Horizons West

There are movies which look like they have everything going for them: a director with a substantial and significant reputation, a strong cast, and a promising script that is a blend of a couple of classic themes. All of this applies to Budd Boetticher’s Horizons West (1952) – add in the fact that the film was one of those handsomely shot Universal-International productions and one might reasonably expect it to be a cast iron winner.  However, the fact is it doesn’t quite live up to the build-up. It’s not a poor movie at all, just one which delivers a bit less than it could have – too much melodrama when more honest drama would have been preferable, and a series of conflicts which might have been more fully exploited.

The end of a war ought to signal a more peaceful era and maybe even a more hopeful one too. For the Hammond brothers, returning to their native Texas after taking part in the war between the states, the hopes are present although while Neil (Rock Hudson) wants nothing more than a return to the idyll he left behind when he signed on older brother Dan (Robert Ryan) is disgruntled enough to be in the mood for a different kind of struggle. By his own admission, Dan Hammond doesn’t like losing and almost immediately sets about changing the course of his fortune. This period of reconstruction in the vanquished South is one which can make men rich fast and, as always, draw the consequent attention of beautiful women. It just so happens that the allure of wealth and a woman crosses his path as soon as he enters Austin, and it also happens that both in this case belong to one man, Cord Hardin (Raymond Burr). It shouldn’t be any surprise that Dan will fall foul of this brash Yankee, nor that the clash is to set him on a path that tantalizes him with the promise of fulfilling his dreams but also creates a rift that threatens to irrevocably sour relations with his father (John McIntire) and Neil.

The title of the film – Horizons West – is both romantic and simple. Those two words pretty much encapsulate the spirit of the genre and I guess it’s no wonder that Jim Kitses used this as the title of his examination of the most influential figures in the western, a book I highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t yet read it. Yes, those two words conjure up all kinds of iconic imagery and it’s therefore difficult not to have heightened expectations. As I said above, this isn’t a bad little movie but everything from the title on down holds out the prospect of something greater and grander. Perhaps that’s a tad unfair as I have a hunch that were one to come to it after the credits had rolled, and unburdened by any great familiarity with director or stars, then it would prove a satisfactory and satisfying way to pass 80 minutes or so. I sometimes feel that approaching movies as “film buffs” means that all that associated baggage we bring along is simply adding an unnecessary degree of pressure to how we perceive films and assess their relative worth.

Director Budd Boetticher’s fame and reputation come principally from the films he made in the late fifties with Randolph Scott, what we refer to as the Ranown cycle. The greatness of those half-dozen westerns, a little interrelated cluster of bona fide masterpieces – cannot be disputed; they mark the director and his star out as giants of the genre. However, the flip side is the  way the towering reputation of those films tends to cast a deep shadow over the rest of Boetticher’s body of work. That his other, earlier movies do not attain those artistic levels shouldn’t be regarded as any particularly damning criticism. Generally, Boetticher had far less creative control over the films he was making as a contract director within the studio system, a fact which applied to almost all filmmakers. Boetticher, like any contract director, was employed to turn in a competently made product as efficiently as possible. This is what he did on titles such as Horizons West, the script of which lays the melodrama on thicker than it needed to and only scratches the surface of the theme of sibling rivalry and the differing perceptions of ambition within a family. The film always looks sumptuous (as Universal-International productions typically did) even if the on screen action is a little lacking at times. As usual, Boetticher shines brightest in the outdoor scenes and the action sequences, the final act being especially well-handled.

I’ve spent plenty of time singing the praises of Robert Ryan on this site before, and I’ll try to confine myself to pointing out the fact he rarely gave a disappointing performance and certainly didn’t do so in this instance. His edgy magnetism once again anchors the movie and he uses the duality of his character to great effect – I often think it was impossible for Ryan to play anything other than an interesting role. In terms of the development of the story, I would have liked to have seen more of the growing chasm between the two brothers. However, Rock Hudson was still in the early stages of his career and thus his part was limited somewhat – although each successive film would see his screen time expanded. Julie Adams was handed a good vampish role as the wayward wife of the northern carpetbagger and she makes for a very attractive presence. Raymond Burr was well on his way towards becoming virtually typecast as unsympathetic villains in these pre Perry Mason years – he played such parts very convincingly but he must surely have been bored by the dearth of variety at the same time. One of the delights of these studio vehicles was the richness of the supporting casts, and Horizons West certainly doesn’t disappoint on that score – John McIntire, Dennis Weaver, James Arness, Douglas Fowley, Tom Powers, Rodolfo Acosta and Walter Reed all add value to the viewing experience.

