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About Riding the High Country

This site is the place where I jot down my reviews on and thoughts about the movies which I view. I have always loved the movies for as long as I can remember and I like the idea of having a place where I can ramble on about them.

I guess the bulk of what I write will relate to pre-1980 movies since that’s the period of film-making for which I have the greatest affection. While I watch and enjoy films from every conceivable genre, I suppose most of my posts will focus on westerns and film noirs as, again, these are my personal favorites.

I have categorized my entries according to both genre and decade, or simply by decade where a film doesn’t seem to fit conveniently into a genre (I’ve also recently added director and/or actor tags for most titles). Titles can also be browsed by clicking on the alphabetical index.

Happy reading. :)

EDIT: 12/26/11 – I had originally left in the links to comments made on the old site as I didn’t want them to seem ignored in the shift to my new home. However, I’ve had to go back and strip them all out as I became aware that they were not only directing traffic to the old site but resulting in people leaving comments there where they were in danger of being missed. To those who have left comments on the old FilmJournal site and can’t now see them, you have my apologies. Unless or until I can figure out a way to transfer them over they will have to remain where they originally appeared.

 

38 responses to “About Riding the High Country

  1. Paul

    December 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    This is nice, Colin – I like the colour scheme you’ve chosen, which is a bit unusual, and the layout is very neat. Wow, have you transferred all this from Filmjournal in the past few days?!? Do you have control over graphic logos and layout etc here? One thing I’m not keen on at the moment with my new one is the fact that I can’t seem to get it to appear in seach engines (I’ve been through the settings) – if this is the case then it does limit the potential audience somewhat. At least Filmjournals appeared on Yahoo etc…

     
  2. Livius

    December 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks Paul, glad you like the look.

    I had transferred some content – maybe the first 80 or so posts – via an export file a few years back as an experiment before wordpress changed to the point it was no longer possible. As such the final shift wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been – still something of a Herculean task!

    I pretty much have control over layout, although it’s limited somewhat by the choice of theme obviously. I haven’t had the chance to check out how it appears in search engines yet, but I’ve already earned two “likes” and one follower! I’ll get back to you when I explore a bit more.

     
  3. Dafydd Jones

    December 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Nice looking layout Colin. Already favourited on my computer. Got a bit worried when I read your ‘farewell’ note on Film Journal. I thought for a second that you were giving up blogging. Good to see that things will be carrying on over here. I look forward to the first of the ‘new’ reviews

     
    • Livius

      December 16, 2011 at 9:27 am

      Thank you Dafydd. I’m very happy with the response so far, and I think the time was right for a change.
      With Xmas almost upon us, I figure it will be the New year before I actually manage to post something new. Seems more appropriate that way.

       
  4. TonyG

    December 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Having just recently discovered your blog (love the name of it, by the way). I am glad this is just a change in location, not a retirement.

     
    • Livius

      December 16, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Don’t worry, I’m not planning on closing down operations any time soon.

       
  5. Harvey Canter

    April 23, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Really great stuff here, by that I mean the film noir page, but I can see this is a rich site. When you were writing about The Bribe, you mention a version you obtained from a source called Absolute, sounded like it was subtitled in Spanish. I’ve done some googling, but can’t seem to find it. Care to share a link?

    Keep up the good work!!! Will return to indulge in more Noir-ness.

     
    • Colin

      April 23, 2012 at 6:45 am

      Thanks Harvey, glad you enjoyed it.

      The copy of The Bribe that I have is an official Spanish release, which has the English soundtrack and optional Spanish subtitles – they can be switched on or off via the setup menu on the disc. Here’s a link to the Amazon Spain listing for the title.

      Hope that helps, and stop by anytime.

