Panhandle

Certain plot devices come up time and again in westerns, so much so that they can start to feel like old friends after a while. On occasion we even get a whole cluster of them all intermingled in one movie, although one tends to dominate when such a situation arises. Panhandle (1948) blends together the tale of the town tamer, the outlaw forced back into his old ways, and the perennial matter of settling scores. It’s that latter element – the quest for revenge, or perhaps it would be more accurate to talk of justice here – that comes to the fore in another stylish example of Lesley Selander’s work.

Mexico has frequently been portrayed on screen as a land of opportunity from a westerner’s perspective. Sometimes it has held out the possibility of attaining riches, at others of regaining something of the mythical freedom eaten up by the relentless advance of civilization. And it has also been viewed as the home of the second chance, a place of refuge and redemption of sorts, for the badman in search of spiritual solace. John Sands (Rod Cameron) is one of those men, a gunfighter trying to put his violent past behind him by living a simple but honest existence south of the border. Initially, it looks as though he has achieved some kind of peace selling leather goods, but unexpected news from the north is about to change all that. A young woman (Cathy Downs), unaware of his former identity and notoriety, drops the bombshell that his brother has been murdered in the town of Sentinel in the Texas Panhandle. In that instant, Sands’ life is transformed as he has been forced back to the way of the gun. His mission to exact retribution for the killing means a return to the US, to his own dark past and all the attendant dangers crossing the border represents to him – aside from confronting the guilty men, there’s also the little matter of an outstanding warrant for his arrest still circulating in the Lone Star state. Sands is going to have to negotiate this, and also the attentions of two very different women, before he can reach some form of closure and continue living on the terms he has chosen for himself.

The first thing one notices about the movie is the use of sepia tone, a look that I’ve never been especially fond of. In my mind, this kind of tinted photography will be forever associated with material of a much older vintage – silent films mainly – although that’s perhaps the thinking behind its use here, to reinforce the fact that the tale is unfolding in a different era. Whatever the reasoning, it’s a process that I find I get used to quick enough and it soon ceases to be something worth remarking on. If I have any particular issues, they relate to a few areas of the script that I feel were almost discarded after their introduction suggested something more was to be made of them. The question of Sands’ legal status in the US pops up early on when a lawman, played by Rory Mallinson, tries unsuccessfully to detain him. It’s mentioned again when certain interests in Sentinel make a play for his services as a town tamer, but then is essentially ignored. Even that aspect, the potential hiring of the outsider to clean up the undesirable elements gets elbowed aside when it looks like there might have been scope for some kind of commentary on way those with a less savory past were accepted on sufferance in times of need.

More time is allotted to the suggestion of a romance with Cathy Downs’ character, although this never develops, and a more overt one with Anne Gwynne. The latter situation doesn’t work all that convincingly in my opinion, and I can’t help but feel it’s a shame the storyline featuring Downs wasn’t built up more as there was more potential which could have been tapped into in that situation. Nevertheless, even if these aspects are not entirely satisfactory, they don’t weaken the film. Selander’s sure direction keeps the whole affair moving forward and switches the action smoothly between the studio backlot and the Lone Pine locations. As one might expect from this director, the action is neatly handled too, especially a fine bar room brawl and the climactic shootout on the muddy streets of Sentinel, with the rain pounding down and the harshly lit muzzle flashes signalling death for some and victory for others.

Panhandle was one of a number of films Rod Cameron made for Selander and it offered him a good rugged role. He was one of those actors who looked comfortable in westerns and provided a solid screen presence. This part was a good fit since he was believable as a hero and also as a villain in other films, so playing the outlaw struggling to reform himself was certainly within his range. One of the most enjoyable scenes in the picture comes when he’s pressed by a young Blake Edwards (who also had a co-writing credit for the movie) to divulge the details of the time he faced down Billy the Kid. Cameron draws the tale out wonderfully, holding the younger man rapt and milking the story for all its worth. And then he delivers a punchline that practically floors Edwards, and the viewer too, with its sheer audacity – a lovely moment. Cathy Downs and Anne Gwynne were an extremely attractive pair of leading ladies although, as I said above, it’s a pity the former isn’t used a little better. As for villains, Edwards is fine as the flashy hothead and Reed Hadley does good work too as his suave and deadly boss. In support, it’s nice to see familiar faces like Rory Mallinson and John Ford favorite J Farrell MacDonald, albeit in small roles.

