The Outcast

You wanna ride that horse straight up or belly down?

Another week, another Witney. I’m not entirely sure why I’d neglected to feature this director on the site before, a simple oversight on my part is the only reason I can think of. However, I’ve been trying to make up for it to some extent this month, not out of any trite sense of obligation but simply because I’ve liked what I’ve seen. This time it’s The Outcast (1954), a film which I’ll admit had passed beneath my radar until my friend Jerry Entract wrote about it (and thus called my attention to it) last year. Sometimes the recommendations of others strike a particular chord, get under your skin in a way, and I was intrigued enough by the sound of this movie to make a point of seeking out a copy. I’m certainly glad that I did, and only regret that I didn’t get round to watching it sooner.

It’s a classic tale of revenge, of settling scores and restoring things to the way they ought to be. It opens with the image of the stranger, who really isn’t of course, riding into a small Colorado town. This is Jet Cosgrave (John Derek), back home after 8 years and resolved to win back that which is rightfully his. Land is one of those eternal sources of conflict, giving rise to a whole range of emotional responses from jealousy to grim passion. In this instance, the scenario involves a grand swindle, one which also bears the pungent and unpleasant odor of a hushed up murder. The upshot of it all is that it’s sparked a number of feuds, principally that between Jet and his uncle, Major Cosgrave (Jim Davis), and a related one involving a neighboring family. This is a strong enough plot in itself, that notion of a family tearing itself apart carrying all the hallmarks of a classical tragedy, yet is further enriched by the skillful weaving in of two romantic threads. The overarching theme of betrayal is further spiced up by the actions and motivations of a clutch of subsidiary characters, their loyalties shifting like the ebb and flow of an increasingly fickle tide. By the time the show wraps up the complex skein of lies and deception is gradually untangled, and justice is seen to be served in a way which allows Jet to achieve his goals without sacrificing his conscience.

I guess the storyline of The Outcast sounds packed and complicated, and there’s no point in my denying that fact. The number of layers and sub-plots could easily torpedo any picture, if handled clumsily. And that simple observation highlights the beauty of Witney’s style of filmmaking; there’s a simplicity and directness to his approach which allows the focus to remain pin sharp throughout, never allowing the side issues to haul the narrative off course, absorbing and integrating them into the whole to ensure the flow is smooth and clear throughout. Let’s not forget that aspect for which Witney is most often lauded though, the handling and depiction of action. One might expect a densely plotted piece like this to move sluggishly at best yet that potential trap is nimbly negotiated, not least by the frequent and well-coordinated bursts of action. taking place both on the set and on location. I could draw attention to the regular fist and gunfights that intersperse the story, but I’d especially like to mention the wonderfully staged sequence towards the end which involves breaking up a cattle drive – the pace, editing and stunt work is genuinely breathtaking and has to be seen to be believed.

A good number of movies, of various genres, in the 50s touched on the idea of disaffected, displaced and rebellious youth. John Derek’s lead performance in The Outcast slots into that phenomenon quite neatly. The journey on which his character is taken naturally features the redemptive aspect that is virtually inseparable from the western, and there’s also a point being made about the development of maturity. I think Derek handled himself well as he grows beyond the cold and manipulative individual we see at the beginning. His progression towards a more nuanced understanding of the consequences of his determination is credibly achieved. I liked how his slow realization of the undesirability of resorting to violence subtly alters his perspective, and then ties in with his burgeoning awareness of the hollow, and ultimately self-destructive, nature of revenge. Jim Davis was always an authentic western presence, and is very good as Derek’s rival. Again, his character evolves, or disintegrates might be a more apt description under the circumstances, in a wholly believable fashion. The swaggering confidence we see at the outset is chipped away at bit by bit. The best villains tend to have an element of pathos about them, and I think Davis does here as you’re left almost feeling sorry for him as he sees his dreams and ambitions turn to dust around him. In addition to Davis and Derek, there are solid roles for the two principal actresses, Catherine McLeod and Joan Evans. Both women have significant parts to play in the way the tale twists along, and there’s a reasonable amount of depth to their respective characters. The supporting cast is made up of a checklist of seasoned genre players – Slim Pickens, Bob Steele, James Millican, Harry Carey Jr, Hank Worden and Frank Ferguson all provide memorable turns.

