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Archive for the ‘Joe Kane’ Category

Savage Horde TC

Associate Producer and Director: Joseph Kane
Screen Play by Kenneth Gamet
Story by Thames Williamson and Gerald Geraghty
Director of Photography: Reggie Lanning
Film Editor: Arthur Roberts
Music: Dale Butts

CAST: William Elliott (John Baker/Ringo), Adrian Booth (Livvy Weston), Grant Withers (Wade Proctor), Barbra Fuller (Louise Cole), Noah Beery Jr. (Glenn Larrabee), Jim Davis (Lt. Mike Baker), Bob Steele (Dancer), Douglass Dumbrille (Col. Price), Will Wright (Judge Cole), Roy Barcroft (Fergus), Earle Hodgins (Buck Yallop), Stuart Hamblen (Stuart), Hal Taliaferro (Sgt. Gowdy), Lloyd Ingraham, Marshall Reed, Craig Whitley, Charles Stevens and James Flavin, George Chesebro, Kermit Maynard

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It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a Wild Bill Wednesday. This time around, let’s look at The Savage Horde (1950), Elliott’s next-to-last picture for Republic (coming between Hellfire and The Showdown.)

Savage Horde

Elliott is Ringo, a gunslinger wanted for killing a cavalry officer (in self defense, as it turns out). Pursued by the army, he ends up shooting his brother (Jim Davis) — which prompts him to put down his guns and try to begin again under a new name. He winds up in the town of Gunlock, where he becomes involved in a range war (siding with the small ranchers against Grant Withers), reconnects with an old flame (Adrian Booth) and finally faces the charges against him.

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The story, cooked up by Thames Williamson and Gerald Geraghty, is impressive in how it’s so seamlessly and solidly built around Elliott’s strengths. His peaceable man/good-badman persona is right at home here — you can easily see this as a William S. Hart picture.

Savage Horde LC badguys

The supporting cast is outstanding: Noah Beery, Jr. as one of the smalltime ranchers; Adrian Booth and Barbra Fuller; Withers as the big, bad cattleman; Will Wright as the local judge tired of being under Withers’ thumb; Bob Steele as Dancer, a sadistic hired gun; and Stuart Hamblyn as a singing ranch hand. Something that really sets The Savage Horde apart is that the bad guys are really bad. Wade Procter (Withers) comes off as a really ruthless cattle baron, willing to do (or have someone else do) whatever is takes to make sure he gets what he wants — sole use of unclaimed rangeland. His cohorts — Bob Steele, Roy Barcroft and Marshall Reed — might be even worse. There’s plenty of menace here, and we all know what a good bad guy can add to a picture like this.

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Director and associate producer Joe Kane makes sure we see every cent of Republic’s budget, fairly large by their standards. The action scenes are bigger, the street scenes have more extras — it’s just bigger. Shooting around Sedona and Red Rock Canyon and a 90-minute running time certainly help. This was not only the last picture Elliott would make with Kane, but it was also his last A-scale movie. The Showdown, though excellent, was done for a fraction of The Savage Horde‘s budget. And the Monogram and Allied Artists pictures that Elliott closed out his career with, they were done on the cheap.

Barbra Fuller: “Bill Elliott was wonderful to work with… I don’t think he was much of an actor. He just trained himself and it came off beautifully… He had a calm masculinity, the same as he had in this picture.”

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The Savage Horde is one of William Elliott’s best pictures. And like so much of the Republic library, who knows when, or if, it’ll turn up on DVD. If you watch for it, it turns up on the Westerns Channel or on one those streaming things every so often (it’s currently on Amazon Instant).

Source: Wild Bill Elliott: A Complete Filmography by Gene Blottner

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John Knight mentioned the great Republic director Joe Kane in a comment this morning, and this photo came to mind. Here, Joe’s visiting Roy Rogers on the set of his TV show.

