Western : What Westerns Have You Seen? Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr 2017 Edition

Re: Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "The Reno Brothers" 1960

Johnny Ringo (1959) - The Reno Brothers (1960)

Thanks Gord, good shout out for Bobby Hoy.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Them Bishop boys are coming for you? You don't need a gunslinger. You need a goddamn regiment.

Jane Got a Gun is directed by Gavin O'Connor and collectively written by Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis and Joel Edgerton. It stars Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich, Boyd Holbrook and Rodrigo Santoro. Music is by Marcello De Francisci and Lisa Gerrard and cinematography is by Mandy Walker.

Jane Hammond (Portman) has to turn to her ex lover, Dan Frost (Edgerton), for help when it's revealed that the notorious Bishop gang are heading her way in search of her husband Bill (Emmerich).

It's going to be one of those films more talked about for what it could have been than what it is. Changes in production staff were unbound, from director, writer, photographer and some big name cast changes, it was a production blighted and destined to be on a loser. It hasn't helped that with it being a slow paced character based picture, and a Western at that, the market for a fan base was already running low on potential supporters. So what we left with?

It undoubtedly is one for hard core Western fans only, it's hard to envisage newcomers entering into the genre for the first time, perhaps lured by the casting of Portman, being won over to the point of seeking out other classic Westerns of past and present. Yet it's got a lot going for it, because if you have the want, then it may just take a second viewing to fully absorb and enjoy.

At its core it's a straight Oater of redemption, opportunities waylaid by fate, and of course a good old good versus bad axis. Relying on a flashback structure to set up the character dynamics, it can get a bit disorientating at times, hence the shout out for a second viewing. However, it may not be the perfect way to build the principal characters, but they are worth the investment for there's a big emotional pull there.

Having laid the foundation for the first two thirds of the pic, we shift to good old honest violence, for siege read backs against the wall, and not without invention, in fact there's much resourcefulness on show, with Jane at times very much leading the way. The last third pays off handsomely, even if there's the (arguably) inevitable sugar coated candy to swallow as part of the final deal. Cast are dandy and turning in perfs of note, though it needed more of McGregor's John Bishop, because with what little he gets he does make a villainous mark.

It looks terrific, Walker's photography bringing to mind the genre work of Roger Deakins, with the New Mexico locations blistering in their beauty, and while the sound mix for dialogue exchanges is a little poor, the musical score is thumping in its tonal appreciations. It's tricky to recommend with confidence even to Western fans, especially in a year when "Jane" had to compete with the more rambunctious Magificent Seven reboot, but give it a chance if you liked something like Slow West, and you may just be pleasantly surprised. 7/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Terrific review Spike (which I've ticked) of an interesting Western. I remember reading in 2011 in Empire/Total Film that after Black Swan Portman was going to star in a Western that was gonna be bigly,which I hardly read anything about for the next few years after the initial excitement. I do think that his work helping to keep things on tracks,proves along with The Rover & The Square that Portman's Attack of the Clones co-star Joel Edgerton is a real talent.

Here is what I wrote in 2016:


Backed by a thumping score from Marcello De Francisci and Lisa Gerrard,director Gavin O'Connor (who replaced original director Lynne Ramsay,after Ramsay got sacked over not showing up,whilst cinematographer Darius Khondji and stars Michael Fassbender,Jude Law and Bradley Cooper all quit the film!) and cinematographer Mandy Walker grill a choice cut of Western pulp.Entering the salon 3 years after filming,O'Connor and Walker fans the flames of Jane's fight with the Bishop Boys gang by soaking the film in blazing yellow which locks a brittle atmosphere over the film.

Despite having to re-write the movie during production,the screenplay by Duffield/Tambakis & Edgerton does very well at setting up an uneasy alliance between Hammond and Frost,as flowing flashbacks reveal Frost's wild west adventures and the horrors that Hammond faces.Hanging in the background,the writers gradually bring the Brishop Boys to the front of the shooting range,as Jane gets her gun.

Joined by a grisly cameo from his brother Nash, Joel Edgerton gives a terrific performance as Frost,thanks to Edgerton softening Frost's husky image,as Frost and Hammond draw guns.Looking ultra-stylish in a long leather coat, Natalie Portman gives a great performance as Hammond,thanks to Portman peeling the gravitas of the horrors inflicted upon Hammond across the screen,which is wonderfully crossed with a bad ass grin,as Jane loads up her gun.

Re: Jane Got a Gun (2016)

I remember your review well, I was surprised you got to see the film at the time!

Yeah I like Edgerton, anyone who has Warrior and Animal Kingdom on their CV isn't doing too badly! Must get to The Gift sooner rather than later, while I do have Black Mass recorded.

Thanks for the review and comments, I'm sure I ticked it before but have again just in case. Blazing yellow is lovely isn't it!!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Tick has been sent my good man. Needless to say it goes on my list for future watching.

Re: Jane Got a Gun (2016)

Thanks for the recommendation - got it for 5 bucks last week and it was well worth it.

McGregor's John Bishop
- I didn't recognize him, he was great. 7/10

"He was a poet, a scholar and a mighty warrior."

Re: Jane Got a Gun (2016)

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Wonderful Country (1959)


** This review may contain spoilers ***

Getting near the end of the TV shows/films I had gathered up to view from Christmas,I decided to check what titles had been added to Netflix UK. Enjoying the breezy Western Rachel and the Stranger a few months ago,I was pleased to find a Western starring "Big Bob" Mitchum had been added to the site,which led to getting set to find out how wonderful this country could be.

