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

borisfw

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30)Red Mountain(51)(PAR)Alan Ladd,Lizabeth Scott(ItunesSD) 3/5

Red Mountain

In 1865 as the south are on the verge of losing the war , confederate captain Brett Sherwood(Alan Ladd) is on assignment to go west to join up with confederate general William Quantrill(John Ireland). Quantrill is using Indians to stir up trouble for the union in the west. On the way Sherwood stops the lynching of an innocent man, Lane Waldron(Arthur Kennedy), and helps him escape. They join up with Waldron’s girlfriend,Chris(Lizabeth Scott). Waldron figures out that Sherwood killed the man he’s accused of murdering. Sherwood takes the two prisoners after Wadron breaks his leg. They soon join up with Quantrill and Sherwood realizes that Quantrill isn’t the man he thought he was.
Pretty good western with Ladd giving a good , but slightly understated, performance. Scott and Kennedy are fine as the couple caught up in the end of the war maneuvering. Ireland is wasted as Quantrill. Much more could have been done with his storyline. Plenty of action but the end is a bit too Pat. Things just work out to easily.
 

t1g3r5fan

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30. Bad Company (1972, Robert Benton, Paramount DVD)

In the midst of the Civil War, Drew Dixon (Barry Brown) is fleeing west to avoid forced inscription in the Union Army. In Missouri, he encounters Jake Rumsey (Jeff Bridges), a leader of a band of thieves who takes Drew's money, but the two form an unlikely friendship when circumstances force them to work together.

Entertaining and memorable directorial debut from screenwriter Robert Benton is one of the more underrated westerns from the 1970's. Beautiful cinematography by Gordon Willis, Harvey Schmidt's piano score which is evocative of the era and great performances from the cast - head by Barry Brown and Jeff Bridges - highlight this sleeper.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
 

Tony Bensley

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Below are my Western Themed viewings for March, so far:

1. WAY OUT WEST (1937) – This western themed comedy musical feature is my all time favorite Laurel & Hardy film! The first time I saw this when I was 12 years old, I think even at that young age I sensed this was something special, and many repeated viewings in the ensuing decades has only strengthened that feeling! In my opinion, this is an ideal way to introduce Laurel & Hardy to someone who has never seen them before! (Viewed March 5th, 2024.)(Blu-ray)
Highest Recommendation!

2. GO WEST (1940) –
The penultimate Marx Brothers MGM feature, this comedy musical western has had many repeat viewings by me over the decades. Apart from the usual musical numbers by brothers Chico and Harpo, the last 10 minutes in which they all quite literally dismantle a train’s boxcars to keep it moving in a race to retrieve a stolen deed for a young couple is most memorable and funny! (Viewed March 7th, 2024.) (DVD)
Recommended!

3. RIDE ‘EM COWBOY (1942) –
This early Abbott & Costello comedy musical western features Ella Fitzgerald singing her big hit “A-Tisket-A-Tasket” and other songs! Dick Foran plays a best selling author of Western Novels, who must prove he can actually do the things a cowboy can do, and help save a ranch. A running gag throughout the picture has Lou Costello (As Willoughby. Unlike Laurel & Hardy, Bud & Lou seldom used their own names in the movies!) trying to avoid Indians and having to marry a Squaw! This is among the high octane energy first 10 A&C features that were produced prior to Lou Costello’s first bout of Rheumatic Fever. (Viewed March 9, 2024.) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

4. THE LONE RANGER (1949) S1; E07 “Pete and Pedro” (Original Airdate: October 27th, 1949) –
Even with the Public Domain nature of the Ovation DVD release from 2000 (Listed as “MM”!), I can tell this episode was derived from a high quality print. Of the 6 episodes on the disc, this one has long been my favorite. Interestingly, I just found out a few minutes ago that Don Diamond’s (The actor who played Pedro!) family was actually from Russia! He also lived to be 90 years old! (Viewed March 15th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

5. *DEATH VALLEY DAYS – S9; E18 “Deadline At Austin” (Original Airdate: January 29th, 1961) –
David Janssen plays “Dr.” Bill Breckinridge, a snake oil like salesman who somehow knows how the fledgling town of Austin can keep its railroad subsidy in order to prevent it from becoming a ghost town (Which he is willing to reveal – for a price!), though laying the required 8 miles of railroad track by midnight appears to be an impossible task! Jan Harrison plays Ruth Woodruff, the Mayor of Austin’s daughter who attempts to change Bill’s mind in charging the town. Can she do it, or will perhaps someone and/or some other motive sway him? (Viewed March 23rd, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended! (Especially for David Janssen fans!)

