Wednesday, July 31, 2019

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR AUGUST ON TCM


Edna Ferber's best-selling novels were prime material for motion pictures, from So Big to Show Boat to Giant. Come and Get It published in 1935 was produced by Samuel Goldwyn in 1936. Howard Hawks began the production which was completed by William Wyler when Goldwyn found fault with the adaptation approved by Hawks.


Ferber is notable for her larger-than-life characters, her mix of generations and changing times, and her reporter's eye that highlights injustice. In Show Boat, it was miscegenation laws, in Giant the treatment of Mexican citizens, and of Natives in Cimarron. In Come and Get It she wanted people to think about the Earth itself and the debt we owe in terms of conservation. The film shifted the focus to the romantic angle, yet the underlying theme did manage to make itself heard.

Edward Arnold stars as Barney Glasgow. We meet him in the Wisconsin north woods in the 1880s where he is the energetic and ambitious boss of a lumber camp. Barney plans to be one of the richest men in the State within a decade. He will work the men hard and promises them they will play hard at the end. He will bend and twist laws and regulations to suit his purposes. And he will marry the boss' daughter. Barney has plans.

Walter Brennan, Edward Arnold, Frances Farmer

Barney's dearest friend is Swan Bostrom played by Walter Brennan. The Swedish lumberjack is devoted to Barney in return. The two very different men fall in love with the same girl. Lotta Morgan played by Frances Farmer sings in a saloon and will do what she must to get by, even drugging Barney for her boss. Nonetheless, Barney gets to her and she falls hard. Barney loves Lotta passionately, but she is not part of his plan for success. It doesn't occur to him that he could make Lotta a part of his life and still be a success. Barney marries Emma Louise Hewitt and becomes a big man. Lotta marries Swan, becomes a good wife and mother, and dies.

By the turn of the 20th century, the Glasgow business is prosperous enough for Barney to complain about government interference. The family is prosperous enough for daughter Evvie played by Andrea Leeds to make a suitable marriage. Evvie and her dad have an open and affectionate relationship. She calls her father by his first name which is something not even her mother does with ease.

The relationship between Emma played by Mary Nash and her son Richard played by Joel McCrea is only seen on screen in a breakfast scene, but the two actors are a delight. Richard is a thorn in his father's side as the young man speaks of replanting and of sanitary paper cups and the good of government regulations. More than these practical and philosophical differences will come between them.

Frances Farmer, Joel McCrea

Convinced by Evvie that he deserves and needs a vacation, Barney heads north to visit Swan and get in some hunting and fishing. Swan and Lotta's daughter, also called Lotta and also played by Frances Farmer immediately catches Barney's eye with the memories of his lost love all mixed up in the present. Young Lotta wants a life away from the logging camp town and plays, ever so innocently, upon Barney's attraction to get the family, including her Aunt played by Maddy Christians a trip to the city. Lotta sees her future as a career woman and gets Barney to send her to business school. Lotta acts like she knows what she is doing but is lying to herself. She is frightened of anything being asked of her in return by Barney Glasgow.  

Gossip abounds about the relationship between Barney and his old friend's family at the same time that Richard and Lotta find they are naturally drawn to each other. Barney Glasgow has always gotten everything he wants out of life, or at least he thought so until now. Is he a man out of his time? Will his eyes be opened or will tragedy come to all?

Frances Farmer

Come and Get It boasts exciting logging sequences directed by Richard Rossen, a stirring score by Alfred Newman, glorious cinematography from masters Gregg Toland and Rudolph Mate, and grand costumes from Omar Kiam.

Frances Farmer is charismatic and moving in both roles. Miriam Hopkins and Andrea Leeds (Evvie) were under early consideration for the dual role. The next year Frances would again appear opposite Edward Arnold when he played Diamond Jim Fisk in The Toast of New York.

Plaques, in place of trophies, were awarded to the supporting actor winners from 1937-1944.

