Audie Murphy : Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Countdown to Audie Murphy's greatest movies 1950-1966

Re: Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Hi Steve

I am glad this one came up after the William Powell one, so I can agree with you on almost everything. I was perhaps too vehement in stating my case against Mister Roberts after all the work you put into making the video.

As for Audie, several points.

Of the 31 films you list, I have seen 29 (all except Joe Butterfly and World in My Corner). Audiepix (a term for his western programmer flicks and not the up-scale A list films he occasionally appeared in) like Randolph Scott films were a staple of American TV for years, and still pop up quite a bit. And fortunately the gray market supplies almost all his westerns these days.

I agree with your top three. No Name on the Bullet is the best Audiepix and his best western. I like it more than most but I think the political implications and metaphors probably elude younger folks. Us old geezers might catch those.

The war movies To Hell and Back and The Red Badge of Courage have a certain extra quality which comes from him being the star. Sure, other actors could have done it, but there is an added stature when you are seeing the real thing.

Murphy once said that the plots of his westerns were always the 7ec same, only the horses changed. A little harsh, but there is a smidgen of truth in there. Still his westerns are like comfortable old shoes. I imagine each fan would have a different list of favorites, depending on how one liked the supporting cast or this or that plot twist. I like Ride a Crooked Trail and Hell Bent for Leather much more than your ratings. I recently watched Six Black Horses for the first time and really liked it and so would put it into the top fifteen. It had an interesting Burt Kennedy script.

A question one might ask about Audie is could he have escaped his programmer western image? I think he might have if he could have found a "Walker" type role such as Chuck Norris did. No one tried back then.

I understand he really didn't like doing war movies and so usually avoided them which is why he didn't appear in the all-star war films of the sixties, although he would have been perfect for roles like the sergeant Richard Jaeckel played in The Dirty Dozen.

Re: Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Hi John, thanks for commenting.

I wasn't familiar with Audie's filmography so most of these titles were knew to me. Glad you agree with the top 3.

If I'd known it was one of your favorites I would have included Six Black Horses, it was a low scorer, except at IMDB, but I could have placed it in the 20s.

Hell Bent for Leather did just make the top 10, still not high enough? Ride a Crooked Trail had similar scores to about a dozen Audie Murphy westerns, maybe the critics couldn't tell one from the other?

They all seem to be in color, did Audie Murphy make any B/W movies?

Re: Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Hi Steve

Of his 45 movies, 34 were in color. Of his 33 westerns, 31 were in color.

The Red Badge of Courage was in b/w. So was World in My Corner among your top ten.

He would have had 19 color movies through 1959, a rather high total, all in the 1950's.

As I mentioned in passing, I think much of the reaction to his programmer westerns depends on whether the particular situations or cast members appeal to the viewer. For example, one factor which elevates Ride a Crooked Trail for me is Walter Matthau as a drunken judge in a supporting role.

I also tend to prefer his later movies from the late fifties or sixties because of a more gritty, realistic feel. Murphy also had improved as an actor.

Destry, though, stands out as a good remake of a classic story with Murphy well-cast.

Re: Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

John, thanks for the info on Murphy's color films, that is a high total. #

I was wondering... if so many B-westerns were filmed in color throughout the 50s why did Hollywood continue making B/W films well into the 60s? A stylistic choice?

I can imagine cinema audiences of the late 1950s and 1960s groaning when their movie started and it was not in color.

Re: Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Hi Steve

"Why did Hollywood continue making B/W films well into the 60s?"

A terrific question. There have even been scholarly treatises written on this subject which I have discoved and read. You might surf the internet and see if you can find one or two. I think it would also be a good question to raise over at the classic section, or perhaps at Cogerson's, and see what input you can elicit from others.

What I have learned:

1----cost. It was always more expensive to film and reproduce color movies, so even grossing less, b/w movies could make more money. Hollywood went to color fairly strongly after the introduction of Eastmancolor in 1951. Technicolor had required special and expensive cameras. Eastmancolor could be used in any camera. The Cost dropped. By 1954 color films made up 57% of Hollywood's product, but it did not prove cost effective for some genres. Straight drama, comedies, horror, etc. It did prove cost effective for musicals, costume films, and westerns. For programmer westerns on the Audie Murphy-Randolph Scott level, the extra cost was repaid. But the percentage of color movies dropped to 31% in 1957.

2-----artistic choice. Yes, many of the older directors had learned in the b/w era and preferred it. Orson Welles is a notable example. I recall Welles making the case for the superiority of b/w as late as the 1980's. B/w was considered by many as not only more artistic, but also more realistic. One of the treatises I have read speculated that this viewpoint held sway because movie newsreels of real events, and later TV news in the 50's and early 60's, were in b/w. When TV news went to color and we saw real events in color, the "prejudice" that b/w was more realistic faded.

3-----There was fear of color by some veteran actresses who had achieved stardom in b/w movies and worried about how they would look in color.

4-----Before Eastmanclor, in the 1940's and earlier, the number of color movies was limited by the number of color cameras available. Hollywood produced 12 Technicolor films in 1939. It was simply physically impossible to produce more. The number gradually increased to around 50 or so by the late forties, and then exploded after Eastmancolor.

Hope this helps.

Re: Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Excellent post John, thanks! You should post that at Cogersons. Just say I was asking you about why B/W movies were still being produced in the late 50s and 60s, especially after all these b-westerns were filmed in color. I mentioned your name in my response to Bob's Audie review.

Re: Audie Murphy - Top 30 Highest Rated

Hi Steve

All these points, except the one about newsreels, have been made in posts at Cogerson's, so I think it better to pass.