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Archive for the ‘Kino Lorber’ Category

Directed by Ray Nazarro
Starring Joanne Dru, Rod Cameron, John Ireland, John Dehner, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams, Morris Ankrum

The folks at The 3-D Film Archive have done it again! The missing reels have been tracked down (it Italy, of all places) and they’ll be bringing Ray Nazarro’s Southwest Passage (1954) to Blu-Ray in 3-D. It’s gonna be a while, so hang tight.

In the meantime, you can see it, flat and full-frame, on DVD from MGM’s old MOD program. It’s a cool movie. And you can get the scoop on its recovery from the Lost Archives” in this podcast.

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Directed by George Sherman
Starring Joel McCrea, Yvonne De Carlo, Pedro Armendáriz

Kino Lorber has announced Border River (1954) for DVD and Blu-Ray release in March of 2023. This year’s getting off to a pretty good start already, especially for me — I get to do a commentary for it!

This is the next-to-last of Joel McCrea’s six Westerns for Universal International, released from 1950 to 1954. It’s got a great cast, featuring Yvonne De Carlo, Pedro Armendáriz and the wonderful Mexican character actors Alfonso Bedoya and Nacho Galindo. George Wallace, Commando Cody himself, is in it, too.

It’s directed by George Sherman, so you know you’re in for a good ride. Highly recommended!

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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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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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Directed by John Ford
Starring John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers, Althea Gibson, Judson Pratt, Ken Curtis, Willis Bouchey, Hank Worden, Denver Pyle, Strother Martin, Hoot Gibson

When John Ford’s The Horse Soldiers (1959) first arrived on Blu-Ray (in 2011, if memory serves), it was a huge improvement on the old DVD, and there’s plenty of reasons to believe Kino Lorber’s new 4K restoration will be another leap forward.

The Horse Soldiers is a better picture than it gets credit for being, and getting better and better looking on video is a great way to crank up interest in it — and hopefully a bit of a reappraisal.

After a stuntman was killed on location, Ford lost his enthusiasm for the film and pretty much checked out on its completion — but even watered-down Ford is better than just about anything else you’ll see.

William H. Clothier’s cinematography here is, as always, top-notch — and should be stunning in this new restoration. A commentary from Joseph McBride will be a nice addition. Coming in June. Highly, highly recommended.

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Directed by Robert Aldrich
Starring Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Denise Darcel, Sara Montiel, Cesar Romero, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jack Elam

Vera Cruz (1954) was put together by Burt Lancaster’s production company, Lancaster-Hecht. Burt was going to play the hero, Benjamin Trane, but it was decided to have Lancaster to play the bad guy — and a more traditional hero type play Trane. Cray Grant turned it down, and it was offered to Gary Cooper.

The picture’s a lot of fun with Cooper and Lancaster as a couple of shifty Americans down in Mexico who join forces to steal a stash of gold coins. With its macho one-upmanship, crosses and double-crosses, flawed characters — even the good guys are bad, Robert Aldrich’s Vera Cruz is one of the 50s Westerns that served as an obvious influence on the spaghetti westerns that would come in the early 60s.

Kino Lorber is working on a Blu-Ray release, which should do justice to the picture’s SuperScope 2:1 presentation (applied to the picture after the fact). Can’t wait to see it looking the way it should. Highly recommended.

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THIS IS AN UPDATE OF A POST FROM JULY OF 2012. It continues to be a really popular post, and it seemed due for a refresh. This will be further updated as time goes on.

Henry Cabot Beck of True West Magazine and I were emailing back and forth about the color Roy Rogers pictures (Trucolor, to be precise), how wonderful they are, and how terribly they’re represented on DVD. It’s a matter that has been beaten to death on a number of newsgroups, which shows just how important this really is. With these pictures in mind, a hastily-constructed post seemed in order.

The official releases worth your time and money are (where appropriate, clicking on the art will take you to a seller):

DVD

Bells Of Coronado (1950) is the only Roy Rogers picture Lions Gate got around to putting out on DVD during their handling of the Republic Pictures catalog. Unfortunately, Olive Films’ time with the Republic titles didn’t result in a single Rogers disc.

Bells Of Coronado is a good one, with Dale Evans, Trigger, Grant Withers and Pat Brady adding their usual support. William Witney lends his masterful direction, the songs are great and the Trucolor looks good. I think this is out of print, but it’s still listed here.

