Western : What Westerns Have You Seen? May/June/July/Aug/Sept Edition

Re: Western TV: THE DEPUTY "The Wild Wind" 1959

Thank you!

Western Tv: WHISPERING SMITH "Death at Even Money" 1961

CONTAINS SPOILERS

WHISPERING SMITH "Death at Even Money" 1961

WHISPERING SMITH was western star Audie Murphy's attempt at headlining a series. Murphy plays a member of the Denver Police Force in the late 1860's. The series follows Murphy and his partner, Guy Mitchell, as they chase various unsavoury types and bring them to justice. The series ran for 26 episodes between May and November 1961.

This episode is the 10th of the production run.

This one starts with two gamblers, Robert Lowery and Marc Lawrence, wrapping up an all-night poker game. Lawrence is down over $50,000 and wants a chance to recoup his losses. He bets Lowery that local Denver Lawman, Audie Murphy, will be dead inside 48 hours. The bet is double or nothing on the 50 large. Lowery mulls it over for a moment, then agrees to the wager.

The next day Murphy has a gunman take shots at him from a building rooftop. The man is shot off the roof by a local, John Daheim, who just happened to see the shooter on the roof. The dead man has a new crisp 100 dollar bill in his pocket. Murphy notices that Daheim is following him all over town and of course wonders why.

There are several more attempts on Murphy's life during the rest of the day. The men involved in each of these attempts, has a new $100 bill. The viewer of course knows that it is gambler Lawrence behind the attacks. The local, Daheim, has been hired by the other gambler, Lowery, to protect Murphy.

The closer it gets to the 48 hour time limit on the bet, the more desperate Lawrence becomes. Lawrence and one of his hirelings finally manage to put the bag on Murphy. They load the bound and gagged Lawman on a buckboard and haul the man out of town for disposal. Needless to say, Murphy escapes and the tables are soon turned.

Not great, but not bad either, it passes the time well enough.

Re: Western Tv: WHISPERING SMITH "Death at Even Money" 1961

Whispering Smith (1961) - Death at Even Money (1961)

Decent time waster. Thanks for your continuing efforts in reviewing titles Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

FORT DOBBS 1958 Clint Walker, V. Mayo, B. Keith

CONTAINS SPOILERS

FORT DOBBS – 1958

This Warner Brothers duster stars Clint Walker, Virginia Mayo and Brian Keith. Twenty minutes in and I thought I was watching a re-hash of the John Wayne classic, HONDO. Same idea, but it takes a different tact with Walker as a man running from the law for a killing. He flees out into the badlands to escape the posse in pursuit.

He manages to throw off the posse but is soon mixed up with a group of upset Indians, and a woman, Virginia Mayo and her young son, Richard Eyer. The rampaging Comanche burn out Mayo's ranch and the three are soon heading for a nearby fort.

On the trail they run into gunrunner, Brian Keith. Keith is hauling 100 of the latest repeating rifle to Santa Fe. Needless to say the man is a swine and makes moves on Mayo. Walker steps in and sends Keith on his way. Complicating matters is that Mayo thinks Walker might have killed her husband.

They make it to the fort but find the garrison has been overran and wiped out by an earlier Comanche attack. Then a group of civilians on the run from the Comanche, show up at the fort looking for shelter. Among these folks is the Sheriff who had been chasing Walker.

They manage to beat off several mass attacks but are running low on ammo. Walker sneaks out to try and go for help. He meets up with Keith and his cargo of rifles again. He suggests that Keith bring the rifles to the fort to help in defense of same. Keith is not happy with that idea and goes for his gun. Walker is quicker off the draw and Keith goes down.

Walker manages to get the rifles back to Fort Dobbs just as the Indians are massing for a large attack. The extra firepower does the trick and the Comanche are driven off with heavy losses.

The Sheriff looks the other way as Walker strikes out for Santa Fe with Mayo and Eyer. He figures everyone owes Walker their lives.

Not bad at all.

Re: FORT DOBBS 1958 Clint Walker, V. Mayo, B. Keith

Fort Dobbs (1958)

Not bad at all indeed. I'll just add my own review to yours.


Fifteen Bullets from Fort Dobbs.

Fort Dobbs is directed by Gordon Douglas and written by George W. George and Burt Kennedy. It stars Clint Walker, Virginia Mayo, Brian Keith, Richard Eyer, Russ Conway and Michael Dante. Music is by Max Steiner and cinematography by William H. Clothier.

After his appealing run in the TV series Cheyenne, it was inevitable that Clint Walker would make the transition to big screen fare. Here for his first feature length outing, we get the marker for his career that would follow. Never blessed with great acting talent, Walker was however a mighty presence, and handsome to boot, and he is the prime reason why Fort Dobbs is a better than average experience.