6. *THE SHOOTIST (1976) – John Wayne; Lauren Bacall; Ron Howard; James Stewart; Richard Boone; Harry Morgan.
In what would be his final film, John Wayne plays Shootist John Bernard Books (Misspelled “Brooks” in the liner notes of the 2005 Paramount DVD, which to me, is unforgivable!), who is dying of cancer, looks to die quietly in a boardinghouse run by a widow (Lauren Bacall as Bond Rogers) and her son (Ron Howard as Gillom Rogers), but eventually finds himself embroiled in one final valiant gun battle.

This is a film that should be seen at least once! To me, it looks pretty good on the 2005 Paramount DVD release. I can only imagine how much better this looks on the new 2024 Blu-ray! (Viewed March 27th, 2024) (DVD)
Very Highly Recommended!

7. ROCKIN’ THRU THE ROCKIES (1940) – The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Lorna Gray; Kathryn Sheldon; Dick Curtis.
As guides, the Stooges are tasked with escorting a “Nell’s Belles” trio to San Francisco through the Rocky mountains.
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

8. ROCKIN’ IN THE ROCKIES (1945) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Mary Beth Hughes; The Hoosier Hotshots; Jay Kirby; Spade Cooley.
Enjoyable enough in of itself, but as a result of separating Moe from Larry & Curly, the Stooges so lose some of their usual dynamic. However, I feel we do get more Larry as a result, and he and Curly do work well together! The musical bits are also fun!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (Blu-ray)
Recommended!

9. BOWERY BUCKAROOS (1947) – The Bowery Boys (Leo Gorcey; Huntz Hall; Bobby Jordan; Billy Benedict and Gabriel Dell); Bernard Gorcey; Iron Eyes Cody.
In this Bowery Boys comedy feature, Louie’s Sweet Shop proprietor Louie (Bernard Gorcey) is accused of having committed murder in Hangman’s Hollow years ago as “Louie the Lout.” The boys’ ensuing encounters with Indians and outlaws in their efforts to clear Louie’s name and also find gold isn’t unlike a dream.
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Recommended!

10. YES, WE HAVE NO BONANZA (1939) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Dick Curtis; Vernon Dent; Lola Jensen.
The Stooges play singing waiters who, to secure marriage with their accompanying cowgirls, attempt to get rich through gold prospecting. This is among my favorite Three Stooges short subjects, with Curly Howard in top form!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Very Highly Recommended!

11. PHONY EXPRESS (1943) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Bud Jamison; Snub Pollard; Chester Conklin; Shirley Patterson.
Another of my favorites among the Three Stooges Western themed comedy shorts. Curly acting like a bloodhound during this short’s second half is flat out hilarious!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Very Highly Recommended!

12. THE OUTLAWS IS COMING (1965) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Joe DeRita); Adam West; Nancy Kovak.
Moe, Larry and Curly Joe try to help young Town Sheriff Kenneth Cabot (Adam West) foil a scheme to eradicate the Buffalo population. Sharpshooter Annie Oakley (Nancy Kovak) provides considerable marksmanship assistance to the Sheriff. Notably, the movie’s outlaws were played by Three Stooges TV Hosts of the day! Many then contemporary pop references abound throughout the film, especially at or near the Town Saloon!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (Blu-ray)
Highly Recommended!

