Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hey Western Fans

Next Month the Classic Film- TV Cafe is going "Western" with all shorts of "Fun Stuff."
I'm kicking it of this Sunday with a "All Western " Trivia Time. I bet Dawn will know some of the answers this week. Wahoo!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heavens Gate -Director 's Ego Runs Wild

TCM is Running Heavens Gate the Film that in one bold stroke of directors ego wiped out UA in the early 80's
Michael Cimino was hot coming of the big Oscar win for The Dear Hunter , and this was his next project. What happened next and all the fall out is to much for me to go into in a small post, books have been written that go into detail.

Dawn said I recommend this film, I do only as a example of what a director with only one good film under his belt, and a huge ego and budget can do. It's a mess . The Music score by David Mansfiled , and the production design and sets are the best thing about the film
Looks like TCM is running the long (217 Mins) version on March 3. from 9:15 to 1am Pacific. It's been a while since I've seen the long version, I might have another look.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Broken Trail (2006) is highly recommended

Dawn and Paul,

I hope you don't mind if I talk about some of the newer westerns. But I have to talk about Broken Trail. Somehow I missed this when it premeired on TNT back in 2006. But since it stars one of my favorite actors, Robert Duvall, who has made quite an impression in the genre of westerns, thanks to his excellent performance as Augustus 'Gus' McCrae in the classic Lonesome Dove mini-series, I had to check it out.

Set in 1898, Duvall is cast as Prentince Ritter, a cattleman who teams with his nephew Tom (strongly played by Thomas Haden Church) to take a herd of horses across the country to Canada. But their journey is sidetracked when they come across five abused Chinese women. They take them on their pilgrimage and care for them like family. But these women were actually bought for by this brothel madam named Big Rump Kate (great name right?) for prostitution. So Kate ends up sending out a ruthless killer named Big Ears (Chris Mulkey) to bring them back. Big Ears is fresh out of prison and his first act out is to promptly kill an old buddy of his who he thought ratted him out. Yeah this guy is mean as they come. He also likes slapping around Nola (a surprising Greta Scacchi) who flees him to take up with Prentice and Tom and the chinese girls.

Tom also picks up this drifter/guitar player named Gilpin who tags along too. Along the way Prentice and company encounters Small Pox Bob, a killer for hire, who goes from town to town spreading the disease of small pox. Prentice goes all hard core on him in a blazing gunfight. Duvall may have been around 75 when he made this movie but he still can get the job done. In the meantime Big Ears and his mates are steadily closing in on our heroes that will culminate in a bloody and brutal confrontation. I enjoyed Broken Trail immensely. I believe it's right under Duvall's other epic tale, Lonesome Dove. The performances are all solid especially Duvall and a surprising turn by Thomas Haden Church. The actresses who play the chinese women don't speak much English but they are very pivotal and emotional in their scenes involving Prentice and Tom. The scenery is breathtaking and the music score is awesome. Check out Broken Trail if you get the chance. Just because it was made for TV, that doesn't take away from it's brilliance.


The Cowboy and the Lady(1938). Western comedy/romance. Cast: Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon. Director H.C. Potter. Written by S.N. Behrman and Sonya Levien based on a story by Frank R. Adams and veteran film director Leo McCarey. It won an Academy Award for Sound, Recording (Thomas Moulton) and was nominated for two others, Original Score (Alfred Newman) and Original Song ("The Cowboy and the Lady", Lionel Newman and Arthur Quenzer).

Not having any fun, Mary Smith is surrounded by the friends of her father, Judge Horace Smith. Looking for a little excitement, her Uncle Hannibal takes her to a gambling club, which is raided by the police. To keep her name out of the news paper her father decides to send her to Palm Beach to avoid trouble. While there, her two maids, Katie Callahan and Elly, invite her to go on a blind date with them. She develops a crush to rodeo star Stretch Willoughby and to catch his attention, she tells him a hard luck story about supporting her father and sisters while working as a maid. The next day Stretch proposes and she joins him on a boat to Galveston. There they are married by the captain and all seems well, until, Katie calls with the news that Mr. Smith will be in Palm Beach. Mary tries to tell Stretch the truth, but she can't because he does not like the rich. Not knowing what else to do, she tells him that she has to return home because of a family emergency. When she arrives home, her father not happy with her news, asks her to hostess his dinner party. Stretch decides to go to Palm Beach to look for his new wife. Arriving at the Smith home, he walks in on their dinner party and learns of Mary's real identity. When Stretch arrives home in Montana will he have his new bride on his arm?