The plot:

After killing the murderer who killed his dad, Martin Brady has been living in exile in Mexico. Crossing paths with the Castro brothers,Brady is hired to go undercover and get weapons in the US. Traveling undercover,Brady is stopped in his tracks by a broken leg. Treated by the weapons sellers,Brady is introduced to Major Colton,who wants to set a deal that will cross boarders that will have the Castro brothers on the same front.

View on the film:

Looking surprisingly fresh faced, Mitchum gives a charming performance as Brady,whose exiled state allows Mitchum to give Brady rugged heroics, which is lassoed with a troubling sense of doubt over Brady ever getting the chance to return to the wonderful country. Riding into the sunset with Mitchum, Gary Merrill gives a great performance as Colton,who is given by Merrill a striking feeling of being unable to find light in the dark clouds above.

Traveling the country from Tom Lea's (who has a cameo) novel,the screenplay by Robert Ardrey & Walter Bernstein leaves the barroom fights to draw a thoughtful Folk tale Western. Running from the US after getting revenge for the killing of his dad,the writers do very well at making each of the separate groups Brady becomes entangled in ones that drive his desire to walk back into the country of his family. Gathering the bullets for Brady,director Robert Parrish gives Brady's exiled state an elegant sun dried appearance,burning with dry reds hit by Apaches,as Brady tries to get back to the wonderful country.

Re: The Wonderful Country (1959)

Thanks for the review. SPIKE brought this one to my notice some time back. One of the few Mitchum films that I have never seen. Tick has been sent.

Re: The Wonderful Country (1959)

Thanks Gordon,and I hope you get a chance to catch the film soon.

Re: The Wonderful Country (1959)

Wotcha Doc

A just above average 6 from you. Not one for action fans, but more complex than people think.

What a pity then, that life is what we do, and not just what we feel.

Based on a story by artist Tom Lea (who cameos as a barber), The Wonderful Country stars Robert Mitchum, Julie London, Gary Merrill, Charles McGraw & Pedro Armendáriz. It's directed by Robert Parrish, the score is from Alex North with Floyd Crosby & Alex Phillips on cinematography around the Durango location shoot.

A rich western that admirably crams in a lot of genre based themes and boasts a lead protagonist of high complex value. Tightly directed by Parrish (Saddle The Wind), who is aware that this needs no action overkill, it's really with Mitchum and Robert Ardrey's script that the film owes its success. Give or take a couple of missteps with the accent (he is playing a gringo pistolero) Mitchum dominates with his stature and laconic form of acting. He's playing Martin Brady, a man who finds himself being pulled emotionally on both sides of the Mexican/American border, the contrast between both lands, and Brady's persona too (he's effectively a man without a country), is very interesting. There's a number of well drawn characters who file in and out of Brady's life, all serving purpose to the plot, with Julie London's love interest thankfully having a more darker edge than others that were often seen in the genre. There's even an appearance of Baseball Hall Of Fame inductee Leroy 'Satchel' Paige as part of an all black army regiment. Yet another strand in this multi angled movie.

Very sedate in tone but with deep character drama at its core, Parrish's film is a thinking persons movie. Some critics have called it routine, while others have said it's complicated! I just think it's a film that needs to be watched more than once to fully digest its themes. It's not one for the action fan as such, but it is excellently written and performed by the principals. It's also a truly gorgeous movie visually and aurally. A fine film that rewards further on repeat viewings, especially for fans of the great Robert Mitchum. 7/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Wonderful Country (1959)

Thanks for the very interesting review Spike,and oddly I found Country slightly similar to Jane,in being more of a character study than an all guns blazing Western.

Man With The Gun

Man with the Gun (1955) / Richard Wilson. Robert Mitchum, at his most laconic, rides into a town that is under the thumb of Dade Holman, a land baron, and his hired thugs, led by Ed Pinchot (Leo Gordon) who, in the opening sequence, shoots a boy’s dog which is barking as Pinchot rides along the main street. Mitchum, playing Clint Tollinger, is a self-named “town tamer,” a violent gunfighter himself who chooses to free towns from outlaw domination if they give him a free hand, unrestrained by the niceties of the law. Also in town is Nellie Bain (Jan Sterling), the madam of a troupe of dance hall girls who work nightly at the town saloon, a joint owned by Holman. It seems that Tollinger and Bain have a history. Emile Meyer plays a town leader who supports Tollinger because he hope for a bright future for his daughter (Karen Sharpe) and her fiancé (John Lupton). An uncredited Claude Akins makes an impression as one of Holman’s hired guns. This “adult” western was the first directorial assignment for Richard Wilson (also credited for original story) who had worked as Associate Producer on a couple of Orson Welles’ pictures. There is some good violent action around some morally questionable actions by the Mitchum character. This isn’t an all-time “classic” western, but it rises about the average oater of the time. A must-see for western fans.


“I know that, in spite of the poets, youth is not the happiest season"

Re: The Man With The Gun

I really like this film. One of my fav Mitchum dusters.

Re: Man With The Gun

Hiya Mr. F

Thanks for sharing your review, glad you like it, this is one we like to see crop up on the board.

Robert Mitchum is......Man With The Gun.

Clint Tollinger arrives in a small town looking for his estranged wife and news of his daughter, tho he finds her, the chance of any sort of reconciliation is very slim. Whilst here, the sheriff and the important townsfolk learn of Tollinger's reputation as a pistol specialist town tamer. As they are living in fear of a mysterious landowner who is stripping the town from them bit by bit, they hold a meeting that chooses to hire Tollinger to rid the town of it's unsavoury elements.