       
  6. Harvey Canter

    April 23, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Thanks, the link took me right to it.. I don’t know if I can purchase using my amazon usa account. I tried it w/amazon uk and it didn’t work. My copy of The Bribe is pretty good, it is the R1 version. What a great movie!! I think you are right, it is almost a noir, but not quite. It uses a lot of noir style, though. I loved the movie. I saw another on your site, Singapore, that I have never seen or heard of, so I will start looking for that one. I agree, Criss Cross is a perfectly realized noir in every respect, really one of the core films in the canon, imo. BTW, on amazon us i got a copy of Desert Fury that was R0, I think it was from Brazil or Argentina. The color was quite good, and the subtitles were removeable. They are having a noir fest here in Los Angeles at present. I wanted to go see Phantom Lady tonight, but I mixed up the time and missed it!!! They also had Black Angel and The Window, but I was paying to see Phantom Lady on the big screen, so without that, I just went home. I’ve been into film noir since about 1982 when I took a college class devoted to it, one of the first I am pretty sure. It was taught by a fellow named John Schultheiss, who later did some scholarly work on Abraham Polonsky (Force of Evil). Great class, and I guess this is the 30th anniversary of taking it!! He made us write something on Cornell Woolrich, and trust me, almost nothing of his was in print back in 1982. Now, of course, you can get his stuff anywhere, but I had to run down an old used copy in a dusty shop. It was great fun, long before one could have something sent via internet in a few days. Well, keep up the good work and I will check in from time to time. Wonderful site you have been building. I think I got to it from the billboard at Danger & Despair Knitting Circle. There was a comment about the piece on Criss Cross and a link. Lucky find, I must say!

     
    • Colin

      April 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Very kind of you Harvey. The noir fest sounds great; it’s always a pleasure to see these old movies on the big screen.

      BTW, if you have an Amazon US account, then you should be able to order from any of their worldwide sites – your data is saved centrally, so once you log in you just go through the same steps to order as you would on the US site.

       
  7. Harvey Canter

    April 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Thanks, Colin, I’ll give it a try and see if it works. I better check the Euro conversion rate first!

     
  8. Keith Payne

    September 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    OK COLIN, I have found you. Now to get the time to peruse your site. KEITH (KP)

     
  9. hawkswill

    January 7, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Hi Colin, not sure where to post this…..hope you find it Just want to make sure you are aware of the new book coming out in April. It is Three Bad Men: John Ford, John Wayne, Ward Bond. It is written by Scott Nollen. Here is a website for it and Scott answers questions and replies to comments regularly.http://www.facebook.com/ThreeBadMenJohnFordJohnWayneWardBond?fref=ts I believe this is his 18th book, and not only is it thoroughly researched, but it also offers a better insight into the triumvirate that was Pappy, Duke, and Ward both on and off screen. It is the first book I know of to properly include Ward Bond and give the credit due him. I hope you will feature it. It can be ordered now. Scott would be glad to write you an article if you would like. Thanks Toby. I believe this book is long overdue and cannot wait until my copy arrives! KEITH

     
    • Colin

      January 7, 2013 at 7:01 am

      Thanks for the info Keith.

       
  10. hawkswill

    January 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I wrote this for my good buddy Peter who is buying some books from Scott Nollen, (Three Bad Men). He wanted to get my opinion of them as Scott just sounds a bit too good to be true. But, so far, everything I have checked out is hunky dory. He is checking out some of what is written below, and I am checking out the rest. Does Colin do the old Horror stuff? Oh, Scott’s next book….one of them is about Glenda Farrell, his favorite female star. The other is about a guy who sings like Neil Diamond……even Neil is amazed at the likeness…….AND the guy is black….named the Black Diamond, (real name is Theron, LOL). He has a FB page and answers right away.

    Thought you might want to do a short interview of him……..shoot, you could use a lot of this stuff, copy and paste and just change a few things, LOL! Sometimes I think LAZY!