13. GOOFS AND SADDLES (1937) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Stanley Blystone.
The Stooges are scouts tasked with apprehending a gang of cattle rustlers. Ingenious use of a converted from meat grinder to rapid fire weapon is among this short’s highlights.
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

14. THE BIG TRAIL (1930) (108 minute 35mm version.) – John Wayne; Marguerite Churchill; Tully Howard; Tyrone Power, Sr.
For many decades, the only version of this early sound era Western Epic available, two English (Along with several Foreign Language versions!) versions were made, the other being shot in a 70mm Widescreen process that was dubbed as Grandeur. Indeed, the film’s resulting astronomically high budget, coupled with a deepening depression that left Movie Theaters financially unable to convert to the Widescreen format (Having also recently made the conversion to sound!), caused it to be a money loser during it’s initial release. This outcome promptly caused its then budding 23 year old star John Wayne (In his first starring role!) to be relegated to poverty row studios for most of the rest of the 1930s, until he finally broke through in STAGECOACH (1939).

One other comment: This version of THE BIG TRAIL has a ton of inter title cards for a talkie! I can’t speak for the 122 minute Widescreen Grandeur version, as I haven’t viewed it in many years.
(Viewed March 30th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly recommended for historical value!

* First time viewing


CHEERS! :)
 
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Robert Crawford

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44) 03-30-24: "They Came to Cordura" (1959) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
Last night, I watched this movie even though I never really cared for it. Some of the characters in the movie never appealed to me especially Tab Hunter's dereliction of duty as an army officer. Van Heflin plays against type as a brute of a man while Richard Conte plays his usual oily slimeball character. In 1916, the United States Army persuades Pancho Villa into Mexico. After a successful battle engagement, Gary Cooper, an army major is task to nominate four battle participants for the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism during the course of that battle. Each character in this movie is a flawed individual including Cooper's, Major Thorn. A man accused of cowardice in a prior battle that carries his shame internally. Rita Hayworth plays an American woman that owns a ranch and is accused of treason for allowing Villa's men to stay on her ranch. She is a woman with a scandalous past, who hides her shame and bitterness towards people and life with alcohol. Michael Callan plays a fifth soldier being nominating for the award from his actions in a prior battle. Dick York also plays one of the soldiers. It's Hunter's role as a young army lieutenant, also nominated for the medal that bothered me the most about this movie. What a piece of crap! Anyhow, during their journey to Cordura, the small group is attacked by some of Villa's men and are forced to give up their horses which means they have to complete their journey on foot. The men become undisciplined and unruly as flaws in each of them comes front and center. A couple of them even try to rape Hayworth. In a short time, the men eventually turn against Cooper, and he has to fight and push the men to continue their journey towards Cordura.

Basically, the movie comes down to answering two fundamental questions that were shown in the beginning of the film. What is courage? What is cowardice? By the end of the movie, both questions are answered for each person including Hayworth and Cooper. I have to admit that my feelings about this western have slightly improved after last night's viewing. Robert Rossen, who directed and co-wrote the movie was a fine director/writer. It's too bad his career was negatively affected by the "Blacklist" era. Ivan Moffat was the other co-writer of the movie's screenplay. The video presentation of the 2023 Kino Blu-ray is just okay. IMO, it's derived from an older scan, but it's an improvement over the 2020 Mill Creek Blu-ray.
 

Bryan^H

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Seven Alone (1974)
Based on a true story

A family struggles with the dangers of the year 1844 as they head toward a new beginng in Oregon as they join a wagon train cross country to get them there safely. Unfortunately, sickness and Indians are threatening to them. A "G" rated family film I found this to be very grim. Not a lot of happiness along the way, and one has to wonder...the family that had a seemingly good life risks everything to leave for greener pastures. Was it worth it? In my opinion, absolutely not.

I enjoyed this family film but...
The oldest boy of the bunch is absolutely horrible in his treatment of everyone around him. He alone brings the film down quite a bit.