Plot basically has Walker as Gar Davis, a fugitive of justice who hooks up for a travelogue with Celia Grey (Mayo) and her son Chad (Eyer). Along the way there is Comanche peril, shifty companionship in the form of Clett (Keith) and a cunning twist that strains the relationship between Gar and the Greys. The wonderful Henry Repeater Rifle comes into play, very much so, and it provides some kinetic excitement, and it all builds to a rousing finale of explosions and stunts, while of course redemption and the truths will out. Clothier and Steiner further cement their reputations as skilled craftsmen, with the former beautifully realising the Kanab locations in black and white, and Douglas knows his way around a good honest Oater. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: What Westerns Have You Seen? May/June/July/Aug - 2016 Edition.

White Feather (1955)

Robert Wagner is a land surveyor who travels through hostile Indian Territory to a cavalry fort and consequently raises the ire of the post commander (John Lund) who is in the midst of negotiating peace treaties with the Indian tribes who control the territory.

Wagner eventually befriends the son (Jeffrey Hunter) of a Cheyenne chief and his second in command, American Horse (Hugh O’Brian).

Conflicts arise when Hunter’s younger sister (Debra Paget) becomes smitten with Wagner who then is also recruited by the Cheyenne chief to speak on their behalf to settle peace negotiations with the US which angers Hunter.

The plot has some similarities to James Stewarts Broken Arrow, most noticeably in Debra Paget’s return as the pretty young Indian maiden and love interest and is also supposedly based on actual historical events.

It is handsomely directed and filmed in letterbox format which showcases sweeping impressive vistas that gives the film a high level of quality.

I believe a bigger name could have elevated the films popularity but it is still a fine picture and worth your time. 9/10.





"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: What Westerns Have You Seen? May/June/July/Aug - 2016 Edition.

I have this one here but have not gotten around to watching it. I'll move it up the must watch list. Thanks.

White Feather

It has some pretty stern critics in Western lover circles, but although I don't rate it as highly as yourself I think it's a damn fine Oater. This is another one I'm glad to see pop up.


A fine addition to the liberal Western collection.

White Feather is out of Panoramic Productions, it's directed by Robert D. Webb and stars Robert Wagner, Debra Paget, John Lund, Eduard Franz & Jeffrey Hunter. It's adapted from a John Prebble story by Delmer Daves & Leo Townsend. It was filmed in Durango, Mexico, with Lucien Ballard on cinematography duties (CinemaScope/Technicolor) and Hugo Friedhofer provides the score. Plot centres around the peace mission from the US cavalry to the Cheyenne Indians in Wyoming during the 1870s, but problems arose because a few of the Cheyenne refused to leave their hunting grounds.

One of the few 1950s Westerns to show sympathy towards the Indian plight, White Feather is a well intentioned and well executed movie. It suffers a little from familiarity with Broken Arrow (1950), where Delmer Daves had directed James Stewart and Debra Paget thru a similar script to the one that's now in front of Wagner and Paget; and lets face it-Wagner is no Jimmy Stewart- and Robert Webb is no Delmer Daves-but there's more than enough good here to lift it above many other liberal Westerns.

Away from the endearing and emotive story (and it is as the Cheyenne are forced out of Wyoming by the Federals), the film also boasts high points for the Western fan to gorge upon. It's gorgeously shot in CinemaScope by Ballard, a first class lens-man in the genre, and Friedhofer's score is pulsating, evocative and in tune with the tone of the tale. Also of note is that these Native Americans aren't caricatures or pantomime Indians. They may be being played by white actors (Hunter & Franz do especially good work), but they feel real and come out as the human beings they were. In fact the whole movie looks convincing.

There's some missteps along the way; such as Wagner over acting and having a voice that's sounds out of place in the Wild West, while the romantic angle (Paget is so beautiful here who could not fall in love with her?) does at times threaten to clog up the narrative. But these things don't hurt the film. On the flip side there's the smooth pacing of the piece, it's only when the tense and exciting climax has arrived that you realise how well the slow burn first half was handled. And Webb may well be a second unit director in all but name here, but his construction of the scenes with hundreds of extras is top notch work.

A fine and under seen Western that is based on actual events and doesn't over egg its pudding. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: White Feather

Yeah, I couldn't understand some of the harsh opinions it garnered. I mean the movie is just one Glen Ford or a Gregory Peck step away from being a top-tiered classic, instead of Wagner in the main role.

I suppose I also had the advantage of watching this movie on a 55" widescreen HD TV which made a greater impact but honestly it really only brought forth what the movie already had to offer.

I still feel very strongly about my rating mostly because movies of this caliber imo don't come by too often especially in this genre filled with an inordinate and unequal amount of clunkers.

I will say this though my one absolute bugaboo is when a white American actors play Indians. I absolutely loathed Apache with Burt Lancaster, but for some reason it did not bother me too much in White Feather. I'm thinking it's the cinematography that won me over.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: White Feather


I'm thinking it's the cinematography that won me over


Well as you know it's integral to Western films, and here is Ballard photographing, a true master of the craft.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: White Feather

On the list it goes. Thanks for the heads up on the film. Needless to say a tick has been sent.