Man With The Gun seems to be either a forgotten piece or a vastly under seen one, for at the time of me writing this, it has just over 200 votes and a paltry 9 user comments written for it on IMDb. It's a shame on either score because although the production values scream out that this is a "B" movie Western, this is a fine entry in the Western genre. That the piece takes on a rather standard plot theme of an harangued town turning to an avenging dark angel, probably hasn't done the film any favours over the years, I myself read the synopsis and thought it's just another in the line of similarly themed pictures. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find a darkly dramatic picture boasting many enjoyable moments, both technically and as a functioning story.

Robert Mitchum is in the lead as Tollinger, perfectly cast, he strides thru the picture like some brooding menace. We often talk about the screen presence that John Wayne and Charlton Heston had (justifiably of course), Mitchum is right up there with the best of them. One sequence here sees him standing in the shadows at the back of a room as a meeting takes place, we don't see his face, but we can feel that piercing brood staring out at us! The rest of the cast are very much in Mitchum's shadow, so really it's solely with the big man that the films acting credentials are high. Perhaps it's unfair to single out Ted de Corsia for a kick? but Man With The Gun's minor failings are with its villains, and sadly de Corsia is lacking any sort of villainesque menace.

The score from Alex North is excellently layered (fans of Spartacus will certainly be pricking their ears up) and the cinematography from Lee Garmes is highly impressive when one realises that the majority of this picture was shot on the studio lot. Directed and co-written by first time director Richard Wilson, Man With The Gun holds few surprises for the genre, but it's dark in tone, violent and above all else, highly watchable. 7.5/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: "The Raffertys" 1960 Lon Chaney


JOHNNY RINGO "The Raffertys" 1960

JOHNNY RINGO was a western series that ran for 38 episodes during 1959-60. The series starred Don Durant as the title character with Karen Sharpe, Mark Goddard and Terence De Marney as series regulars. The series follows Durant, (Ringo) a former gunfighter who decides to go straight. He becomes the Sheriff in the small town of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. The series was one of several (Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Shotgun Slade etc) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel.

This episode is the 22nd episode of the series.

This one has Sheriff Durant getting mixed up with a murder case from years before he came to town. A local man, Lon Chaney is suspected of killing a man who was thought to have killed Chaney's wife. The other locals refuse to help the law collar Chaney as they feel the man was justified in killing the other man.

Matters come to a head however when a bounty hunter hits town looking to collect on a 2500 dollar bounty out on Chaney. The bounty man, Charles Cooper, does not take kindly to Durant when he runs him out of town.

Durant now heads for the hills to hunt down Chaney before Cooper can find and kill him. Also in play here are Chaney's daughter, Roxane Berard and son, Richard Bakalyan. Everyone ends up taking pot shots at each other before Sheriff Durant gets a grip on bounty man, Cooper as well as Chaney. Cooper is locked up while Chaney is given a chance in front of a judge and jury.

A much better episode than my slipshod write-up suggests. The director, actor turned helmsman, Paul Henreid does some nice work here. Most will recall Henreid from films like, ROPE OF SAND, NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH, HOLLOW TRIUMPH and CASABLANCA. Henreid is helped with the look of the episode by director of photography, Carl Guthrie. Guthrie was well known as a film noir specialist. His work in that genre included, CRY WOLF, FLAXY MARTIN, BACKFIRE, CAGED, THIS SIDE OF THE LAW, UNDERCOVER GIRL, STORM WARNING, HELL BOUND and the superb, HIGHWAY 301.

Re: Western Tv: "The Raffertys" 1960 Lon Chaney

Johnny Ringo (1959) - The Raffertys (1960)

Guthrie magic wand eh!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Lone Gun (1954)

The Lone Gun (1954)

Cruze Missile and the Three of Spades.

The Lone Gun is directed by Ray Nazarro and written by Don Martin, Richard Schayer and L. L. Freeman. It stars George Montgomery, Dorothy Malone, Neville Brand, Frank Faylen, Skip Homeier, Robert Wilke, Douglas Kennedy and Fay Roope. Music is by Irving Getz and cinematography by Lester White (color by Color Corporation of America).

"The history of any frontier region . . . such as the great expanses of the new State of Texas . . . offered many examples of the strange way in which a few men of great evil could dominate whole communities of well meaning, but passive citizens...

...And examples, too, of men who rode out alone for law and order, with badges on their vests and handcuffs in their pockets . . . playing a lone gun against great odds"

It is pretty much as one would expect for a 50s "B" Western, there's nothing remotely new here, it's a good old honest Oater where a good man takes up a law badge in a town that doesn't deserve him, he takes on the bad guys and there's a pretty lady on his mind. Cue fisticuffs and shootings (including a particularly cold blooded murder), some nifty ambush sequences, a tension packed poker game and some neat dialogue - "one yell and you'll be waking up in a devil's cookhouse".

Cast are fine, with Montgomery doing his usual reliable and likable guy act, Brand doing another in his line of scumbags - backed by Kennedy and Wilke, and even though she's saddled with the token lady role that's sparsely written, Malone leaves a nice impression regardless. Bonus is Faylen, who as card conman Fairweather, shines in a cheeky chappie role, with quips and a glint in his eye even when he's in danger, Faylen enjoys himself in creating this fun character. Some good stunt work rounds it out as a safe and enjoyable Oater for fans of such. 6.5/10

Tidbib: Bizarrely the end credits have Wilke and Kennedy listed as playing each others roles?!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Lone Gun (1954)

Tick is on the way. Another one to add to my list, thanks.

Arizona Cyclone (1941) + In a Valley of Violence (2016)

Arizona Cyclone (1941, Joseph H. Lewis)
--- While this Johnny Mack Brown vehicle is a routine B-western, the action is quite good. At least there was an effort to create excitement instead of just stumbling through the shooting and fist fights like most 1930s B-westerns did. Plus you had Fuzzy Knight constantly soaked in water.