Panhandle is available on DVD in both the US and the UK in Darn Good Westerns collections, from VCI and Odeon (now Screenbound) respectively. I have the UK edition and the transfer is just fair. The image generally looks soft and quite muddy in places  – I think the images i used above (despite the fact they’re reduced in size) give an indication of the picture quality. The disc offers the theatrical trailer as the sole bonus feature. This is a pretty good Selander film told in his usual economical style. The script, a debut effort for both Blake Edwards and John C Champion, has plenty of ideas and even if all of them aren’t as fully developed as they might have been, what happens on screen is consistently interesting. Another solid low-budget production with quite a bit to be said in its favor.

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77 thoughts on “Panhandle

  1. That thing about Mexico is interesting. It seems even more sinister and wild across that border. You really have your life and survival in your own hands … and ain’t nobody gonna help ya down there. So many movies The Wild Bunch, The Hired Hand, All the Pretty Horses, have revealed that you are in hostile territory across the Rio Grande. Not a place of refuge at all in most instances.

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    • Yes, although it’s definitely not the case here, Mexico does represent a kind of illusory refuge in a lot of cases. Of course there are also those movies – The Wonderful Country, The Last of the Fast Guns – where it holds out the promise of spiritual renewal.

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  2. Rod Cameron is one of my favourite actor in a western. I have not seen this for a long time and will view it soon. Rod appears to have powerful punches in all his bare hand brawls.Best regards.

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  3. Wow! Two Selander films on the trot…are we going for a triple I might ask,as you did with
    William Witney recently.
    As with WAR PAINT this too is a well chosen selection.
    My personal favorite of the many Selander/Cameron Westerns is SHORT GRASS which our
    friend Jerry covered so well on the recent Allied Artists blogathon.
    Cathy Downs had more to do in that film as well. I’m glad that you mentioned Cathy,she certainly
    never had the career that she could have had,especially considering the promising start that
    her career had. I guess she will always be best remembered for the Ford masterpiece.
    Her decline into poverty row quickies and the fact that she ended up more or less destitute is
    all rather sad.
    I agree regarding sepia tone-I’d much rather have standard black & white.
    The two Warner Archive releases of SHORT GRASS and STAMPEDE are fine in black & white.
    Another Selander Western of similar vintage is COW COUNTRY which has the same
    ruggedness and taut pacing.Also interesting to see Edmond O Brien in a Selander Western,
    his only one,and it’s a goodie. COW COUNTRY is slotted for a future Warner Archive release.

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    • Thanks, John, Short Grass is one I haven’t seen but it’s on my list as I’ve heard plenty of good stuff about it, not least Jerry’s well-written appreciation. And Stampede is another I need to catch up with.
      A third Selander? Perhaps, I’ll see how things shape up regarding work in the next few days.

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  4. Off topic………
    On the previous thread Colin,you mentioned interest in seeing PASSAGE WEST.
    For the record I can supply all the John Payne-Pine Thomas films if interested.
    For years these films were impossible to track down in watchable quality. Now with the various
    streaming services and outfits like Hollywood Scrapheap these films are now available in
    far more watchable versions. I have managed to corral the lot so if interested drop me an e-mail.
    I don’t know if I have your current e-mail address-I recently sent you a personal note and best
    wishes regarding your recent bout with ill health. I do hope you are over the worst of that now,
    certainly the recent spate of RTHC activity bodes well.
    I’m sure I speak for everyone here regular RTHC posts can only bee a good thing.
    At any rate the Payne-Pine Thomas films that I can supply are as follows-you can cherry pick
    them or I’m very happy to supply the lot!
    CAPTAIN CHINA
    CROSSWINDS
    CARIBBEAN
    THE BLAZING FOREST
    THE VANQUISHED
    EAGLE & THE HAWK
    EL PASO
    PASSAGE WEST

    I’m going away soon but will be back sometime early May-I can sort this out on my return.

