Archive for the ‘Anthony Mann’ Category


Betsy Palmer
(November 1, 1926 – May 29, 2015)

She only made one 50s Western, and it’s a good one: Anthony Mann’s The Tin Star (1957) with Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins. She worked extensively over the course of her 50-year career — a few soaps, a regular on I’ve Got A Secret and a really good role in Mister Roberts (1955), among other things — but today she’s largely known for playing Jason Voorhees’ mom in the first two Friday The 13th films (1980 and 1981).

Seeing one obituary after another focusing on the slasher pictures (she claimed to only take the first one because she needed a new car), I decided Betsy’s lone 50s Western was worth a post. And I’m reminded that The Tin Star has received very little coverage in the blog, which needs to be rectified.

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Return of Jack Slade NB MB

Since watching Fury At Gunsight Pass (1956), Neville Brand has been on my mind. (Blake Lucas brought him up, too.)

If I was to make a list of underappreciated actors, Neville Brand would be near the top. He’s so good in so many pictures — big ones and small ones. And there was so much more to him than just a bad guy.

After serving in World War II — where he was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart and other decorations, Brand studied acting on the G.I. Bill. His first sizable film role was in D.O.A. (1950). His career as a heavy was off to the races.

Neville Brand: “With this kisser, I knew early in the game I wasn’t going to make the world forget Clark Gable… I don’t go in thinking he’s a villain. The audience might, but the villain doesn’t think he’s a villain… I just create this human being under the circumstances that are given.”

Brand Laredo with bookFrom time to time, he’d play something other than a thug, or his thug would have a decent amount of screen time, and he’d really shine. Something like Halls Of Montezuma (1950), Stalag 17 (1953), Anthony Mann’s The Tin Star (1957) or Don Siegel’s Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954). There’s Reese Bennett on Laredo (1965-67). And he had great chemistry with John Wayne in Cahill: U.S. Marshall (1973), giving the film a much-needed shot in the arm.

Brand fought Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and alcoholism. Was a veracious reader with a huge library (some of it was lost in a fire in the 70s). And everyone seems to say the same thing: that he was a tough guy — but also a really nice man.

He’s seen up top with Mari Blanchard in The Return Of Jack Slade (1955), one of the many movies to benefit from his presence, and reading on the Laredo set.

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Buy this Blu-ray or Cooper gets it!

One of the toughest, slimiest, most brutal and just plain best-est 50s Westerns of them all, Anthony Mann’s Man Of The West (1958), is getting a much-needed upgrade this November from Kino Lorber.

It’s hard to put my finger on just why I love this one so much. For starters, it’s one of the finest Westerns ever made. But there’s other stuff, too. Like the awful Cleggs in Wagonmaster (1950), the bad guys here are of unbelievable scuzziness. (It’s hard to believe this is the same Jack Lord I love in Hawaii Five-O, not a hair out of place.) There are very few movies that impact me the way this one does: Mann is at the absolute top of his game here, twisting us around and ringing us out like a dishrag. (Just looking at this still is giving me the willies.) And Cooper brings incredible depth to Link Jones, maybe the ultimate Mann Western character—sorry, Jimmy—and certainly one of Coop’s best performances.

If you can watch this one and not be affected, check your pulse. You’re dead.

Thanks to Dick Vincent for the news. And Blake, if you don’t have a Blu-ray player yet, you’ve run out of excuses, pal.

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Screen shot 2014-01-28 at 6.15.31 PM

Another day, another reason I’m living on the wrong end of the country. UCLA will present a very thorough Anthony Mann retrospective, covering all the noir and Westerns we know and love, at the Billy Wilder Theater starting this week. Click on Gary Cooper for details.

The 50s Westerns include:
The Furies (1950) January 31
Devil’s Doorway (1950) March 3
Winchester ’73 (1950) March 15
The Naked Spur (1953) February 9
The Far Country (1954) March 23
The Man From Laramie (1955) February 5
The Last Frontier (1956) February 21
The Tin Star (1957) March 30
Man Of The West (1958) March 30

1955 The man from Laramie - cropped

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Stewart Laramie

James Maitland Stewart
(May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997)

Happy birthday to one of the greatest actors Hollywood ever came up with. Here his is in a publicity photo from one of his best roles, and one of the 50s finest Westerns, Anthony Mann’s The Man From Laramie (1955).

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Jay C. Flippen 
(March 6, 1899 – February 3, 1971)

Jay C. Flippen’s birthday seems like a good excuse to post this incredible behind-the-scenes photo from Anthony Mann’s The Far Country (1954). Left to right: Walter Brennan, John McIntire, Flippen and James Stewart.

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Here’s something that’ll add another day or two to our current Anthony Mann/James Stewart/Dan Duryea fixation.

Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73 (1950) is one of the first, and best, of the 50s Westerns. It’s one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. And it’s playing in 35mm at Emory University in Atlanta.

Winchester ’73
White Hall, Emory University
Atlanta, GA

March 27, 1913
7:30 PM

Thanks for the tip, Paula.

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