    I wrote what I thought about Scott’s books on JWMB, (I got The Cinema of Sinatra and Jilly, Sinatra’s Right Hand man), and this is what he wrote back…..bet it just galled Ethan, LOL. Don’t know WHY that moderator is so jealous of me, but he most definitely is!
    Thank you so much, Keith. It is very gratifying to have a reader who actually knew the people I have written about. I appreciate all your kind words. I’m glad you mentioned “detail,” because that SHOULD be my middle name. I try to leave no stone unturned when I research a project. I was educated as a research historian, as well as a filmmaker, so I’ve been able to combine these areas in my writing work. I hope I’ve been able to infuse the same level of detail into THREE BAD MEN, as it covers the lives of Pappy, Duke and The Judge very thoroughly, along with a complete history of all of their films, together and separately, and a focus on their amazing and complicated relationships. Thanks again, and I look forward to getting the final proofs for THREE BAD MEN any day now. After I go through them with a fine-tooth comb, the book will be available soon after! Gotta go–burnin’ daylight! All the best—Scott
    The “burnin’ daylight” is right out of THE COWBOYS!

    Well, P……got the books today. Don’t forget, I knew the two people that the books were about. My GOD, did he ever catch the spirit of those folks. Oh, I found a couple of Errors in Jilly, LOL…..but they were small and inconsequential. There were some of the GUYS mentioned that I believe I have told you about. Anyway. The books are excellent. The quality of them are great. I bent the paperback every which of a way, and it stayed intact! I just scanned Frankie’s film book because it is indeed an EPIC. So, I am about halfway through Jilly’s. I have laughed myself silly. I don’t want to come to the end knowing how horrible it will be to a man that was, yes…..bad in a way, but so very good to so many people. He gave a lot of big entertainers their start……lot more than I knew, like PETER NERO!…
    Wow, THAT blew me away! Jilly only finished 5th or 6th grade!………..But he LOVED excellent piano players. If you don’t get one ofhe last few of these, I will have to copy you on what Frankie says about taking Jilly to see a Philarmonic Concert, oh, I could go on and on. It is incredible. But, I believe every word of it. because I knew Jilly in person, both as my neighbor, and as Frankie’s companion. As brilliant as he was is so many money making ways, he got words mixed up, and when he did, when you FINALLY figured out what he meant, it would take everything you could do to keep from busting out laughing.
    OH, Gibbons is mentioned living next to Jilly and Pat Henry on the other side…….Yep, Gibbons is mentioned in the book. Also, the restaurant I said we met so much at, Jack London’s is in there, although Jilly’s kids were younger and didn’t know it belonged to someone else, so they said Dominick’s was where Frankie and all went………….that was the same place, Only not in the 60s……..Dominick didn’t get his name on it until about 73!+
    Going to try to read some more, but I did some outside PHYSICAL work and am quite bushed………….may fall asleep, LOL.
    Did you decide on any. Here is something Scott sent me for the website and the Winterset folks.
    Keith,

    I can send you a DVD of a panel I moderated at a major film convention in Washington, DC, in 1999. It was called “Heirs of Horror Royalty,” and I hosted the program with the children of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price; the grandson of Lon Chaney Jr. (great-grandson of Lon Chaney, Sr.); and the niece of Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal. It is a great program, because I know very well all of these people! I will try to make it this week (soon) and send it off to you!

    Scott
    The materials I have that belonged to WARD BOND are: 1) a binder filled with original handwritten letters from Ward to his family, 1929-1933, some mentioning Ford and Wayne, and one that includes drops of his SWEAT all over the pages; 2) an original still from SALUTE (1929); and 3) a pair of jeans that he wore in one of his 1930s films.

    I also have a large collection of items that belonged to SINATRA and JILLY!
    Keith,

    There really isn’t much correspondence with Brian: He joined my page and then suggested the info that I sent to you. He did NOT ask for free books–I was referring to that subject in general–I have given away too many books over the years, and I only have ONE copy of some of my books, which is why I can’t give anything away.