In a Valley of Violence (2016, Ti West)
--- The brutality of the west, tongue-in-cheek style! Don't ever mess with Ethan Hawke's dog! Quite awesome!

Re: Arizona Cyclone (1941) + In a Valley of Violence (2016)

Arizona Cyclone (1941)

Directed by the great Joseph H. Lewis. This is early in his career when he was doing jobbing assignments.

In a Valley of Violence (2016)

I'll get to it once it's out here in the UK (6th March).

Cheers Hol and good to see you

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Arizona Cyclone (1941) + In a Valley of Violence (2016)

Have not heard of the last one. Thanks.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

The Magnificent Seven
(2016). Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-Hun Li, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeir.

Remember The Magnificent Seven (1960)? Of course you do. The brilliant cast, the iconic score, the sharp dialogue, the perfect balance between action and contemplation. Great theme, great fun, irresistible entertainment. It is one of the fundamental building blocks of the classic American Western, assimilating what came before and anticipating some of what came after. Well, some new age studio bureaucrat with more money than ideas decided it was time for a remake. Oy. In recent years, we've had an insipid Tarzan re-boot, a well-produced but pointless remake of True Grit, and an attractive but bloated and unsatisfying re-imagining of 3:10 to Yuma. Apparently, what we really need is Brynner, McQueen and Company to defend us against the studio bureaucrats.

So, to be fair, there are some nice things about The Magnificent Seven, 2016 style. Director Antoine Fuqua has assembled a solid cast, led by Denzel Washington (sporting a brilliant Fred Williamson mustache.) The amiable Chris Pratt is a poor replacement for McQueen, but Vincent D'Onofrio scores as a mountain man, and the others, including an Asian, a Mexican, and a Native American, are distinct enough to register. There is even a sort of Ladies' Auxiliary, an adjunct female member played by Haley Bennett, number 7.5, I guess. As Fuqua relates, the multicultural make up if The Seven is historically accurate. (Hey, Mr Fuqua, if you're interested in historical accuracy, why do all your Cowboys sport a full set of perfect white teeth?) The movie is gorgeously filmed by Fuqua and Mauro Fiore, with saturated colors, good sets, and fine western landscapes. The two main fight scenes are well staged and well filmed. So, what went wrong?

Although the structure of the film is similar to the 1960 version, there are significant differences in the set-up. Instead of a dirt-poor Mexican village, we have an American town full of lower middle class white folks. Instead of desperate Mexican bandits, led by the colorful Eli Wallach, the bad guy is a heartless American capitalist with cold eyes and an army of hired guns. These changes so fundamentally alter the tone of the film that it veers off course, and changes the essential point of the story. At the end of the day, Director Fuqua has nothing to say, other than, "Hey, look! I made a Western!"

Fuqua is quite a talented director, I think. He's good with actors, he has a good eye, and he stages action scenes pretty well. I've watched The Replacement Killers 5 or 6 times, and Training Day is a minor classic. But he adds nothing to this classic story, and, in fact, deducts significantly from it. There are at least three key moments completely missing from the 2016 reboot - Bronson telling his compadres, "Do you know what the villagers have been eating since we got here?," McQueen saying, "You got involved in this village and the people in it," and Coburn saying "Nobody throws me my own guns and says run. Nobody." Without these elements - and Brynner's elegiac last line - we've gone from a universal story of hero mythology to a tired and frankly pointless tale of personal revenge. Not only is it unfortunate, it's almost sacrilegious.

At the end of the day, I'm giving The Mediocre Seven a 6/10. It's attractive, the cast tries hard, and the action will satisfy fans of the genre. But you won't remember it, at least not in the same way you remember the original. Perhaps the key problem with the remake is the title, the legacy of its source material. Why on earth would you want to tackle a classic if you don't have anything to add? If the film had been called Denzel Washington in a Western, I think I would have enjoyed it more. But by tackling a classic like The Magnificent Seven, you invite comparison, and when you come up short, you deserve to hear about it - Mr Fuqua, I want my 2 hours and 13 minutes back. This no more deserves to be called The Magnificent Seven than any of the watered-down sequels, and, given the resources available, that's a damned shame.

Re: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Thanks for the warning. I just could not bring myself to go see this when it was in the local cinemas.

Re: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

A seriously great review mate , though I'm not on your side with how you feel about it.

I'll have a review up to share with you over the weekend, I want to watch it again with the "vengeance" Blu-ray option on.

In short it delivers what I wanted really, in much the same way as my expectations for The Lone Ranger reboot were met. I just wanted a good time in that blockbuster popcorn way. It's not perfect for sure, characterisations should have been expanded, and I'm with you on Chisum's ultimate motives - though I think you under sell the action sequences by saying the director handles that film strand "pretty well," I think they are brilliantly constructed in this.

I'm currently 8/10 for it.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

I look forward to your review; it's always enlightening to disagree with an informed and open-minded source. I could mention in passing that I watched the movie Saturday, after seeing Liverpool crash and burn out of yet another cup competition to a lower division club at Anfield. My frame of reference may have been compromised.

Fuqua's Seven is not a bad movie; the key issue in my viewing is legacy. When you take on a remake of one of the classics of the genre, you need to deliver, and thematically, he isn't up to it. Titling your film The Magnificent Seven not only invites comparison, it demands it; part of what made the 1960 version such a classic is that Sturges and Company were able to retain the hero mythology of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Much of what makes the 2016 version fail is that Fuqua fails live up to that legacy. It's like making a Superman movie where Superman can't fly; it's such a fundamental element of the material that omitting it alters the project.

