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Hollywood Movie Memories » 1950’s western

Posts Tagged ‘1950’s western’

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.




Monday, March 5th, 2012

Jubal (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Powerful Performances! Overpowering Drama!

Starring – Glenn Ford (Jubal Troop), Ernest Borgnine (Shep Horgan), Rod Steiger (‘Pinky’ Pinkum), Valerie French (Mae Horgan), Felicia Farr (Naomi Hoktor).

Released – April, 1956

Directed By – Delmer Daves

Produced By – Columbia Pictures Corporation

Distributed By – Columbia Pictures Corporation

Description – In the Wyoming high country, drifting cowhand Jubal Troop is found unconscious and without his horse by cattle rancher Shep Horgan who takes him back to the ranch.

Later, when Jubal awakens in the bunkhouse, he meets Sam, Pinky, and Carson some of Shep’s ranch hands. Pinky takes an instant dislike to the stranger and accuses Jubal of “carrying the smell of sheep.”

Shep listens as Jubal tells him that he has been dogged by bad luck wherever he goes. Having a “good feeling” about Jubal, Shep offers him a job on the ranch. Also attracted to Jubal is Mae the beautiful and much younger wife of Shep who, when alone with Jubal, makes sure that he knows it.

Her blatant advances are refused by Jubal out of his respect and appreciation for her husband’s help. Noticing Mae’s interest in Jubal is Pinky. As her current lover, he is enraged by her attraction and his anger only increases when Shep offers Jubal the job of ranch foreman.

One day, while riding the ranch, Pinky comes across a group of religious pilgrims, known as Rawhiders, and tries to intimidate them and throw them off ranch land. The group’s leader says that some of the members are ill and tired and that they only hope to stop long enough to get some rest.

With the group is cowhand Reb Haislipp who confirms the group’s intentions of just seeking a place to rest. Jubal, as foremen, agrees to let the group stay and offers Reb a job at the ranch helping to round up stray cattle. Also with the group is their leader’s daughter Naomi Hoktor who has an instant attraction for Jubal and he for her.

Shep is happy to hear of Jubal’s attraction and gives him a day off to visit with Naomi. Their meeting is a tender one as they share their feelings with one another. However, Naomi has been promised to one of the men in their religious group and the group plans on leaving the next day.

That evening, Mae rides into camp with a message for Shep who is involved in a poker game and asks Jubal to escort Mae back to the ranch. When they arrive at the ranch, Mae again tries to entice Jubal into an affair, and again he refuses.

Meanwhile, Pinky, still enraged by Mae’s attraction to Jubal and his losing out on the foreman’s job, plans to turn Shep against Jubal. He tells Shep that Jubal has not returned from the ranch and implies that he is with Mae.

Shep rides to the ranch to see for himself. He finds Mae sleeping alone in bed with Jubal no where in sight. Relieved, he kisses his wife on the head, but she calls out Jubal’s name. Shep confronts her about what has just happened and Mae, angry with Jubal for his rejection, lies to Shep and tells him that she and Jubal are having an affair.

Shep now sets out to kill Jubal as Mae’s lie has helped Pinky’s plan to turn one against the other. A gunfight ensues and Jubal kills Shep. Pinky tells the towns people that Jubal has stolen Shep’s wife and killed Shep.

A lynch mob is formed and Jubal is taken to be hanged. The only person who can prove Jubal’s act was in self-defense and that he is not guilty of having and affair with Mae and provoking the gunfight is Mae herself.

However, things have gotten even more fateful for Jubal as Mae has been brutally assaulted by Pinky and left to die.

NOTABLE: Jubal provided the film debut for actress Felicia Farr.

The beautiful location shooting was done along the Grand Teton Range in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Jubal is considered to be a reworking of Othello (Ernest Borgnine’s character), Iago (Rod Steiger’s character), and Cassio (Glenn Ford’s character).

Personal Note: An excellent adult themed western.



The Searchers

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The Searchers [Blu-ray]

Tagline – He Had To Find Her… He Had To Find Her!

Starring – John Wayne (Ethan Edwards), Jeffrey Hunter (Martin Pawley), Vera Miles (Laurie Jorgensen), Ward Bond (Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton), Natalie Wood (Debbie Edwards).

Released – March, 1956

Directed By – John Ford

Produced By – Warner Brothers, C.V. Whitney Pictures

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – In 1868, Ethan Edwards returns from serving the Confederacy during the Civil War. He has been away for years and it is his hope to reunite with his brother Aaron and his family in West Texas.