The Ox-Bow Incident

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943). I've wanted to see it for years and I finally got it (DVD) for 39p at a charity shop. Excellent film and only 73 minutes long. I'm surprised it has never been remade (perish the thought, it would be twice as long and half as good).

"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations" Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Re: The Ox-Bow Incident

It's one of the great cerebral western's with an excellent cast and outstanding performances by every one. I'm quite jealous if that was your first viewing.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: The Ox-Bow Incident

Yep, me as well, I would love to be able to see it for the first time.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Ox-Bow Incident

This one is a top notch film all around. Nice pick.

Re: The Ox-Bow Incident

Watched this few years ago. Very moving and still relevant.

Excellent movie - recommended highly. Actually, one of my top ten westerns.

Re: The Ox-Bow Incident

A wonderful film, so glad you liked it so much.


There can't be any such thing as civilisation unless people have a conscience.

The Ox-Bow Incident is directed by William A. Wellman and adapted to screenplay by Lomar Trotti from the novel of the same name written by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. It stars Henry Fonda, Henry Morgan, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe and Jane Darwell. Music is scored by Cyril J. Mockridge and cinematography by Arthur C. Miller.

Gil Carter & Art Croft ride into the town of Bridger's Wells, they hit the local saloon to imbibe after a log hard cattle drive. Whilst there a man runs in and announces that a popular man from the town has been shot by rustlers. The sheriff is out of town and a lynch mob quickly forms to bring what they see as swift justice to the culprits, Gil & Art join the posse so as to make sure they themselves don't get blamed for the shooting. The posse finds three weary workers and convince the majority that these guys are guilty and that instant hanging is the only way to do things. There are, however, one or two dissenting voices......

What a fabulous movie this is, a powerful indictment of how the lynch mob mentality can grip and lead to pain for many. William Wellman directs superbly, with a big ensemble in such a small area (Ox-Bow), he manages to get the right blend of emotive reactions from the leading players. Henry Fonda as Gill Carter is perfectly sedate and compassionate, even though he is far from being a flawless character, Dana Andrews as Donald Martin is heart achingly real, while others like Frank Conroy as Major Tetley are suitably full of ignorant bluster. It's quite an experience to see Wellman pull them all together with so much style. The photography from Miller is excellent, shadowy low tone black and white that is in keeping with the downbeat nature of the film, it infuses the picture with a gritty hard bitten noirish look. While Mockridge scores it suitably as sombre.

Ultimately it's the story that triumphs the most, claustrophobic in nature, it is simple yet tragic as it spins out to tell us how a group of seemingly sane individuals turned out to be a mass of incoherent reasoning. When a letter is read out during the finale, it is devastating in its effect, we see men broken, heads bowed in shame, others heavy in heart, their lives never to be the same. The emotional whack is hard hitting, and rightly so. For this is unashamedly a message movie, and a worthy one at that, so much so its reputation has grown over the years, where both the film and novel have made it into some educational curriculum's. It's very much a landmark Western, by choosing to forgo action for dark characterisations, it opened up the Western genre to being more than just shoot-outs and trail blazing. Had it been made seven or eight years later I think it would have garnered higher critical praise.

In spite of being one of Fonda's favourite movies that he made, the film didn't make money. The public were not quite ready for such sombre beats (Orson Welles, tellingly I feel, loved it), the critics of the time were irked by Wellman's decision to film the key trial and lynching sequences on the stage. Yet the closeness this gives the narrative serves it well, thrusting the many characters close together so they, and us, can see the whites of everyone's eyes, this is about focusing on the faces of those about to commit a capital crime. The close confines also gives off a pervasive sense of doom, where pessimism seeps through, there is no short changing here, the makers are dealing in bleakness and the right choices are made to produce one of the finest and most upsetting exponents of mob mentality played out on film. 9/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Scott Eastwood in Diablo

Diablo (2015) / Lawrence Roeck. This is going to be one crazy mixed-up review. If you take a look at this western’s comments on this database or on Netflix you will find that the user reviews are savage! I’m talking rabid hate and anger. Sprinkled in among them are a few moderate assessments. I will join that minority. “Diablo” is, it is true, not a very good movie. The fault lies mainly at the foot of the director who stages many of the outdoor scenes in a static fashion. Often the scenes take quite a long time to get to the point, at least it seemed to me. If you want to go to Film School, he doesn’t have a good grasp of mise-en-scène. Scott Eastwood, son-of-guess-who, looking and sounding a lot like his father, is a civil war vet who is following three men who have kidnapped his wife. Along the way, he is stalked by a mysterious killer named Ezra, played by movie-stealing actor Walton Goggins who had never come under my radar before. At about the three-quarter mark, there is a sudden and total shift in tone and perspective (which you may see coming) that moves the story from a traditional western into near horror/slasher territory (though not as far as "Bone Tomahawk," from what I've heard). So, while parts of this film are barely competent, I give it marks for ambition. I certainly didn’t hate it or get mad at it for insulting my intelligence. Thus, I hardly know how to conclude. I don’t necessarily recommend it, but I don’t not recommend it either. Take this confusion for what it is worth.

mf

Trust me. I’m The Doctor.