Re: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Friendly disagreements. That is what I love about the Western board. No knocking the other guy because he has a dif view of the same film. Keep the write-ups coming guys!

Re: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Well observed. A big reason why I keep coming back here.

Re: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

I could mention in passing that I watched the movie Saturday, after seeing Liverpool crash and burn out of yet another cup competition to a lower division club at Anfield. My frame of reference may have been compromised.

You should try supporting my lot, we got rid of the best manager we have had for a decade+ when 7th in the table, and brought in Zola, who is still waiting for a win after 10 games!!

Yep, I get the legacy thing, it probably helps me that I'm never averse to remakes, I mean as much as I love the 1960 version of the 7, I didn't mind it being remade so as to keep our beloved genre ticking over in this day and age. Plus maybe, just maybe, this one has got some new and younger folk interested in the 60 version, and that has to be a good thing.

How you feel about the two Alamo films? The Alamo (1960) The Alamo (2004). Now there I actually don't think the original film is that good anyway, so that was ripe for a remake, and to me the remake bettered it by some margin.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Mowett certainly did well by your boys, and I have yet to hear of a reasonable explanation why he was sacked. Craig Gardner should help; he's versatile, good technical skills, and still in what passes for his prime. Good luck.

I have a longstanding dislike for the 1960 version of The Alamo, which I find bloated and vastly overrated. To be fair, I haven't seen it in years, but I have no motivation to revisit it. Laurence Harvey does pretty well, and it's always a treat to see Richard Boone. The final assault is pretty well filmed, but overall the politics and narrative are hopelessly muddled. I find it dull, pretentious, and preachy.

The 2004 version is flawed in its own right, but the screenplay is better, and the cast isn't bad. I don't like it, especially, but I don't dislike it, either. I imagine it's hard to find your way through a story like this where everyone knows the ending - how do you construct a narrative that involves and entertains?

"Uncertain Vengeance" 1960 A 23 year old Stella Stevens


JOHNNY RINGO "Uncertain Vengeance" 1960

JOHNNY RINGO was a western series that ran for 38 episodes during 1959-60. The series starred Don Durant as the title character with Karen Sharpe, Mark Goddard and Terence De Marney as series regulars. The series follows Durant, (Ringo) a former gunfighter who decides to go straight. He becomes the Sheriff in the small town of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. The series was one of several (Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Shotgun Slade etc) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel.

This episode is the 23rd episode of the series.

Local ranch owner, Sarah Selby has a problem on her hands. Her older son, outlaw Wesley Lau has returned to the ranch. The younger son, Don Dubbins, looks up to the swine and wants to go with Lau when he leaves. The life of an outlaw sounds great. Also in the mix is Lau's shrew of a girl, Stella Stevens.

Selby rides into town and tells the Sheriff, Durant and his Deputy, Mark Goddard about Lau being at the ranch. She points at a wanted poster and tells Durant that the man is her son, and to come out and get him.

Durant and his man, Goddard quickly mount up and head out to collar Lau. Lau needless to say refuses to come quietly and rounds are exchanged all around. The battle spills out into the nearby woods. Lau finally tosses his gun out and offers to give up. When Durant steps out from cover to grab Lau, the outlaw yanks out a hidden pocket gun and fires at Durant. Lau misses, but Durant does not and drills Lau.

Lau's brother, Dubbins, and his girl, Stevens swear to get even with the Lawman. Durant tells Dubbins to think twice before doing anything stupid. The last thing his mother needs is a double funeral. Stevens is told to leave town pronto like. Stevens rides off to town and sends out a telegram to Yuma. She asks one of Lau's outlaw pals to come kill Durant.

Things soon start to heat up around the burg. Someone plants a stick of dynamite in the jailhouse stove. This almost puts paid to Durant and Goddard. Then someone cuts the cinch on his saddle. Sheriff Durant figures that the thug pals of Lau must be around. He rides out to the Selby ranch to make sure Dubbins is not involved.

As it so happens, Dubbins is the one behind the "accidents". He gets the drop on Durant and marches him out to the corral where the ranch bull is, and shoves Durant inside the corral. The bull is not amused with the company and charges at the Sheriff. Every time Durant tries to exit the corral, Dubbins takes a shot at him. Dubbins thinks the whole thing is extremely funny.

The fun soon ends when Deputy Goddard arrives on scene and puts a round into Dubbins' shoulder. Dubbins is in for a long stay in the territorial prison. Goddard also tells Durant that a telegram arrived saying that the outlaw Stevens had summoned had been killed in a bar fight two weeks before.

This is a decent episode that is helped along by having the then 23 year old Miss Stevens on display. This was her 5th appearance in front of a camera.

Re: "Uncertain Vengeance" 1960 A 23 year old Stella Stevens

Johnny Ringo (1959) - Uncertain Vengeance (1960)

I only have to see Stella Stevens' name written in type and my heart skips a beat

You have been having fun with this show mate.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Border Town" 1960


JOHNNY RINGO "Border Town" 1960

JOHNNY RINGO was a western series that ran for 38 episodes during 1959-60. The series starred Don Durant as the title character with Karen Sharpe, Mark Goddard and Terence De Marney as series regulars. The series follows Durant, (Ringo) a former gunfighter who decides to go straight. He becomes the Sheriff in the small town of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. The series was one of several (Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Shotgun Slade etc) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel.

This episode is the 24th episode of the series.

Local general store owner, Terence de Marney is killed during a robbery of his store by young Paul Carr. Sheriff Durant and Deputy Goddard are soon on the trail of the swine. As it so happens, de Marney is the father of Durant's girl, Karen Sharpe.