    My track record speaks for itself. I have given dozens of lectures at the National Archives, and spoken at various Sherlock Holmes societies, at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum in St. Helena, California, and at the “Gillette to Brett” International Sherlock Holmes Conference in Indianapolis in 2007. The McFarland website and Amazon provide a lot of information. You may use the biography of me that is on imdb.com–it is pretty up to date.

    To get a look at the quality of my scholarship and writing, the Conan Doyle book is as good as any–judged the “ultimate treatise on the subject” by the Sherlock Holmes Society of London!’

    My book on Paul Robeson has been called a “masterpiece” by a political activist in London, etc., etc.

    The president of my publishing company said that my work is unique, and that I have “carved my own niche.” That’s why they have published so much of my work.

    Yes, that is Ward’s first wife.

    Some pics will follow soon!

    Scott

    Peter is DYING to see that Heirs of Horror Royalty, LOL! He is one of those spooky fans.

     
  11. Bob

    February 14, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Hi Colin,
    Just wanted to say thanks for the link on your blogroll, I sure do appreciate it. And also for the kind words about my site (Keith forwarded them on to me). I already had a link to you great site on my links page, but I have also added a nice banner link to your site as well.
    All the best,
    Bob
    (dukefanclub.weebly.com)

     
  12. tonyg

    February 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Colin –
    I’m fortunate to have a group of friends that regularly get together to watch westerns. As a bonus, one guy is much younger than us (in his early 30s) and is really interested in,as he puts it, “all the great movies he missed”, so it’s always interesting to get his feedback.

    Next week, we’ll be watching “McCabe and Mrs. Miller”. This is my personal “most watched” movie – both when it was first released in the theaters, and then when it came out on DVD. Remember when you were younger and had the time to sit through 2 screenings of a movie? This was the first movie I did that with, I just wanted to soak it up as best I could. So I went back later in the week and then the next week as well – and then it was gone.

    Seems to be a movie that would be perfect for a review by you.

     
    • Colin

      February 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Tony, I’ve seen McCabe and Mrs Miller a number of times and have thought about writing it up at some point. I think the reason I’ve put it off is that I can never seem to make my mind up on Altman. I’d say I will get round to the movie though – just can’t say when.

       
      • tonyg

        February 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm

        Re; your “I can never seem to make my mind up on Altman” comment. He made two of the best movies ever in “McCabe” and “The Long Goodbye”. Most of his other movies after those (with a couple exceptions) had me scratching my head at the time of their original release, and I’ve no interest in revisiting most of them. I find myself thinking that what was “arty” in college, is now pretentious dreck (“3 Women”?). Even the ones that I remember liking at the time of release like “California Split”, “Nashville”, and “M*A*SH” fail to impress when re-watched.

        A side note on “McCabe” and “The Long Goodbye” – my spouse in not a “movie person”. The running joke in our house is that for years when I’d ask her about going to a particular movie, her first question was “How long is it?” (Admitedly this may have stemmed from two of our first college dates being “Seven Samurai” and “Lawrence of Arabia”.) “McCabe” and “TLG” are the only two movies that she is willing and eager to rewatch over and over again. Not sure what that says about these movies, but I’ve always found it interesting that they connect that strongly with a person who really has no interest in the movies.

        Two other items for you:
        1)Have you been able to ID the best available DVD version of “Ulzanas Raid”? I’ve got the UK version and would like to upgrade to one without the horsefall edits. What a great, great western.
        2) “The Wonderful Country” – I’ve the DVD that was released last year. Your thoughts – Maybe a future review? The big takeaway for me was that this was a great example of Robert Mitchum’s star power/magnetism. An interesting western, in which Mitchum commands the screen even when he’s sitting down with a broken leg for much of the movie.

        As always, keep up the great work!
        TG

         
        • Colin

          February 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm

          Tony, it’s interesting you should mention The Long Goodbye. That’s an Altman movie I have to say I struggle with. I’ve discussed this with other people before, and I have a problem with Gould in the role of Marlowe and all that that casting decision means for the tone of the picture. Having said that, it’s not a film I’ve given up on.