Grade - B-

IMG_7174.JPG IMG_7176.JPG
 

Scott Merryfield

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Well, due to circumstances beyond my control I haven't managed to get in nearly as many films as I'd planned for this challenge. We have a cool, rainy day here in Phoenix, so hopefully I can squeeze a couple more under my belt before midnight rolls around.
I got in more than I thought I would (25, with 24 being spaghetti westerns). It's sunny and will be in the upper 70's today in South Carolina, though, so I'm done.
 

dpippel

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I got in more than I thought I would (25, with 24 being spaghetti westerns). It's sunny and will be in the upper 70's today in South Carolina, though, so I'm done.
Yeah, I've been enjoying your posts about the Sartana and Django films, Scott. I'll probably try to get one of those in today, and I've also got Duel at Diablo in my queue.
 

Robert Crawford

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45) 03-31-24: "Ambush at Cimarron Pass" (1958) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
This morning, I decided to watch a couple of "B" westerns that were early in the careers of two Hollywood icons that made several westerns, especially early in their acting careers. First up was "Ambush at Cimarron Pass" in which Clint Eastwood was the third bill for the movie. The movie's plot is about a patrol of calvary men trying to get back to their fort with a load of repeating rifles and the man that was trying to sell them to the Apache. During their journey back to the fort, they run into a small group of Texas cowboys that lost their herd of cattle to the Apache. Needless to say, this ragtag group of men are surrounded by the Apache as they try to make their way back. Scott Brady plays the army sergeant that is leading the patrol while Eastwood plays a former bitter confederate soldier that is one of the Texas cowboys. Tension is in the air between the sergeant and cowboy. Anyhow, this western is pretty bad. The screenplay sucks, the movie was cheaply made, and much of the acting wasn't good either. I read that Eastwood told his wife he was going to quit acting after seeing this movie in a movie theater. Even he thought it sucked. Luckily, he changed his mind about quitting and next year, he was cast in the TV series "Rawhide" which gave him an opportunity to improve his acting skills. Then came Sergio Leone and the rest is film history. The 2013 Olive Blu-ray is barebones with a watchable video presentation of this black and white western. I doubt I'll ever watch this western again, but I'm glad I do so this morning.

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46) 03-31-24: "Showdown at Boot Hill" (1958) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
My second "B" western today starred Charles Bronson as a deputy US Marshal/Bounty Hunter. Bronson soon discovers that the wanted man he just killed in a self-defense gunfight is known as a desperate criminal in another state but was well respected in this small town. The townspeople refuse to identify the corpse as a means of denying Bronson his bounty reward. This turn of events, and the presence of a shy young woman working at the local hotel, gives Bronson time to reflect on his job and himself as a person. Part of the psychological portion of the story is that Bronson has a complex about being short which drives him to use his gun to gain respect from other people. Also, in the cast is John Carradine that befriends the lonely bounty hunter and offers him advice throughout the movie. Carradine's character is the town's barber, undertaker and even doctor. Unlike "Ambush at Cimarron Pass", this western is a much better movie with a superior screenplay and acting. The 2013 Olive Blu-ray offers a solid video presentation for this black and white western. This first-time viewing will not be the last time I watched this movie. I enjoyed this western quite a lot.
 

t1g3r5fan

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31. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Sergio Leone, Paramount Blu-ray)

In the Southwestern town of Sweetwater, hired gun Frank (Henry Fonda) and his gang kill the entire McBain family for their land, but McBain's widow Jill (Claudia Cardinale) arrives from New Orleans to claim the homestead. This sets in motion a maelstrom of bullets, betrayals and blood that ensnares Frank, Jill, outlaw Cheyenne (Jason Robards) and the mysterious Harmonica (Charles Bronson) in a fight for the future of Sweetwater.

One of the greatest - quite possibly the greatest - Spaghetti Westerns ever made, Sergio Leone and his cast and crew are at the peak of their respective powers here. Not much more needs to be said here that hasn't already been said, except for the iconic Ennio Morricone music score and that Dario Argento contributed to the script before embarking on his own directorial career.