Some years ago, the only available copy of Horizons West was the German DVD by Koch Media, which I have. Since then, however, the movie has been released in the UK and the US, and probably in other territories as well. I can only comment on the Koch disc, which displays some genuinely eye-popping colors and is extremely sharp on occasion. There are some instances of softness though, and also some minor registration issues where the color can appear to bleed slightly. Overall though, I have to say the film looks very  fine. So, to sum up, we’re talking here about a solid movie featuring the talents of Boetticher and Ryan. Even if it has imperfections and isn’t up there with the very best work such people were capable of, it remains entertaining and worthwhile.

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54 thoughts on “Horizons West

  1. Well, firstly I should like to celebrate the first post on RTHC for quite some time. Terrific to hear from you again, Colin. We’ve all been suffering ‘withdrawal’ symptoms!!

    It’s quite strange – when I first saw this film a good few years ago now I felt exactly the same. Good, but somehow I was looking for slightly more. A few months ago I bought the UK 101 Films release and re-watched the film, finding myself enjoying it so much more as a re-view. Your comments regarding the baggage we bring to a movie as ‘film buffs’ can be so true! When watching a western for the first time (there are still a few left LOL) I do try to suspend the baggage and come to it purely as an enthusiast. The baggage can kick in later! I did that this week when I watched the Warner Archive transfer of “MASSACRE RIVER” for the first time. I was surprised by how good I found the movie.

    “HORIZONS WEST” does have all the ducks in line really, without pretending to be a masterpiece, like so many of those 50s universal westerns. I actually found Hudson’s underplaying quite effective as a contrast to the melodrama unfolding around him, sparked by the increasingly bitter anger of his brother. As you say, anything that stars Ryan benefits so much by his presence. And I think the same is true of McIntire.

    Welcome back, Colin.

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    • Sometimes watching thrillers (film noir can be especially tricky in this respect) can be a touch disappointing first time round, if you’re spending most of the time trying to get a handle on the plot. Returning to them later, when the need for close attention is no longer such an issue, often makes them seem more enjoyable. I guess I was referring to a different but related phenomenon here, but the result of finding later watches more rewarding still applies.

      BTW, I agree that Hudson’s performance was fine and quietly effective, I was just mentioning how he has less screen time than Ryan – certainly wasn’t criticizing the actor, in case that’s how it came across.

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  2. Good to have you online again!
    Haven’t seen this film in an age. Must get hold of it – anything with Robert Ryan is a must watch!
    I don’t think of baggage,just a history of film watching which allows you to ,almost automatically, make comparisons.

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    • Hmm, perhaps baggage isn’t exactly the right word here – it carries more negative implications than I suppose is necessary. It’s all a question of expectations really and, in the case of film fans, it can lead to our being unnecessarily harsh on occasion – I think. Naturally, we can’t help making comparisons but they’re not always fair in that the aims and expectations of the filmmakers vary from production to production. Essentially, I’m saying that looki9ng at a film like Horizons West and (as I did in the past) thinking it’s not so great simply because it’s not of the same standard as the Ranown pictures is doing it something of a disservice.

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  3. And … he’s back ☺Great review and I think very fair (though it had been ages since I saw it last and probably only in Italian) because like you the credits alone would probably tend to unfairly inflate its potential for me – but in the context of the UI output of the day it still has a really solid, good standing. And thanks for the reminder that I really, really must a copy of the Kitses – cheers mate!

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    • It’s not so hard to track down these days, Sergio, and it’s a good little film if you approach it on its own terms. The Kitses book is very good, a lovely overview of the development of the western and the role played in that evolutionary process by some of the key individuals. It’s very well written and the overall premise is one I broadly agree with.