Ethan’s background poses many questions as evidenced by the large quantity of gold he possesses, and a Mexican war medal that he gives to his niece Debbie.

Shortly after his return, his brother’s neighbor Lars Jorgensen has some cattle stolen from his ranch. It is believed that the Comanche may be responsible. Ethan joins Capt. Samuel Clayton and a group of Texas Rangers to search for the cattle.

By the time the group realizes that the theft was only a ploy by the Comanche to draw them away, it is too late. They return to find the Edwards homestead burning to the ground. Ethan’s brother Aaron, his wife Martha, and their son Ben are all dead. Debbie and her older sister Lucy have been taken by the Comanche.

A funeral for the family is held and the men again start out after the Comanche. The group find the Comanche camp and Ethan wants a direct attack. However, fearing for the girl’s safety, Capt. Clayton orders the men to sneak into the camp hoping to rescue the girl’s without too much bloodshed.

The camp is deserted and they immediately resume the chase. Once again the Comanche trick the group while almost catching them in a deadly trap. They manage to fight off the Indians and escape, but realize that they do not have enough men to successfully rescue the girl’s.

Capt. Clayton orders the posse to go back. Ethan refuses and, along with Lucy’s fiance Brad, and Debbie’s adopted brother Martin continue the search. As they approach the Comanche camp they find the brutally raped and murdered body of Lucy. Brad becomes enraged and rides recklessly into the Comanche camp where he is killed.

Ethan and Martin carefully follow the Comanche looking for an opportunity to save Debbie, but can only search until winter when they lose the trail. They return to the Jorgensen ranch where a letter awaits stating that Debbie has been taken by a Comanche chief named Scar.

Again the search begins lasting for years until a tip takes them to New Mexico and a Mexican leads them to where Scar is hiding out. They are able to contact Debbie (now a young woman) who secretly meets with Ethan and Martin. She tells them she is one of Scar’s wives and does not want to return with them.

Ethan now feels that there is no hope for Debbie as she has adopted the Comanche ways. His bias against the Indian fuels his sentiment that he would rather see Debbie dead than live as a Comanche.

Ethan now plans not to save Debbie, but to kill her.

NOTABLE: In 1989, The Searchers was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

In 2008, the American Film Institute named The Searchers the Greatest American Western of All Time.

In the scenes where Debbie Edwards is a young child she was played by Lana Wood, the younger sister of Natalie Wood.

Natalie Wood herself was quite young at the time of filming and still a student in high school. On several occasions both John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter would pick her up from school to be on the set. Needless to say, this generated a great deal of excitement at the school.

John Wayne considered the role of Ethan Edwards to be the best character he ever had the pleasure to play. His respect for the part caused him to name one of his sons Ethan.

In a biography of John Ford there is a story of Ward Bond walking around naked in his motel room with the curtains open in an effort to attract the beautiful Vera Miles. It didn’t work.

In the summer of 1956 Buddy Holly and his band saw the film and were so impressed by Ethan’s (John Wayne) repeated use of the phrase “That’ll be the day” that it inspired the title for their Rock-and-Roll classic.

Personal Note: A personal favorite and one of the greatest Western’s ever. This is a classic John Ford western, as only he could have filmed it, with beautiful color photography, and a story you’re not likely to ever forget.

The Man From Laramie

Monday, August 1st, 2011

The Man from Laramie

Tagline – THE MAN You’ll Never Forget!

Starring – James Stewart (Will Lockhart), Arthur Kennedy (Vic Hansbro), Donald Crisp (Alec Waggoman), Cathy O’Donnell (Barbara Waggoman).

Released – August, 1955

Directed By – Anthony Mann

Produced By – Columbia Pictures Corporation, William Goetz Productions

Distributed By – Columbia Pictures Corporation

Description – Will Lockhart is a man on a dual mission. He is delivering supplies from Laramie to the isolated western town of Coronado while, at the same time, searching for information that will lead him to whoever is responsible for selling repeating rifles to the Apaches.

It was one of these rifles that killed his Army cavalry trooper brother during an Apache attack at Dutch Creek.

Things get off on the wrong foot in Coronado as Lockhart tangles with Dave Waggoman, the son of Alec Waggoman, the towns most influential rancher. After delivering the supplies, and his trouble with Dave Waggoman, Lockhart decides to stick around town as he believes he may find information regarding the illegal sale of the rifles.

Cattle baron Alec Waggoman, in addition to his son Dave, has a daughter Barbara who has befriended Lockhart. Alec Waggoman is gradually losing his eyesight and is tormented by dreams of a man who is coming to kill his son Dave. Also troubling Alec is the fact that Dave is not suited to run the ranch when Alec can no longer do so.