Rating: 5 out of 5

And this will conclude the monthlong Western Challenge for me.
 

dpippel

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March 31:
7) Duel at Diablo (1966) (iTunes HD Streaming) 2.5/5 stars
- I haven't seen this film in at least 20 years, and unfortunately I found it to be not nearly as good as I remembered. James Garner and Sidney Poitier are great whenever they're on-screen, but even their talent and bankable goodwill can't save Duel at Diablo. Speaking of which, there IS no actual "duel" at Diablo here, which refers to a box canyon in which our "good guys" get trapped by the Apache. A duel is defined as arranged combat between TWO people, which never happens.

The story revolves around the wife of local businessman Willard Grange (Dennis Weaver), whose wife Ellen (Bibi Andersson) is kidnapped by Apaches and shunned by both him and the townsfolk after she escapes. Garner is trying to track down the man who killed and scalped his Cheyenne wife. Throw in a couple of cavalry regiments trying to get some ammo moved from one fort to another under threat of Apache attack with Garner as scout, add some clumsy direction by Ralph Nelson and claustrophobic cinematography by Charles F. Wheeler, and it all amounts to yet another Western I found to be more TV movie than feature film. It was disappointing to see all of this talent come together to produce such a mediocre effort. The iTunes HD stream left a lot to be desired, and looks like it was derived from an ancient DVD-era master.
 
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Tony Bensley

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Below are my Western Themed viewings for March, so far:

1. WAY OUT WEST (1937) – This western themed comedy musical feature is my all time favorite Laurel & Hardy film! The first time I saw this when I was 12 years old, I think even at that young age I sensed this was something special, and many repeated viewings in the ensuing decades has only strengthened that feeling! In my opinion, this is an ideal way to introduce Laurel & Hardy to someone who has never seen them before! (Viewed March 5th, 2024.)(Blu-ray)
Highest Recommendation!

2. GO WEST (1940) –
The penultimate Marx Brothers MGM feature, this comedy musical western has had many repeat viewings by me over the decades. Apart from the usual musical numbers by brothers Chico and Harpo, the last 10 minutes in which they all quite literally dismantle a train’s boxcars to keep it moving in a race to retrieve a stolen deed for a young couple is most memorable and funny! (Viewed March 7th, 2024.) (DVD)
Recommended!

3. RIDE ‘EM COWBOY (1942) –
This early Abbott & Costello comedy musical western features Ella Fitzgerald singing her big hit “A-Tisket-A-Tasket” and other songs! Dick Foran plays a best selling author of Western Novels, who must prove he can actually do the things a cowboy can do, and help save a ranch. A running gag throughout the picture has Lou Costello (As Willoughby. Unlike Laurel & Hardy, Bud & Lou seldom used their own names in the movies!) trying to avoid Indians and having to marry a Squaw! This is among the high octane energy first 10 A&C features that were produced prior to Lou Costello’s first bout of Rheumatic Fever. (Viewed March 9, 2024.) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

4. THE LONE RANGER (1949) S1; E07 “Pete and Pedro” (Original Airdate: October 27th, 1949) –
Even with the Public Domain nature of the Ovation DVD release from 2000 (Listed as “MM”!), I can tell this episode was derived from a high quality print. Of the 6 episodes on the disc, this one has long been my favorite. Interestingly, I just found out a few minutes ago that Don Diamond’s (The actor who played Pedro!) family was actually from Russia! He also lived to be 90 years old! (Viewed March 15th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

5. *DEATH VALLEY DAYS – S9; E18 “Deadline At Austin” (Original Airdate: January 29th, 1961) –
David Janssen plays “Dr.” Bill Breckinridge, a snake oil like salesman who somehow knows how the fledgling town of Austin can keep its railroad subsidy in order to prevent it from becoming a ghost town (Which he is willing to reveal – for a price!), though laying the required 8 miles of railroad track by midnight appears to be an impossible task! Jan Harrison plays Ruth Woodruff, the Mayor of Austin’s daughter who attempts to change Bill’s mind in charging the town. Can she do it, or will perhaps someone and/or some other motive sway him? (Viewed March 23rd, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended! (Especially for David Janssen fans!)

