Monday, March 9, 2020

THE 110 YEARS OF CLAIRE TREVOR BLOGATHON: The Desperadoes, 1943

Claire Trevor
1910-2000

Virginie of The Wonderful World of Cinema and Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood are hosting The 110 Years of Claire Trevor Blogathon this March 8 - 10. The tributes to the memorable actress can be found HERE.


Claire Trevor's Hollywood career features characters with an odd and appealing mix of toughness and vulnerability. From her first Oscar nomination as the pitiable prostitute Francey in Dead End, 1937 to her win as Gaye Dawn, the alcoholic mistress of a gangster in Key Largo, 1948 Claire Trevor made us cheer and fear for the women she brought to the screen.

Film-noir is where Claire has perhaps her greatest acclaim, but she is a mainstay for western fans as well. Consider Stagecoach, Dark Command, Honky Tonk, Texas, Best of the Badmen, The Stranger Wore a Gun, Man Without a Star, and Columbia Studio and Claire's first Technicolor feature, The Desperadoes.


Ladies and gentlemen, is the daily grind getting you down? Do you want a good, old-fashioned oater to fill the early evening hours? Well, it's all here for you folks in Charles Vidor's 1943 production The Desperadoes.

You've got your stalwart lawman played by Randolph Scott, your good-bad man played by Glenn Ford, the tough but tender saloon owner played by Claire Trevor, the spunky romantic interest played by Evelyn Keyes, and the none-too-bright sidekick played by Guinn "Big Boy" Williams. There's Technicolor, stampedes, bronco riding, crooks, jailbreaks, and an explosion or two! So pop that corn and melt that butter.

Irving Bacon

What's that, you want more? You want scene-stealers? We have got the greatest. Watch Mr. Edgar Buchanan and Mr. Raymond Walburn commit grand larceny before your very eyes. Mr. Porter Hall and Mr. Irving Bacon also do their bit for the character actor fraternity. And for the "they had faces crowd" look for Noah Beery and Francis Ford.



Robert Carson (Western Union) wrote the screenplay from an original story by Max Brand (Internes Can't Take Money). Director of Photography George Meehan, whose bread and butter for many years were black and white westerns and crime pictures like The Whistler did an outstanding job with this important first for the studio. The outdoor sequences filmed in Kanab, Utah are particularly breathtaking.

Edgar Buchanan, Porter Hall

A crooked banker (Porter Hall) and a ne'er do well mailman/livery owner (Edgar Buchanan) plan a twisted plot to rob their own bank, cheating the local citizens and have them in their debt. They hire a gunman (Glenn Ford) to handle the delicate job who promises no killings. Anxious at the gunman's late arrival, the banker hires a local thug, Jack Lester (Bernard Nedell) who is not so squeamish about a killing or three.

Evelyn Keyes, Glenn Ford, Randolph Scott

Cheyenne Rogers had backed into the life of a gunfighter, but he's not a bad guy. There will be reasons for Cheyenne to want to change when he reaches Red Valley. The ne'er do well's daughter Alison (Evelyn Keyes) will be one reason and his friend Steve (Randolph Scott) being the town's sheriff is another.

Glenn Ford, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams

Cheyenne is also in town to meet up with his impulsive partner Nitro (Guinn Williams). Nitro did Cheyenne a favour once and is owed. Nitro is hiding out with The Countess (Claire Trevor). The Countess and Cheyenne grew up together. The Countess owns a hotel/gambling hall. She has influence in town because money talks. She also has a fondness for Cheyenne that goes beyond his for her.

Raymond Walburn, Francis Ford, Randolph Scott

The anxious banker tries to frame the earlier crimes on Cheyenne and Nitro doesn't help matters by impulsively robbing the bank. This places the two strangers in town at the mercy of a crooked Judge (Raymond Walburn) and a town ready to avenge the murders during the first robbery.

Claire Trevor is a force of nature as the Countess. Her strong personality is complemented by a number of colourful and eye-filling gowns. The producers draw your attention to this matter by the credit, "Miss Trevor's Costumes by Travilla."

TREVOR AND TRAVILLA

















Bonus:


The Desperadoes, 1943
Isn't Claire cute as a button in those shorts?

Charles Vidor (director), Evelyn Keyes, Randolph Scott, Claire Trevor
Edgar Buchanan, Glenn Ford, Sally Eilers, her husband Harry Joe Brown (producer)

Uncredited assistant director Budd Boetticher would join forces with Harry Joe Brown and Randolph Scott a decade later directing the well-regarded westerns The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome, and Comanche Station.

















13 comments:

  1. "Claire Trevor made us cheer and fear for the women she brought to the screen." Totally agree on that! I loved your enthusiastic review and what you tell us about Claire Trevor's character. She was indeed famous for the femme fatale roles in films noirs, but I've always loved her parts in western. I haven't seen this film yet but it sounds like a good one! Plus it has Glenn Ford! Thanks so much for your participation to her blogathon! Ps: I love the photos of the costumes!

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    1. Thank you so much, Virginie. Thanks so much for co-hosting this blogathon.

      A Glenn Ford fan like yourself should enjoy The Desperadoes.

      I had a lot of fun taking the screencaps of Claire in her amazing Travilla gowns. I'm so glad you appreciate them.

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  2. You mentioned that CLAIRE TREVOR had toughness and vulnerability in her roles. That sounds like BARBARA STANWYCK! Do you think Claire and Barbara would have been good in some of the roles that the other one played?

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    1. It's an interesting thought. I think it would depend on the role and leading man.

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  3. According to imdb CLAIRE TREVOR did 2 eps of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and an ep of WAGON TRAIN. She played a reporter on that episode and it was titled THE C.L. HARDING STORY. It also guest starred JOHNNY CASH and AMZIE STRICKLAND.

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    1. I don't immediately recall that episode of Wagon Train, but have read about the Hitchcock shows for this blogathon.

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  4. What a terrific post on a terrific actress! I really enjoy your love for these old films and their casts: just think, Edgar Buchanan AND Raymond Walburn AND Porter Hall AND Irving Bacon AND Francis Ford AND Randolph Scott AND Glenn Ford - I must look up this film! Claire Trevor herself was always a class act, always professional with a warm, appealing screen presence. No matter what the level of material she had, she made it shine. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you.

      It seemed as if Claire could play these roles without breaking a sweat, and I like to think she had fun doing it. Especially fun when the costumes were so grand.

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  5. Those are great pictures of the clothes that CLAIRE TREVOR wore in the movie! When they talk about women of glamour from OLD HOLLYWOOD they don't mention Claire but they should. Two shows that had great clothes were GUNSMOKE(MISS KITTY) and THE BIG VALLEY(both VICTORIA and AUDRA).

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    1. Amanda Blake helped design some of Kitty's wardrobe on Gunsmoke.

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  6. This is such a fun movie. I love Trevor's gowns, especially the white one.

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    1. It is indeed. Claire looks glorious. I hope she had fun on this movie.

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  7. I would love to know more about the carriage Claire drove in the movie (with the white fringed top)...I have an antique carriage similar to it with a black top...

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