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  4. May I add my comments to say how good it is to see RTHC back in business. It’s been three months but for loyal RTHC fans it seems more like three years 🙂

    A good choice; and for me HORIZONS WEST is one of the better Universal Boettichers. I am also rather fond of SEMINOLE and THE CIMMARON KID. I am less fond of MAN FROM THE ALAMO and BRONCO BUSTER.

    Jerry name dropped MASSACRE RIVER and I would like to add my approval for this interesting, offbeat little Western. Jerry might also like to check out the same director’s (John Rawlins) FORT DEFIANCE which is even better. FORT DEFIANCE is available as a nice looking MGM MOD.

    Colin,as you mentioned Koch,I must say I was a tad disappointed with their recent version of THE SPOILERS. For starters it’s 4×3 despite it being noted as 2.0 widescreen on their website. The picture quality is well below Koch’s normal standards. Having said all that it’s still the best looking version of the film that I have seen thus far. For me THE SPOILERS (1955) is another handsome Universal Fifties Western that should have been far better,especially with that stellar cast.

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    • I still need to catch up with some of the UI Boetticher movies, I’ve been eyeing Red Ball Express lately. And thanks for the tip on Fort Defiance, one I’ll keep a lookout for.
      That’s disappointing news on The Spoilers as it’s a film I was planning to pick up at some point – when you say 4×3, do you mean it’s letterboxed or full screen/open-matte?

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      • It’s 4×3 1.33:1 not letterboxed – if that makes any sense. The Technicolor is way off at times, sometimes looking like Cinecolor. That’s a shame because the opening moments are fine. As I mentioned the Koch version is the best of a pretty bad bunch. Another victim of the much mentioned Universal fire perhaps?

        As I mentioned possibly elsewhere one of the very best Boetticher pictures RIDE LONESOME was to be released by Koch on Blu Ray later this year. There are, as I understand, problems regarding contracts with Sony and stuff. It might still happen, if it does not Explosive will release the film instead.

        The Blu Ray of COMANCHE STATION is due from Explosive, disc includes a never before released interview with Budd from the 1980’s.

        Thanks for the edit…you are the only blogger, as far as I know who offers this service.

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        • Yes, John, that makes perfect sense. Thanks for clarifying it. I had the old Spanish release of The Spoilers at one time and was hoping the movie might finally have been given a decent transfer – very disappointing but you may be right about the fire of a few years ago playing some part.

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    • Thanks for the tip re “FORT DEFIANCE”, John. I picked up that MGM MOD quite recently and enjoyed the film very much. I thought “MASSACRE RIVER” a real ‘sleeper’. Very good.

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  5. This is exactly the response I had to this movie when I first watched it a month or so back, Colin, so to say I agree with your review is an understatement. It starts very well, but just becomes a bit of a mess as it progresses. Too much melodrama, to be sure, but the character motivations – for Robert Ryan especially – just don’t ring true. It’s a shame, as the cast is great, the direction under a sure hand, etc. Not a poor film, exactly, but a misfire in my book. I was surprised that this turned out to be the minor title in the HORIZONS WEST TCM Vault collection (which includes the sturdy SASKATCHEWAN, the very good PILLARS OF THE SKY and BACKLASH, and the truly excellent DAWN AT SOCORRO).

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    • I forgot to mention my disappointment of the final resolution to HORIZONS WEST… at the risk of getting into SPOILERS…

      SPOILER WARNING!!
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

      ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

      …the way the final shootout played out totally undercut the familial “settling the score” aspect that had been building throughout. Just really poor scripting, IMO, letting father McIntire and younger son Hudson completely off the hook – followed by one of those happy ending closing scenes that didn’t seem earned. And no mention made of Arness’ fate.

      I think they were going for an epic feel in less than 90 minutes, but the execution was clunky, unlike something like THE BIG LAND, which carries its sweep lightly.

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    • Jeff, I thought the film climaxed, or maybe anti-climaxed, too early with the showdown between Ryan and Burr. The excess melodrama really kicks in after that point. I think the script needed a reworking as there was the potential for a stronger movie in there.
      I don’t have that TCM set but I do have all the films included in various other editions and I think you’re right that they are mostly of a higher grade – I’d argue Saskatchewan is more or less comparable though.