To date, the only release of The Outcast on DVD that I’m aware of is an Italian disc. It looks like an unrestored version of the movie but the  print used (obviously an Italian one as the title card appears in that language) is in reasonable shape. There isn’t any severe damage and the color is fairly rich although there is a little of the fading and variation, which one frequently gets with the Trucolor process, on display. Both the original English soundtrack and an Italian dub are offered and subtitles are, as usual, optional. I might also mention that the film could also be found on YouTube last time I looked. All in all, I got a lot of enjoyment out of this fast-moving picture with its solid cast and no-nonsense direction. Anyway, that brings my short series of features on William Witney films to a close for now (though I’ve no doubt I’ll return to his work at a later date) and it’s nice to finish on a title I very definitely recommend.

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59 thoughts on “The Outcast

  1. Terrific review of a really good western, Colin, as I would always expect from you (and thanks for the mention BTW).
    What a great still you found of John Derek looking down from his horse at Bob Steele (I’d know that back anywhere)! George Montgomery wasn’t the only one who wore great hats!!

    • Yeah, Derek looks the part of a westerner in this movie.
      Thanks very much for making me aware of this movie, Jerry. I found it immensely entertaining and worthwhile. I’ve had a lot of pleasure watching these Witney movies over the past few weeks and this was a good one to round them off.

  2. Very enjoyable review, Colin. Having grown up with William Witney and Republic, I have great respect for both. As for Derek, if he had been born a few years earlier he could have been a great addition to the studio’s stable of B-Western series stars.

    As mentioned, the action scene at the end is one of the best ever filmed. Slim Pickens and Buzz Henry were expert horsemen and their good work could be expected. What is perhaps surprising, however, is Derek’s ability to hold his own in that scene.

    • Thanks, it’s the kind of movie I really enjoy sharing some enthusiasm for – complex yet compact.
      And yes, Derek didn’t look or behave at all out of place in the company of some real westerners.

    • Cheers! I hope you get to see it as I think it has a lot to offer, even those in small roles get their opportunities to shine and add something significant to the film.

  3. I too have very much enjoyed Colin’s “Witney Trilogy”

    It’s interesting that Laura has just reviewed DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE
    yet another fine film trapped in Paramount’s vaults that on-one seems to be interested in releasing.
    Years ago a huge chunk of the Monogram/Allied Artists catalog was sold to Republic.
    Recently the entire Republic library was purchased by Paramount (including the Monogram
    AA titles) I don’t know why they bothered as they have zero intention of releasing them.
    What that means is that we.as film fans don’t have the opportunity to purchase these films as
    “official” releases. Olive Films dabbled for a little while with selected Republic titles but that now seems to have ground to a halt.
    Also Chip,a regular contributor over at Toby’s has just informed us that the French release of
    JACK SLADE has now been cancelled.
    DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE,JACK SLADE as well as titles like FINGER MAN,PORT OF
    HELL and THE RETURN OF JACK SLADE were all directed by Harold Schuster and feature some
    of his best work..all remain unseen because they are trapped in Paramount’s vaults.
    Faring even worse is Joseph Kane who was Republic’s “house” director-virtually all his films are
    unavailable to buy. Kane certainly needs more recognition and I for one am looking forward to
    him making his RTHC debut,whenever that may be.
    Toby is following up his very fine Republic “Blogathon” with an Allied Artists one and I’m sure some
    of these obscure gems will be discussed. If only some of the film releasing outfits would get the
    message.

    • Yes, I saw Laura’s piece and liked it. That’s another film which, as you say, should be widely available as it’s a quality production.
      I’m glad you mentioned the Allied Artists blogathon, which I’ll be contributing to, as I’m really looking forward to it and feel there will be some good stuff discussed.

  4. Thank you both for the shout-out re DRAGOON WELLS, John and Colin!

    I love the supporting cast of THE OUTCAST — Millican, Ferguson, and Carey are all particular faves. Catherine McLeod was very interesting in a film called I’VE ALWAYS LOVED YOU which I saw at UCLA last year.

    Thanks for calling this movie to my attention, looks like a good watch! (Love that Trucolor!)

    Best wishes,
    Laura

    • You’re welcome, Laura, and thanks too for the traffic you sent this way.
      I think this is the kind of film you would like, and the cast is marvelous. Trucolor films can be a bit of a gamble in terms of how they’re going to look but this generally turns out fine.
      Catherine McLeod has a solid role here and does well – I can’t say I recall seeing her in much else but she did so much television work I surely must have.

