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***Official 1st HTF Western Movies/TV Shows Challenge 2024*** (2 Viewers)

Jeff Flugel

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34. The Wild Wild West - 3.11 "The Night of the Cut-Throats" (watched via DVD)
This has long been one of my favorite classic TV shows, and I think it still holds up well almost 60 years after it originally aired. This episode eschews the usual steampunk sci-fi and Gothic horror elements that were the series's stock-in-trade for straight-up, slam-bang, shoot-'em-up western action...and is one of the few times I can remember where Secret Service agent James West (Robert Conrad) doesn't employ a single one of his many slick, James Bond-style gadgets. West and his partner, master of disguise Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), are in the town of New Athens, which has been targeted for complete destruction by Mike Trayne (Bradford Dillman), a deadly dandy out for revenge on the town and its residents for sending him to prison for three years, after he clubbed a man to death with his cane due to him paying to much attention to Trayne's mistress, saloon owner Sally Yarnell (Beverly Garland). To carry out his plot, Trayne has hired a cadre of outlaws to drive people out of the town prior to him burning it to the ground and wiping any memory of it off the face of the earth. Before long, West, Gordon, a spiky old-timer (Shug Fisher), the town's mayor (Walter Burke) and the ineffective town sheriff (Jackie Coogan), who'd rather stuff his face with food than dispense justice, are the only ones left to defend the town from an all-out assault. Typically lively episode, jam-packed with double-crosses and two-fisted action (I counted four fights alone in the first 20 minutes), and the easy camaraderie between the two leads always makes this show a diverting watch.

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35. The Big Valley - 1.22 "The Death Merchant" (watched via DVD)
James Whitmore is very effective playing Handy Random, a seemingly cheerful, garrulous old cowpoke who shambles along talking to his mule. Handy comes ambling into the middle of a land dispute between the Barkleys and their neighbors, the Craddocks. At first, the Barkleys - with the notable exception of Heath (Lee Majors) - are kindly disposed toward Handy, due to Handy having been the man who shot and killed the murderer of their father, Tom Barkley, six years before. But Heath knows the truth about Handy's character - he's actually a vicious, indiscriminate killer who seeks out feuds, escalates them and hires himself out to the highest bidder. When the Barkleys send him packing, Handy goes to work for the proud head of the Craddock clan (Royal Dano)...his next target, lovely young Audra Barkley (Linda Evans). Whitmore is very good here, skillfully and slowly revealing the cold, calculating killer lurking beneath Handy's grubby, gabby "old coot" exterior. Co-star Barbara Stanwyck receives special billing in the credits, as usual, but is otherwise unseen in this particular episode, though all the other Barkley clan are present, including Richard Long and Peter Breck.

death merchant.jpg
 
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Robert Crawford

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38) 03-28-24: "Tall in the Saddle" (1944) (iTunes HD Digital) 5/5 Stars
An RKO 1944 "B" western is not only among my all-time 10 favorite John Wayne movies but without a doubt among my 10-15 all-time favorite westerns. My love affair with this western/Ella Raines :) began, when it used to play all the time on a NYC TV station back in the 1960s. Rocklin/John Wayne comes to town claiming to be hired by a rancher. Unbeknownst to Rocklin, that rancher was recently murdered, and the rancher's young niece/Audrey Long arrives in town with Rocklin on the same stagecoach. The stagecoach driver/Gabby Hayes is a cantankerous, old cuss by the name of Dave. Right off, the Rocklin and Dave become buddies because they share the same view about females. However, Rocklin runs afoul of another rancher named Arly Harolday/Ella Raines, who happens to be not only tough as nails but is a beautiful female. Rocklin decides not to work with the new owners of the ranch and is hired by Arly/Raines. Arly intentions are obvious, though she appears to be hostile towards Rocklin because of an earlier embarrassing incident caused by a lie from her brother. The former tomboy is actually attracted to this new tough cowboy as he unlocks her femininity. In the meantime, Rocklin starts to help the niece/Long so now it appears that two beautiful women are interested in Rocklin, though, he supposedly has a negative attitude towards females.:) Rocklin starts investigating the murder of the rancher that hired him in the first place. However, Rocklin has a secret too as to why he's investigating that murder, and he starts asking questions of various townspeople and an unscrupulous lawyer played by Ward Bond. Bond and the niece's aunt/Elizabeth Risdon are in cahoots to keep Rocklin from finding out the truth. Undeterred, Rocklin pushes forward to finding out the truth. The cast includes two veteran character actors Paul Fix and Harry Woods playing the notorious Clews brothers. Fix and Wayne were life-long friends and appeared in a countless number of films together as Fix was kind of an acting coach for Wayne early in his acting career. He reportedly helped Wayne developed that classic walk of Wayne. Fix also co-wrote the screenplay to "Tall in the Saddle". It's a shame that Wayne and Raines didn't make another movie as they had great film chemistry together in this light-hearted western.