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  5. A very welcome review this, Colin! Over recent years I have become a bigger and bigger fan of Rod Cameron, especially his westerns.
    Over a period of years from the late 1940s he made a steady stream of good westerns, five or six of which I would consider western classics. All made by either Republic or Allied Artists and most directed either by Lesley Selander or Joseph Kane. “PANHANDLE” is one of them.
    There is something very satisfying and “right” about these films and about Cameron in them.

    Interesting (to me) to note the connections – producer John C. Champion, directors Selander and Kane all worked on the later TV series “LARAMIE” for which I have a high regard. Plus Rod Cameron made several guest star appearances in the series. Like “Old Home Week”!!

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  6. I did enjoy this one, but there’s something about Rod Cameron which has always bugged me…a bit of smugness, or something. It usually doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment of his pictures (this one particularly), but I’m wondering if anyone else feels this way about him.

    He does remind me a bit of the Bama Doc Savage paperback covers, though, which is an aesthetic bonus for geeks like me.

    Thanks for this review, I’ll have to get this one and watch it again.

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    • I haven’t seen a huge number of his films so I’m maybe not in the best position to say, but he did come across as very assured or sure of himself so maybe that’s what you’re picking up on?
      I’m no expert on Doc Savage, or the book covers either – the only ones I have are Bantam editions of The Red Spider and a 2-in-1 with Devils of the Deep and The Headless Men. I wonder if those are the kind you’re referring to.

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      • Yeah, it’s a minor quibble about Cameron. He’s always good in his films, and that tiny bit of over-swagger that I respond to isn’t a big deal. I remember a picture called HELL’S OUTPOST which was particularly good. He reminds me a bit of Lon Chaney jr. Sometimes, too, hahaha, and maybe that’s why I get a bit bugged. 🙂

        I have a bunch of his Rod Cameron Western comics, and I think those covers are what I think of when I think of him; not the muscularity, of course, but a generally masculine image across the board. Now that I think of it, he actually has a bit of George Bush about the face, hahaha.

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      • You and me both, mate. It’s a bit of a blessing, though; when I see the trailer for DOCTOR STRANGE, in which “The Ancient One”, an elderly male Asian wizard, has been replaced by a middle-aged white woman (!!!!!????!!!!), I realise that maybe it’s best that our really good stuff is left alone and in the past for us to enjoy…intact.

        We’ve lost something as a culture, and I don’t think it’s to be got again.

        I have been pleased by some of the western film releases of older things, though, like PANHANDLE, I wish they were released in a bit better shape. Good to have the past, wot?

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        • Aye, just so. I don’t know what age you are, Clayton, but I’m 47 now and I think guys my age represent the last hurrah for a certain eclectic kind of popular culture.

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          • Heh…I’ll turn 49 September 1st. 🙂 I believe that what you say is true. The VAST bulk of anything before 1979 is about to be lost to a generation guided by corporations alone and their own self-referencialism. At a time when a Ken Burns documentary distills something as diverse as Jazz into the few names that happen to grace the CD titles available at Starbucks coffee as “classics”, we can see the broader problem…99% of modern human creation is going to be lost.

            Try to think of any songs popular between 1880 and 1920, and name a list of novels common to that period. 🙂 That same blank space will soon be moved to most of the rest of the 20th century, with only a few stereotyped nuggets strewn about for nostalgia parties.