The pair track the killer to the border town of Eden. The local Sheriff, Robert Burton, figures from the description that they are indeed looking for Carr. Burton suggests that they check out the town saloon and gambling hall. The owner, Ed Nelson was a friend of Carr's deceased father.

Sure enough, they find the man hiding in Nelson's place and grab him up. The kid though steps across a white line painted on the saloon floor. The local law says that the line is the border between Arizona and New Mexico. They can't touch Carr without permission from the New Mexico side.

Durant and his man Goddard are not pleased with this turn of events. And less so when Carr pulls a fast one and escapes into the brush. Saloon man Nelson tells Durant that Carr said he was being framed for the murder. Also in the mix here is saloon singer, Joyce Meadows. Meadows and Carr, are sort of an item and she believes him innocent.

Meadows rides out to where she knows Carr is holed up to talk. Sheriff Durant spots her leave and follows at a distance. Meadows reaches Carr and finds him with the take from the same hold-up he denied doing. The two are having words when Durant arrives on the scene. Carr grabs Meadows by the hair and uses her as a human shield. He tells Durant to toss his weapon away, which he does. Now Ed Nelson also arrives. He approaches the kid and slaps him around, telling him that his dead father would be turning in his grave to see what he is doing.

Carr is in no mood for such treatment and goes for his iron. Durant though has used Nelson's arrive to retrieve his own weapon. Shot are exchanged with Carr soon suffered from an over large blood loss. Durant and Goddard ride back to Velardi where Durant discovers that his girl, Sharpe has left town. She could not handle the death of her father.

A good episode that was directed by actor turned director, Don Taylor. As an actor he is best recalled from his roles in THE NAKED CITY, FLYING LEATHERNECKS and STALAG 17.

The episode was written by William Link and Richard Levinson. These are two who wrote and produced the COLUMBO series starring Peter Falk.

Re: Western Tv: JOHNNY RINGO "Border Town" 1960

Johnny Ringo (1959) - Border Town (1960)

I just scanned Don Taylor's credits and was surprised to find he was the guy who directed Damien: Omen II (1978). He also co-directed the pretty smart Spag Western Un esercito di 5 uomini (1969).

Good stuff Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Gun Duel in Durango (1957)

Gun Duel in Durango (1957)

You are either with us or you are dead!

Gun Duel in Durango is directed by Sidney Salkow and written by Louis Stevens. It stars George Montgomery, Ann Robinson, Steve Brodie, Bobby Clark, Frank Ferguson, Don Barry, Henry Rowland and Denver Pyle. Music is by Paul Sawtell and Berts Shefter and cinematography by Maury Gertsman.

Standard 50s Oater as per formulaic story, but it's spiritedly played and it's not without emotional hefts. Story has Montgomery as Will Sabre, who has had enough of the outlaw life and quits the gang that are titled in his name. Only the gang wont let him quit and he has 30 days to change his mind or else! Not good since under an alias he's landed a nice job in Durango, become a surrogate father to an orphan, and if he can stay straight he'll get the hand of his honey, Judy (Robinson).

It starts with a callous murder and from there we are in no doubt that the one time Sabre Gang, now the Dunsten (Brodie) Gang, are bad dudes and Will Sabre (alias Dan) has his hands full from a number of angles. It's the various active threads that keep the pic from falling into mediocre hell, with Montgomery finding believable chemistry with both Robinson and young Clark. Action scenes are well staged, the Simi Valley and Chatsworth locales are nicely present and Gertsman's crisp black and white photography is most pleasant.

No surprises in store but this is above average and better than the plot would suggest. 6.5/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Gun Duel in Durango (1957)

Thanks, Spike. This is a new one for me so on the list it goes. Needless to say a tick is winging its way to you. Where are you finding these Montgomery dusters?


Re: Gun Duel in Durango (1957)

We have a free to air channel here called Movies4Men and they show a lot of "B" grade Oaters.

I like Montgomery, we know that he isn't going to be pulling up any acting trees, but he has the machismo, is very handsome and sits well in the Western sphere.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: "The Gunslinger" 1960 Harry Dean Stanton


JOHNNY RINGO "The Gunslinger" 1960

JOHNNY RINGO was a western series that ran for 38 episodes during 1959-60. The series starred Don Durant as the title character with Karen Sharpe, Mark Goddard and Terence De Marney as series regulars. The series follows Durant, (Ringo) a former gunfighter who decides to go straight. He becomes the Sheriff in the small town of Velardi in the Arizona Territory. The series was one of several (Rifleman, Wanted Dead or Alive, Shotgun Slade etc) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel.

This episode is the 25th episode of the series.

Sheriff Durant and Deputy Goddard are sitting around the jailhouse talking about the people of Velardi. Durant figures the townsfolk just look at him as the Sheriff. Goddard responds that Durant has many friends among the good people of the town. The pair head out to grab a coffee at the saloon.

In the street a man has just finished tying up his horse to the hitching rail. He turns and sees Durant stepping out of the jailhouse. The man, Fred Krone, calls Durant's name and slaps leather. Durant answers in kind and drops Krone dead in his tracks. Durant though has collected a severe wound in the chest and goes down as well.

Goddard and some of the locals haul the wounded man to the town doctor. The doc, John Maxwell gets right to work at removing the bullet. Durant has passed out from the pain. While out, he has memories of his gunslinger days flood over him.