  5. Just as an add on to my previous comments and as a bit of fun really I thought I would mention
    other “genre” directors,as far as I know yet to make their RTHC debut.
    Colin normally reviews films that are available to buy but that is not always the case.
    I thought I would pick several directors who’s best work often remains unreleased-hence their
    non-appearance on RTHC…..as yet.

    SIDNEY SALKOW is a director who’s work varies in quality considerably,having said that several
    of his best remain,thus far unreleased.

    THE PATHFINDER,JACK McCALL DESPERADO,LAS VEGAS SHAKEDOWN.

    THOMAS CARR has been championed by Blake Lucas,no less,yet several of his best have yet to
    debut on DVD:

    DINO,THREE FOR JAMIE DAWN,THE TALL STRANGER.

    PAUL LANDRES another Blake favorite,has several key films on the missing (unreleased) list.
    Landres like Carr made few features working extensively in TV.
    The following would be most welcome on DVD

    HELL CANYON OUTLAWS,LAST OF THE BADMEN,JOHNNY ROCCO.

    R.G.SPRINGSTEEN has an impressive roster of features,again his very best work,thus far
    remains unreleased.

    HELLFIRE,COME NEXT SPRING,SHOWDOWN (1963),HE RIDES TALL.

    Other interesting directors yet to make their RTHC debut are as follows:Kurt Nuemann,
    (his rarely seen Audie Murphy debut BAD BOY was recently released by Warner Archive)
    some of his Westerns like CATTLE DRIVE and THE KID FROM TEXAS are certainly worthy of
    “the Colin treatment”
    William Castle has yet to debut on RTHC-Colin recently discussed CAVE OF OUTLAWS over at
    Toby’s which he has on Blu Ray. Apart from the Horror stuff there are some Noir and Western
    gems in Castle’s output. THE LAW VS BILLY THE KID is excellent and NEEDS a DVD release.

    There are of course loads of others and considering the huge volume of films in Colin’s to be
    viewed heap it’s all a matter of time I guess.

    • Interesting picks there, John, and some I’ll bear in mind for future postings. I don’t really have a particular system for deciding what to feature, it mostly comes down to what grabs my attention at a given point in time. Anyway, I reckon I have examples of work by all the guys mentioned buried somewhere in my collection.

  6. A couple of guys I left out from the list (Colin I warned you that I love lists 🙂 )
    are Fred F Sears and Ray Nazarro.
    Sears is a favorite of Toby over at Fifties Westerns-he had a prolific output lots of it available,
    some not.
    Ray Nazarro,a personal favorite has quiet a few titles available on DVD,but there again a couple
    of his very best (CRIPPLE CREEK,THE DOMINO KID) remain unreleased.
    Colin,I had (yet again) a mental block and thought you had already reviewed Nazarro’s APACHE
    TERRITORY but couldn’t seem to find it!
    Watched Nazarro’s SOUTHWEST PASSAGE the other night an absolute corker of a little all-
    action-all location Western-wonderful cast and breathless pacing.

  7. John Derek has been making a mark with me recently; I’ve been seeing more and more of his stuff and liking him more and more as I go. He and Joel McCrea are climbing up my western charts bigtime.

    I have this, but I’ve yet to watch it. I think Sunday is the time. 🙂 Thanks, mate!

    • Good to hear you have a copy to hand and are able to check it out easily – hope it doesn’t disappoint, but I don’t think it will.
      I’m with you on Derek. I viewed and wrote about The Last Posse a few months back and was impressed both by the film and Derek’s work in it.

  8. I still haven’t seen THE OUTCAST, although it’s been on my want list for years. When Jerry wrote on it earlier for Republic blogathon, he called attention to its availability and I meant to get it then but forgot. But now, your piece woke me up about that and it’s ordered and on its way. I’m keenly looking forward to it.

    In the meantime, very far from William Witney, despite its director’s well-known advocacy of him, I did resolve my conflict over seeing THE HATEFUL EIGHT by going to it in that 70 roadshow presentation. And although I don’t exactly regret this (what would be the point?), I deeply hated that movie and made me think a lot about where Westerns were in Witney’s day and where they are now. Beyond that, cinema as a whole is so different. Depressingly so for too much of it, at least for me.