I have the 2005 DVD of this movie but watched it yesterday on iTunes. It's a nice-looking HD digital but isn't up to snuff that a Warner Archive Blu-ray video presentation would give us. I would love to see the following actresses in pristine 1080p. Hopefully, one day.

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Gary OS

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#3 Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942)

This is a fantastic Abbott & Costello vehicle set at a Dude Ranch out west, so it qualifies. It's loaded with great stars, including Dick Foran as a westerns novel writer who's created an entire run of books based off a fictional character he portrays. The problem is the public thinks he really is 'Bronco Bob Mitchell' and when he's caught behind the scenes being anything but a great cowboy, he's convinced he has to find a way to become the person he is in the novels and the fun begins. Anne Gwynn stars as the lovely cowgirl, Johnny Mack Brown is the dude ranch foreman, and Ella Fitzgerald sings some great tunes to liven things up even a bit more.

This isn't just a solid comedy western. It's actually my favorite Abbott & Costello movie - period. It has everything I want in a picture. There's great location work at two dude ranches (B-Bar A and the Rancho Chihuahua), fantastic routines from the Boys, solid musical numbers, and a decent plot. I can watch this film over and over again and never tire of it.

I watched this on Blu ray. All in all I give this one 5 stars.

Ride_'Em_Cowboy_(1942_film)_poster.jpg


This film is Highly Recommended.

Gary "I think I can get a couple more in by Sunday night" O.
 

Capt D McMars

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I went for some classic Duke, the one that really shown the light on him and got him into the bigger roles and better films, Stagcouch (1937). And such a memorable cast!! It is definatly one of my top western films.

Stagecoach

Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Ford
Screenplay byDudley Nichols
Based on"The Stage to Lordsburg"
1937 Collier's
by Ernest Haycox
Produced byWalter Wanger
Starring
CinematographyBert Glennon
Edited by
Music by
Production
company
Walter Wanger Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • February 2, 1939 (Los Angeles)[1]
  • March 3, 1939 (U.S.)[1]
Running time96 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$531,374[2]
Box office$1,103,757[2]
 

Gary OS

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#4 Rocky Mountain (1950)

This film begins with a car pulling up to a historical marker in California that describes a military battle that ensued on the nearby Ghost Mountain. Apparently some men fighting for the Confederate Army in the waning days of the Civil War have been sent by General Lee to recruit some 500 men to raid California on behalf of the South. It's a last ditch effort to change the tide of the war. The 8 men recruited for this mission are headed up by Cpt Lafe Barstow (Errol Flynn). As they arrive they save a stagecoach from an Shoshone Indian attack, where they rescue the driver (Chubby Johnson) and a Yankee lady named Johanna (Patrice Wymore) who happens to be the fiancé of a Union Army officer Lt Rickey.

Things go from bad to worse for our courageous men as they find themselves stuck on this "Rocky Mountain", first capturing some Union soldiers (including Wymore's fiancé) and 3 Indian scouts. They then find out that the Union Army knows they are there, and that the prospects of getting the reinforcements are dwindling. To top it off, they see smoke signals from nearby that alert them to the fact that the Shoshone are planning on attacking them. Lt Rickey escapes and heads off to his garrison in an attempt to rescue Johanna before the Indian attack.