He goes back years to when he was shot by Krone and his brother Harry Dean Stanton and left for dead. A friendly rancher, Howard Petrie had found him and moved him to his ranch. There his wife and daughter had cleaned and dressed his wound. The man changes his mind when he discovers that he is the famous gunfighter Johnny Ringo. Petrie asks Durant to leave, which he does.

Out on the trail several days later he runs into the one brother, Harry Dean Stanton. Needless to say this results in an exchange of heavy metal. Durant plugs the man in the arm. The wound goes bad and Stanton ends up losing an arm.

Durant now comes to as the doc, Maxwell finishes working on him. Outside Harry Dean Stanton and two other guns ride up. Stanton wants revenge for losing his arm. Goddard steps out to tell the men to leave. Stanton laughs and calls out for Durant. This does not go far as several dozen town's people show carrying rifles and shotguns arrive on scene. It would seem that Durant does indeed have many friends.

Re: Western Tv: "The Gunslinger" 1960 Harry Dean Stanton

Johnny Ringo (1959) - The Gunslinger (1960)

Or just Dean Stanton as he was back then.

Thanks Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Along Came Jones (1945)


* This review may contain spoilers ***

Getting set for a friends birthday, I decided to look in a local store for some movies/music he would like. After picking up the debut Grime album by Dizzee Rascal (as you do!) I spotted a fun- looking Western starring Gary Cooper,which led to me and a pal getting set to welcome Jones.

The plot:

Going on their own lonely path, Melody Jones and his pal ride into a quiet town.Unknown to Jones,an outlaw (who hardly anyone has seen) called Monte Jarrad is wanted in town. As Jones ties his horse up,the locals spot "MJ" on his saddle. Seeing everyone get itchy trigger fingers, Cherry de Longpre rushes over to keep Jones safe and away from the aiming for Jarrad bullets.

View on the film:

Shining as the lone star produced by him, Gary Cooper gives a very good performance as Melody Jones,whose dry wit Cooper subtly uses to poke fun at his own Western image,whilst remaining a chiselled outlaw who always has Longpre's safety as the first thing on his mind. Filmed whilst she was pregnant, Loretta Young gives a wonderful performance as Longpre,who is given a surprisingly modern feisty attitude by Young,as Young joyfully outguns all of the cowboys in sight. Balancing the slingshots of Comedy and Western,director Stuart Heisler & cinematographer Milton R. Krasner (who was also the cinematographer on How The West Was Won) give the outdoor scenes a breezy lightness,as the baking hot sun covers the land,that causes Jones to have to run to the nearest building for cover.

Keeping the real Jones hidden under his hat,Heisler counters the relaxed mood of the outdoor scenes with sweaty Film Noir tension,dripping from Jones and Longpre stylishly hiding in the shadows of houses from the bullets of the outlaws. Saddling up to Alan Le May's book,the screenplay by Nunnally Johnson takes clever,underhanded shots at the genre,from the "Wanted" sign being of a half- remembered name,to Jones thinking women can't shoot,whilst being unable to hold a gun straight himself! Centred round Jones mistaken identity,Johnson sadly never quite gets a perfect shot at all the excitement the scenario offers,as Jones comes along.

Re: Along Came Jones (1945)

Along Came Jones (1945)

Not seen it yet, so thanks for the review old bean. Krasner the added attraction here. Interesting comments on Johnson's screenplay, I'll bear those in mind for my viewing.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Along Came Jones (1945)

As the saying goes, it's a dandy!


Re: Along Came Jones (1945)

Ordered the DVD

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

I seek righteousness. But I'll take revenge.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk. Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgard. Music is by Simon Franglen (also working from a James Horner template) and cinematography by Mauro Fiore.

Seven gunmen band together to aid the town of Rose Creek whose inhabitants are being driven out by ruthless capitalist Bartholomew Bogue.

We are now in an age of film making where "tagged classics" are no longer sacrosanct. Any number of these "tagged classics" have been and will become viable for remake - reboot - reimaging for newer audiences. It's here, it happens and really there's nothing we can do about it but moan amongst ourselves. John Sturges' 1960 The Magnificent Seven (itself a remake of Kurosawa pic Yojimbo) is a much loved film, and not just in Western lovers circles, it's a film that non Western fans are known to enjoy - and rightly so, it deserves its place as a "tagged classic" and still enthrals over 50 years since its release. So the big studio big wigs and Antoine Fuqua were taking a major gamble remaking a classic remake with their own remake!

Undeniably the shadows loom large over the 2016 version, so much weight of expectation, in fact to some it was a stinker of a film even before it was released! Well, as those who have seen it will attest, both the fans and the dissenters, it hasn't raised the bar for the "Seven" formula, but, and this is very key here, the makers wasn't setting out to make a film that down the line would be perceived as a "tagged classic", and this is evident in the ream of extras available on the Blu-ray releases. They achieved what they set out to do, to make a blunderbuss Oater for the modern era to sample, and they have done it with much love, much cool and lashings of technical greatness. Add in a cast clearly enjoying themselves and not letting anyone down, and it's a tasty plate of beans.

Fuqua updates things by having his seven as a row of differing ethnicity's, which works a treat, and crucially he and his writers are respectful of those characterisations, even if a bit more fleshing out wouldn't have gone amiss. Yet nothing is at a cost to honouring the great Westerns of old. Beautiful landscapes envelope the players, the musical score bouncing around man and nature with homaged sweetness. There's closeups, silhouetted slices of panache, superb stunt work (man and beast), glorious set design, and then there's the action. The fight sequences are excellently constructed, a feast for the eyes and ears, death and slaughter unfurled in brutal but hunger appeasing strokes. There's comic relief about the place, and while much of the dialogue wouldn't have the great poets of yore troubled, there is deepness to be found. Intelligence, too, the addition of PTSD to one of the main players is a notable piece of worth, while how wonderful to find a Western lady character of great substance (Bennett excellent), so good in fact she could have been one of the seven!