          Regarding your questions:

          1. Someone posted on my old site that the French DVD of Ulzana’s Raid was uncut, but I haven’t had the chance to see that edition. I strongly suspect all the continental European editions will be uncut – those cuts on the UK disc are required by the BBFC in accordance with UK law.

          2. I don’t have the US release of The Wonderful Country, but I do have the non-anamorphic Spanish release and a more recent Italian edition that is enhanced for widescreen viewing. It’s a terrific film, and I have done a piece on it here.

           
  13. tonyg

    February 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks for the link. I did a Robert Mitchum search and the only thing that turned up was your Top 10 Noir List.

     
    • Colin

      February 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Ah, some glitch with the search. Click the names in the category sidebar and you’ll bring up all the posts featuring any star or director. Or browse the title index.

       
  14. William O'Hara

    April 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Pleased to meet you, Colin. My friend Keith referred me to your site and I just spent a fascinating hour revisiting my own youth, much of which was spent in a dark theater. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone (or crazy) in my affection for most of these titles.
    You’re marked as a favorite and I’ll be spending much more time here.

    Bill

     
    • Colin

      April 28, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Welcome aboard Bill. You’re certainly not alone and I hope you’ll become a regular visitor around these parts.

       
  15. Cavershamragu

    August 29, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Colin mate, I couldn;t let your generosiy go unrewarded! So consider yourself hereby notified that I nominated you for a WordPress Family Award – thanks for all the very fine blogging and myriad contributions – just wouldn’t be the same without it :)

     
    • Colin

      August 29, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Very kind Sergio, and very gratefully accepted here.

       
  16. Chris

    January 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Well, shame on me for not having found this site before. Reading through some of the essays to get acquainted it is nice to find one who loves westerns and is far more eloquent at writing about them then I could ever be. There are so many films out there that it is hard to catch them all but it is a treat to learn about them and talk about them. This looks like a place I could be quite happy. I’m off to read more. Thanks.

     
    • Colin

      January 29, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      That’s very kind of you Chris and I’m even more pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit. I hope you’ll be around again and feel free to comment on anything you wish.

       
  17. Clayton

    May 19, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Hi!

    This is Clayton, formerly of CLAYTONOLOGY. My email got hacked, and through it, my website got destroyed. I have a new site, called

    PHANTOM EMPIRES.

    My new site address: http://phantomempires.weebly.com/

    Just wanted to let you know; feel free to delete this message. :)

     
    • Colin

      May 20, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Tough break there, buddy. I’ve added the new site to the blogroll though.

       
      • Clayton

        May 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm

        Thanks! I had the good stuff archived, so upward and onward! :)

        Just got a mountain of Spaghetti Canadian Mountie movies, so I’m on a binge!

         
  18. Clayton

    May 21, 2014 at 4:03 am

    By the way, do you really live in Athens? If so, have you seen the Turkish-style Greek band TAKIM? I play a number of drums from the region, as well as the Oud and Klarnet, and I had a chance to play with those guys at a party. incredible musicianship;they play in Athens during the season (often they tour Epirus and other regions). Great band, great guys.

     
    • Colin

      May 21, 2014 at 7:04 am

      I certainly do, and have done for many years now. I’m afraid I’m not aware of the band – at least I don’t think so – I’ll do a bit of research and see if they ring any bells, and will keep my eyes peeled too.

       
  19. Thom Hickey

    June 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Thanks. Westerns and film noir does it for me! I assume blog title comes from the great movie with great line about being justified in the house of my lord (they don’t make them like that anymore!). Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (give it a spin!).

     
    • Colin

      June 19, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Thom.
      Yes, the title is indeed adapted from Peckinpah’s movie, a great favorite of mine.

      I’ve added your site to the blogroll and will be exploring further – looks good.

       
      • Thom Hickey

        June 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

        Thanks for the listing. Thom

         
        • Colin

          June 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm

          A pleasure!

           

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