painter and illustrator Gustav Rehberger. (Click on the image so you can see it larger. It’s really incredible. Columbia didn’t use it very well when it came to the actual posters.)

Of course, Randolph Scott rides tall around here. His run of Westerns in the 50s is maybe the strongest of the decade, from the six he did with Andre de Toth (which includes The Stranger Wore A Gun) to those written by Burt Kennedy and directed by Budd Boetticher. This would be a good night to watch one.

UPDATE: I’ve been in contact with Rehberger’s widow, Pamela Demme, over the course of all the research for my One-Eyed Jacks book. She commented to this post —

“Rehberger was a big Western fan.  When he arrived in this country at age 13, his cousin took him to see his first movie. It was a Western with a big fight scene. He said he was never the same after it. His most favorite movie was Shane. He saw it dozens of times.  We would run to see every Clint Eastwood movie.

His first full day in Chicago was the Fourth of July. Between seeing his first Western and the fireworks, the farm boy was in paradise!  He loved Westerns for another big reason…lots of horses. Which he loved from the age of three when he was given a rocking horse.  Every Fourth of July, he’d say this is the anniversary of my first day in America. ‘Coming to America was the best thing that could happen to me.’”

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Directed by Reginald Le Borg
Starring Willard Parker, Barbara Payton, Tom Neal, Wallace Ford

Came across a heartbreaking story about Barbara Payton today. It reminded me of The Great Jesse James Raid (1953), her next-to-last picture — and the one time she was paired with Tom Neal. Her relationship with Neal, while engaged to Franchot Tone, helped bring about her tragic downfall.

The Great Jesse James Raid is a cheap little Lippert picture, directed by Reginald Le Borg, “filmed in new Ansco Color” — and available from on DVD from Kit Parker and VCI. There’s something about it I always liked — and I’ll watch anything with Wallace Ford.

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Directed by Nathan Juran
Screenplay by John Meredyth Lucas
From a novel by Kenneth Perkins
Director Of Photography: Russell Metty
Film Editor: Virgil W. Vogel

Cast: Audie Murphy (Jim Harvey), Lori Nelson (Laura Saunders), Chill Wills (Sheriff Murchoree), Roy Roberts (Nick Buckley), Russell Johnson (Lam Blanden), K.T. Stevens (Louella Buckley), Madge Meredith (Sarah Blanden), Lee Van Cleef (Marv), I. Stanford Jolley (Ted), Ross Elliott (Seth Blandon), Ralph Moody (Aguila), Eugene Iglesias (Tigre), Phil Chambers (Trapper Ross), Lyle Talbot (Weber), King Donovan (Wrangler), Harry Harvey (Prospector)

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Tumbleweed (1953) is one of my favorite Audie Murphy movies.

Once they got him figured out, Universal-International did a great job of developing pictures that played to Audie Murphy’s strengths. As his confidence grew, the movies just got better and better, leading to really good performances in things like Night Passage (1957) and No Name On The Bullet (1959).

In this one, Audie’s a trail guide leading a small wagon train through Indian territory. When the Indians attack and almost everyone is killed (Lori Nelson and K.T. Stevens survive), Murphy’s branded a deserter and jailed. He’s sprung by Tigre (Eugene Iglesias), an Indian he befriends right after the credits, and pursued into the desert by a posse lead by Chill Wills.

Along the way, he’s given a scraggly horse by a sympathetic rancher (Roy Roberts). This is Tumbleweed, and Murphy’s relationship with the horse — Tumbleweed saves Murphy again and again — is one of the best things about the movie. In a way, you could say the horse saves the movie, too, since his place in the story helps it deviate from convention in some really terrific ways. And, as we all know, that really sets these movies apart, when they zig instead of zag like all the rest.

Nathan Juran, the director of Tumbleweed, started out as an art director. He made the transition to director with The Black Castle (1952).

Nathan Juran: “I was just a technician who could transfer the script from the page to the stage and could get it shot on schedule and on budget. I never became caught up in the ‘romance’ of the movies.”

Russell Metty shot the film at Vasquez Rocks, Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley, and it looks great. Metty also shot Touch Of Evil (1958), Spartacus (1960) and Madigan (1968). He doesn’t get his due, if you ask me.

The cast is made up of some great character actors, many from U-I’s own roster. The lovely Lori Nelson had a good run at U-I — two Ma and Pa Kettle pictures, Bend Of The River (1952), a Francis movie, Revenge Of The Creature (1955) and more — before working at AIP on stuff like Day The World Ended and Hot Rod Girl (both 1956). She’d work extensively on TV, with a guest spot in Audie Murphy’s series Whispering Smith.

Lee Van Cleef is appropriately nasty as Marv. Roy Roberts is good as the rancher who comes to Murphy’s aide. And Russell Johnson has a terrific fight with Murphy in the last reel, running all over Vasquez Rocks. My only complaint would be Chill Wills, who I’ve never cared for. Of course, the strongest member of the supporting cast is Tumbleweed himself. He’s really something.

You can really see Audie Murphy coming into his own in Tumbleweed. It’s a good 50s Western from Universal. And that’s about as good as it gets.

Source: Nathan Juran interview from Starlog

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