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Archive for the ‘DVD/Blu-Ray News’ Category

Written & Directed by Tom Gries
Starring Charlton Heston, Joan Hackett, Donald Pleasence, Lee Majors, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, William Schallert, Matt Clark, Luke Askew

This is going to make a lot of people happy — it’s a constant on many Western fans’ Blu-Ray Want List. Kino Lorber has announced an upcoming Blu-Ray release of Will Penny (1968), one of the finest post-50s Westerns of them all.

Writer-director Tom Gries based his screenplay on an episode of The Westerner, which he also wrote and directed. (Sam Peckinpah created the series.) Charlton Heston often said this was his best performance and named this his favorite of his own films. Lucien Ballard’s cinematography is incredible, and will be beautiful on Blu-Ray — and the entire cast is near perfect.

This is one even real cowboys have a hard time finding fault with. Highly, highly recommended.

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It’s been a long, long time since we had a Wild Bill Wednesday. 

Thanks to the folks at VCI, we can add two more William Elliott pictures to our collections, from his time at Columbia.

In Early Arizona (1938)
Directed by Joseph Levering
Starring Bill Elliott, Dorothy Gulliver, Harry Woods, Franklyn Farnum, Jack Ingram, Charles King

Elliott is Whit Gordon, a gunslinger brought in to clean up Tombstone, which is being run by Bull and his gang.

The Law Comes To Texas (1939)
Directed by Joseph Levering
Starring Bill Elliott, Veda Ann Borg, Bud Osborne, Charles King

Elliott’s a lawyer who poses as a rustler to get to the bottom of a Texas town run by outlaws. Around the time Veda Ann Borg did this picture, she was in a car wreck that required surgery to reconstruct her face. Bud Osborne is a crooked judge. (Love the tagline in this title card for the Astor re-release!)

Charles King plays Kaintuck, Elliott’s sidekick, in both. These were some of the last pictures from director Joseph Levering, who got his start with silent dramas and spent the late 30s doing Westerns for Columbia.

Really looking forward to this one. 

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Directed by Henry Hathaway
Starring Steve McQueen, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Arthur Kennedy, Suzanne Pleshette, Martin Landau, Pat Hingle, Paul Fix, Gene Evans, John Doucette, Lyle Bettger, Ted de Corsia

It’s about time on this one! Kino Lorber is bringing Henry Hathaway’s Nevada Smith (1966) to Blu-Ray from the camera negative.

It’s a prequel to The Carpetbaggers (1964) with Steve McQueen playing a younger version of Alan Ladd’s character. It was beautifully shot by Lucien Ballard in a number of incredible locations. For 50s Western fans, its biggest appeal might be its supporting cast of great Western character actors. Highly recommended.

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4 guns WC cropped

Directed by Richard Carlson
Starring Rory Calhoun, Colleen Miller, George Nader, Walter Brennan, Nina Foch, John McIntire

Four Guns To The Border (1954) is an excellent 50s Western from Universal International. It’s been a hard one to track down, but our friends at Explosive Media are taking care of that.It’s coming to Blu-Ray in December.

This picture gave actor Richard Carlson one of his few directing credits. He does a tremendous job. Wish he’d done more. Four Guns To The Border has a great cast, gorgeous color and will be terrific on Blu-Ray. Can’t wait!

Thanks to John Knight for the tip!

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Directed by Walter Hill
Starring David Carradine, Keith Carradine, Robert Carradine, James Keach, Stacy Keach, Dennis Quaid, Randy Quaid, Christopher Guest, Nicholas Guest, Pamela Reid, Harry Carey Jr., Fran Ryan

Imprint has announced Directed By Walter Hill, a Blu-Ray set of six films directed by Walter Hill: Hard Times (1975), The Driver (1978), The Long Riders (1980), Extreme Prejudice (1987), Johnny Handsome (1989) and Broken Trail (2006).

This is good news, first, because I absolutely love The Driver and The Long Riders—and because among the many extras to be including in this thing, I get to do a commentary for The Long Riders—one of the best of the many Jesse James movies. It’s almost certainly the most accurate.

The folks at Imprint do extraordinary work, always, and I’m overjoyed to be a tiny part of this one. Highly recommended.