It's a bare bones story, with a pointless motive revelation tagged on for the finale, while some anachronisms will irritate those bothered by such. But if you are able to judge it on its own terms, as a Western entertainment for this era, and to accept it isn't trying to outdo the source of its inspiration, then a good time can readily be had. 8/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

"Teach Your Grandmother to Suck Eggs!"

The Big Country (1958). Directed by William Wyler; based on a serialized novel by Matt Helm creator Donald Hamilton. Produced by Wyler and Gregory Peck.

The Big Country is, indeed, a Big film - large in scope, long in running time, epic in theme, featuring a large and fascinating cast. The stoic Gregory Peck plays an Eastern ship's captain who migrates West in pursuit of a winsome, headstrong blond (Carroll Baker.) He lands smack in the middle of a feud between her autocratic father, the always professional Charles Bickford, and his rough-hewn rival, played with shaggy relish by Burl Ives. Ives is supported by his shiftless bully of a son, Chuck Connors, and Bickford by his lean and hungry foreman, Charlton Heston. Add into the mix the enchanting schoolmarm Jean Simmons (be still my heart) and hang on to your buckboard.

Wyler, one of Hollywood's greatest craftsmen, has a long and remarkably diverse string of fine films - the romantic comedy Roman Holiday, the great noir Detective Story, the crime film Dead End, melodramas like The Heiress and Mrs Minver, the respected musical Funny Girl, the post-war epic The Best Years of Our Lives, and even the old Gary Cooper cowboy classic, The Westerner. Wyler's next film would be the Biblical epic Ben-Hur. The point being he was not a traditional Western director, and perhaps took a cue from High Noon - grafting an adult drama onto a Western setting to make his point more palatable.

It's possible to see The Big Country as a sort of Cold War allegory - Bickford is President Eisenhower, lording over his prosperous post-war empire, while the poor but ambitious Ives and his sprawling white trash domain stand in for Russia. Peck represents the calm, civilized experience of central Europe, who diplomatically just wants everyone to get along. I don't insist on it, I'm just saying - Wyler has bigger fish to fry than simply figuring out who's the toughest hombre.

In any event, the result is a long, literate epic, dramatic, well-paced, and oddly pacifistic. One of the key scenes is the justly famous fist fight between Peck and Heston, which Wyler films at great distance, to both underscore the scope - hey, it's a Big Country - and trivialize the point of the encounter. "What did we prove?" Peck asks after they fight to a brutal draw. Heston, a year away from superduperstardom in Ben Hur, has no answer. The big gunfight between Peck and Connors takes place with traditional European rules and English dueling pistols, which the uncivilized American botches, giving Peck another opportunity to play the gracious gentleman.

The dialogue is full of clever and memorable bits ("Treat her right. Take a bath sometime,") although the narrative goes awry at times. The production and sets are exquisite, and the locations are well-chosen. The score is one of the best in Western history, the performances are generally outstanding, and the whole thing comes off as big entertainment. Although the film moves along energetically, there is a distinct lack of violence, as Peck pushes his pacifist policy and impugns petty posturing and pointless pugnacity.

A few flaws do creep in - it's a very long movie, and, although well-paced, is very talky and rather light on action. There are some rough spots in the story (Jean Simmons recalls staying up all night to learn re-written scenes, only to be confronted with re-re-written scenes in the morning.) Peck is a little old for his role, and his character is a little too infallible. Perhaps most of all, the attraction of Carroll Baker is lost on me; why Peck would chase after this spoiled, bratty daddy's girl is beyond me. Perhaps, to the Alsatian-born Wyler, she represents the allure of the American West - beautiful but vapid.

But those are ultimately minor points that don't interfere with the joys of the film. I'm going to give The Big Country an 8.5/10. It's an unusual Western, but a tremendously well-made film. The cast, the score, the production, and the theme are all top notch, and should satisfy patient fans of the genre. Legend tells us President Eisenhower watched it four nights in a row at the White House, and named it the Best Film Ever. Who am I to argue?

Favorite trivia: Burl Ives won an Oscar for his role as Rufus Hannassy, and some of his best lines are incorporated into the oddball Ren and Stimpy classic, "Happy Happy, Joy Joy."

Re: "Teach Your Grandmother to Suck Eggs!"

I just want to thank all you guys for this thread and your contributions...I haven't checked in a quite a while but I was always lurking around for recommendations. Hope you guys find a fine alternative site for western talk and if you do maybe provide a link so I can keep up with any recommendations and reviews. Thanks again, Steve.


Re: "Teach Your Grandmother to Suck Eggs!"

It has been a pleasure mate. Only a small community but it has remained troll free and populated by grown ups.

Hopefully will have a site found before IMDb explodes. I'll be in touch.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: "Teach Your Grandmother to Suck Eggs!"

Hopefully will have a site found before IMDb explodes. I'll be in touch.

I'll look forward to it, my friend. Thanks for all your considerable effort and consistent good will.

I'm not going to go on living in the middle of a civil war.

I purchased the score on CD

I can't really add much to your great review, I rated it half a point lower but own it and like it very much. I was only really itchy about the thinness of the messages in it, but it certainly is a big movie in everything else.

You into Simmons as well! Love her, what a beautiful bone structured face, very classic looking.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: What Westerns Have You Seen? Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr 2017 Edition

Glad your doing well now Spikeopath and your back in the saddle!

Just recently re-watched Red River + The Searchers on Blu-ray. Fantastic picture quality.

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