6. *THE SHOOTIST (1976) – John Wayne; Lauren Bacall; Ron Howard; James Stewart; Richard Boone; Harry Morgan.
In what would be his final film, John Wayne plays Shootist John Bernard Books (Misspelled “Brooks” in the liner notes of the 2005 Paramount DVD, which to me, is unforgivable!), who is dying of cancer, looks to die quietly in a boardinghouse run by a widow (Lauren Bacall as Bond Rogers) and her son (Ron Howard as Gillom Rogers), but eventually finds himself embroiled in one final valiant gun battle.

This is a film that should be seen at least once! To me, it looks pretty good on the 2005 Paramount DVD release. I can only imagine how much better this looks on the new 2024 Blu-ray! (Viewed March 27th, 2024) (DVD)
Very Highly Recommended!

7. ROCKIN’ THRU THE ROCKIES (1940) – The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Lorna Gray; Kathryn Sheldon; Dick Curtis.
As guides, the Stooges are tasked with escorting a “Nell’s Belles” trio to San Francisco through the Rocky mountains.
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

8. ROCKIN’ IN THE ROCKIES (1945) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Mary Beth Hughes; The Hoosier Hotshots; Jay Kirby; Spade Cooley.
Enjoyable enough in of itself, but as a result of separating Moe from Larry & Curly, the Stooges so lose some of their usual dynamic. However, I feel we do get more Larry as a result, and he and Curly do work well together! The musical bits are also fun!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (Blu-ray)
Recommended!

9. BOWERY BUCKAROOS (1947) – The Bowery Boys (Leo Gorcey; Huntz Hall; Bobby Jordan; Billy Benedict and Gabriel Dell); Bernard Gorcey; Iron Eyes Cody.
In this Bowery Boys comedy feature, Louie’s Sweet Shop proprietor Louie (Bernard Gorcey) is accused of having committed murder in Hangman’s Hollow years ago as “Louie the Lout.” The boys’ ensuing encounters with Indians and outlaws in their efforts to clear Louie’s name and also find gold isn’t unlike a dream.
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Recommended!

10. YES, WE HAVE NO BONANZA (1939) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Dick Curtis; Vernon Dent; Lola Jensen.
The Stooges play singing waiters who, to secure marriage with their accompanying cowgirls, attempt to get rich through gold prospecting. This is among my favorite Three Stooges short subjects, with Curly Howard in top form!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Very Highly Recommended!

11. PHONY EXPRESS (1943) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Bud Jamison; Snub Pollard; Chester Conklin; Shirley Patterson.
Another of my favorites among the Three Stooges Western themed comedy shorts. Curly acting like a bloodhound during this short’s second half is flat out hilarious!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Very Highly Recommended!

12. THE OUTLAWS IS COMING (1965) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Joe DeRita); Adam West; Nancy Kovak.
Moe, Larry and Curly Joe try to help young Town Sheriff Kenneth Cabot (Adam West) foil a scheme to eradicate the Buffalo population. Sharpshooter Annie Oakley (Nancy Kovak) provides considerable marksmanship assistance to the Sheriff. Notably, the movie’s outlaws were played by Three Stooges TV Hosts of the day! Many then contemporary pop references abound throughout the film, especially at or near the Town Saloon!
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (Blu-ray)
Highly Recommended!

13. GOOFS AND SADDLES (1937) - The Three Stooges (Moe Howard; Larry Fine and Curly Howard); Stanley Blystone.
The Stooges are scouts tasked with apprehending a gang of cattle rustlers. Ingenious use of a converted from meat grinder to rapid fire weapon is among this short’s highlights.
(Viewed March 29th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly Recommended!

14. THE BIG TRAIL (1930) (108 minute 35mm version.) – John Wayne; Marguerite Churchill; Tully Howard; Tyrone Power, Sr.
For many decades, the only version of this early sound era Western Epic available, two English (Along with several Foreign Language versions!) versions were made, the other being shot in a 70mm Widescreen process that was dubbed as Grandeur. Indeed, the film’s resulting astronomically high budget, coupled with a deepening depression that left Movie Theaters financially unable to convert to the Widescreen format (Having also recently made the conversion to sound!), caused it to be a money loser during it’s initial release. This outcome promptly caused its then budding 23 year old star John Wayne (In his first starring role!) to be relegated to poverty row studios for most of the rest of the 1930s, until he finally broke through in STAGECOACH (1939).