From the mid-30s till the studio’s demise, Kane was a house director at Republic Pictures. He made a slew of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers movies, and produced and directed Republic’s larger-scale films such as Jubilee Trail (1954) and The Maverick Queen (1956). Sadly, his later films are almost impossible to see today, especially if you’re a stickler for things like 1.85 or Naturama.

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last bandit coming

This is a bit of a cheat. Came across this while researching something else and had to use it.

A post on The Last Bandit (1949) IS in the works, however.

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Tim Holt Tuesdays have been a lot of fun, and people seem to like ’em, so I’m adding Wild Bill Wednesdays to the week. Like the Holt day, it’s a not-quite-weekly way to call attention to William “Wild Bill” Elliott, a cowboy star who doesn’t get his due. (I realize I’m preaching to the choir here.) His later Westerns, the ones that followed the Red Ryder series, are particularly strong, and they’re what I’ll focus on (approximately 1946-54). Elliott’s career was a long one. He was a working character actor for years (often uncredited) before becoming a top-billed cowboy star, so I’ll be dealing with a tiny sliver of his filmography.

Of course, like most Republic pictures, Elliott’s are absent on DVD or Blu-ray. (Dear Olive Films: if you only knew how badly I want a Blu-ray of Hellfire.) The old VHS copies are decent-looking if you want to search ’em out, and some of them turn up on The Westerns Channel or Netflix from time to time. (1954’s Bitter Creek is scheduled for TCM in June.)

But if you look beyond the Republics, the outlook’s brighter. Warner Archive’s given us a couple of the Monogram/Allied Artists Westerns (Fargo and The Homesteaders), and VCI put out the first of that series, The Longhorn (1951). Then there’s that cool detective series.

We’ll have a real post on Elliott next Wednesday.

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Rod Cameron
(December 7, 1910 – December 21, 1983)

Rod Cameron never made a Western that could truly be called a classic. But he made some really solid ones, such as Ride The Man Down (1952) — a Republic picture costarring Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Forrest Tucker, Barbara Britton, Chill Wills, J. Carrol Naish, Jim Davis and Paul Fix. It was directed, with the usual breakneck pace, by Joe Kane. Good stuff.

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I haven’t seen the first three Blu-rays of John Wayne’s Three Mesquiteers films from Olive Films. But I’ve heard very good things.

Three more early Wayne Republics are on the way, with one being The New Frontier (1939), directed by George Sherman. They list it under its TV title, Frontier Horizons. This is probably because they’re also bringing out the other John Wayne Republic called The New Frontier (1935)! The 1939 film co-stars Jennifer Jones.

The third title in this batch is King Of The Pecos (1936), directed by Joe Kane. Republic put this one out on DVD several years ago. Confused yet?

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The Maverick Queen (1956) paired Barbara Stanwyck and Barry Sullivan (a year before Sam Fuller’s Forty Guns). For Republic, this was a pretty lavish picture — color, widescreen and location work in Silverton, Colorado.

From the New York Times review on June 4, 1956:”The Maverick Queen introduces Republic’s wide screen process, called Naturama. Republic reportedly spent two years developing this anamorphic system. (Its projection aspect ratio of 2.35 to 1 is somewhat narrower than that of CinemaScope). Thus equipped, the film has plenty of room to show, in color, the wide open spaces of Colorado, where it was made. But The Maverick Queen shows also that Republic, too, has recognized the growth of the screen—sideways. For the film is an old horse opera in still another technological dress.”

It’s ironic, and a bit sad, that since its original release, Naturama’s maiden voyage has been seen only via terrible pan and scan transfers.

Director Joe Kane: “The studio was scraping the bottom of the barrel to get a big moneymaker and they finally let me have color and Naturama and Barbara Stanwyck… It was a real pleasure to work with a grand trouper like Missy. She’d do anything, and you had to darn-near hogtie her to keep her from breaking her neck on a dangerous stunt.” (From Close Up: The Contract Director, Scarecrow Press, 1976)

There are similar stories of Miss Stanwyck being repeatedly drug by her horse for Forty Guns‘ sandstorm sequence.

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