Sunday, January 31, 2010

Henry Fonda.

From 1935 through 1981, Henry Fonda performed in 106 films. Fonda was best known for his perormances in Westerns and War films.

List Of Henry Fonda Westerns:
There Was a Crooked Man(1970)
The Cheyenne Social Club (1970)
Once Upon a Time In The West (1969)
Firecreek (1968)
Welcome to Hard Times(1967)
A Big Hand for the Little Lady(1966)
The Rounders (1965)
How the West Was Won (1962)
The Tin Star(1957)
Fort Apache (1948)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
The Return of Frank James (1940)
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
Jesse James (1939)
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine(1936)

Saturday, January 30, 2010


The Return of Frank James (1940). Western. Director: Fritz Lang. Cast: Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney. It is a sequel to Henry King's (1939) Jesse James. Written by Sam Hellman. The film is considered to be historically inaccurate, but was a commercial success.

After the Minnesota robbery, several members of their gang are killed, the James brothers decide to split up and Frank travels on to Missouri. Frank changes his to name Ben Woodsen, and becomes a farmer with his friends, Pinky and Clem. It is not long, when Frank hears that his brother Jesse has been shot in the back by one of the Ford brothers, who has been sentenced to hang for their crime. Frank decides it is better to let the law deal with the Fords until he reads that they have been pardoned and awarded money. Wanting them to pay for the murder of his brother, Frank goes looking for the Fords, who have headed West. Frank needing money robs the railroad express office, saying that it was the railroad who killed his brother. Things start to get complicated when Clem insists that he join Frank. In the gunfight, the watchman is killed and Frank is accused of the murder. McCoy, the head of the railroad, offers a reward for Frank, and his gang. George, follows the gang West, knowing that Frank will be hot on their trail. After reaching Denver, Frank and Clem come up with the story of Frank's death, which is picked up by newspaper reporter Eleanor Stone and printed in her father's paper. Eventually, Frank learns that his friend, Pinky has been arrested and is about to be hung. Frank, now has to decide what is more important getting the Fords or helping Pinky.

I think my favorite part of the film were the courtroom scenes, where Frank is being judged, by a very partial jury.


The studio changed the facts for entertainment. Frank surrendered 6 months after Jesse James' murder, both Ford brothers were already dead and Frank had nothing to do with their deaths.

The original script had Frank romantically involved with the reporter played by Gene Tierney, but the studio was worried of a possible lawsuit by Frank's widow and/or son, so it was eliminated from the script.

Film debut of Gene Tierney.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Walter Brennan

Walter Brennan, Was highly thought of as a film character actor, Brennan won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor 3 times. He is tied with Jack Nicholson for the most Academy Award wins for a male actor.

While Walter Brennan was studying engineering, he became interested in acting, and began to perform in Vaudeville. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a private with the 101st Field Artillery Regiment in France during World War I. After the war, he moved to Guatemala and raised pineapples. In 1920 Walter moved to Los Angeles and sold real estate, he did very well until the market took a sudden downturn. Broke, he began taking bit parts in as many films as he could, including; The Invisible Man(1933) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). In the 1930s, he began performing in more substantial roles. Receiving the very first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the period film Come and Get It (1936). Two years later he played the town drunk in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Throughout his career, Brennan played characters older than he was in real life. A 1932 accident that cost him his teeth and his thinning hair, made him seem older than he really was. Director Jean Renoir gave him his first leading role in Swamp Water(1941). In Sergeant York(1941), he played a preacher who befriend the title character played by Gary Cooper. He hardly played the villain, except for the roles; My Darling Clementine (1946), How the West Was Won (1961), The Westerner (1940), where he won his 3rd best supporting actor Academy Award.

From 1957-1963, he starred in the ABCs television series, The Real McCoys. He received top billing over Pat O'Brien in the TV-movie The Over-the-Hill Gang in 1969 and Fred Astaire in The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again. From 1970 to 1971, he was a regular on the show To Rome With Love, which was his last TV show. He is probably best known for his performances in the Westerns: Red River and in Rio Bravo. Both directed by Howard Hawks. Brennan's career never really went into decline. As he grew older, he continued to endear him to new generations of fans. Walter would perform in more than 230 film and television roles, a career spanning over 50 years.