    So, I’ve been trying to pull together some thoughts about this and share them here, and definitely have ideas I want to share about this here but I’m going to have to be in the mood. I’m very clear on the reasons for my thoroughly negative reaction and if there is an upside, some of my feelings about what made so many earlier Westerns work so well, especially from the 50s, were sharpened by the experience.

    John Knight made a few ambivalent comments at 50 Westerns from the 50s. John, I thought you were very kind, way too much so. You too know the difference between Tarantino and classic directors–as well as the thrust of the Western genre in better days, as your thoughtful list here yesterday at 12:04 shows once again. I have to wonder if you believe THE HATEFUL EIGHT deserves any kind of real defense.

    Anyway, I’ll get back to this at some point, if not in this thread maybe in the next one. I know I may just have to hijack it but will make plenty of reference to films and directors Colin has written about before. Meantime, I’ll just say that argument “If you’re going to see it, see it in 70…” is what pushed me to go, but I walked out thinking that a bad movie in 70 millimeter is still a bad movie.

    • Firstly, I’m glad I managed to remind you of this film and I’m delighted to hear you have a copy on its way to you. I’ve a pretty good idea of your tastes and I think it’s fair to say they frequently coincide with my own. As such, I feel you’ll find much to enjoy in the film – either way, I do hope you let me know what you thought when your get your hands on it.

      On the Tarantino movie, I can only say that I had the opportunity to go and see it last weekend and the one before and passed up on it on both occasions. That’s partly because of the mixed comments I read about it, but it was also down to a suspicion I had from a while back. When I first saw the trailer my immediate thought was that it looked like it was going to lack any grace, that it suggested a cartoon-like quality. Not having seen it, I can’t say if that’s a fair assessment but it gave me that impression straight off. On a related note, I may go to see The Revenant on the weekend.

    • I for one would welcome Blake’s thoughts on this issue and hope he feels the mood and puts them here for us to read and discuss. I look forward to it.
      This week my son and I were talking about ‘THE HATEFUL EIGHT’ by phone as I know he has always liked Tarantino’s work. He knows my thoughts. I feel there is very much a generation difference at work there and he knows what I like. He should really – we used to watch Roy Rogers together 20 years ago when he was a little feller. His feeling is I would be much more likely to enjoy ‘THE REVENANT’ so maybe I’ll give that a try. Like John K though, I probably would still rather be watching a b&w Regalscope with Scott Brady or similar!!

  9. Blake,
    I don’t think I was too kind on THE HATEFUL EIGHT…I recall calling it a piece of depraved crap
    over at Toby’s…perhaps you never saw that remark.
    I have generally liked Tarantino’s films,for what they are and feel THE HATEFUL EIGHT is the
    least of his pictures. I never saw it in 70mm because I live out on the sticks….had I still been living
    in London I would have tracked down the 70mm version which I believe is 20 minutes longer.
    Tarantino is not only believing his own hype but is also showing an alarming degree of contempt.
    for his audience. Film has been a fast fader at the box office…word of mouth has been dire.

    A very close friend of mine,an industry insider,with very similar tastes to Blake mentioned that he
    saw THE REVENANT. He spoke about comparisons to THE BIG SKY. I asked (tongue in cheek)
    was it as good as the Hawks picture to which he replied…OH GOD NO!!!

    • Hmm, a piece of depraved crap doesn’t sound like much of an endorsement, but it does fit some the descriptions I’ve heard others use, although I’ve heard positive ones too – I guess it depends on where one is coming from. I remain intrigued by The Revenant though.

    • It was your first comment at Toby’s that seemed a little more generous. The “depraved crap” phrase came up when you later observed Tarantino’s reference to the THE TALL T (the well) and was a comparative one. I had thought you had enjoyed it–and I didn’t, but sounds like you’ve been thinking about it more and coming around to where I am.

      I may get back to this today and appreciate the encouragement. I will try to do. Soon anyway.

      I’m not very drawn to THE REVENANT by another director who I’ve found overblown and pretentious. I can’t imagine he would make a film that would remind me of THE BIG SKY, which is high among the great Westerns for me.

      • Well, I hope you do share your thoughts on this, Blake. Lots of us would appreciate them I think.

        I know nothing much about The Revenant beyond what I’ve seen in the trailer and the story upon which it’s based. It has been getting plenty of good word of mouth recommendations, though I suppose it should be said that the relative worth of that is very much dependent on whose mouth those words are coming out of. Of course I’m not sure if it should be regarded as a western primarily anyway – it gives me the impression that it’s a mountain man/survivalist tale first and foremost.