            Actually, look at much of the blog action…do we need more reviews of Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn or Rock Hudson chestnuts? Top ten James Bond movies, and “why I love Casablanca”? etc. Hahaha….I could go into a REALLY long rant, here, but I’ll leave the point as made. 🙂

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            • A little variety is always good, in my opinion. Besides adding a little flavor to your cultural diet, it helps to keep one’s mind open in a more general sense too. I like to meander along from the broad mainstream to the more obscure material and everything in between – some is more worthwhile than others but I do feel it’s good to sample as widely as possible.

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              • I think the issue that comes to my mind is not really variety, but the capitalistic narrowing of our perceptions. That “Prince” died yesterday and the world media is mourning over him, while actual geniuses die every day unnoticed, is due to his potency as a commercial product. The genius of Prince is the same as the genius of a Hostess Twinkie, and famous for the same reasons.

                The obscurity that you refer to is generally a created perception, related to access to products. Ibrahim Tatlises, the Turkish singer, would be considered ‘obscure’ in America, yet there are Turkish people mourning Prince’s death right now…’mainstream’ and ‘obscure’ are illusions based on access.

                Witness the flood of Warner Archive reviews all over the blogs, and the reviews of 30’s films based on Youtube access….access creates mainsteam. In fact reviews like yours put things on maps, then others put them on maps, and so on….

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                • That accessibility business is a double-edged sword. I often think I was very lucky growing up when I did, getting exposure via UK and Irish TV to a whole range of material that would never see the light of day with modern broadcasters. Can you imagine a mainstream broadcaster running complete seasons of Boston Blackie or Lone Wolf movies in a weekly prime time 9 pm slot – well, that happened on Irish TV back in the early 80s.
                  Nowadays, we notionally have easier access to a wider range but the compartmentalization of the media means there’s less chance of being exposed to something outside your experience by accident. It’s so easy to remain firmly in one’s comfort zone that a real effort has to be made to seek out the unfamiliar.

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                  • I agree. Things like Jungle Theater, Sci Fi Theater, & Kung Fu Theater were on TV when I was a kid, with all those great old films, and TV bits like “Hurray for Harold LLoyd” and “Matinee at the Bijou” shaped my kid’s brain. That, and old time radio shows actually on the radio, long after their heyday. Now PBS won’t play old UK tv shows because they aren’t new, haha…if it doesn’t look and smell like Harry Potter, then no can do. 🙂

                    Good times, mate, good times…it’s good to old-man gripe from time to time. 🙂

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  7. This thread has taken some interesting diversions.

    I was glad to see HELL’S OUTPOST name dropped.
    This is a very fine modern day Western with Rod and John Russell making formidable opponents.
    Sadly the film is impossible to track down in good quality.
    Film has nice Noir elements especially at the beginning.
    Furthermore some of Cameron’s best Republic Westerns are on the missing list especially
    the excellent and much wanted RIDE THE MAN DOWN.
    I think Warner Archive have more or less exhausted all the Cameron/Selander Allied Artists/
    Monogram Westerns in their vaults. They do however have STRIKE IT RICH which is one of
    those “wildcatter” pictures directed by Selander. Film has a good reputation and it’s one of
    the few Cameron pictures that I’ve never seen.Furthermore the film re- teams Cameron with Don
    Castle-they were so good together in STAMPEDE.
    The actor who bears a very strong likeness to Rod is Don Megowan. (A LAWLESS STREET,
    SNOWFIRE,THE WEREWOLF)
    Interestingly,Rod even came to England to make a couple of B’s.
    PASSPORT TO TREASON is an OK crime flick which teams Rod with Louis Maxwell.
    It’s the sort of film that Network might release in the future.
    Furthermore it’s on Hollywood Scrapheap’s works in progress-so at least that means a good and
    watchable version will soon be out there.
    The other Rod Brit B was THE ELECTRONIC MONSTER (aka Escapement) a very odd mixture
    of spy thriller with Sci Fi elements.Film was notable,in the uncensored version, for some
    decidedly (for the era) kinky dream/ dance sequences. Again we hope this little gem will be
    unearthed at some point by Network.