List of Walter Brennan, WESTERNS:
Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)
How the West Was Won (1962)
Shoot Out at Big Sag(1962)
Rio Bravo (1959)
At Gunpoint (1955
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Four Guns to the Border (1954)
The Far Country (1954)
Drums Across the River
Lure of the Wilderness (1952)
Return of the Texan (1952)
Best of the Badmen (1951)
Along the Great Divide (1951)
The Showdown (1950)
Curtain Call at Cactus Creek 1950
A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950)
Singing Guns (1950)
Blood on the Moon (1948
Red River(1948)
Driftwood (1947)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
Hangmen Also Die!
The Westerner (1940)
The Cowboy and the Lady (1938)
The Texans(1938)
Banjo on My Knee(1936)
Three Godfathers (1936)
Law Beyond the Range (193)
Northern Frontier (1935)
Texas Cyclone (1932)
The Long, Long Trail (1929)
The Lariat Kid (1929)
Smilin' Guns(1929)


The Westerner (1940) Director: William Wyler. Writter Niven Busch, Stuart N. Lake, and Jo Swerling. Cast: Gary Cooper, Lilian Bond and Walter Brennan in one of his best performances, as Judge Roy Bean. Which helped him win his record-setting third Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. James Basevi and Stuart N. Lake also received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, black-and-white, and the Academy Award for Best Story.

Drifter Cole Harden, is arrested for stealing a horse and faces hanging. Harden talks his way out of it by claiming to be a friend of stage star Lillie Langtry, with whom the judge is a big fan of. Harden even claims to have a lock of her hair. Things start to go wrong, when Harden comes to the defense of a group of homesteaders, who Judge Bean is trying to drive away. Harden becomes sheriff and issues a warrant for Bean. When Lillie Langtry is to perform in a nearby town, Bean buys up every ticket and waits for her. Will Bean finally meet the woman he is obsessed with, or meet his match?

Everything about this film is perfect, the performances, the photography, the humour. The fight scene between Cooper and Tucker is as very realistic and the scene where Cooper cuts off a lock of Davenports hair is very.. how should I say it.. for lack of a better word, "cute".

Lilian Bond (18 January 1908 – 25 January 19910. She began her film career in the film, No More Children(1929). Between 1929 and 1931 she starred in nine films,best known for her performance in the film, Rider of the Plains(1931) opposite Tom Tyler.

From 1932 to 1953 she would have roles in 39 films, some of which were uncredited, with others having her in the lead role. Bond played Gladys DuCane in, The Old Dark House, a chorus girl who falls in love with Roger Penderel. Possibly her best-known film role was in the film, The Westerner(1940), in which she played legendary stage actress Lillie Langtry. By the 1950s her career had slowed, with her having mostly television series appearances. She retired from acting at the age of 50 in 1958.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper, was best known for his quiet acting style and his stoic on screen performance. Which worked out well in his Westerns. In his film career he did more than 100 films. In 1953, Cooper won his second Best Actor Academy Award for his performance as Marshal Will Kane in High Noon, thought to be his finest performance. He wasn't well enough to receive his Academy Award. So, he asked John Wayne to accept it for him, a bit of irony in light of Wayne's opinion of the film.

The Hanging Tree (1959)
Man of the West (1958)
Blowing Wild (1953)
Springfield Rifle (1952)
High Noon (1952)
It's a Big Country (1951)
Dallas (1950)
Along Came Jones (1945)
North West Mounted Police (1940)
The Westerner (1940)
The Cowboy and the Lady(1938)
The Plainsman (1936)
Fighting Caravans (1931)
A Man from Wyoming(1930)
The Texan (1930)
The Virginian (1929)
The Wolf Song(1929)
The Last Outlaw (1927)
Arizona Bound (1927)

HIGH NOON (1952)

High Noon (1952) Western. Directer Fred Zinnemann. Cast: Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. The screenplay was written by Carl Foreman, based on John W. Cunningham's "The Tin Star."

There are several movie reviews written about High Noon, so.. I will just share why I like the film. For me High Noon, Is a "existential Western", a story about duty and courage.. I love the scenes where the clocks hands are all approaching noon. High Noon shows events as they happen, from 10.35 am until the showdown at noon. All the action happens in the last 10 minutes. The film's drama comes from Kane’s strong character. Another wonderful scene is just before the gunfight, when we see Will standing alone on the street, the entire town has deserted him. or... have they?  I love the ending.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sam Elliot

Elliott began his career as a character actor, his appearance and personality was perfectly suited for Westerns. One of his first film performances was Card Player #2 in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). During 1970-71, Elliott starred as Doug Robert in the TV series Mission: Impossible and later played a wife killer in the miniseries Murder in Texas(1981)and A Death in California(1986). He made guest appearances on TV shows such as Felony Squad, Gunsmoke, Lancer and Hawaii Five-O and has been featured in many TV movies. He performed in Buffalo Girls(1995). The Sacketts (1979), The Shadow Riders(1982) and The Yellow Rose(1983). He has also starred in Lifeguard(1976), Roadhouse(1989) and played Virgil Earp in Tombstone, which starred Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. Elliott also co-starred in We Were Soldiers, portraying Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley. He played "The Stranger", a cameo role in The Big Lebowski(1998. In 2009, Elliott had a small role in George Clooney's Up In The Air, in which he portrayed the Captain of an American Airlines jet Clooney was travailing on when he reached the magical 10 million travel miles target.

Elliott has performed narrations for many commercials, Chevy, IBM, Union Pacific, and the American Beef Council In 2007. Toyota Tundra truck commercials. Elliot has also done voice-overs for Coors Beer.