Django Unchained (2012)

Just got round to watching this. Three reasons for the delay:

1. I don't like Jamie Foxx (sorry JF fans - I just can't stand him)
2. I didn't like any of the original Django movies
3. Quentin Tarantino movies are bit hit and miss for me

Anyway, after watching the Hateful 8, I thought I would give this one a go. I know it was going to be very violet, brutal and bloodthirsty. I 'enjoyed' it. To be truthful, not sure enjoyed it is the right word but I managed to get thru the movie despite Jamie Foxx.

As a side note: I found this more emotional than '12 years a slave' (I know it is not a western). I actually found 12 years quite boring. This one really had me wanting to kill all the Southerners with their attitude and actions towards the slaves.

I would recommend this one but only for people who don't mind gore, brutality, etc.

I would say 8/10.

Re: Django Unchained (2012)

Still need to see it myself.

Re: Django Unchained (2012)

Still have to review it, think I'll double it with Hateful Eight. I liked Unchained a lot on first viewing so it will be interesting to see how it holds up.


I would recommend this one but only for people who don't mind gore, brutality, etc.


You say that like it's a bad thing

Cheers Robie

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Scott Eastwood in Diablo

Thanks for the review. I'll give it a turn soon. So far I've liked the few Scott films I've seen.

"Anybody who doesn't wanna hang, step out and get shot!"

Re: Scott Eastwood in Diablo

Have not seen it yet. Have it one my list though.

Re: Scott Eastwood in Diablo

Looks and sounds a dud Mike. Any film rated at under 5 on IMDb really has irked the masses!

Walton Goggins. You not seen The Hateful Eight yet? You will find him on top scene stealing form in that one as well

Thanks for watching this film and giving us an informed review

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Scott Eastwood in Diablo


Walton Goggins. You not seen The Hateful Eight yet? You will find him on top scene stealing form in that one as well


No, haven't seen it and have no plans to at the present time.

I did re-watch the first of the Bourne spy thrillers this week, The Bourne Identity (2002), and looked for Goggins, having spotted his name in the cast. He is one of the CIA operatives trying to track Bourne from the computer room.

mf

Trust me. I’m The Doctor.

Printing the legend - and then turning it into a song and a play

For many, Charles Bronson has a reputation as a rather monolithic screen presence that’s not entirely undeserved considering how lazy many of his 80s and 90s films were, but in the mid-70s when his star was still riding high he could still challenge people’s perceptions with a much more engaged performance in an unexpected gem like From Noon Till Three only to see it ignored by both his action movie fanbase disappointed by the lack of a body count and more upmarket audiences who weren’t convinced by the star’s presence in a surprisingly sophisticated black comedy romance alike. Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning writer-director Frank D. Gilroy’s own novel From Noon Till Three: The Possibly True and Certainly Tragic Story of an Outlaw and a Lady Whose Love Knew No Bounds, it’s a shame the film is so little known and so rarely revived.

Bronson is (perhaps) a former colonel who has fallen on hard times since the Civil War and is now riding with Douglas Fowley’s motley band of outlaws en route to the biggest bank robbery of their lives, but a troubling nightmare that an ambush lies in wait leads him to take advantage of an injury to his horse to sit out the raid at refined widow Jill Ireland’s remote mansion. In the three hours that he spends waiting for their return a relationship gradually blossoms as her haughty exterior melts and his own true character emerges only for the law to put an abrupt end to things. Escaping only to be jailed for another man’s crimes, he emerges from prison a year later eager to rekindle their romance to find that in the interim she has turned it into an international best-selling novel, play and song, the mansion becoming a shrine for tourists and the story so elaborately over-romanticised that she doesn’t recognize the real man anymore – and when she finally does, she doesn’t want the unvarnished truth destroying the legend that the whole world has taken to its heart…

The film was never going to be an easy sell, shifting from Western to romance to black comedy with a resolution that makes perfect sense but certainly left many enchanted by the love story and hoping for a more Hollywood ending disappointed. The presence of the usually stiff-as-a-board Mrs Bronson in a demanding role probably didn’t help any more than the cartoonish Mad Magazine-style posters a desperate studio used to market it. Yet it’s a quirky little delight of a movie that has fun subverting expectations, not least of its leading man. Bronson is quite the revelation here, clearly having a ball in the kind of part that Burt Lancaster would have played only a few years earlier, delivering writer-director Gilroy’s occasionally elegant dialogue as if it were second nature and taking advantage of the script’s ample opportunities to show a range that was rarely asked of him as he’s forced to adopt multiple disguises and identities in the second half of the film as he finds himself cast out of his own legend even by his former friends. While Ireland isn’t as effortlessly natural, that works in her favour in the early scenes and she certainly ups her usual game this time round and has moments where she’s refreshingly natural and unforced, possibly because it’s one of the few times in her husband’s films that she was working with a director who actually wanted her in his picture. The two really do light up in some of their scenes together for the only time in their 18 films together.