It's Summer Under the Stars and the TCM screening of Come and Get It is on the morning of Tuesday, August 27th when Walter Brennan is in the spotlight. Walter Brennan won the first of his three Best Supporting Actor Oscars for the role of Swan Bostrom in the introductory year of the Supporting Actor and Actress categories. Further wins were for the films Kentucky, 1938 and The Westerner, 1940. He was also nominated for Sergeant York, 1941.












Saturday, July 27, 2019

THE NOIRATHON: Thieves' Highway (1949)


"All film noir are crime drama, but not all crime drama are film noir."
- Caftan Woman's number one movie rule

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films, especially her film noir, which brings us to The Noirathon on July 27th to the 29th. Click HERE to embrace the dark side.


Director Jules Dassin had a knack for bringing us into the surrounding dark world. Years ago, Cinematheque Ontario presented a double bill of Dassin film-noir with Night and the City, 1950 and Thieves' Highway, 1949. The theatre viewing of these films confirmed Dassin's genius with the style.

A.I. Bezzerides (The Big Valley), created stories from his working background in trucking which intrigued filmmakers and gave us They Drive by Night and Thieves' Highway. Being the right man for the job, Bezzerides wrote the screenplay from his novel Thieves' Market for this 1949 film. Dassin collaborated with cinematographer Norbert Brodine (Kiss of Death) to create an atmosphere of physical and emotional darkness.

Richard Conte, Tamara Shayne, Morris Carnovsky

Nick Garcos played by Richard Conte is incongruously impetuous and steady. Nick is impetuous in his sudden decisions and steady in the way he follows through once his course is set. Nick, a veteran of the European theatre in WW2 has returned to his Fresno home after traveling the world as a mechanic on a steamer. He plans to marry his girlfriend Polly played by Barbara Lawrence and go into business with her father. First, there is the long-awaited reunion with his beloved parents played by Morris Carnovsky and Tamara Shayne.

Tragedy has befallen the family during Nick's absence. His father, a produce trucker, has not only been cheated at the San Francisco market, but an unexplained accident resulted in the amputation of his legs. The man to blame is a known cheat named Mike Figlia played by Lee J. Cobb with his trademark relish. Nick seeks retribution.

Richard Conte, Millard Mitchell

Ed Kinney played by Millard Mitchell has bought Mr. Garcos' beat-up old truck and Nick joins him in transporting the first Golden Delicious apples of the season to San Francisco. Ed is hoping for a windfall, and Nick a chance to bring down Figlia. The road to the city is a long and a dangerous one even for men not seeking revenge. In the course of the route, the bond between these makeshift partners is strengthened when Ed saves Nick's life. Nick had been trapped while changing a tire on the unstable vehicle. Ed falls behind in the old truck while Nick races ahead to the market.

Ed is bedeviled all the way by truckers "Slob" played by Jack Oakie and Pete played by future director Joseph Pevney. They kibbitz and annoy Ed all the way up the highway in a half-serious, due to Ed trying to keep them out of the apple deal, and half-joking way because they are comrades in arms, so to speak.

Richard Conte, George Tyne, Lee J. Cobb

Once the weary and wounded Nick reaches San Francisco he finds nothing but trouble. He must get involved with Figlia despite warnings as it is his purpose. Figlia knows and uses every trick in the book to steal the desired fruit, and further gouge his own customers. Keeping Nick out of the way proves easy for Figlia as he uses a combination of Nick's exhaustion and the charms of prostitute Rica played by Valentina Cortese.

Valentina Cortese, Richard Conte

Rica and Nick spark off each other with an instant attraction and understanding that builds on the sarcasm in their words and the kindness in their actions. A one-sided phone conversation tells Rica more about Nick and Polly's relationship than even Nick realizes. Rica's quick action in dangerous situations presents an admirable fearlessness. She is as impetuous and steady as Nick.

More tragedy strikes our truckers when Ed is killed in a horrific accident, bringing Slob and Pete again into the orbit of Nick Garcos and of Mike Figlia. It is a bitter and unsentimental orbit and the end of this journey will only be reached with explosive violence.

Life is tough enough without some crook making it tougher; the trucking business in particular. The audience is taken on a whirlwind journey of revenge and justice, redemption and new beginnings in Thieves' Highway.