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        • It’s been an absolute age since I last saw Saskatchewan (I wrote about it here though) but I did think it was entertaining enough – Raoul Walsh, Alan Ladd and that great location work made for a good combination.

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  6. I pretty strongly agree with your review and most of what you say about it. I’ve seen it twice–the first time, it was really disappointing, not only given my expectations of Budd Boetticher and the presence of Robert Ryan (not to mention my general liking for U-I 50s Westerns) but because it did start out well, along lines of many other post Civil War westerns, but promisingly, given the brother relationship and those things. The second time I liked it somewhat better but for me it’s still kind of low on the list for Boetticher but that said, for me there’s nothing completely negligible about his movies, even the very modest 40s ones.

    Of course, he fully flowered with the Ranown cycle–a number of reasons for this and we could talk about it all day. But I’ll just say that in my own top 10 Boettichers, though the best Ranowns dominate the very top, I do consider the earlier BULLFIGHTER AND THE LADY another masterpiece, a very deep work of art and very personal, and THE RISE AND FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND stands out in movies of that late 50s/early 60s gangster cycle, a brilliant film that I’ve always enjoyed going back to. Among the others, I actually do like two of his U-I Westerns about equally with the two least Ranowns–which I consider DECISION AT SUNDOWN and BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE. Of those two U-I ones, you wrote favorably of THE MAN FROM THE ALAMO here, not as much of SEMINOLE. I find these movies very beautiful and had the treat of a double bill in 35 Technicolor prints a few years ago–looking as good as they had in 1953. THE MAN FROM THE ALAMO points his best direction in a way, with the hero mourning a dead wife, while SEMINOLE is a different kind of movie for him but it’s an absorbing Indian film with locations and atmosphere unusual among those films, even if some other elements (like the wrong-headed commander) are more familiar. The scripts even for DECISION and BUCHANAN have more nuance and freshness and they gain from being part of the Ranown cycle, but I thought he brought a lot to the U-I ones, variable but they could be that good (I have seen them all–but BRONCO BUSTER only on a black and white TV but now have a color copy). I spent time with Budd and dared to defend them even though I knew it was an unhappy period for him. He acknowledged that perhaps they had turned out well in some cases but just felt he had been constrained by the scripts and also by the producers (except for Aaron Rosenberg).

    Getting back to HORIZONS WEST, I don’t know why but placing at the center a protagonist who loses his better self to ambition doesn’t work that well in a Western–that kind of character is usually better as the villain, and perhaps even might be interesting in a narrative shaped that way. This movie reminds me of SILVER RIVER (1948; Raoul Walsh) where the same thing happens with Errol Flynn’s character, though the experience that turns him bitter at the beginning motivates him pretty well and he is redeemed at the end–it’s a better movie than this one, pretty interesting and absorbing but not the most satisfying Walsh either.

    However, I want to get back to this one more time–I have that five film set from Universal that includes DAWN AT SOCORRO, PILLARS OF THE SKY, BACKLASH and SASKATCHEWAN (all of which I like much better–in about that order and it’s a really good collection), so will make it a point. Just reading what you said about it made me feel it’s due for another look.

    I consider Jim Kitses’ HORIZONS WEST, one of the best studies of the genre and he is insightful not only about genre motifs but about the directors he chose to write about. But I do feel that as good a title for the book as this was, he burdened the film for those who may not have seen it. He never actually even mentions it in the text as I recall, concentrating on a deep analysis of the Ranown cycle in the Boetticher section, though some of the other U-I titles are giving passing mention that does add some intelligent observation.

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    • Plenty to chew over there, Blake, but westerns of the era tend to have that effect I guess. Seminole has been mentioned a couple of times now and I need to watch that one again as it’s been a long time since I last saw it. Also, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond is another that I’ve been meaning to catch up with, so thanks for the reminder.

      I think you’re right about the ambition-consumed Ryan character being an uncomfortable fit in a classic era western. You do expect a certain degree of nobility and that’s not something that tends to go with such naked ambition. I hadn’t thought about the parallels with Silver River until you brought them up here. I quite like that film and wrote about it favorably here in the past.

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      • You may have written your SILVER RIVER piece before I started reading your blog, so I appreciated your linking it and enjoyed reading it.

