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Hollywood Movie Memories » Westerns


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3:10 To Yuma

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

3:10 to Yuma (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Drink the whisky… Love the woman… Try to stay alive till the 3:10 pulls out of town!

Starring – Glenn Ford (Ben Wade), Van Heflin (Dan Evans), Felicia Farr (Emmy), Richard Jaeckel (Charlie Prince).

Released – August, 1957

Directed By – Delmer Daves

Produced By – Columbia Pictures Corporation

Distributed By – Columbia Pictures Corporation

Description – Small-time rancher Dan Evans is struggling, along with his family, to survive. They are in the midst of a serious drought that threatens to wipe out their very existence.

While riding with his two sons they witness a stagecoach robbery, but are powerless to do anything. Outlaw Ben Wade now ups the ante by coldly murdering both the stagecoach driver and one of his own men who the driver was using as a shield.

After the robbery and murder, Wade and his men ride into Bisbee, Arizona and head for the saloon. Not wanting to stay too long, for fear of a posse, the men are ready to leave. Ben decides to stay a little longer in order to romance a barmaid.

The posse does arrive and Ben is captured. His most loyal follower, Charlie Prince, escapes and let’s the other members of the gang know of Ben’s capture. The people of the town are fearful of what the gang might do and come up with a plan to get Ben out of Bisbee. The plan will require the help of two volunteer’s to sneak Wade to the town of Contention and onto the afternoon train… the 3:10 to Yuma.

The stageline owner offers $200. to anyone who will volunteer. After nearly three years of drought, and desperate for the money, Dan Evans volunteer’s. The only other man in town to volunteer is the town drunk.

Their journey begins with a stop at Dan’s ranch where Wade charms Dan’s wife just to get under his skin. After dark, the group head to Contention City arriving at daybreak. They take a room at the hotel and begin the long wait for the train to Yuma.

Here the psychological game begins. Wade reminds Dan of his wife and family and what might happen to them if Dan is killed. He also tries to bribe Dan with enough money to help him save his ranch. Nothing works.

As the hours pass, Wade’s gang arrives in town with the threat that anyone who tries to get Wade on the train will be killed. It’s now 3 o’clock and time to get to the train platform. Fate will dictate the next few minutes and just how much blood will be shed.

NOTABLE: 3:10 to Yuma was filmed at the Columbia/Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, California, on location in Arizona, near Elgin, Sedona, Willcox, Texas Canyon and in the Old Tucson historic district.

Glenn Ford was originally offered the role of Dan Evans. He refused, preferring the role of Ben Wade.

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) (BD) [Blu-ray]

Tagline – The Wildest Gunfight in the History of the West!

Starring – Burt Lancaster (Wyatt Earp), Kirk Douglas (Doc Holliday), Rhonda Fleming (Laura Denbow), Jo Van Fleet (Kate Fisher).

Released – May, 1957

Directed By – John Sturges

Produced By – Wallis-Hazen

Distributed By – Paramount Pictures

Description – Marshall Wyatt Earp is on his way to Fort Griffin, Texas to take outlaws Ike Clanton and Johnny Ringo into custody. Also on his way to Fort Griffin is Ed Bailey who plans on avenging the death of his brother by killing Doc Holliday.

Holliday’s girlfriend Kate Fisher spots Bailey in the bar and tells Doc that he is looking for him. When Doc enters the bar, Bailey tries to shoot him in the back only to be killed by a knife thrown by Holliday.

As for Earp, he finds that the local sheriff has released both Clanton and Ringo, even though the marshall has outstanding warrants for the pair. The local sheriff has no intention of helping Earp as he holds a grudge against Wyatt’s brother Morgan.

Holliday is arrested for the murder of Ed Bailey even though his acts were in self-defense. With this in mind, Earp and Fisher help Doc to escape an angry lynch mob.

Back in Dodge City, Kansas, Wyatt learns that Doc and Kate have arrived in town. Wyatt has no problem with the notorious Holliday providing he stay out of trouble. Beautiful gambler Laura Denbow is also in Dodge City and finds herself arrested as women are not allowed to gamble.