Connection:

Richard Conte, Lee J. Cobb, Hope Emerson

Hope Emerson and Richard Conte's exchange in Thieves' Highway is brief and certainly more friendly in nature than their previous encounters in House of Strangers and Cry of the City.

















Thursday, July 25, 2019

LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK: Post 5 of 5, The Far Side, and Beyond


The LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK is an online celebration running from July 21 - 27. It is hosted by Heidi of Along the Brandywine, Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell and Hamlette's Soliloquy.


It appears that The Far Side creator Gary Larson, like many of us, knows his westerns!


My Top Ten Western Film Scores


Victor Young

1. Shane, 1953 - Victor Young
2. Rio Grande, 1950 - Victor Young
3. The Big Country, 1958 - Jerome Moross
4. How the West Was Won, 1962 - Alfred Newman
5. The Magnificent Seven, 1960 - Elmer Bernstein
6. Red River, 1948 - Dimitri Tiomkin
7. Night Passage, 1957 - Dimitri Tiomkin
8. Ride the High Country, 1962 - George Bassman
9. Savage Sam, 1963 - Oliver Wallace
10. 3:10 to Yuma, 1957 - George Duning


My Top Ten Comedy-Westerns

Laurel and Hardy
Way Out West, 1937

1. Support Your Local Sheriff!, 1969
2. Way Out West, 1937
3. Destry Rides Again, 1939
4. Ruggles of Red Gap, 1935
5. A Big Hand for the Little Lady, 1966
6. The Paleface, 1948
7. Son of Paleface, 1952
8. McLintock!, 1963
9. Along Came Jones, 1945
10. My Little Chickadee, 1940


My Top Ten Westerns

John Beradino
7 Men from Now, 1956

1. Shane, 1953
2. The Searchers, 1956
3. Winchester '73, 1950
4. My Darling Clementine, 1946
5. Stagecoach, 1939
6. 7 Men from Now, 1956
7. Rio Grande, 1950
8. Ride the High Country, 1962
9. Westward the Women, 1951
10. The Big Country, 1958


I've been watching westerns my whole life!










Wednesday, July 24, 2019

LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK: Post 4 of 5, "Hop-a-Long" Cassidy


The LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK is an online celebration running from July 21 - 27. It is hosted by Heidi of Along the Brandywine, Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell and Hamlette's Soliloquy.

William Boyd
1895 - 1972

"Hopalong Cassidy was a combination of irresponsibility, humor, good nature, love of fighting, and nonchalance when face to face with danger. His most prominent attribute was that of always getting into trouble without any intention of so doing; in fact, he was much aggrieved and surprised when it came. It seemed as though when any "bad man" desired to add to his reputation he invariably selected Hopalong as the means (a fact due, perhaps, to the perversity of things in general). Bad men became scarce soon after Hopalong became a fixture in any locality. He had been crippled some years before in a successful attempt to prevent the assassination of a friend, Sheriff Harris of Albuquerque, and he still possessed a limp."
- Clarence E. Mulford, Bar 20, 1906

Mulford's creation of Hopalong Cassidy was a grizzled old cowpoke far removed from the handsome actor William Boyd who portrayed the character so successfully and nobly on screen. The disparity between Hoppy on the page and Hoppy on the screen did not hamper the success of both the author and the filmmakers. Mulford continued to write his detailed and action-filled stories into the 1940s. Louis L'Amour took up the mantle in the 1950s for Bantam.


Paramount Studios released the first Hopalong Cassidy picture in July of 1935. Doris Schroeder and Harrison Jacobs adapted the 1910 Mulford novel, Hopalong Cassidy. The team would write over a dozen films in the series. Howard Bretherton directed the first three and would film ten overall. The three films discussed here were all photographed by Oscar winner (The Quiet Man) Archie Stout.