        Yes, I pretty much agree with what you said about that one too–maybe you like it a little more than I do but not that much. I’ll try to account for my view of it–the first time I saw it I was very taken with it, as was somewhat unusual, and (in his last film with Raoul Walsh, with whom he worked so well), the underrated talents of Errol Flynn were well tapped for a complex character.

        But in the several times I’ve come back to it, I’ve been more ambivalent. To an extent, it’s a movie that develops its themes in a more literary way, even a little self-consciously, and while I don’t mind this, Walsh is best when even the most profound things are articulated in action terms, less verbalized–even with PURSUED, which has the most obvious dramatic ambition, that’s how he makes it work. SILVER RIVER kind of gets where it wants to go in the end (and is not only more satisfying but more interesting than HORIZONS WEST) but relatively, for Walsh, it plays a little heavily in doing so.

        I’d compare Walsh’s first Flynn film, THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON, made seven years earlier and with Flynn still in full possession of his youthful élan. Yes, it’s a fanciful biography of Custer in a lot of ways, yet manages to make him a complex protagonist even if romanticized–he’s charming and courageous, a vibrant personality and charismatic leader, and tender with his wife (that great last scene between them!) but’s also glory-seeking to an obsessive degree, making the Little Big Horn a climax that makes sense–and it plays so cinematically! So, it’s the greater movie, I would argue, and he is not a less interesting hero.

        There’s little Walsh I don’t like, and like all of his Westerns in varying degree–SILVER RIVER far from best but definitely far from least too.

        I’m sure you know in my earlier remarks I was not suggesting that the protagonists of Westerns should just be pure heroes. I like them most when they are flawed–often, as we’d agree, the narrative is about them coming to a better place spiritually as well as morally. I simply believe that if they needn’t be simple heroes, it’s best if they are not an unredeemable villain either, as Ryan’s character becomes in HORIZONS WEST.

        That Robert Ryan–both in his screen persona and the depth of his gifts–could be an ideal Western protagonist of the kind I favor is perhaps most evident in DAY OF THE OUTLAW. There he is the hero, but deeply bitter and morally compromised at the beginning–the movie is partly about how such a man can be redeemed by an unexpected challenge. So that used him better.

        And he’s in his share of other superb Westerns. That he could be a compelling villain is especially evident in THE NAKED SPUR–a pretty bad guy, and pretty ruthless as well as cunning on his own behalf, but he is also interesting and it is to him, not the hero, to whom it is addressed, that the movie’s best line and what it is about is given: “Choosing a way to die, what’s the difference; choosing a way to live, that’s the hard part.”

        There are other Robert Ryan shadings in other Westerns too–along with fellow veteran William Holden he had one of his late career triumphs in the brilliantly acted THE WILD BUNCH; the two men, playing ex-partners and friends now at odds, quietly convey trying to hold on to who they have always been, and with the rueful and weary self-knowledge that comes from long experience.

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        • I wrote on Silver River back in 2009 (the posting date visible refers to the time I imported it from my old site) and I think I may not have watched it since. At the time I was going chronologically through Flynn’s westerns and came to it right after suffering through the pretty unsatisfactory San Antonio. That may have led me to rate it more highly but I can’t be sure, I’d need to watch it again.

          I share your opinion of Flynn and Walsh’s collaborations and I agree that They Died With Their Boots On is terrific – I love that final Flynn/De Havilland scene myself – beautifully played and extraordinarily moving.

          I knew exactly what you were getting at in your original comment on Ryan’s character here, and I was aware that you weren’t suggesting a lack of nuance or complexity would be a good thing. As for The Naked Spur, and Ryan’s contribution to it, I’ve said before and have no hesitation in doing so again here that it’s probably my favorite of the Mann/Stewart westerns.

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  7. I do agree with your assessment of Horizons West, Colin. And I have similar feelings about the quality of the five-film set it heads (with Dawn at Soccorro being a new favorite I discovered upon this site’s recommendation…not the first time that has happened). But mostly, I just want to say welcome back!

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    • Good to know a recommendation went down well, makes things feel very worthwhile.
      And thanks for the wishes, in fact thanks to all those ho have expressed the same sentiments here.