One other comment: This version of THE BIG TRAIL has a ton of inter title cards for a talkie! I can’t speak for the 122 minute Widescreen Grandeur version, as I haven’t viewed it in many years.
(Viewed March 30th, 2024) (DVD)
Highly recommended for historical value!

* First time viewing
15. RIO BRAVO (1959) – John Wayne; Dean Martin; Ricky Nelson; Angie Dickinson; Walter Brennan; Ward Bond. Well written and acted all around. Dean Martin delivers a fine nuanced performance that’s neither over the top nor dull.
(Viewed March 31st, 2024) (DVD)
Very Highly Recommended!


And this concludes my viewings for the March 2024 Western challenge! :)

CHEERS! :)
 

Tony Bensley

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Honestly, rough month at work and some other things killed it for me this entire run. However i hope that the next one I will be able to participate a lot more.
For me, it was frustrations associated with new Solid State Drive installations on both mine and the Mrs. PC Laptops that left me in a state of stress for awhile, and I didn't get as much viewing in as I would have liked, either. Maybe next year.

I hope that work and other things have settled down for you.

CHEERS! :)
 

borisfw

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31)The Night of the Grizzly(66)(PAR)Clint Walker,Martha Hyer(OLIVE)(BLU) 3 1/2/5

  • The Night of the Grizzly

    Big Jim Cole(Clint Walker) retires as a lawman in Utah and brings his family to Wyoming where he has inherited a farm and land from a relative. Along with Cole are his wife Angela(Martha Hyer),his son Charlie (Kevin Brodie), his daughter Gypsy(Victoria Meyerink), his niece Meg(Candy Moore) and his ex deputy Sam Potts(Don Haggerty). Once the family settles in problems develop. The biggest problem is a giant killer grizzly bear called Satan. Satan begins killing off Jim’s animal stock. Jim also has to deal with the local bigwig Jed Curry(Keenan Wynn). Curry wants Jim’s land for his two sons Tad(Ron Ely) and Cal(Sammy Jackson). The town offers a bounty on Satan and bounty Hunter Cass Dowdy(Leo Gordon) shows up. Cass knows and hates Jim for sending him to jail.
    Solid western with Clint Walker the perfect protagonist. He’s a family man who just wants to make a go of his farm but will kick ass when he needs to. Pretty scenery and some fine support from the likes of Keenan Wynn, Nancy Kulp,Don Haggerty,Leo Gordon and most of all Jack Elam. Elam steals every scene he’s in. The fights are good and the grizzly is scary.
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary with movies/TV shows grades:

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47) 03-31-24: "High Plains Drifter" (1973) (4K/UHD) 4.5/5 Stars
I was going to watch two more westerns tonight, but instead I ended up watching "High Plains Drifter" twice on 4K/UHD. The second time with the audio commentary of Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson. Watching this western again brought me back to my high school years when I first watched this movie during its theatrical run in 1973. Tonight, I must admit that if I had to redo my "100 All-Time Favorite Westerns" list again, this movie would be on it instead of a few other westerns. I just love the mystical theme of this movie in which a mysterious stranger comes to a small town and hands out punishment to those guilty of past sins regarding the viscous murder of a prior town marshal. As to the true identity of this mysterious stranger, I think the name on the gravestone at the end of the movie says it all. I don't think he's the Angel of Death in which he came from heaven, but he came from somewhere in which death punishment isn't a problem.:)

Wow, I was very impressed with the 4K/Dolby Vision presentation of Kino's 2022 4K/UHD release. Great detail, wonderful color throughout the movie that truly captured the great cinematography of Bruce Surtees. Beautiful blue skies with their lovely white clouds. This was Eastwood's first western he directed, and I think he did a tremendous job. What a wonderful cast of character actors in this film. Plenty of them being actors that Eastwood worked with often in his career. My only problem with the audio commentary is that Nathaniel Thompson talks too fast for me to clearly pick up his comments.

