Monday, April 1, 2019

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR APRIL ON TCM


"That's Quirt Evans. He is quite a man with the gals. And it's said he's closed the eyes of many a man."
- Olin Howard as Bradley, the telegrapher

John Wayne

Quirt Evans is also a lucky man although it takes him a lot of time to understand his luck. Wounded and on the run, he has been found and helped by Worths, a family of Quaker farmers. The daughter of the family, Penny has set her cap for the "bad man", and therein lies Quirt Evans' luck.

After 20 years in Hollywood, actor John Wayne added producer to his credits with this 1947 western release from Republic Studios. Angel and the Badman was written and directed by James Edward Grant (Sands of Iwo Jima). This was the first time he would collaborate with John Wayne in an association that would eventually include 15 films. Some of their movies were produced by Wayne's company Batjac but not starring the actor. The cinematography was by future Oscar-winner for The Quiet Man Archie Stout, and the second unit director was famed stuntman Yakima Canutt (Ben-Hur). Their association with Wayne went back to their B westerns of the early 1930s and would continue.

Gail Russell

Gail Russell stars as Penelope "Penny" Worth and the following year would co-star opposite Wayne in Wake of the Red Witch. One of the finest of her final films was in the John Wayne Batjac production, 7 Men from Now in 1956.

The chemistry between our leads is captivating as they portray the suddenness of their love with a sincerity and a lightness that counterpoints the perilous situation in which they are bound.

The script allows for some amusingly thoughtful and quirky dialogue for the characters as their worlds collide. Quirt has been in the pursuit of vengeance which has made him cynical and tough. Penny is innocent in the ways of the world yet wise and confident in the guidance and strength she finds in a loving family and her faith.

John Wayne, Gail Russell, Irene Rich

Irene Rich (Fort Apache), on-screen since the teens, as well as a popular radio star, is delightful as Mrs. Worth who is a concerned and wise parent. Rounding out the family are John Halloran as Mr. Worth and Stephen Grant as kid brother Johnny.

Harry Carey

Harry Carey (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) plays a marshal with the whimsical name of Wistful McLintock. He has been keeping an eye on the rambunctious and dangerous Quirt and his even more dangerous adversary Laredo Stevens played by Bruce Cabot (King Kong). Harry Carey had been a favourite western star of John Wayne in his youth and the actors had worked together earlier in the decade in The Shepherd of the Hills, and The Spoilers.

 Gail Russell, Tom Powers

Other fine roles for character actors include Dr. Mangram played by Tom Powers (Double Indemnity), whose worldly disillusion is at odds with his fondness for his Quaker neighbours. Paul Hurst (The Ox-Bow Incident) plays a cantankerous rancher who has a sudden change of heart about his new neighbours after meeting Quirt Evans.

Angel and the Badman features action, romance, and humour, with the Arizona filming location adds an interesting touch to the outdoor scenes. In addition to what amounts to his own stock company of actors, the stuntmen on the film are familiar to many fans of Wayne's films: Ben Johnson, Chuck Roberson, and Fred Graham.

TCM is screening Angel and the Badman on Sunday afternoon, April 7th. A charming way to spend part of your weekend. Advice: have plenty of donuts on hand for your viewing. Trust me.



Note: For the fans who demand such a thing from their movies, there is a Pat Flaherty sighting.












21 comments:

  1. It must be a sign. You are the second person in recent weeks who has recommended this film. The other is Laura from Laura's Miscellaneous. I'm setting my DVR.

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    1. It is definitely a sign. You can always trust Laura, and you know I would never steer you wrong. (Ha! Steer. There's some sort of a western pun in there somewhere.)

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  2. I love this movie! One of my favorite John Wayne westerns, and it contains one of my favorite romances as well.

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    1. Your support will go a long way to convincing folks who haven't seen it, to check this lovely romance out this month.

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  3. So glad you're highlighting this film, it's an underrated gem. And young Gail Russell is enchanting. I love how it contrasts the wildness of the West with the sturdy Quaker faith, and does so without cynicism (and faith wins!). It's a great film for family viewing. Supposedly Wayne intended only to produce the film, but ended up acting in it when he couldn't find a leading man, but it's one of his best performances.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that the proper leading man was right under the producer's nose all the time! Duke gives a lovely performance and his pairing with Gail Russell is sublime.