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    • Gordon, it’s nice to be able to bring something new to people’s attention. I hope you get the chance to see it some time. I do think that if one’s expectations aren’t unrealistically high, then the movie has a number of points in its favor.

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  8. Great to see you back and great to see you are still as “quick on the draw”. Cannot disagree with anything you say about “Horizons West”, I have seen it several times over the years and as you say enjoyable but could have been so much more. The Jim Kitses book is as you say a classic, I am also a fan of Jon Tuska’s “Filming of the West” which has some great photos.

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  9. I also bought and really enjoyed the Kitses book many years ago (with the original ‘Major Dundee’ cover).
    Colin, taking up Bruce’s recommendation of Jon Tuska’s book “The Filming Of The West”, I would heartily endorse his comments. A fascinating study of Western film-making, with much interesting stuff on the studios’ series westerns. It was published as far back as 1976 though so could be tough to find……well worth the search though. I think you would get a lot out of it.

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    • Cheers, Jerry, noted. The book does appear to be out of print at the moment but there are used copies available, some a little pricey. Sounds like it could be a rewarding read and worth the expense though.

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  10. Just to backtrack on several previously raised
    points and other comments:

    Firstly,regarding my comments on THE SPOILERS,
    I should imagine the Koch version is a good as it’s going
    to get unless some previously undiscovered master surfaces.
    I’m sure if there was a better version out there Koch of all
    people would have found it.
    As mentioned before I found the film pretty underwhelming,
    despite the very fine cast.

    We have often discussed here,and elsewhere the “missing”
    Universal CinemaScope Westerns especially DAY OF THE
    BADMAN.
    Then there are other Universal “star vehicles” in CinemaScope
    like THE PURPLE MASK,NEVER STEAL ANYTHING SMALL
    and ISTANBUL.
    At any rate there do seem to be many missing items in
    Universal’s vaults.
    There are many interesting Universal Noir/Crime Thrillers
    that have yet to surface like ABOVE THE LAW,THE PRICE
    OF FEAR and APPOINTMENT WITH A SHADOW and
    MAN AFRAID.

    There has been much on-line comment on the recent
    Ostalgica,Germany Blu Ray of THIS ISLAND EARTH.
    I can happily report that the just released Elephant,France
    Blu Ray is a vast improvement regarding picture quality.
    Furthermore,unlike the German version,the Elephant version
    has a very user friendly menu with French subs that are
    easy to disable.Only drawback there is a nifty Sci Fi trailer
    gallery which sadly has non removable subs.
    I love THIS ISLAND EARTH one of the very best of
    Fifties Sci Fi films and it’s great to have a decent version at last.

    For stunning picture quality I don’t think you can beat
    Technicolor from the 1940’s.
    Films like WESTERN UNION and CANYON PASSAGE look
    wonderful in high definition and there are wonderful DVD versions
    of those films available as well.
    I’m very much looking forward to Koch’s forthcoming Blu Ray
    of John Farrow’s CALIFORNIA.
    It’s pretty cheesy,overblown stuff what what a visual treat.
    I’m really at a loss to explain why many of these Forties Technicolor
    films are in far better shape than many Fifties films

    Just to comment on previously mentioned films I too
    really like SASKATCHEWAN a beautiful looking Mountie movie.
    I feel DECISION AT SUNDOWN is the most underrated of
    the Ranown’s not up there with the best but still very good,
    and very different with wonderful moments of humor.

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  11. Just a correction to my above comments,
    the Universal crime thriller I mentioned should have
    read OUTSIDE THE LAW directed by Jack Arnold with
    Universal contract players Ray Danton and Grant Williams.
    While I’m at it it’s high time Arnold’s THE TATTERED DRESS
    had a DVD release as well.

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    • Oh yes, I’d love to see The Tattered Dress get released too. Generally, we haven’t done too badly as far as Universal westerns are concerned, they are of course absences but it’s very definitely a glass half full (or even more) situation for me.
      Crime/thrillers/noir, along with some other genre material, has been thinner on the ground, unfortunately. Still, stuff does trickle out via licensing deals in the UK and other European markets.