I'll leave the incredible finale alone in case anyone who hasn't seen the movie gets a chance to watch it. This film had some very poignant speeches by the various Southerners and it's clear that there is some feelings between Flynn and Wymore (which ended up being true offscreen as well). The movie had several well-known 'western' actors, including Slim Pickens and Sheb Wooley (of Rawhide fame).

Rocky Mountain is actually in my Top 10 of Western films. It's shot entirely on location, and although it's Flynn's last western, I think it's one of his best. The trick riding is spectacular in spots and it offers some very sentimental moments. The South is doomed to lose the war, and this feeling lingers over the entire film, but these 8 men are true to their roots and will do everything they can for their beloved homeland.

I watched this on Warner Archive DVD (they need to upgrade this to Blu in the worst way). I give it 5 Stars.

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This film is Highly Recommended.


Gary "I know it's a long shot but I really do hope Warner can give this film their HD treatment and release it on Blu" O.
 
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Scott Merryfield

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25. The Return of Ringo 1965 (Arrow Video HD digital stream via iTunes)

Giuliano Gemma (aka Montgomery Wood) returns in the title role. Ringo is a returning war veteran, and discovers that the town has been taken over and is being terrorized by the Fuentes brothers. One of the brothers, Paco, has also claimed Ringo's wife after convincing her that Ringo is dead. Ringo, disguised as a Mexican, must rally the towns people to fight back, as he also takes revenge on the brothers and their men while also rescuing his wife and young daughter.

This film takes awhile to hit its stride, with most of the action taking place in the final 30 minutes. The musical score is by Ennio Morricone. The transfer from Arrow Video is quite good.

This will be my final spaghetti western for this challenge. It's been a lot of fun revisiting these films.
 
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Robert Crawford

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39) 03-29-24: "Posse from Hell" (1961) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
The second of three westerns from the Kino "Audie Murphy Collection III" Blu-ray boxset. Four gunmen ride into a town at night, terrorize the town by killing four people including the town marshal, robbing the bank and then taking a young woman as a hostage. The next day, Audie Murphy's character rides into town and is deputized by the dying marshal to lead a posse to go after those four gunmen. Murphy's character is kind of a mystery because you don't know anything about him except the dying marshal thinks this will give him a chance to redeem himself as well as his faith in the good of other men. One thing is for sure, he knows how to use a gun and probably did quite often in a prior life. The posse is small in numbers and consist of a bunch of misfits. Except for two of them, the posse is kind of worthless. In a kind of role reversal, John Saxon plays a tenderfoot bank employee that joins the posse that Murphy comes to respect for his courage and stubbornness. Also, Rodolfo Acosta, who usually plays villains in such westerns, instead plays a good guy in this movie as the second member of the posse that Murphy respects as a man. Vic Morrow plays the psycho leader of the four gunman that likes to kill indiscriminately with a double barrel shotgun. Lee Van Cleef has a small role as another of member of those four gunmen. Zohra Lampert plays the female hostage that is raped and abused by the gang of four.

I never seen this movie beforehand. I must say it's quite violent for its time and kept my interest quite well throughout its runtime. This movie plays more like a western horror film than your traditional western. No doubt, I'll be revisiting this movie again to listen to its audio commentary. IMO, the video presentation is just okay for this Kino Blu-ray.

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40) 03-29-24: "3 Godfathers" (1948) (Blu-ray) 5/5 Stars
Today, I finally received the 03-26-24 BD release from Amazon. This is another of my all-time favorite westerns and John Wayne films, so I immediately started watching it this afternoon. The video presentation is outstanding with great detail and color that offered a pristine viewing on my 65" OLED. Damn, this 3-strip Technicolor movie is more beautiful than I could have imagined it looked in 1948/1949. After watching the Blu-ray, I sampled the iTunes HD digital. There is a significant improvement both audio and video presentation-wise that is easily noticeable from my normal seating position.