The story line is so romantic. When Gary Cooper's character says "When a man feels this way about a woman, it's time to get married" and as the camera fades to the porthole. :::sigh:::

Merle Oberon (18 February 1911 – 23 November 1979), began her film career in British films and the role, Anne Boleyn in the film, The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). Leading roles in such films as: The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)  which helped  her career.  She travelled to the United States to make films for Samuel Goldwyn. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in, The Dark Angel (1935). A car accident in 1937 caused facial injuries that almost ended her career, but she soon performed in her best known role, as "Cathy" in Wuthering Heights (1939). Her career continued until the end of the 1940s.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Rifle, My Pony, and Me from Rio Bravo

My favorite western Rio Bravo and one of the best scenes features Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson singing My Rifle, My Pony, and Me. Good stuff.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas, Actor and film producer. Known for his cleft chin and his gravelly voice. He is the father of actor and producer Michael Douglas.

Douglas made 7 films with Burt Lancaster, I Walk Alone (1948), Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), The Devil's Disciple (1959), The List of Adrian Messenger, Seven Days in May (1964), Victory at Entebbe (1976) and Tough Guys (1986). Douglas was always second-billed under Lancaster in these films but, with the exception of I Walk Alone, in which Douglas played a villain. Both actors arrived in Hollywood at the same time. They both became actor-producers who wanted independent Hollywood careers.

In 1984, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.

List of Kirk Douglas, Westerns.

The Villain (1979)
A Gunfight (1971)
There Was a Crooked Man (1970)
The War Wagon (1967)
The Way West (1967)
Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
The Last Sunset (1961)
Strangers When We Meet(1960)
Last Train from Gun Hill (1959)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
The Indian Fighter (1955)
Man Without a Star (1955)
The Big Sky (1952)
The Big Trees (1952)
Along the Great Divide (1951)


Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). Cast: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Rhonda Fleming. Director: John Sturges. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards. One in Sound and one for Editing.

Ed Bailey and his two men ride into Fort Griffin, looking for Doc Holliday to take revenge on him for the death of Bailey's brother. Meanwhile, Wyatt Earp arrives in Fort Griffin, and hears that the town's marshal, released Ike Clanton and Johnny Ringo from jail three days earlier, even though they had outstanding warrants. Looking for information on Clanton and Ringo, Wyatt questions Holliday, who refuses to help him, because he carries grudge against Morgan, who threw him out of Deadwood. Later, Holliday confronts Bailey and challenges him to a gunfight, but when Bailey tries to shoot him in the back , Holliday throws his knife and kills him. Holliday is arrested for murder, but is helped by Wyatt and Kate, to escape the angry lynch mob. Back in Dodge City, Kansas, Wyatt is told by Charles Bassett, that Holliday and Kate are in town. Wyatt tells him to leave, but when Holliday tells him that he is broke, he allows him to stay, if he promises to stay out of trouble. Soon Wyatt, meets the beautiful Laura, a gambler, he tells her that female gamblers are not allowed in the city limits. Laura, does not listen and is arrested for disturbing the peace. Holliday and Bassett, talk Wyatt into letting her go on the condition that she stays in the saloons' side rooms. Soon, a feud with Clantons develops, and a showdown can not be avoided.

Most of this film was shot at "Old Tucson" studio, not to far from the real Tombstone. It's "town street" set was Fort Griffin, Texas, in the opening scenes, while the Tombstone street scenes were shot in southern California, on the Paramount Ranch set.

Dennis Hopper, who plays Billy Clanton, was actually born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas.

The actual gunfight took place on 26 October 1881 and lasted a mere 30 seconds, resulting in three dead men after an exchange of 34 bullets. Compared to this version of the movie. Gunfight took 4 days to film and produced an on-screen gun fight that lasted 5 minutes.

Second of seven films that Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster made together.