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Archive for the ‘Lex Barker’ Category

I had to make sure this wasn’t April Fool’s Day — because a set of eight Westerns directed by William Castle (all but one produced by Sam Katzman!) sounds too good to be true. But here it is, coming from our friends at Mill Creek Entertainment.

Klondike Kate (1943)
Starring Ann Savage, Tom Neal and Glenda Farrell
One of Castle’s first directing credits — it came out a year before the first of The Whistler series.

Conquest Of Cochise (1953)
Starring John Hodiak, Robert Stack, Joy Page
Stack and Page had already appeared together in Budd Boetticher’s Bullfighter And The Lady (1951). Hodiak makes a good Cochise.

Masterson Of Kansas (1954)
Starring George Montgomery, Nancy Gates, James Griffith
James Grifftih’s performance as Doc Holliday really elevates this one.

Jesse James Vs. The Daltons (1954)
Starring Barbara Lawrence, James Griffith, William Phipps
This one was originally in 3-D and Technicolor. As you’d imagine, Castle throws everything he can think of at the camera.

Battle Of Rogue River (1954)
Starring George Montgomery, Richard Denning, Martha Hyer
Katzman cast “all six winners of the National Indian Beauty Contest” in this picture. I wouldn’t be surprised if this contest didn’t exist before Katzman and Castle came along.

The Gun That Won The West (1955)
Starring Dennis Morgan, Paula Raymond, Richard Denning
This tale of the US Cavalry taking on Chief Red Cloud makes good use of stock footage from Buffalo Bill (1944).

Duel On The Mississippi (1955)
Starring Lex Parker, Patricia Medina, Warren Stevens, John Dehner
Not really a Western, but it’s got a solid Western cast doing the Louisiana river pirate thing.

Uranium Boom (1956)
Starring Dennis Morgan, Patricia Medina, William Talman
A modern-day Western with Dennis Morgan and William Talman fighting over their uranium mine — and the lovely Patricia Medina.

Can’t tell you how excited I am about this set. Castle’s one of my favorite filmmakers, and I’ve got a real soft spot for these Castle-Katzman movies. Highly, highly recommended.

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blutsbrueder

Pierre Brice
(February 6, 1929 – June 6, 2015)

Pierre Brice, who played the Apache chief Winnetou in German Westerns based on books by Karl May, passed away yesterday. The series, which originally starred Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand and ran from 1962 to 1968, was extremely successful — and predated the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood pictures from Italy. Brice continued to play Winnetou well into the 90s.

This blog does not concern itself with Westerns from Europe or the 60s. But it’s safe to say many of us out there, particularly in Europe, became Western fans through these films.

Thanks to Laura for bringing this to my attention.

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Columbia Classics has announced a few 50s Westerns for MOD release on October 2. First is The Phantom Stagecoach (1957), directed by Ray Nazarro. It stars William Bishop, Kathleen Crowley, Richard Webb, Frank Ferguson — and plenty of Iverson Ranch location work.

From Sam Katzman’s unit comes a couple from William Castle. Duel On The Mississippi (1955) may not be a Western, since it takes place in Louisiana, but it’s got Lex Barker, Patricia Medina, Warren Stevens and John Dehner, so it’s close enough.

In a post back in March of 2010, I wrote: “I’m not gonna hold my breath waiting for Columbia to release Masterson Of Kansas (1954) on DVD.” Two years later, I’m really happy to be announcing that it’s on its way. To me, this is easily the best of the Westerns William Castle made for Sam Katzman’s unit at Columbia — George Montgomery is Bat Masterson and James Griffith is very, very good as Doc Holliday. Well worth checking out. (Along with Roy Roger’s double-crown hats and Wayne’s ragged hat from Rio Bravo, George Montgomery had some of the coolest hats in 50s Westerns.)

All three films should be widescreen, with the two Castle pictures being in Technicolor. The longest of the three is 74 minutes (Masterson), so you can count on some fast-paced fun.

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