For decades, I usually watch this western every Christmas season. I love this movie and I've probably seen it as many times as any other movie not named "The Searchers". I think Wayne gives one of his best performances in this movie and that Pedro Armendariz was excellent as his fellow "compadre" along with Harry Carey Jr. The three bandits escape into the Arizona desert after robbing a bank days before Christmas Day. They come across a lone wagon at a desert waterhole with a woman about to give birth. Further complicating matters, is the woman's husband destroys the waterhole's ability to store water by using a stick of dynamite. Four days earlier, the husband leaves his wife alone in the wagon after his stock runoff, never to be seen again. Ward Bond plays the crafty sheriff leading a posse after the three bandits in the Arizona desert. A John Ford production, most of John Ford's stock company are present throughout the cast of actors. Some people might be turned off by the religious aspect in this western tale of three bandits that come across an abandoned woman about to give birth and their task of saving her newborn baby as they cross a hot desert with no horses and little water to do so. To me, it's the religious aspect of this 1948 version that makes it stand out against the prior film adaptations of this same storyline. IMO, the only weak part of the film is perhaps the ending.

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41) 03-29-24: "Three Godfathers" (1936) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
I'll finish this writeup later on, but this is another earlier film version of the 1948 "3 Godfathers". By the way, this movie has other film adaptations including at least two silent versions, one directed by John Ford and an early talkie 1929 version directed by William Wyler. This 1936 version is an extra on the 03-26-24 "3 Godfathers" Blu-ray. It's in 1080p.

Edit:
This 1936 film adaptation is much less sentimental than the 1948 film. Furthermore, the religious aspect of the 1948 story is played down quite a bit. There are a few things I like about this film as well as some things I don't like about it as there are some major changes in the scripts between the two films. Chester Morris was okay in the lead but he's not The Duke. Lewis Stone and Walter Brennan were fine as the other two bandits, but I prefer the characters and acting performances of Armendariz and Carey in the 1949 film. Also, the 1936 film not having a posse after them kind doesn't heighten the stress as it did in the 1948 film. Lastly, Morris's character is just plain less likeable than Wayne's character. With all that said, I do think the 1936 film has a more impactful ending regarding personal sacrifice than the Ford film. There's no question about that. I was very impressed by the video presentation on this WA Blu-ray. I've watched this movie a few times beforehand, and this black and white film never looked this pristine nor detailed as it was yesterday on my OLED. Kudos to Warner Archive for giving us two outstanding looking movies on one Blu-ray.
 

bujaki

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View attachment 218041
39) 03-29-24: "Posse from Hell" (1961) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
The second of three westerns from the Kino "Audie Murphy Collection III" Blu-ray boxset. Four gunmen ride into a town at night, terrorize the town by killing four people including the town marshal, robbing the bank and then taking a young woman as a hostage. The next day, Audie Murphy's character rides into town and is deputized by the dying marshal to lead a posse to go after those four gunmen. Murphy's character is kind of a mystery because you don't know anything about him except the dying marshal thinks this will give him a chance to redeem himself as well as his faith in the good of other men. One thing is for sure, he knows how to use a gun and probably did quite often in a prior life. The posse is small in numbers and consist of a bunch of misfits. Except for two of them, the posse is kind of worthless. In a kind of role reversal, John Saxon plays a tenderfoot bank employee that joins the posse that Murphy comes to respect for his courage and stubbornness. Also, Rodolfo Acosta, who usually plays villains in such westerns, instead plays a good guy in this movie as the second member of the posse that Murphy respects as a man. Vic Morrow plays the psycho leader of the four gunman that likes to kill indiscriminately with a double barrel shotgun. Lee Van Cleef has a small role as another of member of those four gunmen. Zohra Lampert plays the female hostage that is raped and abused by the gang of four.