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    • I always enjoy this kind of info, especially when it relates to people whose work I’m only partially familiar with – it really helps contextualize careers and contributions to the movies as a whole, and I’ve no doubt others find such input useful too.
      Ride the Man Down is a title that often crops up whenever Cameron is mentioned; I’ve never seen it myself but the frequent references mean it’s never far off my radar either.

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  8. Also worth checking out are some of the Cinecolor Westerns Cameron and Selander made for
    Monogram/Allied Artists.
    FORT VENGEANCE (Starring James Craig and Keith Larsen) is a pretty good little Mountie
    movie. If for nothing else it demonstrates Selander’s fast pacing and feel for locations.
    The same can be said for CAVALRY SCOUT (with Cameron) a brisk little affair with nasty
    James Millican and James Arness trying to sell gatling guns to the Indians.
    I recall our friend Laura has already given this one a positive review.
    Interestingly CAVALRY SCOUT was an early effort from producer Walter Mirisch.
    I don’t believe any producer in Hollywood history upped his game so quickly-from Bomba The
    Jungle Boy epics to THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN in a few short years.
    I don’t normally like gatling guns in Westerns (SIEGE AT RED RIVER,ONLY THE VALIANT,
    SOMETHING BIG) but in CAVALRY SCOUT they are OK and not used too much.
    Mr Mirisch also gets an executive producer;s credit on the forthcoming remake of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. That film also seems to feature gatling guns. From the look of the
    trailer it looks as if it’s going to be just as dire as the 3.10 TO YUMA re-make.
    The Spaghetti influence is certainly there. In line with these p.c.times this Seven are certainly
    a multi ethnic bunch. While I’ve no problem with that;Sturges’ original certainly did not need
    gatling guns to crank up the tension.
    A Western for the MTV generation,certainly,a classic,I doubt it.

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    • I saw that trailer for The Magnificent Seven remake yesterday, and I’ve got to say it looks hideous, borderline parody in truth. I think I can safely say I won’t be lining up to see it.

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    • I’m mortified by the current western trend. While I liked the 3:10 TO YUMA remake and OPEN RANGE, this faux-Spaghetti thing has got me worried. Can one copy a pastiche without it being mockery? The idea that Spaghettis mythologised the western myth seems to be caught in a further attempt at reference….I wonder why not just do straight westerns for their own sake?

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      • Well, I can’t get along with the remake of 3:10 to Yuma at all – I wrote a comparative piece on it here years ago but my dislike of it has increased over time.
        I do like Open Range and, going a bit further back, I felt Tombstone was fun too. I also liked the remake of True Grit when I saw it, but haven’t been back to it since that viewing on release so I can’t say how well it holds up.

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        • I think that modern westerns get mixed love from our sort of chappie I liked the two I mentioned, but didn’t the two that you did, hahaha. Yeah, it’s a hard target to hit, and the directorial gunslingers miss the mark too often. I think it’s all that referencial nonsense they get filled with in film schools; they can’t see the western as anything but a bundle of cartoonish tropes, instead of the potent story maachine that it really is. 🙂

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  9. I do find John Sturges’s The Magnificent Seven evergreen. From you and John’s comments on the remake and the gatling guns, I am already put off by this. Best regards.

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  10. The only two ‘newer’ westerns I have enjoyed in recent(ish) years are “OPEN RANGE” and “APPALOOSA”. In both cases, the lead actors have a genuine fondness for the western genre that I think shows through. That is Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall in the first and Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris in the second.
    This thread has taken some interesting turns!

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    • Yes, Jerry, I’ve had plenty of disappointments with modern westerns and I have little confidence or appetite when I hear of something new now; stuff like the new version of The Magnificent Seven doesn’t help in that respect.