Charles Middleton, William Boyd

Bill Cassidy is returning to the Bar 20 ranch much to the delight of owner Buck Peters (Charles Middleton), Red Connors (Frank McGlynn Jr.), and old Uncle Ben (George "Gabby" Hayes) who is something of a father figure to Bill. Newer ranch hand Johnny Nelson (Jimmy Ellison) is rather put out about this Cassidy fellow whom everyone praises so much. Johnny thinks of himself as the top hand around these parts and he's going to let Cassidy know it! Johnny's rash personality often finds him the trouble he is seeking. Johnny will spend much of his introduction to Bill Cassidy apologizing.

Buck Peters is butting heads with neighbouring rancher Jim Meeker (Robert Warwick) over water rights and grazing land. Neither man is aware that they are being played by a gang of rustlers with Meeker's foreman Jack Anthony (Kenneth Thomson) stirring up trouble between the two camps.

Kenneth Thomson, Robert Warwick, Paula Stone, Jimmy Ellison

Johnny and pretty Mary Meeker (Paula Stone) fight and flirt their way toward a relationship. Things get truly tense when Johnny shows up at a Meeker party and gets into a fight with the crooked foreman Anthony. Johnny is accused of killing a Meeker cowboy and the cry goes out to "string him up". If Cassidy and Red hadn't been looking out for him, Johnny would have been a goner. Cassidy is wounded in the melee but patched up by Uncle Ben. From thereon, Bill declares he can "hop along with the best of them."

William Boyd, George "Gabby" Hayes

Red and Bill investigate and uncover the rustler's scheme. Knowing they are being played and proving it are two different things. It is Uncle Ben who discovers where the outlaws are hiding themselves and the cattle, but he is with the Meeker foreman at the time and pays with his life after bravely getting to Hoppy with the vital clue. This leads to an exhilarating scene of horsemen gathering and racing to the exciting finale where truth prevails and there is justice for Uncle Ben.

Now that things have been settled Buck Peters is once again on the move, planning to relocate to Wyoming. Johnny rides off leaving Mary on the ranch rather than have Hoppy and Red get into trouble without him.



Released in October of 1935, The Eagle's Brood was based on the 1930 novel Hopalong Cassidy and the Eagle's Brood. The outlaw El Toro (William Farnum) has not crossed the border in many years, but there is still a price on his head and he strikes fear in the hearts of many. One such man with a reason to fear El Toro is Big Henry (Addison Richards). Henry and his gang have murdered El Toro's son and daughter-in-law for the gold they were delivering to a bank. The bad men did not realize that they had left El Toro's young grandson alive as a witness.

William Boyd, Joan Woodbury

Dolores (Joan Woodbury), Big Henry's girlfriend who dances in his saloon has come across the youngster and understands the danger he faces. Dolores hides young Pablo and writes to El Toro. Crossing the border to reach his grandson El Toro saves the life of Sheriff Bill "Hopalong" Cassidy. Cassidy is beholden to El Toro and realizes the outlaw is too famous to be able to save his grandson. Hoppy promises to deliver the lad to El Toro to repay his debt. Hoppy's deputy Johnny Nelson (Jimmy Ellison) impetuously follows Hoppy on his quest.
William Boyd, George "Gabby" Hayes

Big Henry's minions include Paul Fix, who played nothing but weasels during this time in his career but would grow into the respected Micah Torrence on The Rifleman. George "Gabby" Hayes is featured as a bartender named Spike. Spike maintains an effort to remain neutral in Big Henry's battles, but his heart is in the right place which will do him no good when it comes to the final shootout. 

In melodramatic fashion, reminiscent of Nancy in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, our dancing Dolores's efforts to return Pablo safely to his grandfather without giving up the gang results in her murder. There will be more twists and turns and bloodshed before the reunion of the grateful old outlaw and his orphaned grandson.



Doris Schroeder's script was based on characters created by Clarence E. Mulford for this November 1935 release. We bring the gang back to Buck Peters (J.P. McGowan) Bar 20 ranch where Buck's sister Clarissa (Ethel Wales) brings some maiden lady bossiness to the group. Hoppy and Red avoid Clarissa's orders when a rancher named Arnold writes for help with rustlers led by the mysterious "Nevada." Johnny is particularly asked not to come along as Mr. Arnold's daughter Margaret (Jean Rouverol) has soured on this former sweetheart. Johnny doesn't believe it and heads into trouble regardless. Margaret has been to school in Boston and her tastes have changed. She wants the comforts of city life and a neighbouring dude, George Purdue (Harry Worth) is promising those things.