I never seen this movie beforehand. I must say it's quite violent for its time and kept my interest quite well throughout its runtime. This movie plays more like a western horror film than your traditional western. No doubt, I'll be revisiting this movie again to listen to its audio commentary. IMO, the video presentation is just okay for this Kino Blu-ray.

View attachment 218042
40) 03-29-24: "3 Godfathers" (1948) (Blu-ray) 5/5 Stars
Today, I finally received the 03-26-24 BD release from Amazon. This is another of my all-time favorite westerns and John Wayne films, so I immediately started watching it this afternoon. The video presentation is outstanding with great detail and color that offered a pristine viewing on my 65" OLED. Damn, this 3-strip Technicolor movie is more beautiful than I could have imagined it looked in 1948/1949. After watching the Blu-ray, I sampled the iTunes HD digital. There is a significant improvement both audio and video presentation-wise that is easily noticeable from my normal seating position.

For decades, I usually watch this western every Christmas season. I love this movie and I've probably seen it as many times as any other movie not named "The Searchers". I think Wayne gives one of his best performances in this movie and that Pedro Armendariz was excellent as his fellow "compadre" along with Harry Carey Jr. The three bandits escape into the Arizona desert after robbing a bank days before Christmas Day. They come across a lone wagon at a desert waterhole with a woman about to give birth. Further complicating matters, is the woman's husband destroys the waterhole's ability to store water by using a stick of dynamite. Four days earlier, the husband leaves his wife alone in the wagon after his stock runoff, never to be seen again. Ward Bond plays the crafty sheriff leading a posse after the three bandits in the Arizona desert. A John Ford production, most of John Ford's stock company are present throughout the cast of actors. Some people might be turned off by the religious aspect in this western tale of three bandits that come across an abandoned woman about to give birth and their task of saving her newborn baby as they cross a hot desert with no horses and little water to do so. To me, it's the religious aspect of this 1948 version that makes it stand out against the prior film adaptations of this same storyline. IMO, the only weak part of the film is perhaps the ending.

View attachment 218043
41) 03-29-24: "Three Godfathers" (1936) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
I'll finish this writeup later on, but this is another earlier film version of the 1949 "3 Godfathers". By the way, this movie has other film adaptations including at least two silent versions, one directed by John Ford and an early talkie 1929 version directed by William Wyler. This 1936 version is an extra on the 03-26-24 "3 Godfathers" Blu-ray. It's in 1080p.
Please keep in mind that Wyler directed the 1929 version in both silent and talking versions. I believe that the TCM festival will be showing the silent version, which is quite good.
 

Robert Crawford

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Please keep in mind that Wyler directed the 1929 version in both silent and talking versions. I believe that the TCM festival will be showing the silent version, which is quite good.
I know which is why I stated the following in my initial comments:

"By the way, this movie has other film adaptations including at least two silent versions, one directed by John Ford and an early talkie 1929 version directed by William Wyler."
 

t1g3r5fan

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29. The Gunfighter (1950, Henry King, Criterion Blu-ray)

Known as the "fastest draw in the West", infamous gunslinger Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) is getting older and just wants to settle down and live out his final days in peace. However, when he arrives in the town of Cayenne, his past catches up with him, as he not only visits his first wife Helen (Helen Westcott) and their son but has to contend with a hotshot gunslinger wanting to kill Jimmy to make his reputation.

One of the first - and still one of the best - westerns to deal with the aging gunslinger haunted by his past trope, the film is well directed by Henry King and has Gregory Peck in one of his best performances. Starkly shot by the great Arthur C. Miller, scored by the legendary Alfred Newman and set the template that Shane, The Lonely Man and Unforgiven would follow.