She is released by Wyatt, who is attracted to her, and allowed to ply her gambling trade in a side room of the bar.

With his deputies out of town, Wyatt is forced to deputize Doc Holliday after the bank is robbed and the cashier killed. Earp and Holliday avoid an ambush attempt and kill the bank robbers.

Back in Dodge, Doc finds out that girlfriend Kate has been seeing Johnny Ringo. When she tries to come back to Doc, he refuses. She swears she will see him dead. Wyatt and Laura have become increasingly interested in one another when Wyatt receives a letter from his brother Virgil asking him to come to Tombstone, Arizona to help with a problem.

In Tombstone, Wyatt meets with his brothers Virgil, Morgan, and James to discuss how to handle the trouble being made by the Clanton family who have stolen thousands of head of Mexican cattle.

After the Clanton’s kill young James Earp, the stage is set for the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

NOTABLE: Burt Lancaster agreed to do this film as long as he could star in The Rainmaker (1956), also produced by Hal B. Wallis.

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was the second of seven films that Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster made together.

The actual gunfight took place on 26 October 1881 and lasted a mere 30 seconds, resulting in three dead men after an exchange of 34 bullets. The fictionalized gunfight in this movie took 4 days to film and produced an on-screen bloodbath that lasted 5 minutes.

John Ireland (Johnny Ringo) appeared in another dramatization of these events (My Darling Clementine) playing Billy Clanton.

The song “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” was chosen as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time by Members of the Western Writers of America

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die,” edited by Steven Schneider.

The Tall T

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

The Tall T

Tagline – Taut! Torrid! Tremendous! T Is for Terror!

Starring – Randolph Scott (Pat Brennan), Richard Boone (Frank Usher), Maureen O’Sullivan (Doretta Mims), Arthur Hunnicutt, (Ed Rintoon), Skip Homeier (Billy Jack), Henry Silva (Chink).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Budd Boetticher

Produced By – Comumbia Pictures Corporation, Scott-Brown Productions, Producers-Actors Corporation

Distributed By – Columbia Pictures

Description – Pat Brennan agrees to bring back some candy for the son of a way station manager when he returns from town. First he stops at a ranch where he formally worked to buy a bull. While there he is goaded into a bet. If he can ride a particular bull, he can have it for free. If he is thrown, he loses his horse.

Thrown from the bull, Pat is now walking home carrying his saddle. While on the road a stagecoach comes along carrying newlyweds Willard and Doretta Mims the daughter of the richest man in the state. Pat knows the driver and is happy to catch a ride.

When the honeymoon coach stops at the way station it is thought to be the regular stage by three outlaws who have already killed the station manager and his son. They had hoped to rob the regular stage.

Afraid of ending up as dead as the station manager, cowardly Willard Mims suggests that the outlaws hold his new wife Doretta for ransom from her father. The ransom amount is $50,000. The ransom note is delivered and Doretta’s father sends a message back that he will get the money together.

No longer needed by the outlaws, Willard is told he can leave. When doing so, he is gunned down by one of the outlaws.

Brennan knows that they will all be killed when the ransom is delivered. There seems to be no way out for the hostages.

NOTABLE: Originally titled “The Captives” (Elmore Leonard’s original story title) and/or “The Tall Rider”. Prior to release, the title was changed to “The Tall T,” the name of the Tenvoorde ranch in the early scene

At 45 Maureen O’Sullivan was considered too old for her character. However, she played the part well and explains her marriage to the younger character Willard as a move of desperation over her character growing old and remaining unmarried.

Columbia Pictures released The Tall T as part of a double bill with Hellcats of the Navy (1957) starring Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan.

Personal Note: The Tall T is one of my favorite westerns. One of many that teamed Director Budd Boetticher with, one of the most natural acting western actors ever, Randolph Scott.

The Ride Back

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Ride Back

Tagline – It Rides a Trail NO Western Ever Rode Before!

Starring – Anthony Quinn (Bob Kallen), William Conrad (Sheriff Chris Hamish), Lita Milan (Elena).