Jean Rouverol, Jimmy Ellison

Red and Johnny remain at the Arnold ranch while Hoppy heads into the mountains in an effort to scope out the outlaws. Disguised as a gambler and calling himself Tex Riley, Hoppy teams up with an old-time prospector called "Windy" (George "Gabby" Hayes). Finding a stranger to regale with tall tales, Windy likes to relate his exploits with the famous Hopalong Cassidy.

William Boyd, Harry Worth

The easterner Purdue is (surprise!) the rustler Nevada. He is an interesting villain for a B western, with an obsessive admiration for Napoleon to augment his plans to have the biggest cattle ranch in the state. Purdue finds it particularly galling that he should have a rival in a common ranch hand such as Johnny. Among Nevada's crew, we find the ubiquitous 1930s minion Paul Fix. Al St. John plays a doomed outlaw named Cinco who invites the callousness of his boss.

Having determined the identity and hideout of the rustlers, Hoppy signals the Arnold ranch and justice can be served. In this outing, the chase begins with the riders preparations to take out after the crooks. The lack of a score makes the sequence quite effective, but you won't be missing the stirring chase music as that will come in time. Johnny, rushing into things ahead of Hoppy's signal, gets himself captured and requires rescuing. It's a good thing Jimmy Ellison is so good looking because Johnny can get rather annoying at times.

George "Gabby" Hayes, William Boyd, Paul Fix

Outlaw Herb Layton (Joe Rickson) gets the last word on Purdue/Nevada who proves himself a coward in the face of his own destruction. Happily, after the deaths of Spike and Uncle Ben in our previous movies, Gabby Hayes' character of Windy lives and joins up with Hoppy to return to the Bar 20. "I'll be with ya' till the durn thing blows up!"


Trivia:

The above publicity from Paramount shows how seriously the studio considered future Oscar winner James Gleason for the role of Cassidy. The wiry Gleason could play ornery as easily as he could play lovable, but in the luckiest break of his career, William Boyd was given the role. He made Hoppy an upstanding man of honour and an idol for generations of popcorn-munching munchkins.












Tuesday, July 23, 2019

LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK: Post 3 of 5, Movie Night Double Bill of Jesse James (1939) and The Return of Frank James (1940)


The LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK is an online celebration running from July 21 - 27. It is hosted by Heidi of Along the Brandywine, Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell and Hamlette's Soliloquy.


The outlaw and Civil War guerilla fighter Jesse James (1847-1882) was a popular hero of the press and dime novels during his short life and career and ascended to mythology after his death. His deeds and personality were exploited for the stage and later for the screen. Name recognition alone made Jesse James an important character in western films since the silent era.

Jesse James Jr. (1875-1951) played his father in two films released in 1921, Jesse James Under the Black Flag and Jesse James as the Outlaw. The character of Jesse has been portrayed as everything from a scalawag to a psycho by such actors as Roy Rogers, Alan Baxter, Dale Robertson, Lawrence Tierney, Clayton Moore, Macdonald Carey, James Keach, Reed Hadley, and Audie Murphy. 

Writer Nunnally Johnson (The Grapes of Wrath, The Woman in the Window) took the legendary Jesse James and fashioned an entertaining and exciting motion picture released in 1939. Jesse James is essentially a character study of the psychology of an outlaw. Also coming under scrutiny in the screenplay is the perfidy of the legal system and the corruption of too powerful corporations.

Director Henry King was a master of many genres with most having a welcome touch of Americana. He created many of the 20th Century Fox classics, from In Old Chicago to Carousel. Jesse James was the fourth of eleven movies King directed starring Tyrone Power beginning with Lloyds of London in 1936 and ending with The Sun Also Rises in 1957. 