Anyhow, this was the last western for me during this challenge. Since, it's Easter Sunday, I will give people until tomorrow to post their final viewings.
 

Doug Wallen

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Watche on March 31st:

Once Upon A Time In The West (1968) Paramount+ Streaming 4k – Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Henry Fonda, Gabriele Ferzetti, Woody Strode, Jack Elam, Lionel Stander, Keenan WynnPaolo Stoppa, Frank Wolff. The challenge wouldn't be complete without a rewatch of this undeniable classic. Still waiting for a 4k release here in the states so I decided to fall back on this streaming version. Not much to add about this film. So well designed that the story just flows along with the score. So operatic that the film could unspool with no dialogue at all. I have been enthralled with this film since I discovered it around early 2000. So glad I could squeeze in a viewing in the final hours of this Challenge.

18 total viewings.


Note: This needs to become an annual event.
 
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Gary OS

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As the clock winds towards midnight here on the East Coast, I just want to say I was able to get several more films in. But I don’t have the time or the energy to write down specifics, so I’ll let it go for now. Wasn’t really worried about points or anything as it was. If it’s OK, I’ll just list the films that I watched briefly.

#5 Cattle Drive 1951 (Encore Westerns) - Just a nice little film about a spoiled rich kid getting an education out on the range with an old cowboy (Joel McCrea). Great location work and solid acting make this a fine little movie that I'd give 4/5 Stars.

#6 Smoky 1946 (Encore Westerns) - This is an easy going western drama that stars Fred MacMurray as a man taming a beautiful bronco. He's hired on at a ranch where the pretty owner, Anne Baxter. Fascinating story, again with solid location work and even some songs mixed in by Burl Ives. I give this one a 4/5 Stars as well.

#7 Day of the Outlaw 1959 (Kino Bluray) - This one has already had a fabulous write-up, so I'll just say I appreciated it for it's location work and the fun of watching Dave Nelson co-star. I'm a sucker for film that takes folk out into legitimate snowy weather (not cornflakes coming down in a studio setting. The only thing that held this back for me was the barroom scene with Tina Louise. She's never been my favorite (I was always a Mary Ann guy anyhow). That entire scene she's in just kinda of makes me feel uneasy, and messes with the rest of the picture. This film ranks 4/5 Stars in my book.

#8 - Trigger Jr 1950 (Kino Bluray) - I'm a sucker for any and all Roy Rogers films, and this is one of my favorites. The print is fantastic and action keeps moving in this fun romp. And of course it's a treat when Dale Evans shows up as well. This also gets a 5/5 Stars from me.


That's all I could get in on the last two days before the end of March. But it was a blast. Thanks, Robert, for giving us this thread. It was real fun.


Gary "long live the great outdoor westerns" O.
 
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Mark-P

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My fifth and final entry (do I get the booby prize as the participant with the fewest entries? :D) in the challenge is Buck and the Preacher. This was a first time viewing for me. I watched on iTunes and unfortunately it is NOT the newer Criterion transfer.

Sidney Poitier plays Buck and Harry Belafonte is the preacher. In the post-Civil War era, Buck is in the business of transporting newly freed slaves to new territories where they will be out of reach from the plantation owners who are refusing to let them go. The preacher, who may or may not be some sort of con artist, reluctantly gets recruited to their cause, and together Buck and the preacher become outlaws of a sort, and negotiate with the Native American tribes for safe passage.

It’s not a bad little Western. I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

It’s been a great month and I had fun participating in the challenge!

1. The Last Wagon – 3/10/2024
2. Abilene Town – 3/13/2024
3. The Outlaw Josey Wales – 3/19/2024
4. Ulzana's Raid - 3/26/2024
5. Buck and the Preacher - 3/31/2024
 

David_B_K

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I go to bed too early and get up to early to go on a western-watching spree, but I have enjoyed this thread. Several westerns I had previously overlooked will be added to my watch list. I just added two Kino Western Classics collections to my cart. Thanks, everyone for all the many mini-reviews!
 

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