VCI’s Roy Rogers Western Double Feature Volume 1 presents Under California Stars (1948) and The Bells of San Angelo (1947) — both uncut and both looking just fine. California features Jane Frazee and Andy Devine, while San Angelo has Dale Evans, Andy Devine and Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. Witney directed both. It’s also a deal, available through their website for just four bucks! Trailers are even included. So mosey on over and pick one up.

 

Springtime In The Sierras (1947) came out from Film Chest (in 2016) and The Film Detective, transferred from a complete 16mm print. It might be a bit soft, but it’s a good one and it’s complete.

 

 

 

 

 

BLU-RAY

Kino Lorber took over from Olive Films and released some nice stuff, including a couple of color Rogers films, from restored materials. They’re available on both Blu-Ray and DVD, and both feature commentaries from some Bozo named Toby Roan. They’re absolutely beautiful.

Sunset In The West (1950) looks incredible. It’s got Penny Edwards instead of Dale Evans, and there’s terrific  support from Gordon Jones, Will Wright and Paul E. Burns. The climax, with Trigger chasing down a locomotive, has some really amazing stuntwork.

Trigger Jr. (1950) has Dale Evans, Pat Brady, Gordon Jones, Grant Withers and Foy Willing And The Riders Of The Purple Sage. It really focuses on Trigger, so there’s a lot of great horse stuff in it.

I wish this was a lot longer post, with the rest of the color Rogers pictures listed. But at this time, Paramount owns the rights and no one has licensed anything. Maybe someday.

Till then, “may the good Lord take a liking to you.”

 

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Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff, Robert Preston, Lynne Overman, Brian Donlevy, Anthony Quinn

Union Pacific (1939) is a great big Cecil B. DeMille picture about the building of the railroad. It’s got a great cast, some remarkable action sequences and the overall DeMille thing we all love so much.

Kino Lorber is bringing it to Blu-Ray this summer, which should really be something to see. Highly recommended.

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Quantez (1957)
Directed by Harry Keller
Starring Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Malone, James Barton, Sydney Chaplin, John Gavin, John Larch, Michael Ansara

Just finished recording a commentary for Harry Keller’s Quantez (1957), a film I appreciate more every time I see it. It feels awkward to plug these things when I work on ’em, but this one is something special. The movie is ripe for rediscovery — and I think it’s the best commentary I’ve done.

It’s also a picture with superb art direction and cinematography, so high-definition will be a big plus.

Horizons West (1952)
Directed by Budd Boetticher
Starring Robert Ryan, Julia Adams, Rock Hudson, John McIntire, Raymond Burr, James Arness, Dennis Weaver

Horizons West (1952) has the great cast of contract players — Adams, Hudson, McIntire, Dennis Weaver — and gorgeous Technicolor we expect from Universal International Westerns of the early 50s. It’s a post-Civi War story of Ryan’s ambitions getting the best of him. Budd Boetticher keeps it short on running time and long on action. 

The color will make this one really pop on Blu-Ray. I’ll be recording a commentary for it next week. Both pictures are expected in May from Kino Lorber. 

There haven’t been many 50s Westerns riding up on DVD or Blu-Ray lately. These will help make up for it.

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Kino Lorber’s second set of 50s Westerns on Blu-Ray serves up some good ones: The Redhead From Wyoming (1953), Pillars Of The Sky (1956) and Gun For A Corward (1957). It’s due April 6.

The Redhead From Wyoming (1953)
Directed by Lee Sholem
Starring Maureen O’Hara, Alex Nicol, William Bishop, Alexander Scourby, Robert Strauss, Gregg Palmer, Jack Kelly, Dennis Weaver, Stacy Harris

Maureen O’Hara runs a saloon and ends up in the middle of the usual cattlemen vs. settlers thing. It’s short, fast and beautifully shot by Winton C. Hoch.

Pillars Of The Sky (1956)
Directed by George Marshall
Starring Jeff Chandler, Dorothy Malone, Ward Bond, Keith Andes, Lee Marvin

Jeff Chandler is a calvary officer trying to keep his troops and Dorothy Malone from being scalped. Harold Lipstein shot it in CinemaScope on location in Oregon. Filmed right after The Searchers wrapped, it features a number of the same players (Ward Bond, Walter Coy, Olive Carey, Beulah Archuletta).

Gun For A Coward (1957)
Directed by Abner Biberman
Starring Fred MacMurray, Jeffrey Hunter, Janice Rule, Dean Stockwell, Bob Steele

This one weaves a family struggle into a cattle drive and rustlers story. It looks great in CinemaScope and MacMurray is terrific.

All three come with a trailer and commentary (I’m doing Pillars Of The Sky). And given Kino Lorber’s track record with their Universal movies, they’ll look terrific.

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