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Directed by Hugo Fregonese
Starring Stephen McNally, Coleen Gray, Willard Parker, Arthur Shields, James Griffith, Armando Silvestre, Georgia Backus, Clarence Muse

Apache Drums (1951) was producer Val Lewton’s last film; he died before its release. Though this was his only Western, and the only time he would produce a Technicolor film, Apache Drums is very much an extension of his earlier work in horror films at RKO. It’s a terrific, but sadly overlooked, 50s Western.

It’s coming to DVD and Blu-Ray in November from Explosive Media. I’m so stoked about this one. Highly, highly, highly recommended.

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Directed by Raoul Walsh
Starring Rock Hudson, Julie Adams, Mary Castle, John McIntire, Hugh O’Brian, Dennis Weaver, Forrest Lewis, Lee Van Cleef, Glenn Strange

Next up from Explosive Media is Raoul Walsh’s The Lawless Breed (1953), coming to DVD and Blu-Ray (region free!) in September.

Raoul Walsh, Rock Hudson and Julie Adams during shooting.

It’s a pretty inaccurate story of the outlaw John Wesley Hardin, played by Rock Hudson. The manuscript for his autobiography is used to launch the picture as a series of flashbacks. 

With Walsh’s typical no-nonsense, propulsive direction, a really strong cast and incredible Technicolor photography from Irving Glassberg (which will really be something to see in high definition), The Lawless Breed plays as a better movie than it actually is. Highly recommended.

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Directed by R. G. Springsteen
Starring Tony Young, Dan Duryea, Dick Foran, Elsa Cárdenas, Jean Hale, Emile Meyer, David Carradine, Ray Teal, Harry Carey, Jr.

Gordon Kay produced the last batch of Audie Murphy Westerns at Universal International, along with a few other pictures like Taggart (1964). It’s got a great cast, with Dick Foran, Ray Teal and Harry Carey, Jr. supporting Tony Young and the great Dan Duryea. This was David Carradine’s first film. It was based on a Louis L’Amour novel. R. G. Springsteen directed, and he would direct a number of the A.C. Lyles Westerns over at Paramount. These films carried the 50s Western torch into the 60s.

Explosive Media is bringing Taggart to DVD and Blu-Ray in August, part of a summer full of terrific Universal International Westerns. They’ll be Region Free, folks, so order away!

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Directed by Rudolph Maté
Starring Tony Curtis, Colleen Miller, Arthur Kennedy, William Demarest, Robert J. Wilke, Chubby Johnson, I. Stanford Jolley

Explosive Media is really coming through for the rest of the year, bringing some prime 50s Westerns from Universal-International to DVD and Blu-Ray. I’ve already covered Seven Ways From Sundown (1960) and Hell Bent For Leather (1960), excellent Audie Murphy pictures, coming in May and June.

Watch this blog, since we’ll do one of these releases a day through the week.

Coming in July is Rudolph Maté’s The Rawhide Years (1955). Tony Curtis is a riverboat gambler who flees when he’s implicated in a murder. He returns three years later to clear his name, track down the real killers and be reunited with his girl (Colleen Miller).

Curtis is cool and Arthur Kennedy makes a nasty villain here. Irving Glassberg shot this in Technicolor and 2.0. Rudolph Maté and editor Russell Schoengarth keep things moving at a steady pace. Can’t wait to see this in high-definition. Highly recommended.

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Directed by Budd Boetticher
Starring Robert Stack, Joy Page, Gilbert Roland, Virginia Grey, John Hubbard, Katy Jurado, Paul Fix

Indicator has announced a special edition of Budd Boetticher’s wonderful Bullfighter And The Lady (1951) for a July Region B release. You get both Boetticher’s complete 124-minute cut and the 87-minute version released by Republic. John Wayne produced the picture, which landed Boetticher (and Ray Navarro) an Oscar nomination for Best Original Story.

You also get a slew of extras:
• Audio commentary with Glenn Kenny & Farran Smith Nehme
My Kingdom For… (1985) Boetticher’s autobiographical documentary about bullfighting
• Interview with Mary Boetticher (2022)
An Evening With Budd Boetticher audio recording
• Limited edition booklet

The Olive Blu-Ray was nice, a bare-bones release of the extended cut. It certainly deserves this deluxe edition. It’s a great, great film. Highly, highly recommended.

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