Fun Facts:

Married to Katharine Ross and they have one daughter.

They were in 3 films together:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid(1969).
The Legacy(1978)
In 1991 he wrote the screenplay and co-starred with his wife in the made-for-TV western Conagher.

My top 5 favorite Sam Elliott films are:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. (1969)
Lifeguard (1976)
Mask (1985)
Roadhouse (1989)
Tombstone (1993)

Monday, January 11, 2010


Tombstone (1993) Written by Kevin Jarre. Director Kurt Russell, with credited director George P. Cosmatos, ghost-directing. Cast: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott and Charlton Heston.

Tombstone(1993), Is one of my top 5 "gotta see films". I love everything about it, the scenery, costumes, actors and story line. Wyatt Earp a retired peace officer with a legendary reputation trying to put his past behind him, re-unites with his brothers Virgil and Morgan in Tucson, Arizona, where they travel on on to Tombstone, a mining town. There they find Wyatt's longtime friend Doc Holliday, a southern gambler and shady character who is looking for relief from his tuberculosis. Just as Wyatt and his brothers begin to earn money from their gambling saloon, they have their first encounter with the Cowboys, a band of ruthless outlaws. Led by "Curly Bill". In one of my favorite scenes, a fight is avoided when Wyatt's insist that he is retired and no longer interested in enforcing the law. This is also first face to face meeting for Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo, famous for being one of the fastest guns in the West. They take an immediate dislike to one another. They have a gun/cup face off with fancy tricks. Also newly arrived in Tombstone with a traveling group of theater performers are Josephine Marcus. The married Wyatt tries to resist his strong attraction to Josephine. Wyatt, is soon forced to help rid the town of the Cowboys..

One of the things that stood out most in the movie for me was the friendship between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. The performances of Kurt Russell (as Wyatt Earp) and especially Val Kilmer, for his performance as the dying Doc Holliday, is my favorite on screen performances..

Fun Facts:

The Latin phrases spoken by Doc and Ringo have a different meaning beyond their literal translation. The conversation could be translated into English:

DOC: Wine loosens the tongue.

RINGO: You better pay attention to what you're doing.

DOC: Go tell someone else.

RINGO: (tapping his gun) Fools must learn through experience.

DOC: Rest in peace.

Robert Mitchum was going to play th part of Old Man Clanton. On the first day of shooting he fell from his horse and injured his back, forcing him to quit. Mitchum provides the narration at the beginning and end of the film. The part of Old Man Clanton was eliminated from the script.

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck, is one of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. He is most known for his performance as Atticus Finch in the film To Kill a Mockingbird(1962), for which he won an Academy Award.

Gregory Pecks list of Westerns:
The Big Country (1958)
The Gunfighter(1950)
The Bravados (1958)
Duel in the Sun (1946)
How the West Was Won(1962)
Yellow Sky (1949)
MacKenna's Gold (1969)
Shoot Out (1971)
Only the Valiant (1951)
Billy Two Hats (1974)

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Duel in the Sun (1946) Romance/ Western. Directed by King Vidor. Produced and written by David O. Selznick. Who wote the Hollywood classics "Gone With the Wind", "Since You Went Away" and "Rebecca". Wonderful Cast: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lillian Gish and Lionel Barrymore.

Before Scott Chavez, is hanged for murdering his Indian wife and her lover, he makes arrangements for Pearl to live with his second cousin and old sweetheart, Laura Belle. He makes his his daughter Pearl, promise that she will grow up to be a lady.

Laura Belle welcomes Pearl into her home on Spanish Bit, the Texas cattle ranch, where she lives with her husband,"Senator" McCanles, and their two grown sons, Jesse and Lewt. McCanles, confined to a wheelchair, is not happy that Pearl has come to live with them and calls her "a half-breed". Both Jesse and Lewt are attracted to her. Later that night, Lewt forces his way into her bedroom and kisses her.

Pearl loves the kindhearted Jesse, but physically attracted to the wild womanizing Lewt and cannot resist him. When a railroad company wins the legal right to build tracks through McCanles ranch, McCanles and his ranch hands try to defend their land. Jesse, a lawyer, takes the side of the railroad, his father bans him from the ranch. When Lewt returns early from El Paso, he finds none of the men home and seduces Pearl. Jesse finds them together and tells her that he will never forget what he has seen. Pearl now wants Lewt to marry her, but when he makes it clear that he has no intention of marring her, she quickly becomes engaged to Sam Pierce. Lewt goes into a jealous rage and kills Sam.

Will this broken family over come their prejudice and forbidden love of Pearl and Lewt?

My favorite scene of the film is: When McCanles tells Laura Belle that he has always blamed her for his injury. When he thought she was going away to be with Chavez. He now knows it was his own jealousy that caused the accident. He admits that he has always loved her.

Click to view movie trailer.