There’s also an excellent score from Elmer Bernstein: more a gentle wistful romantic one than a boots and saddles one, with a particularly beautiful love theme, Hello and Goodbye, that even Jill Ireland's vocal rendition can't ruin, it's closer to his work on 'smaller' films like To Kill a Mockingbird than his more robust scores, and just as effective in its own way. (Bernstein and co-lyricist Alan Bergman even cameo in the film as a pair of song pluggers.)

It’s not quite a classic, but it is something of a charmer.




"Security - release the badgers."

Re: Printing the legend - and then turning it into a song and a play

Thanks for the reminder here. I actually saw this in the cinema back when it came out. It did not do much box office here. I seem to recall only myself, the girlfriend and a half dozen or so others there.

Re: Printing the legend - and then turning it into a song and a play

It didn't do much box-office anywhere and pretty much vanished from TV for years. It's only this Fall it's getting a US Blu-ray release (it skipped a proper DVD release), and even that's a limited edition that's not available in stores.


"Security - release the badgers."

Re: Printing the legend - and then turning it into a song and a play

Thanks for the info.

Re: Printing the legend - and then turning it into a song and a play

A fine review, which is to say, I agree completely; I watched From Noon 'Til Three several times back in the day, and found it slight but quite charming. Frank Gilroy was primarily a playwright, and also wrote several teleplays - his direction is uninspired, but adequate, and his handling of the story and characters is quite good. He also wrote the engaging Glenn Ford western, The Fastest Gun Alive.

From Noon Till Three

I'm convinced I have this recorded at home somewhere. Great review, reads as an intriguing picture.

We could always rely on Jill to portray wood with skill!

If I haven't got it already I'll definitely seek it out.

Trev

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: GUNSMOKE "Matt Gets It" 1955 Episode one

CONTAINS SPOILERS

GUNSMOKE "Matt Gets It" 1955

GUNSMOKE was the longest running western TV series ever. The series last for 20 years and a total of 635 episodes. (Plus several TV movies) The lead, James Arness, plays Dodge City Marshall, Matt Dillion. Over the years cast regulars included, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Dennis Weaver, Ken Curtis, Burt Reynolds and many others. The list of guest stars is endless.

In this episode, the first of the series, the episode is introduced by none other than, John Wayne.

Dodge City Marshall, James Arness is paid a visit at his office by a Sheriff from Texas. The man, Robert Anderson, is in Dodge looking for a fast gun wanted for shooting an unarmed man. The gunman, Paul Richards, is believed to be in Dodge City. Anderson does not want any help arresting Richards. Anderson is just telling Arness what is going on.

Anderson finds Richards in the saloon and calls him out. Richards steps out into the street with Anderson. Arness and his Deputy, Dennis Weaver are both watching from nearby. Iron flashes and Anderson is the last to clear leather.

Now Arness approaches Richards to put the grab on him. Guns are yarded again, with Arness going down with two rounds in him. Richards calmly holsters and returns to the bar.

The just barely alive, Arness, is hauled off to the town doctor, Milburn Stone. It is touch and go for a bit, but Arness pulls through. He slowly recovers while thinking over how the gunfight had gone. He is sure he noticed something odd about Richards during the fight.

Arness, is soon back on his feet gathering his strength for a re-match. When ready, Arness buckles up his gun belt and looks up Richards at his room at the hotel. He calls Richards out and watches Richards closely. For every step Richards takes toward him, Arness takes one back, keeping a good distance between them. Arness is sure that Richards has a fast hand, but that he needs to be close because of poor eyesight.

Guns are pulled again with Richards, again, the quickest. But this time he misses and Marshall Arness drops him. It is Boot Hill time for Richards.

This is a pretty good first episode, with some nice work from both the cast and crew. The episode was directed by Charles Marquis Warren, who also supplied the screenplay.

The look of the episode is quite sharp with one time Oscar nominated, Ernest Miller, in the cinematographer's chair.

Re: Western Tv: GUNSMOKE "Matt Gets It" 1955 Episode one

Gunsmoke (1955) - Matt Gets It (1955)

Good starting point then!

Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Rio Grande"1957

CONTAINS SPOILERS

TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Rio Grande"1957

TALES OF WELLS FARGO was a western series than ran for a total of 200 episodes between 1957 and 1962. Dale Robertson plays the lead as Jim Hardee. Hardee is an agent for the stage and cargo hauling outfit. When something goes wrong he is the man they send to fix it.

This episode is the 9th of the series. Wells Fargo man, Hardee (Dale Robertson) is in Matamoras, Mexico, closing up the office there. There is a revolution going on locally and there are plenty of bandits roaming the area.

Robertson plans on heading for the Wells Fargo office in Laredo Texas. His plans are soon complicated when a valuable shipment of US currency is dumped in his lap. Then a US Government railroad surveyor, Russell Johnson, and a pretty gal, Diane Brewster, are foisted on him. They both have letters from Well Fargo headquarters telling Robertson to deliver said persons to the States.