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  4. Even though JANE POWELL never did a movie with JOHN WAYNE she did a musical SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS with HOWARD KEEL. Howard did THE WAR WAGON with John Wayne. Today-April 1 Jane is 90! I always remember Jane from the MURDER,SHE WROTE episode where she played a nun that was Jessicas friend. It also guest starred two men who did westerns-ED NELSON & CLU GULAGER.

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    1. I love all sorts of westerns, and the grand musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is near the top of that list.

      Ed Nelson and Clu Gulager are both fascinating actors to watch. I caught Clu on TCM a couple of weeks back with John Wayne in McQ from 1974.

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  5. Paddy Lee, another wonderful write-up of a very favorite movie of mine, ever since I first saw it as a youngster, before it hit public domain in 1975. Also, let me be Brittaney's third person to highly recommend this Classic story of redemption surrounded by striking images. Personally, I see this movie as a hard edged story softened by sentimentality, which is just fine with me. Writer James Edward Grant wrote, what I think is his best original screenplay, which is a good mixture of romance, humor, action, and religion. This is my favorite romantic movie. I agree with you that Grant's screenplay has amusingly thoughtful and quirky dialogue for the characters as their worlds collide. The chemistry between Penelope Worth(Gail Russell) and Qurit Evans(John Wayne) is just illuminating.

    How about the characters names given by writer James Edward Grant: Quirt Evans, Wistful McClintock, Hondo Jeffries, Laredo Stevens, and Mouse Marr. Apparently Grant liked the names Hondo and McClintock, because he used them again in the movies HONDO(1953) and McCLINTOCK(1963). For those who don't know, James Edward Grant wrote the screenplay for HONDO, which was loosely based on Louis L'Amour's "The Gift of Cochise" which was first published in COLLIERS magazine on July 5, 1952. In L'Amour's story the Indian scout's name is Ches Layne. Grant renamed him Hondo Layne. L'Amour later wrote the novelization of Grant's screenplay. The story and the novel are different, so I think James Edward Grant should receive more credit for HONDO the movie and novel than he has in the past.

    Again, a fine write-up of a Classic Western. Paddy Lee, thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Walter.

      The teaming of Grant and John Wayne was a match made in movie heaven. They seem to have understood each other philosophically, and with that offbeat humour that is so appealing.

      John Wayne's first production shows us what he learned from his career to this point, and will carry forward. So impressive.

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  6. Let me add my support too. It's a wonderful movie, Wayne and Russell are just perfect in their roles. Russell shows that good girls don't have to be boring.

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    1. What you said about Russell's portrayal is so true and the key to this gem.

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  7. There was GAIL RUSSELL, who I believe this is the only movie Ive seen of hers. Also there were two other actresses named Russell-JANE RUSSELL and ROSALIND RUSSELL.( I liked Gail in this movie.) Jane Russell worked with a lot of he-man types. She worked with CLARK GABLE, ROBERT MITCHUM & JEFF CHANDLER. Did she work with CORNEL WILDE & VICTOR MATURE? Jane would have fit in well as Dukes leading lady in one of his westerns. Speaking of Russell, she is fictional but there was Miss Kitty Russell played by AMANDA BLAKE. GUNSMOKE starring James Arness as Matt Dillon.

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  8. Gail Russell made her debut in the excellent ghost story The Uninvited, and is quite winning in Cornelia Otis Skinner's memoir Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. Cornelia was also featured in The Uninvited.

    You can see Jane Russell with Cornel Wilde in Hot Blood, and with Victor Mature in The Las Vegas Story.

    Speaking of Kitty and Gunsmoke, Amanda Blake played a leading role in the movie Stars in My Crown from 1950, and James Arness had a small role as one son in a family of many.

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  9. Love this film! Wayne and Russell are great together. Nice post!

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    1. Thanks, Saunders! I hope some new fans of Angel and the Badman will be joining our group soon.

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  10. I remember one time on a talk show on THE NASHVILLE NETWORK(that network is gone now) JOHNNY CASH said there was going to be a remake of the movie with him and MARY STEENBURGEN. Im glad they didn't do it.(It was in the late 80s.) I saw the movie in 1987. However, there was a remake a few years ago, I believe. It was on the HALLMARK CHANNEL and starred LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS.

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    1. I wasn't aware of the 2009 TV movie until you mentioned it. Interesting project. I wonder if it worked. May check it out sometime.

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  11. Agree, a wonderful movie. But like her with Randy Scott in Seven Men from Now even more!

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    1. I wonder if Gail would have been cast if it hadn't been a Batjac production. Seven Men from Now owes a lot of its greatness to Gail's presence.

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