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  12. Yep!
    There are very few Universal Fifties Westerns
    that have not been released on DVD somewhere on the Planet.

    Two notable exceptions are SADDLE TRAMP and
    RAILS INTO LARAMIE.

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    • “RAILS INTO LARAMIE” has been released by Hollywood Scrapheap, I believe, but is not a normally-considered commercial release. Maybe that’s what you meant. But it IS available on our very own planet…..

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  13. As much as i love what Hollywood Scrapheap are
    doing,their version is not an “official” release.(i.e. licensed from Universal)
    Furthermore I would love to see it in it’s correct ratio 2.0 widescreen.
    Because the “off air” versions of this film are very good,and I’ve no doubt
    the Scrapheap version is too, the film hopefully will get a Blu Ray release at
    some point where it should look stunning,especially in widescreen,
    I live in hope.
    As I have said many times before,here and elsewhere 90% of
    Hollywood Scrapheap’s output are films Paramount refuse to release,
    not only their own titles but also all the Republic films that they own.
    The Republic library also includes a huge chunk of Monogram/Allied
    Artists titles and also most of the RegalScope films
    Jerry,I’d love to know what you think of the p.q. of Scrapheap’s
    THE BLACK WHIP-I thought it was very good and the film’s not
    half bad either.
    Returning to “missing” Universal titles a couple of interesting
    Sixties Westerns also MIA.
    R.G.Springsteen’s SHOWDOWN the only Audie Murphy
    Universal Western shot in black & white and the only
    Murphy Universal Western not released somewhere on the
    Planet-and that’s a shame because it’s a real goodie.
    Also from Springsteen is the very adult themed
    HE RIDES TALL which was granted an “X” certificate in the UK.
    The film was released in the UK with DR TERROR’S HOUSE OF
    HORRORS a supremely entertaining show.
    The only other Westerns that I can think of to be granted an
    “X” certificate in the UK are CURSE OF THE UNDEAD and
    FIEND THAT WALKED THE WEST.

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  14. Just a late comment regarding Raymond Burr and his years spent as heavy, I found it a nice change for him to be cast as a horseback riding gunman (as opposed to the smooth saloon keeper/gambler well dressed scheming villain) in “The Brass Legend”. He really convinced as a tough outlaw and his final horse mounted shootout with Hugh O’Brien was well done and different.

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    • I’ve never seen The Brass Legend, Bruce but that change of pace for a villainous Raymond Burr piques my curiosity. I see there’s a US release available so that’s one to add to the list.

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  15. So nice to see you back, as always enjoy reading both post and ensuing discussion 🙂 always plenty of great insights and more viewing ideas. Haven’t seen this one yet but have it and will soon-ish I’m sure. Best!

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    • Thanks. As always, I’m hugely grateful to all those who take the time to drop by and, through their comments, make the follow-up to these posts such a pleasure.

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  16. Further to my previous comments on
    THIS ISLAND EARTH (well,it is a key 1950’s
    Universal picture) I must admit that I’m “chuffed to bits”
    that Glenn Erickson has included my impression of the
    recent Elephant,France Blu Ray of this Sci Fi classic.
    This was taken from a personal e-mail that I sent Glenn.
    DVD Savant is required reading for yours truly and I love
    the rating system Glenn applies to his excellent and
    incredibly helpful reviews.
    As I have mentioned before both here and elsewhere Elephant
    do great work,no “forced” subs,very user friendly menus (I need ’em)
    and wonderful transfers.
    Two of my most eagerly awaited releases are Elephant’s forthcoming
    (hopefully) versions in high-def of NIGHT PASSAGE and
    ULZANA’S RAID.

    Like

    • That’s terrific, John. I’m a fan of Glenn’s writing and work in general, some of the best and most enthusiastic out there – lovely to see you get a name check in his column.

      Like

  17. That train ride in Colorado with James Stewart up top should look especially stunning in high-def in “NIGHT PASSAGE”!!

    Like

    • Thank you, Clayton, there have been quite a few things going on in my life (still are to be honest) which have left me less inclined to post, but I’m trying to ease myself back in.
      I think your reaction here is fairly typical, enjoyable enough but not really ending up where you want/expect it to.

      Like

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