Archive for the ‘Post-1959’ Category

RIP, Pierre Brice.


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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Rio Bravo foreign poster sized

Rio Bravo (1959)
Directed by Howard Hawks
Starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond

My favorite Western, Rio Bravo (1959), has been missing from Blu-ray for some time now (I’d heard it had something to do with music or story rights). Was really happy to find out it was being reissued. However, I’d heard the old Blu-ray wasn’t anything to write home about, and there’s no news yet on if this new edition is remastered or not (I’m assuming not). A new 2K transfer was done not long ago, but there’s been no mention of it for the Blu-ray.

Regardless, Rio Bravo is a terrific movie and certainly worth adding to your high-definition shelf. When it arrives June 2, I’d love to toast my copy with a bit of Duke bourbon (haven’t located it in North Carolina yet).

Train Robbers JW AM BJ

The Train Robbers (1973)
Directed by Burt Kennedy
Starring John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, Ben Johnson

Also coming to Blu-ray are a couple of later Wayne pictures. The Train Robbers (1973) is a lot of fun, Burt Kennedy at the top of his game. Wayne and Ben Johnson are terrific together, of course. As a kid, the train stuck in the sand, on the big Panavision screen, was a striking image that really stuck with me.

John Wayne In Cahill U.S. Marshal

Cahill: U.S. Marshal (1973)

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring John Wayne, George Kennedy, Neville Brand, Clay O’Brian, Marie Windsor, Harry Carey Jr., Paul Fix, Hank Worden

In some ways, Cahill: U.S. Marshal (1973) isn’t a very good movie. But as a John Wayne extended-family reunion, it can’t be beat (take a quick look at that cast). Wayne’s interplay with Neville Brand is worth the price of admission, and it’s always good to see Marie Windsor in anything.

These three titles are available separately (highly recommended, at a great price) from Warners, and as part of a John Wayne Westerns Collection set.

Thanks to Dick Vincent for the tip.

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1 Liberty Ford

My wife and I watched John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) on our honeymoon. So as our anniversary rolls around, it usually comes to mind. And this seems like a good excuse to highlight yet another Ford masterpiece.

Liberty Valance Wayne hat

Here’s Wayne’s hat from the film. In black and white, it seems so much lighter.

Liberty Valance Marvin vest

Lee Marvin’s vest. After his years doing M Squad on TV, Liberty Valance helped Marvin transition from heavy to leading roles as he returned to features.


One of Edith Head’s sketches for Vera Miles’ costumes.

LIBERTY CAST tea cropped

John Ford and his terrific cast break for tea. Judging from who’s present and how they’re dressed, they must’ve been shooting the dinner scene where Marvin makes Stewart drop Wayne’s steak — and Strother Martin gets kicked in the face.

Valance BTS punch

Jimmy Stewart punches John Wayne — with Ford and crew very very close.

Liberty Valance Marvin Martin Van Cleef

Jennifer and I often celebrate our anniversary by going out for steaks. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

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Announcing screenings like this feels like torture sometimes, being that they’re over 2,000 miles from here.

In what is probably a birthday salute to Randolph Scott, The New Beverly is running 35mm prints of the last two entries in the Ranown cycle, Ride Lonesome (1959) and Comanche Station (1960) on January 25 and 26. Being that these are the two pictures that Budd Boetticher and director of photography Charles Lawton, Jr. shot in CinemaScope, that’s great news indeed.


And while we’re on the subject, the Blogathon For Randolph Scott is approaching — and there’s some good stuff in the works.

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Marvin Donovans Reef

“And from the East came three wise men, three kings bearing gifts, to gaze upon the child and to kneel before him in adoration… the king of Polynesia… the emperor of China… the king of, the king of the Unites States Of America.”

That’s Lee Marvin as “Boats” Gilhooley in John Ford’s Donovan’s Reef (1963). John Wayne’s the guy watching over his shoulder. It’s a picture that if people’d quit complaining about how it’s not The Grapes Of Wrath (1940) or The Searchers (1956), they’d realize just how wonderful it is.

Here’s wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays.

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The Shooting
Directed by Monte Hellman
Written by Carole Eastman
Starring Will Hutchins, Millie Perkins, Jack Nicholson, Warren Oates

Ride In The Whirlwind
Directed by Monte Hellman
Written by Jack Nicholson
Starring Cameron Mitchell, Millie Perkins, Jack Nicholson, Katherine Squire, George Mitchell, Rupert Crouse, Harry Dean Stanton

Over the course of six weeks in 1965, Monte Hellman and Jack Nicholson (with some financing from Roger Corman) shot two Westerns back to back. They had no lighting equipment, a tiny crew, less than 10 feet of dolly track and budgets of just $75,000 per picture. When they left Kanab, Utah, they somehow had the makings of a couple of the best Westerns of the 60s.

734_735_BD_box_348x490_originalThe Criterion Collection’s presentation of Hellman’s The Shooting and Ride In The Whirlwind hits the streets today, available on both DVD and Blu-ray. Some see them as part of the Revisionist movement, some as an early example of the “Acid Western.” To me, they feel like the Psychological Western of the late 50s taken a step further. A very large step. But in the end, all those labels don’t mean anything. These are Westerns. They’re different. They’re very, very good. And as I see it, they’re absolutely essential.

Monte Hellman personally supervised the 4K restorations, preserving Gregory Sandor’s original 1.85 photography. The set is packed with commentaries — with Bill Krohn and our very own Blake Lucas riding along with Hellman for both films, interviews and more. You know, the usual exhaustive Criterion treatment. (One of my all-time favorite films, Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop from 1971, is also available from Criterion.)

Of the two Westerns, I prefer The Shooting. A friend and I once had a lot of fun arguing about which is better. His reasoning was that Harry Dean Stanton automatically makes Whirlwind the better film. I played the Warren Oates card.

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Here’s wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween. And while you’re here, I want to show off my daughter’s costume.

Her all-time favorite movie is Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? (1972). A great choice (where’d she get her exquisite taste in movies?). Anyway, for Halloween, she decided to be Madeline Kahn as Eunice Burns (Presley above, Madeline below). And yes, the plaid bag has igneous rocks in it.


To tie this to 50s Westerns, let’s see — ever read Bogdanovich’s terrific books on John Ford and Allan Dwan?

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