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  11. Backtracking somewhat and indeed spurred on by Colin’s “Last Hurrah” comments-it’s
    interesting how these blogs still play an important role in getting underrated films/film-makers
    “out there”
    My fave blogs are RTHC,Toby’s Westerns,Laura’s and Kristina’s.
    There are some other very fine ones out there but the aforementioned really do hone in on the
    sort of films that I love.
    I don’t know how many younger readers these blogs have but I hope it’s quiet a few.
    I was amused recently,on a bus when a couple of,I guess 14 year olds sat in front of me.
    Their conversation went thus so.
    Young girl “watch’a got there”
    Young lad “the new Bruce Willis DVD”
    Young girl “who the **** is Bruce Willis”
    Then again why should a 14 year old be aware of a star who I guess must be crowding 60.

    I don’t know what the cut off point is for fans of say Rod Cameron,Lesley Selander,John
    Payne,Rory Calhoun,Rhonda Fleming,William Witney,and so on. I would suspect that it’s
    hopefully younger than Colin and Clayton but who knows.
    At any rate these blogs that I love do a great service in bringing great genre films and talent to
    a wider audience.
    Kristina has just published a great John Payne/Pine Thomas triple bill…that really made my
    day,even more so because none of these films are commercially available.
    I grew up in an era when young writers like Raymond Durgnat and Chris Wicking were
    producing brilliant essays on film-they certainly directed me towards stuff that I had never
    thought too much about at that time;including Selander.
    At the same time not everyone was that enlightened.
    In the early Sixties the British Film Institute staged a season of films at the National Film
    Theatre of “one shot” directors…i.e. directors who had only made one film;or only one
    film of note. Included in the season was Boetticher’s THE RISE & FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND.
    Blissfully un-aware of the Ranown cycle Chris and company soon addressed the BFI’s
    oversight regarding this.

    One thing’s for sure this is a golden era for fans of vintage films.
    10 years ago I could never have dreamed of the vast wealth of obscure films unearthed by
    Warner Archive. Add to this imprints like Kino-Lorber in The States and Koch,Explosive,
    Elephant and Eureka in Europe.High definition versions of some of the Scott/Boetticher films
    are a dream come true.I recently got the Koch Blu Ray of THE LAST WAGON…it’s sensational.
    Later to follow this year are high def versions of RIDE LONESOME,NIGHT PASSAGE and
    ULZANA’S RAID…I simply cannot wait.
    Anyone who follows my ramblings will know that I’m a massive Don Siegel nutter…to own
    Blu Ray versions of Siegel classics like THE KILLERS,COOGAN’S BLUF,ESCAPE FROM
    ALCATRAZ,FLAMING STAR and CHARLEY VARRICK is simply wonderful.
    I hold out for the day when MADIGAN can finally debut on Blu Ray…it’s always good to have
    something to look forward to.
    I’m pretty excited that in June we will finally get CHISUM and McQ on Blu Ray.I like Sturges’ film a
    lot and thought the location work in the film was stunning.People knock it as the Duke doing
    a Dirty Harry but I think it works pretty well.
    Of course this hits the pocket pretty hard but really I’m a pretty low maintenance sort of bloke,
    I don’t have a computer,mobile phone or a car.I’m a huge advocate of public transport,love my
    bus pass (hence my earlier comment) and do enjoy the odd glass of wine.

    At any time in life it’s always good to have something to look forward to and in closing I will say
    that I’m amazed that the following have yet to debut on Blu Ray…but time will tell.
    RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY,SEVEN MEN FROM NOW,all of the Anthony Mann/James Stewart
    Universal Westerns.

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    • I’m not sure what the actual cut off point is, or if it even exists. I was really musing on the fact that my own generation is probably, and this based on little more than casual observation and anecdotal evidence, the last one to embrace this kind of stuff in significant numbers. Aside from the ongoing decline of physical media, people under 40 now won’t have had the same accidental exposure to such material. A lot of us never would have sought out films had we not been introduced to them via TV and so on. Sure there’s more availability now but unless you’re aware of it to begin with, it’s going to pass you by. I guess blogs and the like serve to spread the word, but I’ve no idea how widely.