Rating: 5 out of 5
 

borisfw

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29)Rawhide(51)(FOX)Tyrone Power,Susan Hayward(KL)(BLU) 4/5 Four criminals,Rafe Zimmerman(Hugh Marlowe),Yancy(Dean Jagger),Tevis(Jack Elam) and Gratz(George Tobias),take over a stagecoach station and kill the stationmaster (Edgar Buchanan). They take the stationmaster's tenderfoot assistant ,Tom Owens(Tyrone Powers) and a stranded passenger,Vinnie Holt(Susan Hayward) and her baby hostage. They intend to rob a gold shipment coming on the next day stage. Tight claustrophobic western that is tension filled from the start to the finish. Director Henry Hathaway does a fine job keeping you on the edge of your seat. Plays a bit like a film noir. Excellent performances throughout the cast with Jack Elam as nutcase Tevis something to see. He brings bad guy to the next level.
 

HawksFord

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We got in two that we haven't seen before, and might have time for one more today.

10. One More Train to Rob (1971) — We had high hopes for this Victor McLaglin western. George Peppard stars as a bank robber ably assisted by Diana Muldaur and John Vernon. While there were some fine scenes and some very funny scenes, the movie felt disjointed. The story didn't come together very well. I'm glad we watched it, but it was a bit of a disappointment.

11. Bronco Billy (1980) — I'm not sure how I missed this Clint Eastwood modern day comic western, but I did. Eastwood stars and directs here. He runs a wild west show and needs a new assistant which is where an heiress played by Sondra Locke comes in. We both liked this one. It's a sweet story and thoroughly satisfying.
 

Robert Crawford

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42) 03-30-24: "Showdown" (1963) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
IMO, this is the weakest of the three westerns in Kino's "Audie Murphy Collection III" Blu-ray boxset. I just wasn't feeling this movie in a way that I did with the other two westerns. Two cowboys get themselves thrown in jail for drunk and disorderly and then become part of a jailbreak led by a vicious outlaw and his gang. Thrown into the plot is a robbery involving 12K in stolen bonds. Audie Murphy and Charles Drake made several movies together and reportedly, they were close friends in real life. I just think the plotline in this movie is rather weak. However, I'll give it credit for being action filled with some violent incidents throughout the movie. The movie also has a pretty good list of western actors in it like Skip Homeier, L.Q. Jones, Strother Martin. Harold J. Stone as the outlaw leader seem out of place when he usually played in crime movies. This 1963 movie was filmed in black and white to save some money. With that said, the video presentation is solid, and I noticed zero issues while watching this mediocre western. It's definitely, not among Murphy's best westerns. This morning was my first viewing of this film and probably my last viewing of it because it doesn't have any audio commentary like the other two films in this Blu-ray boxset.
 

Doug Wallen

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Watched March 28th:
The Virginian (2.9) Run Quiet (1963) Timeless Media Group DVD – Clu Gulager, Ross Elliott, Gail Kobe, Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones, Don “Red” Barry, Lew Gallo, Stacy Harris. Gulager's appearance in this season 2 episode predates his becoming a regular in season 3 as Emmett Ryker. Jud (Gulager) is a deaf mute who is “adopted” by Steve (regular Gary Clarke). Jud has been misunderstood and mistreated due to being disabled. The set up is predictable and the trouble Jud encounters seems standard for early 60's television, but the story is very watchable due to the talent of Clu Gulager. Once you understand the “deaf and dumb” aspect of the story, his performance is spot on. I was intrigued by every cliché he encounters as he charms the people he comes in contact with. It is also a nice change of pace to see an episode featuring Steve instead of Trampas or the Virginian. An excellent episode due to the performances.