The St. Louis Midland Railroad represented by a ruthless Brian Donlevy, cheats illiterate farmers out of their land. Difficulty with the James family results in the death of Mother James played by Jane Darwell, and her boys Frank played by Henry Fonda and Jesse played by Tyrone Power, turning outlaw to exact revenge. The St. Louis Midland Railroad is their prime target and they have a special message for the passengers who are their victims: "Don't forget to sue the railroad for all you give us, 'cos they're responsible."

Nancy Kelly, Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Spencer Charters

The troubled economic times of the post-war era find many admiring the actions of the James brothers. Others, like Jesse's love Zee played by Nancy Kelly only see the anger and violence eating away at a man's soul. Those many who are still able to see the good in Jesse try to help. The local marshal played by Randolph Scott is sweet on Zee, and brokers a deal with the railroad president played by Donald Meek. Jesse agrees to turn himself in for one charge of robbery to please Zee and the couple marries prior to Jesse serving his time. The minister at the country church is only too happy to perform the ceremony for the celebrated Jesse James. "Why, I'd given up preaching and was making an honest living off the land until that dad-swinged railroad swindled me out of my own home."

The railroad goes back on their word, Jesse is broken out of jail by Frank, and the gang goes on a crime spree for the next decade. Zee stays with Jesse until the birth of their son then in despair returns to her uncle, a newspaper editor played by Henry Hull. "Jesse'll be an outlaw as long as he lives. I know it now. ..... He's like a horse you can't break. He's crazy with wildness and there's nothing you or me or him or anybody can do about it."  

The movie is filled with eye-filling scenery from the Missouri locations filmed in glorious 3-strip Technicolor by George Barnes. Exciting chases and action sequences accompany the honest soul searching of the characters. A cast of familiar character actors includes John Carradine as Bob Ford, Ernest Whitman, Slim Summerville, J. Edward Bromberg, Willard Robertson, Charles Middleton, and George Chandler. Jesse James, along with the release the same year of Stagecoach, proved a turning point in the respect for the A level western.

The tragic and wasteful death of two horses involved in one of the stunts in the film led to the studios agreeing to supervision by the Humane Society when animals were involved in a film. It became desirable to receive the notice that "No animals were harmed or injured in the production of this film."


Of note:
John Carradine, Donald Meek, Louise Platt

John Carradine, so oily and nervous here as the turncoat Bob Ford played the sympathetic gambler Hatfield in Stagecoach. Donald Meek, so duplicitous and longwinded here as railroad president McCoy played the meek and kind whiskey drummer Peacock in Stagecoach. 1939 was a good year for actors and for movie-goers. 



The year following the release of the successful Jesse James feature saw 20th Century Fox return to the legend with  The Return of Frank James with Fritz Lang (Western Union) directing a screenplay by Sam Hellman (Frontier Marshal).

Henry Fonda returned as Frank James, along with Ernest Whitman as the loyal Pinky, Henry Hull as newspaper editor Cobb, George Chandler as his assistant Roy, J. Edward Bromberg as the detective George Runyon, Donald Meek as railroad president McCoy, and John Carradine and Charles Tannen and Bob and Charlie Ford.

Jackie Cooper, 18-years-old and four years out from his MGM contract which made him one of the most popular child stars of the 1930s, co-stars in The Return of Frank James. He portrays Clem, the orphaned son of one of the James gang whom Frank has taken under his wing. Frank, Clem, and Pinky are working a farm and keeping away from society and out of trouble. Eventually, news reaches them of Jesse's death and the Ford brothers subsequent conviction and reprieve. Frank sees his only course of action is to exact vengeance on the Fords.

Frank thinks it is only right that the St. Louis and Midland Railroad finance his search for the Fords, but his robbery is botched by the interference of the disobedient Clem. The night manager of the office is shot by an errant shot from a deputy. The death is blamed on Frank and he and Clem are fugitives. Their search for the Fords leads them to Denver.

 Jackie Cooper, Gene Tierney, Henry Fonda

Gene Tierney makes her film debut as Eleanor Stone, a headstrong young woman of means who is determined to make a place for herself as a reporter with her father's newspaper, The Denver Star. Anxious for a scoop, she falls for the phony story of Frank James' death in Mexico planted by Clem and Frank, going by aliases. By 1942s Rings on Her Fingers, also opposite Henry Fonda, lovely Miss Tierney will no longer give the appearance of trying too hard.