  10. Yep! I checked out my earlier comments at Toby’s and called the film OK nothing more,
    but the more I reflect on this film the less I like it.
    Years ago QT had a short season of films at London’s National Film Theatre he introduced the
    films himself and wore a Sun Records T shirt,this endeared me to him somewhat,.
    I also liked some of his film choices like WINCHESTER ’73 and ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET
    FRANKENSTEIN. I mentioned before THE HATEFUL EIGHT was released that the trailer looked
    like a RegalScope picture with a $45 million budget…well I sure got that wrong.
    Yes,Colin some folks,(and critics) loved THE HATEFUL EIGHT but for me the guy who “nailed it”
    is the New York Post’s Lou Lumenick…I pretty much stand by his review.
    I also mentioned over at Toby’s the nods to THE TALL T and Tim Roth’s irritating upper class
    English twit character who when he shows his true colors his accent goes decidedly “down
    market”
    This trick was used to far greater effect by Richard Harris’ English Bob character in UNFORGIVEN.
    Then again Harris was a far more gifted actor than Roth.
    Who can forget Harris’ immortal line….”Got me pistols”

    • I’ve seen myself coming out of a number of films and thinking they were OK, only to revise my opinion radically when I’d had time to think about them more. Actually, I find that’s a good thing about writing stuff for a blog; it forces you to think a bit harder and dissect in your mind what worked or didn’t work for you.

  11. The trouble with Mr Tarantino………

    What I’ve always liked about Tarantino is that here is a maverick film-maker
    (albeit bankrolled by Miramax) making basically genre movies…Westerns/Thrillers/Road Movies.
    I always thought he would have been better off in the Seventies/Early Eighties.
    Back in those days there were plenty of “mavericks” making interesting movies.
    Guys like Jack Starrett and Larry Cohen. I saw plenty of their films at the time and liked quiet a
    few of them.
    Another guy who I am aware of but I’ve never seen any of his output is Charles B Pierce.
    By the time he was making films the indie fleapits,in London, at least, were a thing of the past and
    the major circuits were not interested in Pierce’s output.
    Interestingly,Shout Factory have an up-coming Pierce Blu Ray double bill GRAYEAGLE
    WINTERHAWK. These are interesting sounding Westerns with great veteran casts both shot
    in 2.35 widescreen. I’m looking forward to seeing them and they will probably feature on my
    “discoveries of 2016” over at Toby’s in about a years time.

    I see hardly any “current” films although I’ve always kept up with Tarantino’s output,much of
    which I’ve enjoyed on various levels. The last film I saw in theatres before THE HATEFUL EIGHT
    was AMERICAN SNIPER. The next film I will probably see in a cinema is SULLY….Eastwood
    directing Tom Hanks.
    There are lots of directors these days who are the darlings of the critics;I’m talking about
    Wes Anderson,Todd Haynes and David O Russell…I’ve never seen any of their films and don’t
    really want to.
    Will I see another Tarantino after THE HATEFUL EIGHT…..maybe,maybe not.
    The kindest thing about the film is that it kept me awake for three hours and was an OK watch until
    Tarantino brought depravity and mean spiritedness into the mix.The cartoon like violence does
    not bother me at all.
    It’s interesting that THE HATEFUL EIGHT was doomed from the start for me as I had recently
    watched the Blu-Ray’s of De Toth’s DAY OF THE OUTLAW and Cornel Wilde’s STORM FEAR.
    As snow based films go these are in a totally different class to Tarantino’s film.

    Trivia note: The aforementioned Larry Cohen wrote a script for a comedy Western about two
    cowboys who inherit a run-down ranch. He intended this to co-star John Wayne and Clint Eastwood
    Eastwood liked the script and wanted to develop it over at Malpaso. Wayne on the other hand
    hated it so sadly the project never got off the ground. Had it happened it really would have been
    one for the record books.

    • I still see a number of movies on the big screen, although I have noticed a slacking off in the last few months. I’ll be honest and admit a lot of stuff disappoints me and I tend to be a bit picky about what I see as a result. I’ve never been a big fan of Tarantino, although I thought his early films, up to and including Jackie Brown, were solid enough. After that, I found next to nothing to enjoy.