      BTW, that John Payne/Pine Thomas posting John Knight mentioned can be found here.

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    • Coming up for air from the Noir CIty fest! Wonderful to see the attention here for my favorite Rod Cameron Western, PANHANDLE. 🙂

      Many thanks for the kind words, John! And you’re right, I did enjoy CAVALRY SCOUT!

      Wasn’t Kristina’s John Payne piece great?

      Tonight I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard and suddenly realized that Buck Jones’ star was in front of me. I must have walked past it before and the name didn’t mean anything, but now it does thanks to John and Maricatrin. I took a photo!

      Best wishes,
      Laura

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  12. Colin,
    Just to add to our comments regarding the Pine Thomas films please don’t think that I
    hope that you will actually review some of them.I will eventually send them to you but really
    they are for your enjoyment.If you feel one or two of them fit into the RTHC spectrum fine,if not
    that’s fine too.
    I’m very pleased that Kristina has started the ball rolling regarding this and many thanks for
    providing the link to her fine piece on these films.
    I certainly would not expect you to “binge watch” these films,I like cheese and I like cheesy
    movies but one can over-indulge on both! 🙂

    Several things could happen with Paramount’s current attitude to vintage films.
    They could have a change of heart and realize the gold lurking in their vaults (not only
    their own films but also the entire Republic library which also includes many Monogram,
    Allied Artists and RegalScope titles)
    Paramount may be taken over by another company-there are rumors floating around
    regarding this.
    They may lease their vintage library to another company-they already have in place some
    sort of deal with Warners mainly for OOP titles.
    I’m sure something will be sorted out over time.

    As I have said before the Pine Thomas films are no classics but they had stellar production
    values and the color on Paramount’s early fifties films was second to none.(just check out
    how beautiful the DVD of BRANDED looks)
    The P.T. films would look sensational on DVD or even better Blu Ray.
    Until then the Hollywood Scrapheap is a great alternative-their “unofficial” releases are by
    far these films have looked up to now.

    .

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    • Don’t worry, John, I never thought anything of the kind.
      And I wouldn’t rule out seeing more Paramount holdings in the future – these situations change all the time and you never can tell what developments may be in store.

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  13. It’s interesting that the recent German Blu Ray of THE SHOOTIST is getting less than
    stellar reviews on Amazon de.
    Some of the folks there seem to feel that it’s no more than an “up-scaled” DVD.
    I might mention Paramount did not issue this film in Germany.
    THE SHOOTIST certainly needs a high def USA or UK release from Paramount.
    I’m also holding out for a Blu Ray of NEVADA SMITH.
    2.35 widescreen Westerns with splendid scenic values look sensational in high definition.
    Furthermore Paramount have never even bothered to release THE DESERTER on DVD.
    I recall it as being a fun “guys on a mission” type Western with a truly amazing cast.

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    • That’s one of the reasons I tend to wait for reviews on new Blu-ray releases, unless it’s something I’ve never owned or has been in such terrible shape that anything is going to be an improvement. The likes of new Arrow, Eureka and Koch titles are among the exceptions to that rule, generally.

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  14. Totally agree with the above.
    That’s why DVD Beaver offer such a great service to collectors.
    I wonder what they would say if they review the German version of THE SHOOTIST
    Often they say that the DVD is better than the Blu Ray-I guess it all depends on what source
    the various imprints are using.
    I had a look at the Film Detective Blu Ray of KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL and it’s nowhere
    near as good as the region 1 MGM/USA DVD.
    I will not be getting the Kino Blu Ray of CRY OF THE CITY because the Euro DVD I have of
    this film is wonderful.I would get a Blu Ray of STREET WITH NO NAME because the version
    that I have could do with an upgrade.
    It’s also encouraging that DVD Beaver are reviewing more and more European releases.
    Had you noticed that DVD Beaver are totally underwhelmed by those very expensive Japanese
    Blu Ray’s of various RKO classics.