Watched March 29th:
Yuma (1971) ABC TV Movie of The Week (ABC Circle Films, Aaron Spelling Productions) streaming on tubi-tv – Clint Walker, Kathryn Hays, Morgan Woodward, Barry Sullivan, Peter Mark Richman, Edgar Buchanan, John Kerr, Bing Russell, Robert Phillips, Bruce Glover, Napoleon Whiting. I remembered this one as I was scanning tubi for films. Seems it was a possible pilot for Clint Walker to return to series television that wasn't picked up. ABC decided it would be a good fit for their new Movie Of The Week series. Always enjoying Walker, I watched this back then and felt like this challenge was a good opportunity to revisit this title. Great cast with some interesting bits. Marshall Dave Harmon (Walker) has been tasked with cleaning up Yuma. Seems there are tensions arising with the local Indian tribe, the treaty has been broken and the Indians are not getting the cattle that had been promised for the reservation. The Marshall is forced to kill a powerful man's (Woodward) brother in the opening minutes. From there the story moves at a predictable pace (Corrupt business man (Sullivan) cheating Indians for profit with a hidden mastermind), with plenty of bad guy suspects all telling the Marshall that he probably won't last last the week. The mystery is well laid out and plenty of clues are tossed around leading to several red herrings before the mastermind (Uncle Joe is still moving kinda slow in this Junction) is uncovered. Still a fairly standard film, the copy on tubi is VHS quality at best and I can see why this did not go to series (nothing new to hang a series on). Always nice to see Clint Walker back in a Western.
 

Jeff Flugel

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36. Apache Rifles (1964)
Closing out this challenge with another of my favorite western stars, Audie Murphy. While none of his films can be called masterpieces of cinema, they can generally be counted on to deliver rock-solid entertainment, and Murphy himself is a reliable action lead. There's just something about him and his own unique brand of charisma that I like. Despite his short stature and seemingly mild demeanor, he exudes a confidence and competence that belies his boyish looks...and the knowledge that he was the most highly decorated soldier in WWII history adds a weight and believability to his screen persona.

This movie dates from later in his career, and is a moderately engrossing cavalry vs. Indians story, more nuanced than some, which sees tough, Indian-hating Captain Jeff Stanton (Murphy) slowly come around to a more compassionate view of the Apache through his dealings with Chief Vittorio (Joseph Vitale), Vittorio's volatile son, Red Hawk (Michael Dante), and especially, through his burgeoning relationship with beautiful missionary Dawn Gillis (Linda Lawson), who turns out to be half-Indian herself. Stanton is charged with keeping the peace between Vittorio's people and the local whites, many of whom are miners with claims on reservation land. Ken Lynch and L.Q. Jones are a couple of greedy bastards who kill the new Indian agent and lay the blame on the Apaches, instigating a bloody conflict that will take all of Stanton's determination and bravery to halt. Lots of action and the usual Murphy intensity keeps this one bubbling along nicely, though it's certainly nothing special. There's some badly-matched stock footage used here and there during Indian attack scenes, despite the majority of the film being shot on striking locations in Bronson and Red Rock Canyons, as well as in the Mojave Desert. With John Archer, J. Pat O'Malley, Eugene Iglesias and Robert Brubaker (as Stanton's loyal, phlegmatic sergeant). I watched this on a decent-looking widescreen print on YouTube, though the ad breaks were so frequent and irritating that it practically drove me crazy.

apache rifles.jpg
 

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One-Eyed Jacks (1961) - Although I’ve not been taking part in the challenge, I’d like to express my enthusiasm for One-Eyed Jacks which I’ve just watched again on the Blu-ray which is part of the Marlon Brando box set “Film Focus: Marlon Brando” from Imprint. The transfer is from the Universal/Film Foundation restoration; the same as that previously released by Criterion and Arrow but Imprint provide numerous newly created documentaries and featurettes and an audio commentary by Toby Roan who wrote the book “A Million Feet of Film” about the making of the film. Roan’s commentary is excellent. He provides a vast amount of detail about the film’s production. One thing I’ve always wondered about, during Brando’s catch-up meeting with Malden, is why there were numerous back projection scenes mixed in with obvious location shooting. Roan explains that Malden’s lines were re-written and filmed later in the studio. Paramount changed the dialogue to make Malden more of a clear-cut villain instead of Brando’s concept of making the characters less obviously black and white.