    • Only the title card – Il Cacciatore di Fortuna which is just a straight translation of the alternative (UK) title – something I’ve seen with a few overseas prints of movies before.

  12. One thing leads to another……….

    Our friend Laura having read your SANTA FE PASSAGE review asked me if I could also
    supply her a copy.
    I replied that I didn’t want to supply just one film….are there any other titles that she is after.
    Laura gave me a list of about 20 films and as she had “dug deep” this time,said that she would be
    surprised if I came up with 2 or three.
    Well there was some real rare stuff this time around through my extensive contacts in the
    “digital underground” 🙂 I was able to come up with six titles.
    One title Laura requested was HEADLINE HUNTERS directed by William Witney and I was glad
    she did as I have never seen it. It’s one of those “last gasp” Republic pictures and I really enjoyed
    it. Film contrasts Ben Cooper’s idealistic young reporter with Rod Cameron’s world weary,
    jaded hard drinking veteran.Also in the cast was Julie Bishop who I also enjoy in everything that
    I have seen her in. The film is further proof that Cameron was very good in portraying darker
    textured roles.
    The picture quality is not too hot but I think Laura will enjoy the film. Witney made several
    thrillers/JD dramas for Republic in their final years. They are nigh impossible to track down and
    that’s a shame. I am talking about films like JUVENILE JUNGLE,YOUNG AND WILD and
    CITY OF SHADOWS. Republic veterans like Joe Kane,Lesley Selander and R.G.Springsteen
    also made several of these non Western programmers.
    I do wish Paramount had an MOD series as it would be great to see some of these nifty little
    films released in that format.
    Some of the later Republic Westerns are very good too titles like HELL’S CROSSROADS,
    MAN OR GUN,THE LAWLESS EIGHTIES and others.
    Many of these later Republics had the attraction of being shot in widescreen Naturama.
    I’m pretty sure Julie Bishop is on Laura’s radar at least. Laura’s knowledge of obscure/
    B Movie actresses is as formidable as it is impressive.

    • Yeah, Paramount is easily the studio which has more material locked away – there’s plenty of Universal and Columbia stuff I’d like to see but it at least tends to trickle out bit by bit in various territories.
      And I’m sure Laura will really like Santa Fe Passage.

      • If they wanted to Paramount could really give Warner Archive a run for their money.
        For starters there are tons of Republic titles added to which there are the Monogram/Allied
        Artists titles sold to Republic decades ago. Add to the mix several RegalScope titles that
        ended up getting sold to Republic.
        Add to all this there are loads of unreleased Paramount titles that they have never bothered
        releasing.
        If Paramount’s negative attitude to vintage films remains we will never see this stuff get released
        but at the very least Paramount should consider selling the Republic catalog to someone else.
        The Columbia titles are another matter especially with Koch in Germany releasing several
        Columbia titles which hopefully will be an on-going thing. The Koch Columbia titles may only
        be Blu Ray upgrades of previously released films but for me it’s all welcome.

    • John, thank you so much for the very kind mention and the coming movies! HEADLINE HUNTERS sounds great. I love newspaper movies!

      Believe it or not Julie Bishop (aka Jacqueline Wells) first came on my “radar” screen because she was the mother of Pamela Susan Shoop, a busy TV actress of the ’70s and ’80s (and a star, with Jane Seymour, of one of my all-time favorite total guilty pleasure TV movies, 1979’s THE DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS LOLLLLLL). Anyway, eventually I got to know Julie much better for her own work! If the April releases from Flicker Alley and the Film Noir Foundation sell well, there is hope they will release HIGH TIDE in which Julie costarred.

      And since John mentioned it, I have to give a plug to MAN OR GUN, one of my favorite totally unexpected little discoveries of recent years.

      Best wishes,
      Laura

  13. Further researching these later Republic’s I came across Witney’s A STRANGE ADVENTURE
    which for some reason I always thought was a Western. It turns out it’s some sort of
    JD hostage drama with a most diverting cast….Nick Adams and Jan Merlin in the same movie….
    WOW!
    I know some of us wax lyrical about the RegalScope’s over at Toby’s but in many cases these
    later Republic’s are even better.

    BTW just noticed that Lou Lumenick has just made a “Guest Appearance” over at Kristina’s
    Impressive…or what!

      • And I see our pal Blake has also been over at Kristina’s, commenting on HARPER. Kristina’s drawing a great crowd!! So looking forward to seeing her again in a few weeks at the TCM Fest!