The only transport north is a trio of mules. The group sets off and makes it to the first way station. The problem here is that there are no remounts. Adding to the problems, are several more folks who are on the run from a bandit leader. The pair, Joe De Santis and the beautiful, Lisa Montell, join the troop as they head north.

Now the nasty local bandit leader, Rico Alaniz, ambushes the group and grabs Miss Montell. After this, the weary travellers continue their trek to the border. Montell manages to slip away from the bandits and rejoins Robertson and company, bringing along a pair of horses. Montell informs Robertson that Alaniz will be hot on her trail. Robertson sends the womenfolk and the Government man ahead on the horses. He and De Santis set an ambush for the pursuing bandits.

The bandits ride into the trap and are disposed of through a liberal application of lead. Robertson, figuring that this is the end of his immediate problems, is now set upon by De Santis. De Santis has learned about the large amount of greenbacks Robertson is carrying. A brisk round of flying fists and a rifle butt to the head stops De Santis. Then it is off to the border again.

This is an interesting episode that was filmed entirely on the studio back lot. This is strange since most of the episodes feature plenty of outdoors action. The exotic looking Lisa Montell appeared as eye candy in 50 plus film and television roles between 1955 and 1962. What a looker!

Re: Western Tv: TALES OF WELLS FARGO "Rio Grande"1957

She looks hot with long hair and in a peasant dress.

UTAH BLAINE 1957 Well done Rory Calhoun Duster

CONTAINS SPOILERS

UTAH BLAINE 1957

This lower budget western film was produced by Sam Katzman's Clover Productions and released through Columbia Pictures. The film stars Rory Calhoun as gunslinger Mike "Utah" Blaine. The supporting cast includes, Paul Langton, Max Baer, Ray Teal, George Keymas, Ken Christy and pretty as a picture, Susan Cummings.

In this one, Calhoun gets himself mixed up with a range war between some long time ranchers, and a gang of vigilantes. The vigilantes, led by Ray Teal, want the big ranches broken up into smaller holdings. Teal has hired himself a slew of fast guns and various other assorted trash types to help him. He promises the men all ranches of their own.

Calhoun just happens on a man, Ken Christy, who these vigilantes have left hanging from a tree. Calhoun cuts the man down after the gang left. Christy is still alive and thankful for Calhoun saving his life. Once he finds out that Calhoun is a known fast gun, he offers to pay him for help. Christy also offers a nice slice of range and a 1,000 head of cattle. Calhoun has always wanted a place of his own and agrees.

Calhoun is soon knee deep in fist fights, shoot-outs and horse chases, both as the pursued, and the pursuer. Most of the local townsfolk are too afraid to stand up to Teal and his mob of hired guns. Calhoun does manage to get some help from a pal he knew from years before, Paul Langton. Langton is also handy with a six-gun, as well as the huge double-barrelled shotgun he hauls around. Max Baer, a local, also joins Calhoun.

In the mix here is gorgeous Susan Cummings. Miss Cummings is the owner of another of the bigger spreads around the area. She has just buried her father who was murdered by Teal and his bunch. She is soon helping Calhoun and company with food and a place to hide. Of course Miss Cummings and our man Calhoun take a shine to each other.

For Calhoun, the fight becomes very personal when he finds that gunman, George Keymas, is among Teal's men. It seems that Keymas had sold Calhoun out to the Mexican Federales, when the two had been on a job south of the border. Calhoun had spent a long stretch in a Mexican prison before finally escaping. He wants revenge.

The local folks finally join up with Calhoun's mob when Teal tries to murder another local ranch owner, Angela Stevens. They arm up and are waiting in ambush for Teal and his men when they hit town. There is a fairly liberal spraying of heavy metal, with Teal and his bunch on the wrong end. Calhoun and Keymas have their own little battle with Keymas joining the Boot Hill express.

This is a nifty little low renter that zips along in a quick 75 minutes. B-expert, Fred F. Sears, handles the direction here. Sears cranked out about 50 films in his 1949 till 1958 Hollywood career. Sears' films include, WORLD WITHOUT END, UTAH BLAINE, RUMBLE ON THE DOCKS, THE 49th MAN, CELL 2455 DEATH ROW and CHICAGO SYNDICATE.

Another B-film veteran, Benjamin H. Kline handles the cinematography. Kline worked on several excellent low-rent film noir such as, ROSES ARE RED, THE INVISIBLE WALL, JEWELS OF BRANDENBURG, TREASURE OF MONTE CRISTO and DETOUR.

The film is taken from the Louis L'Amour novel of the same name.

Re: UTAH BLAINE 1957 Well done Rory Calhoun Duster

Utah Blaine (1957)

Calhoun and Sears, reliable as granite!




The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Ride, Vaquero! (1953)

Ride, Vaquero! (1953)


He loves me like a brother.

Ride, Vaquero! is directed by John Farrow and written by Frank Fenton. It stars Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, Anthony Quinn, Kurt Kasznar and Ted de Corsa. Music is by Bronislau Kaper and cinematography by Robert Surtees.