Bob and Charlie Ford are appearing in a stage production depicting their brave takedown of Jesse James. When they spot Frank staring at them from box seats, the chase is on. It is an exciting sequence over rugged California terrain which ends in the accidental death of Charlie and the disappearance of Bob.

Frank must then decide whether to continue his pursuit of Bob Ford or return to Missouri where Pinky has been wrongly convicted of being an accomplice in the robbery and murder. Much to Clem's disgust, Frank races back to Liberty to save Pinky from the gallows.

Major Cobb, the loquacious newspaper editor acts as Frank's attorney. The trial basically becomes a sideshow of the Major playing on the sympathies of the jury for one of their own against the railroad, and against the exploitative Yankees. It is a ploy which works in Frank's favour, yet the final showdown with Bob Ford remains.

The Return of Frank James has the same Technicolor aesthetic from George Barnes and the same music from David Buttolph, along with the familiar characters to give a sense of cohesiveness to the two stories released by Twentieth Century Fox. This unnecessary sequel to the earlier classic is well-made but doesn't rise above the standard revenge western.


Of note:
 Henry Fonda, John Carradine

Tom Joad and Casey in John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath from the same year as they played Frank James and Bob Ford in our feature.












Monday, July 22, 2019

LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK: Post 2 of 5, Tag Questions and Answers


The LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK is an online celebration running from July 21 - 27. It is hosted by Heidi of Along the Brandywine, Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell and Hamlette's Soliloquy.


1. Do you tolerate, like or love westerns?

That would be love. Part of it is the nostalgia of all the western television shows and movies I watched growing up. Part of it is my interest in history and historical fiction. Part of it is my admiration for the creativity in the movie-making.


2. What do you enjoy about them and, more broadly the west itself (e.g., the history, accompanying paraphernalia, etc.)?

One thing that draws me to the western is how malleable the genre is in that different filmmakers in different eras have used the history through which to see their own times. The 1950s had movies such as Silver Lode that took on McCarthyism. The jaded 1960s had the revisionist take on the venerable western. I find the perspectives fascinating.


3. What's the first western you remember watching?

I was crazy about The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin on television. It wasn't during the series initial run (1954-1959), but during the 1960s when it ran in syndication on local television. I imagine one of my first western movies would have been one of the Audie Murphy flicks which ran at the local theatre.


4. Who are your favorite western stars, the ones whose presence in a western will make you pick it up off the shelf?

Randolph Scott and George O'Brien will have my attention every time. Also, Henry Fonda who gave so many varied and wonderful performances in westerns throughout the decades of his career.


5. What's your favorite performance by an actress in a western?

The first performance that leaped to mind was Hope Emerson as Patience Hawley in Westward the Women. The more I thought of it, the more right it felt. Looking over the field of leading ladies, two disparate performances come to mind; Barbara Stanwyck as Vance Jeffords in The Furieand Kim Darby as Mattie Ross in True Grit.


6. What is your go-to western, the one you'll typically reach for?

Bend of the River is my comfort movie. When the sniffles are coming on, I like nothing better than to curl up on the couch with a hot beverage, a warm quilt and ponder the difference between apples and men. Or, as my daughter puts it, "How many bad guys have to bite the dust before you are comforted?"


7. Do your family/friends share your interest in westerns, or are you a lone ranger (pun completely intended)?

My interest is shared, although not to what they sometimes deem my fanatical devotion. The hubby is not so much a fan, but he is learning. Before he met me he had never even seen Shane!


8. Pick one western to live inside for a week, and explain why you chose it.

Rio Grande for its rough and ready humor, deeply romantic heart, and so Ken Curtis and The Sons of the Pioneers can serenade me.