Barbara Waggoman offers Lockhart free salt to haul away for freight, but Dave uses this as an excuse to accuse Lockhart of stealing. He kills twelve of Lockhart’s mules and burns his wagons. When Lockhart returns to town and finds out what has happened he confronts both Dave and ranch foreman Vic Hansbro, who considers himself a second son to Alec and is engaged to marry Barbara.

When Alec Waggoman hears of this incident he offers Lockhart restitution for his lost property further enraging his son Dave and Vic, as Alec holds Vic responsible for the damage caused by Dave and threatens to take the damages from Vic’s pay.

Vic goes looking for Dave and finds him on his way to sell additional rifles to the Apaches. They argue and Vic kills Dave and tells Alec that is was Lockhart that did the killing.

His story begins to fall apart and Vic attempts to also kill Alec. Vic is after everything for himself, the ranch, the lucrative deal of selling guns to the Apache, and Barbara, who has begun to have feelings for Lockhart.

Only one thing remains for Vic… to kill Will Lockhart.

NOTABLE: The Man From Laramie is the fifth and final Western collaboration between James Stewart and Anthony Mann. All are considered classic Western films and also include Winchester ’73 (1950), Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1953), and The Far Country (1954).

There are two common characteristics to the Stewart/Mann westerns. They are that James Stewart plays a man, in some way, haunted by the past, and the groundbreaking use of landscape to portray a character’s feelings.

The Man From Laramie has been described as a western version of King Lear.

Personal Note: A taut tale of revenge that offers possibly James Stewart’s finest western performance, and must be listed as one of Anthony Mann’s finest directorial efforts.

Johnny Guitar

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Johnny Guitar [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Gun-Queen of the Arizona Frontier!… and her kind of men!

Starring – Joan Crawford (Vienna), Sterling Hayden (Johnny ‘Guitar’ Logan), Mercedes McCambridge (Emma Small), Scott Brady (Dancin’ Kid), Ward Bond (John McIvers).

Released – May, 1954

Directed By – Nicholas Ray

Produced By – Republic Pictures

Distributed By – Republic Pictures

Description – Aggressive and strong-willed Vienna has built a successful saloon on the outskirts of an Arizona cattle town. Her ambition, after the railroad comes to the area, is to build her own town. But, her volatile relationship with both the townspeople and the cattlemen will prove to be a problem.

They want her gone. The cattlemen don’t want the railroad and the people don’t want her, or her lawbreaking friends around.

The unexpected arrival of an old lover of Vienna’s, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Logan, only complicates matters. Seeing Vienna again has renewed Johnny’s love for her.

When the stagecoach is robbed and a man is killed, the suspects include Vienna’s current boyfriend, the Dancin’ Kid, and his men. Led by Emma Small, whose brother was the murder victim, the town’s officials converge on Vienna’s saloon to arrest those they believe responsible.

Vienna holds strong and gains the support of Johnny in holding off any arrests. The stage driver was unable to give a detailed description of the robbers and the town sheriff can only give Vienna 30 days to leave town with her men.

Disappointed with this outcome, Emma vows to kill Vienna. Vienna decides to pay off her employees, including Johnny, and send them away until the tension in the town settles down.

The Dancin’ Kid, angered for being accused of a crime he didn’t commit, decides to rob the town bank and head with his gang to California. A posse is formed to go after the bank robbers and Emma joins with them.

During the escape one of the gang is shot and is captured and threatened to be hung. The sheriff offers him a deal… testify to Vienna’s participation in the stagecoach murder and he will be freed. He does and is hanged anyway.

For Emma, things are finally going her way as she and the posse return to town to arrest Vienna and hang her as well. During the arrest and a subsequent fight, Emma starts a fire and burns down the saloon.

However, something is just not right as it begins to seem as though Emma may just be trying to frame Vienna.

NOTABLE: In 2008, Johnny Guitar was chosen for inclusion in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

There was reportedly a great deal of tension on the set between Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge. Crawford felt McCambridge was too young for her role and seemed to display a great deal of jealousy. Both McCambridge and Sterling Hayden voiced their dislike for Crawford with McCambridge calling Crawford, “a mean, tipsy, powerful, rotten-egg lady.” Hayden has also been quoted as stating, “There is not enough money in Hollywood to lure me into making another picture with Joan Crawford. And I like money.”

Joan Crawford insisted that all of her close-ups be shot in a studio where the light could be controlled.

Johnny Guitar was originally intended to be shot in 3-D.