Out of MGM and filmed in Ansco Color at Kanab in Utah (though story is set in Texas), Ride, Vaquero! is collectively unusual, bold and frustrating. Plot revolves around outlaws lead by bandido Esqueda (Quinn) refusing to let settlers and civilisation come to the Brownsville territory. So far so formulaic, then, but Esqueda's right hand man is Rio (Taylor), who was raised by Esqueda's mother and therefore they be adopted brothers. When King Cameron (Keel) and his wife Cordelia (Gardner) refuse to be shunted out of Brownsville, with King trying to rally the townsfolk against Esqueda, Rio starts to feel sympathy for the Cameron's.

What unfolds is a sort of Freudian Greek Tragedy, a love quadrilateral as Esqueda and Rio love each other in that manly brotherly way, Cordelia begins to love Rio, love which he is keen to reciprocate, while King will always love Cordelia no mater what. Action is competently put together by Farrow as it all builds to a big finale, which doesn't disappoint on narrative terms, and the airy location photography (this is one of the better Ansco Color productions I have seen) is delightful. While naturally there will be sacrifices and psychologically tinged twists along the way to keep the faithful interested.

Quinn is wonderfully ebullient, enjoying himself with a licence to chow down on the script with relish. Taylor is subdued, sleep walking through the film under direction to be a man of quiet menace and emotional confliction. Keel looks like he is desperate to sing a song, or just be some place else, while Gardner is required to just look pretty and pretty wistful from time to time. Kasznar as Father Antonio comes out in credit, but when the screenplay has him refusing stolen money to help the church - only to then have him 15 minutes later shooting away with rifle to kill his fellow man - the inconsistency in the production is further compounded.

Keel hated the boredom of the shoot, stuck out in the wilderness with nothing to do for months he said, and Gardner hated Farrow, citing him as a sleazy bully to women and horses! These complaints do show, the film feels like it's treading water, where if you take out Quinn you are left with what comes across as a bunch of actors working for food. Characterisations are not well drawn enough to make the promise of the mind matters work, and supporting players like Jack Elam wander in and out of the picture without due care and attention.

There's good intentions in the screenplay, where for 1953 this could have been ahead of its time and setting the bar for Freudian flavoured Westerns. While it's on it engages for sure, but once finished there's the distinct feeling that it was never all that it could have been. A shame really. 6/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Ride, Vaquero! (1953)

Well done, Spike. This one seems to have gotten by me somehow. And me a Robert Taylor and Tony Quinn fan. Needless to say that a tick has been sent! Keep them coming my good man.

Re: Stagecoach 1986

LOL. Have not seen it myself, but heard from several others it was horrible.

Re: Stagecoach 1986

Well, it isn't very good, but it is an oddball curiosity piece. Kris Kristofferson has a certain easygoing charm, although he is far too old for the role, and Johnny Cash has an authentic presence. Waylon and Willie and the boys are just along for the ride; the addition of Doc Holiday as a character is ludicrous. It isn't even as good as the unnecessary 1966 remake.

It's pretty lousy, but it may hold a horrible fascination for fans of Cash or Kristofferson.

Re: Stagecoach 1986

One to avoid then!!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Stagecoach 1986

Most definately, I started out watching it a few weeks ago out of morbid curiosity, I couldnt make it to the 20 min. mark.

Those men are some of the finest singers in country music, but actors they are not.

When you call me that ... smile

The Virginian (2000, made-for-TV)

Owen Wister's 1902 novel, The Virginian, has been referred to as the first authentic western novel, as opposed to the abundance of pulp stories that came before. The novel has been filmed no fewer than 6 times, and spawned the fondly remembered 1960s TV series starring James Drury. The focus of this review is the 2000 made-for-TV film, starring Bill Pullman.

Wister's story is fairly familiar - The Virginian (no name is given) is a principled and competent hand with a philosophical side. He courts the school marm (the always lovely Diane Lane) while defending the Judge's (Harris Yulin's) ranch against the rascally machinations of Sam (Dennis Weaver.) He has a good friend in Steve (John Savage, playing with restrained restraint) and a bitter enemy in the unrepentant and unprincipled saddle tramp, Trampas (Colm Feore.) In the novel, the tale is told by The Tenderfoot, and in the film, the cast is rounded out by other ranch hands.

The production is a mixed bag - the locations look nice, and it has a nice Western feel. The music isn't bad, and the props and sets are satisfying. On the other hand, the dialogue is rather formal and often seems stilted and stagey. The supporting cast has a few familiar faces, but not many; the made-for-TV origin of the film are evident here.

A bigger problem, I think, is the direction, by Pullman himself. He does okay with the actors, but he has no talent for framing scenes and positioning the camera. He loves the spiraling aerial view, and resorts to it shamelessly at every opportunity. The few action scenes are slapdash affairs, with the exception of the denouement, which is fairly effective. He focuses on the moral qualities of the story, which is fair, but also kind of slows the pace.