9. What are some of your favorite lines from western movies? Are there any you quote regularly?

"Well, maybe you shouldn't drink, then you'd have six bits when you need it."
- Brandon De Wilde to James Stewart in Night Passage, 1957

"Mac, you ever been in love?"
"No. I've been a bartender all me life."
- Henry Fonda and J. Farrell MacDonald in My Darling Clementine, 1946

"I saw you hit that poor man!"
"Yes, ma'am, just as hard as I could."
- Elisabeth Risdon and John Wayne in Tall in the Saddle, 1944

Regularly quoted just because it tickles the Irish in us is this Harry Carey Jr. line from Rio Grande: "Yeah, he called him the teacher's pet of a chuckle-headed Mick Sergeant. What's that mean, doc?"












Sunday, July 21, 2019

LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK 2019: Post 1 of 5, A History of Westerns on this Blog


The LEGENDS OF WESTERN CINEMA WEEK is an online celebration running from July 21 - 27. It is hosted by Heidi of Along the Brandywine, Olivia of Meanwhile, in Rivendell and Hamlette's Soliloquy. 

"Do you love western movies? Do you like western movies? Do you kind of fondly tolerate western movies? This blog celebration is for you! We welcome you whether you adore the genre, enjoy just a few cowboy films or fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum."

How much does my blog represent my fondness for westerns? A roundup of posts of the last 11 years shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did. I hope to stir some of your personal memories by the titles on these lists, and I have highlighted two which you may find fun, especially the piece on the Emmy Awards.


Caftan Woman's Choice
Since September 2011 I have written a monthly TCM recommendation. 

Stars in My Crown, May 2012
Fort Apache, June 2012
A Big Hand for the Little Lady, September 2012
Winchester '73, May 2013
Rio Grande, April 2014
Ride Lonesome, December 2016
The Far Country, May 2017
Comanche Station, January 2018
Heaven Only Knows, November 2018
Under Western Stars, February 2019
Angel and the Badman, April 2019

What say you to the August 2015 selection of The Tall Target? Could this historical adventure be included under the western umbrella?



Movies


AFI Top Ten Westerns, June 2008
AFI Top Ten Westerns Part II, June 2008

3 Bad Men, October 2015
The Arizonian and The Marshal of Mesa City, March 2019
Bend of the River, April 2014
Canyon Passage, April 2018
Day of the Outlaw, July 2018
Destry, June 2019
Destry Rides Again, April 2015
Gunman's Walk, March 2015
Hangman's Knot, January 2015
Hell's Heroes and The Big Country, May 2017
The Last Hunt, April 2019
My Darling Clementine, February 2013
The Proud Rebel, March 2018
Raton Pass and The Big Country, August 2015
Rawhide (1938), June 2016
Rawhide (1951), September 2017
The Red Pony, September 2015
Ride the High Country, April 2014
Ride the High Country (haiku), April 2011
Rio Grande (kiss), February 2016
Ruggles of Red Gap, October 2011
The Searchers, June 2015
Shane, December 2013
Shane (rain), March 2017
The Shootist, September 2015,
Support Your Local Sheriff!, April 2008
Support Your Local Sheriff! (meet-cute), February 2019
Three Godfathers (1936), June 2014
True Grit (1969), September 2010
The Virginian (1946), November 2016
Way Out West (1937), January 2012
Yellow Sky, November 2018



Television


Gunsmoke, April 2008
Gunsmoke (The Guitar), March 2019
Gunsmoke (Chester vs. Festus), July 2011
Ida Lupino (TV western actress and director), February 2018
Maverick (Pappy), June 2011
Maverick (Shady Deal at Sunny Acres), March 2016
The Virginian (The Accomplice), April 2018
The Virginian (The Mountain of the Sun), October 2018
Wagon Train (Little Girl Lost), March 2017
Wagon Train (The Ella Lindstrom Story), April 2019
Zane Grey Theatre (Deadfall), August 2018


- Paula Nolan, 1979

Profiles

James Arness, June 2011
Peter Breck, February 2012
Harry Carey and Harry Carey Jr., November 2015
Hoppy's pals, April 2009
Richard Kiley, April 2012
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, July 2013
Morgan Woodward, July 2010


I'm looking forward to sharing the love for westerns and will be back throughout the week with some new and fun posts for the party.












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