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Archive for the ‘Anthony Mann’ Category

Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, Rock Hudson, Lori Nelson, Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, Royal Dano, Stepin Fetchit, Chubby Johnson

The second of the Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart Westerns, and a very gorgeous thing in Technicolor, Bend Of The River (1952) is coming to Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber. I’ll be putting together a commentary for it, and I can’t tell you what an honor that is.

Which of the Mann-Stewart Westerns is best is a matter of personal taste, and probably a good way to get an argument going among fans of this stuff. But it’s easy to say that they’re all among the finest Westerns ever made — and absolutely essential.

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Here are a couple of interesting movie marquees from 1958. First, Gary Cooper in Anthony Mann’s Man Of The West playing in Buenos Aires.

Next is a marquee for a theatre on a military base somewhere. Friday’s feature is Frontier Gun, a Regalscope picture with John Agar, Joyce Meadows, Barton MacLane, Robert Strauss, James H. Griffith and Morris Ankrum. It was directed by one of my favorite unsung directors, Paul Landres. On Tuesday is It! The Terror From Beyond Space, a terrific little science fiction thing starring Marshall Thompson and directed by Edward L. Cahn.

That marquee is as good a pitch for joining the military as anything I’ve ever seen. Take me back to 1958 and sign me up!

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winchester-73-lc-a-smallHere’s a gun issue the government and I agree on. Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73 (1950) has been selected for preservation in the Library Of Congress.

That means their board has deemed it “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” It’s also a damned good movie.

Thanks to Blake Lucas for the news.

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wayne_42

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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007

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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