Pullman doesn't feel quite right in the role, either; The Virginian is a gentleman of good character and genteel ways, but Pullman merely seems mild. He doesn't command the screen, and he sure doesn't seem as if he is from Virginia. I like Pullman a good deal - he's always been a nice actor - but this is too far out of his comfort zone, and he seems rather old (he was 47 at the time.) I know Gary Cooper isn't available, but, still.

Overall, Wister's durable story is generally watchable, and fairly well represented; the bad guys are bad, the good guys are good, and the school marm is not only pretty but is a driving force for civilization. The situations are often compelling. But the direction is often muddled, the story doesn't quite flow, and the main character feels like an inauthentic supporting player. I applaud the effort, and while it by no means a waste of time for fans, it isn't especially satisfying. 5/10, and one of those wistful, shoulder-shrugging, "I-wish-I-liked-it-more."

The Virginian (2000)

The Virginian (2000)

Well you are underwhelmed by it but I think it's a nice find. Superb detailed review mate. Evidently Pullman agrees with you since he only directed this and a TV episode and quit from 2001 onwards. I like him as an actor as well. It's a tidy cast and it's good to see that the Alberta landscapes came up to scratch, and like you, there can never be enough Lane!

I'd watch it if it shows on the TV.



The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Western Tv JOHNNY RINGO "The Hunters" 1959

CONTAINS SPOILERS

JOHNNY RINGO "The Hunters" 1959

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) with a "gimmick gun". Durant carries a special LeMat revolver equipped with a shotgun barrel under the six gun barrel.

This episode is the fifth of the series.

Sheriff Don Durant is paid a visit by several bounty hunters employed by the Arizona Territory's Yuma Prison. The men, Paul Richards and Karl Lukas are in the area chasing three escaped prisoners. Richards asks if Durant would help them collar the escapees.

Durant and his deputy, Mark Goddard saddle up and join the two bounty men. It really is not much of a chase as the three prisoners are on foot, with no food or water. The three men are quickly cornered in a box canyon with no chance of getting away. Durant is about to call on the men to surrender, when Richards pulls out a scope equipped rifle and drops one of the three men.

Richards explains his actions by telling Durant and Godard that the bounty pays them $50 alive, but $100 dead. Dead men cost the territory government less to feed. Durant will have none of this, and goes up into the rocks to parley with the surviving two escapees. He gives the men a canteen of water and asks them to surrender.

The men, Ted Lehmann and Michael Hinn, refuse because they are sure Richards will kill them. The reason the men had escaped was the terrible treatment and harsh sentences at the prison. Durant believes the men, but tells them they must give up. Durant promises to see they make it back alive.

Needless to say this idea does not go over well with Richards and Lukas. Guns are yarded with Durant and Goddard getting the drop on Richards and Lukas. The pair disarm the bounty hunters, and wreck Richards' fancy scoped rifle.

This is an okay episode with Paul Richards giving another of his patented villain performances. The guy was born to play a thug.

Writer, producer and director, Howard Koch handled the direction of this particular episode.

Re: Western Tv JOHNNY RINGO "The Hunters" 1959

Johnny Ringo (1959) - The Hunters (1959)

Photographed at the wonderful Vasquez Rocks by Charles Burke. The locations shine at all mate?

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Western Tv JOHNNY RINGO "The Hunters" 1959

Sharp looking location film work for sure.

YELLOW ROCK 2011: Michael Biehn, James Russo

CONTAINS SPOILERS

YELLOW ROCK 2011

Considering the cast involved here I was expecting an unseen little gem. It turns out to be more like cut glass. Michael Biehn, James Russo, Lenore Andriel, headline this low budget film. The Yellow Rock of the title of course refers to gold.

Michael Biehn is a down on his luck cowboy hired by James Russo to look for his brother and son. The problem here is that the pair are most likely lost on Indian lands. The local tribe needs to be asked for permission to cross their land.

Biehn approaches a woman doctor he knows about getting said permission. The doctor is played by Lenore Andriel. (What a looker) Miss Andriel introduces Biehn to the Indian chiefs for a talk. Permission is granted as long as the men take along one of the tribe, Michael Spears. The doc, Andriel, also joins the group in case there are any injured among the missing.

Needless to say matters go south in a hurry as the Russo and his men, Christopher Backus, Clay Wilcox, Paul Sloan, Brian Gleason and Peter Sherayko just ride right through some burial grounds. Biehn begins to smell a large rat in the old cupboard.

And right he is as Russo and company are really after a healthy supply of gold hidden in an old mine. Guns are drawn and the Indian guide, Spears, is soon shot full of holes and left for dead. The man though is only wounded and will soon return for a spot of vengeance.

Of course the old western chestnut of the men turning on each other as gold fever takes hold is used. Bodies drop with finally only Biehn and Andriel surviving to ride out of the hills.

I really wanted to like this one, but the shopworn story defeats the film. The look of the production is good, but it cannot cover the plot problems. I would give the actors full marks for effort. A bigger budget and a firmer hand on the direction would have helped.
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