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    • Yes, I saw those reviews of the Japanese titles. I know screen captures can only tell you so much but it seems apparent that those discs are really mediocre and represent very poor value for money.

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  15. Whatever would I do without the buying guidance we all get from you guys!? Priceless. Thanks to comments from Colin over recent times, I have been dipping my toes into getting some Spanish releases of good westerns that are just not available in the English-speaking areas and so far have found some very pleasing results (e.g. “MONEY WOMEN AND GUNS” in a stunning 2.35:1 print).

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    • That’s good to hear, Jerry. That Spanish edition of Money, Women and Guns – one of the all-time great titles there – is very nice and well worth getting. It’s satisfying to know that the site, be it via my own picks or tips from prolific contributors like John and others, are of solid practical use to people.

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  16. “Prolific Contributor”….wow! sometimes a bit too prolific I fear,that’s why I’ve decided to take a
    break and read others interesting comments on your excellent piece on AMBUSH.
    Nice to see MASTERSON OF KANSAS get name dropped,I might add.
    I think somewhere along the line we talked about the forthcoming Elephant release of
    SIGN OF THE PAGAN. On Amazon fr and DVD.fr it is noted as a Blu Ray at 2.35 and a DVD
    with the alternative 4×3 version-lets hope this is correct.
    DVD Beaver normally review Elephant titles so it will be interesting to hear what they say.
    I must say that everything that I’ve had from Elephant so far has been top notch-very user
    friendly menus and removable sub titles.
    I’m also very interested to see how Elephant’s Blu-Ray version of THIS ISLAND EARTH
    stacks up against the rather sub-standard German version that was released recently.
    The German version had unremarkable picture quality and a very user “unfriendly” menu.
    This is where DVD Beaver becomes incredibly valuable especially when they do comparisons
    of the different versions.

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    • John, the feedback is probably the most interesting part of this site, and you (and others) have added much in that respect – I was just taking the opportunity to say thanks for that. 🙂

      Yeah, I’d be interested to see how Sign of the Pagan turns out, and This Island Earth too as I’ve heard nothing but disappointing things about the extant German version.

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        • Oh that’s true, although I’ve found a dearth of comments doesn’t necessarily mean a post hasn’t been read or appreciated – sometimes people just don’t leave comments for one reason or another. Personally, I consider myself very fortunate that a lot of visitors here drop in regularly and both kick off discussions and/or nudge existing ones in many different directions.

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            • Absolutely. I recall when I first started this thing on a different platform back in 2007 that the response was much more limited – it does take time to build a readership and the commentary that tends to bring – and it could feel a bit like posting in a void on occasion, even if it wasn’t really.

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              • I enjoy finding out about new films related to posts…it’s really nice. (Money, Women, and Guns, for instance…that sounds great). It’s one thing to watch and write; the discussion, when I can get the time do do so, is quite fun as well, especially if it isn’t too awfully platitudinous. 🙂

                Keep up the good work.

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                • That’s an enjoyable, and informative, part for me too. It’s nice when stuff you’ve not heard of or weren’t familiar with gets brought up and tied into what was being talked about – it’s a good way to get pointers.

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  17. Colin

    Rod Cameron holds the record for most leading roles for an actor from here in Calgary, Alberta. Calgary, also known as “Cowtown”, breeds them big! My father’s fav actor.

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  18. Speaking of Rod Cameron, I ran across some discs I have with a dozen or so episodes of CITY DETECTIVE. This was a series that ran 1953 to 55 starring Cameron as a big city detective working various cases. Several of these episode are quite good with, “Man Down, Woman Screaming” from 1955 a real winner. Besides Cameron, the cast in this one includes, Beverly Garland, Jack Kelly and Lee Van Cleef. Needless to say Van Cleef is a villain. Review on IMDB

    Like

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