I’ve always considered the film to be one of the all-time greats. On the surface it’s a traditional story of revenge but psychological elements and moral ambiguities provide the film with complexities which imbue the film with considerably more depth than the average western. The acting, particularly that of Marlon Brando and Karl Malden is never less than compelling. Brando brings a fascinating brooding intensity to his role; seemingly always about to explode into anger. The dialogue is sparse but brimming with subtleties and the location filming around the Monterey coast, is spectacular. Additionally, Hugo Friedhofer’s score is superb, providing the film with vigorous and romantic themes, bursting with melody and invention with a robust Mexican element.
 

Capt D McMars

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I'm sure some one has mentioned Shane (1953), but I hadn't revisited it in some time and wanted to give it a re-watch. Great Cast from Van Heflin and Alan Ladd to Jean Auther and a very young Jack Palance. A wonderfully played western yarn about family, justice, loss, power and the misuse of it. It still delivers the goods where it needs to and draws you in to the story, once again...a very successful film.

 

Bob Gu

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37) THE SHOWDOWN-1950, Republic Studios, B&W, Wild Bill Elliott, Marie Windsor, Walter Brennan. Re-watched from a recent TV broadcast recording. Republic Home Video actually released THE SHOWDOWN on VHS in the 1990s.
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SHOWDOWN is a popular title. In this one Wild Bill takes on the job of trail boss after he kills the original trail boss, of Walter Brennan's cattle drive. Brennan plays a more refined character, so he keeps his teeth in.

Wild Bill mainly took the job because he found evidence that his brother was murdered and robbed by one of the drovers working for Brennan. As you may know, being Wild Bill's brother is a death sentence for every actor who played one. But it gives Wild Bill the motive to go on the vengeance trail.

Wild Bill's relentless tactics towards the men, during the drive, is to make the guilty man break. He succeeds in making most of the men hate him to the point of some of them wanting to fight him.

THE SHOWDOWN is a companion to HELLFIRE in that it also has a religious angle. Hard nosed Wild Bill seems to regret, towards the end, treating the drovers harshly, to get to the one he's after. Or does he?

This was Wild Bill Elliott's last Republic movie. The cattle drive footage is all stock and none of the actors appear in any outdoor shots. The dialog portions are totally shot on indoor sets. This is still a very entertaining western.


38) RAWHIDE-TV Series, S1E11-1959, "Coyote Weed". Guest Rick Jason infiltrates Gil Favor's drive to soften the drovers up for a raid by bandits. A new man is killed during a stampede. The man disobeyed Favor's orders. Rowdy thinks Favor placed the herd over the man and should have tried to save him. Later Favor is trapped between the bandits and the herd. What will Rowdy do? CBS/Paramount DVD.

"Coyote Weed" was written by David Lang. It wasn't only studios that used stories over. Individual writers shopped variations of their old stories to the studios.

David Lang turned "Coyote Weed" into a Warner Brothers GALLANT MEN-1962, story,S1E7, called "And The End of Evil Things".

Lang used the plot of a subordinate not liking a decision the leader makes even earlier in the 1957
submarine movie. HELLCATS OF THE NAVY-1957.
 
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Robert Crawford

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See my summary with movies/TV shows grades:

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43) 03-30-24: "Border River" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
This was my second western on Saturday. My previous viewing of this Technicolor western was a showing on the Peacock Channel after it launched a few years ago. That viewing was a disappointment because of faded colors and numerous video defects on that stream which was obviously harvested from an older scan. This 2023 Kino Blu-ray was derived from a newer scan with vibrant colors and far less video defects. TBH, I think this western is just okay. It's far from being one of my favorite Joel McCrea westerns. The acting of Pedro Armendariz and Alfonso Bedoya is a little over-the-top but entertaining to watch in this film. The basic plotline about two million dollars in stolen gold bars from the Union by Confederate soldiers hoping to buy weapons for the South in Mexico as the Civil War is coming to an end has been used in other westerns. I'm not saying this is a bad movie, but I've seen this storyline beforehand in other similar westerns. With that said, Yvonne De Carlo was nice to look at in Technicolor. She was one beautiful actress from the Golden Era of Hollywood.
 

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