        Best wishes,
        Laura

          • oh gosh you guys, endless thanks for such kind words. 🙂 and likewise, actually more than likewise since I always learn so much from all of you. Can’t wait for tcmfest Laura, would be fun if all these great folks could be there too. Back to this and your Witney posts, have really enjoyed them and made notes of new things to watch like this movie, I’ve been light on the westerns lately and can’t have an imbalanced diet like that. Thanks again!

  14. That’s very interesting about HIGH TIDE getting a high def restoration,
    it’s wonderful to see these little known films get so much love and attention.
    I think Laura mentioned that THE GUILTY is in the pipeline,now that’s an outstanding Noir
    if a tad cruel and mean spirited. THE GUILTY is from the same team who gave us HIGH TIDE
    but I feel THE GUILTY is far superior. Mind you I have only seen HIGH TIDE in a very ropey
    copy….when I view it remastered in high def,well it’s like seeing a different movie.

    It’s funny but as I noted over at Kristina’s on the now epic John Payne thread (great to see so
    much love for Payne BTW) I’ve just come off a marathon Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood viewing
    session,both together and separate I might add. Seeing all these great films in high def in color
    and widescreen gave me the craving to see some gritty black & white Noir.
    It goes like that sometime…I like to watch films in “waves”
    I’m on a Fox Noir kick at the moment and recently watched CRY OF THE CITY and
    STREET WITH NO NAME..both classics.
    It’s been so long since I’ve seen CRY OF THE CITY..far too long in fact,I forgot how great
    that film is. Laura…have you seen this one it has Victor Mature and Richard Conte at the very
    top of their game,and I know you admire both these actors.

    • I’ll second that recommendation for Cry of the City, and I’d add that Hope Emerson has a marvelously intimidating role in it too. Of course, the film is part of Siodmak’s excellent noir cycle so no real surprise that it’s top quality stuff.
      If you’re on a bit of Fox noir binge at the moment, John, I recommend the Preminger Blu-ray set released recently by the BFI.

      • I don’t know how much of Siodmak’s material you’ve seen, Laura, but almost everything during his run that started with Phantom Lady and lasted till The File on Thelma Jordon is worth seeing, and all of the films noir (which make up the bulk of that sequence) are first rate.

        • Thanks, Colin! I loved PHANTOM LADY but have never seen THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON. I need to check that one out and see if there are others I’ve been missing out on thus far. THE KILLERS and CRISS CROSS were hits with me, as was his early “B” crime film FLY-BY-NIGHT.

          Best wishes,
          Laura

          • I like The File on Thelma Jordon a lot, but then I like pretty much all of the director’s work so that’s something of a given. It pleases me too that all of Siodmak’s major pictures are readily available these days.

  15. Thanks for the “heads up” on the BFI set Colin,that was certainly off my radar.
    I have FALLEN ANGEL but the real attraction is WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS in high def.
    It’s kinda pricey but no doubt worth it-one for the back burner when and if the price falls.

    Totally agree about your comments regarding Hope Emerson…that scene with Conte really
    chilling not to mention subversive.

    • I got that Preminger set from Zavvi recently for just under £24, helped a little by a voucher. It had also been available briefly from Rakuten for less than that as a misprice.

  16. Love the review of this movie Colin, I have seen it many times over the years and it certainly must be one of the best Republic ever made – strong story – strong characters – terrific action sequences, the gunfights are so well choreographed and the fist fight between John Derek and Jim Davis makes you feel the punches.
    Worth noting that it is based on an excellent novel by Todhunter Ballard and sticks to the plot almost like the book was written for a film
    Pity John Derek did not make many more Westerns, he was so good in the ones he did – Run For Cover etc.

    • Thanks, Bruce, and good to hear from another fan of the film. I came to it late but it impressed me a great deal and, as far as I can see, it’s got a good reputation with everyone who’s seen it.
      I’ll keep an eye out for that book now you mention it’s such a faithful adaptation.

  17. Another one to add to my ‘to do’ list 🙂 Thanks Colin (and happy new year too). One always thinks of Brando and Dean as the emblems of disaffected youth in the 50s, but Derek definitely got there first!

  18. Colin, since you have enjoyed this, I think you will also like Ambush At Tomahawk Gap in which John Derek got second billing. Best regards.

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