Released – April, 1957

Directed By – Allan H. Miner, Oscar Rudolph

Produced By – The Associates & Aldrich Company

Distributed By – United Artists

Description – Sheriff Chris Hamish crosses the border into Mexico searching for Bob Kallen to bring him back to the States to face trial.

The two men couldn’t be any more different. Hamish is emotionally worn down by, not only his job, but his wife as well. Kallen is independent, confident, and not at all bad at heart. He has just done something wrong and that is all that Hamish cares about. Hamish needs to bring Kallen in. It is the only way he can self-redeem himself as a man.

Finding Kallen has been one thing, bringing him back quite another. It’s a long, dangerous journey complicated by an orphaned Mexican girl, and stalking Apache’s.

The lawman and outlaw will now have to trust and depend on each other in order to survive.

NOTABLE: The Ride Back is based on an original story written for the radio version of “Gunsmoke” in 1952, which also starred William Conrad.

7 Men From Now

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

7 Men from Now (Widescreen Special Collector’s Edition)

Starring – Randolph Scott (Ben Stride), Gail Russell (Annie Greer), Lee Marvin (Lee Masters), Walter Reed (John Greer).

Released – August, 1956

Directed By – Budd Boetticher

Produced By – Batjac Productions

Distributed By –  Warner Brothers

Description – During a rainstorm, Ben Stride enters a cave for shelter and finds two men already inside for the same reason. He asks them if he can join them by their fire and tells them he is from Silver Springs.

This information gives the two men some cause for concern as their conversation notes a recent robbery and murder in the town. Their suspicion of Stride grows as they continue to speak, and when they finally realize who he is… it’s too late. Stride kills them both.

Ben Stride is an ex-sheriff and he is tracking the seven men responsible for holding up a Wells Fargo office and killing an employee… his wife. Ben had lost his job and the pain of her murder is multiplied by the necessity of his wife taking a job at the office due to his actions.

Ben’s pain and guilt have led him on a mission of vengeance and murder.

His tracking leads him through the Arizona wilderness where he comes across a wagon stuck in the mud. Using the two horses he took from the men he killed in the cave, Stride helps free the wagon.

The wagon’s owners, John and Annie Greer, are on their way from Kansas City to California where they hope to find work. Their next stop is a border town called Flora Vista and they ask Stride if he would ride along with them. Flora Vista is a destination where the men Stride is hunting may have passed through, so he agrees to travel with the Greer’s.

Along the way, Annie seems to become increasingly attracted to Ben. During the trip, they are stopped by an Army patrol whose commanding officer suggests that they go back as Apache have been spotted in the area and they are not safe.

They choose to continue on and reach a stagecoach relay station where they meet Bill Masters and Clete, two past enemies of Stride. They all spend the night together at the station and Masters tells the Greer’s about the robbery and killing of Stride’s wife. He also tells them that Stride is hunting the men responsible and plans on killing them all.

Master’s has his own intentions, and plans to follow Stride and take the $20,000 from the robbery for himself, killing Stride if he has to. Master’s is not the only one with a secret, as John Greer is not the innocent traveler he seems to be.

There will be trouble with the Apache, a double-cross, an ambush, and a final showdown that will change the lives of everyone. The cost of vengeance is blood!

NOTABLE:Men From Now was produced by John Wayne’s Batjac Productions. Wayne had intended to star in the film himself, but was locked into the filming of The Searchers. It was Wayne who suggested Randolph Scott for the lead role.

Randolph Scott insisted on Budd Boetticher as the director, and this film was the first of their seven-film collaboration.

Gail Russell had not worked on a film for five years due to her problems with stage-fright-induced alcoholism. However, John Wayne wanted her for the picture having worked with Russell before in Angel and the Badman, and Wake of the Red Witch.

Randolph Scott had stated that 7 Men From Now saved his career.

Personal Note: Randolph Scott was one of the most natural actor’s to ever play a western role. A personal favorite, as is 7 Men From Now. His western’s directed by Budd Boetticher are some of the best western’s ever made.