Indian Uprising

So many things seem to be connected.  And once you move into the field of the arts, and particularly cinema, this becomes all the more noticeable. Film fans tend to spend a fair amount of time griping about the latest remake and indeed the fact that more and more of that species seem to be appearing. I can appreciate that; there is that sense of laziness, of creative stagnation, and sometimes the trepidation that accompanies news that some personal favorite is about to be reimagined. Still, it’s not a new phenomenon and has been happening for about as long as people have been making movies. All of which brings me to Indian Uprising (1952), a modest yet engaging cavalry western, which is hardly the type you’d think anyone would have been clamoring to redo. Nevertheless, the writing team behind this picture are the same people whose names you will find attached to the very similar Apache Rifles, directed by William Witney more than a decade later.

The plot here is a familiar one for anyone who has seen more than a handful of westerns, but that’s not to be taken as a criticism since it’s the execution of  a story that matters more than how high or low it’s positioned on the originality scale. It’s Arizona in the 1880s and Geronimo (Miguel Inclan) is still free and more than a few steps ahead of General Crook’s cavalry. We see events from the perspective of Captain McCloud (George Montgomery), and the opening has his troops luring a band of Apache into an ambush which leads to the capture of Geronimo’s son. A valuable captive such as this offers an opportunity to draw the elusive war chief to the negotiating table, and McCloud is both humane and canny enough not to overplay his hand, ultimately setting the boy free to demonstrate good faith. What follows is a process that has often been observed. The Apache strike a deal and keep to it, but other interests are keen to make as much money as possible from the newly tamed territory. As expected, plans are set in motion to stir up latent racial antagonism, political pressure is applied, and the flames of a new conflict are kindled for the sake of a tidy profit.

The later Apache Rifles would focus on a different war chief, Victorio, and add a few other elements to the mix but the essence of that film and of Indian Uprising is the question of trust and good faith. These are eternal themes, ones that have resonance in all aspects of human interaction but are especially potent in movies looking at the Indian wars. The message conveyed here is a progressive one but it’s realistic enough not to allow its hopefulness blind us to the facts. The integrity and good intentions of the lead remain intact by the end but the ultimate shabbiness of the government line and its dissembling opportunism is confronted squarely and acknowledged, which is to the filmmakers’ credit. There are a mix of interiors and location work (including the often used Iverson Ranch and the instantly recognizable red earth of Arizona), with the latter showing director Ray Nazarro’s (Apache Territory) work off to best effect and also providing a dramatic backdrop for the major action set pieces.

If you take a look around any of the sites that devote time to classic westerns, it’s hard to avoid coming across some mention of George Montgomery. I’ve not featured him here before and the reason for that is down to the simple fact that I’ve not seen a lot of his films. This is somewhat remiss of me but I have taken steps to remedy that and have acquired a number of his movies – although in my defense, I will say that I’ve seen and enjoyed a number of episodes Cimarron City, his late-50s TV show. He’s a solid and personable lead, his part being a much more straightforward and less complicated one than the corresponding role Audie Murphy would take on in Apache Rifles, and an easy figure for audiences to identify with and root for.

The only woman in the picture is Audrey Long, and Indian Uprising would be her last movie before retiring and settling down to a long marriage to the creator of The Saint Leslie Charteris. She had a relatively brief career anyway although one which included a number of choice films; she played alongside John Wayne in Tall in the Saddle and also was cast in a couple of fine films noir Desperate and Born to Kill. A quick glance at her filmography drew my attention to another of her films I must look out for, Homicide for Three based on Patrick Quentin’s novel Puzzle for Puppets. This stood out for me because I’m a mystery fan and also due to the fact not many of Patrick Quentin’s Peter Duluth stories have been adapted for the screen, the Lex Barker and Lisa Gastoni vehicle Strange Awakening from Puzzle for Fiends being another example.

Thinking of cavalry movies nearly always brings John Ford to mind.  While Indian Uprising is certainly not in the same league as Ford’s work, there are a few common factors, quite aside from the general horse soldiers milieu. In the first place, Mexican actor Miguel Inclan appeared in The Fugitive and also, more notably, as Cochise in Fort Apache. One of Ford’s trademarks was his portrayal of the various army types and the domestic situation in the isolated outposts. The latter doesn’t get an awful lot of attention but, to me anyway, the stage Irish sergeants played by Joe Sawyer and John Call were not such distant relations of those of Victor McLaglen and Ward Bond.

Indian Uprising should be easy enough to locate. There’s a MOD DVD available in the US, a French DVD and the Spanish disc I picked up. I think it also turns up online in the usual places but I’m not positive on that. The image generally looks good with natural colors and minimal damage. While this is very much a second tier western it’s also an enjoyable one. These kinds of movies were the bread and butter affairs that kept the genre ticking over and are often better than some critics would have you believe. I liked the movie and I feel anyone who appreciates what such programmers have to offer will do so too.

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106 thoughts on “Indian Uprising

      • You’re a devil – been ordering a few Italian DVDs of late on your say so. My Dad watched POKER FLAT but hasn’t told me what he thought yet. You dome BLACK WIDOW in the past but …. Big fan of the Quentin / Stagge / Patrick books!

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        • I know, that’s the problem with this internet game – there’s always someone tempting you to part with cash. 😀

          It’s good to hear you got hold of The Outcasts of Poker Flat, and even better to hear your father felt like watching it.

          On the books, I’m on the lookout for an affordable copy of The Grindle Nightmare after some reviews have suggested it’s something to be approached with caution!

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  1. Interesting choice and some nifty background details of those involved. Never knew that you had not featured a Montgomery picture before. INDIAN UPRISING was sandwiched between THE TEXAS RANGERS and CRIPPLE CREEK two of George’s top Westerns. The Montgomery Westerns do vary in quality,I do recall that you enjoyed
    MASTERSON OF KANSAS and if you have not watched it yet ROBBER’S ROOST is also very good.
    As with all second string stars there are several interesting titles on the missing list. LAST OF THE BADMEN directed by Paul Landres was an Allied Artists picture in Color and CinemaScope and was later re-worked as another Audie Murphy picture GUNFIGHT AT COMANCHE CREEK.
    George’s sole entry into the 50’s JD genre was STREET OF SINNERS, an interesting concoction from Philip Yordan and veteran B director William Berke. STREET OF SINNERS has George looking rather fetching in a street cop’s uniform sorting out various gangs and was adult enough to gain an “X” certificate in the UK. STREET OF SINNERS is the sort of minor Noir much favoured by Kino Lorber so a release may happen someday.

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    • Cheers, John. I’ve seen a number of Montgomery westerns before but never got round to featuring any here. I do have a copy of Robbers’ Roost but haven’t watched it yet. I was kind of curious about Cripple Creek so it’s good to hear something positive about it.
      I remember seeing Last of the Badmen on TV years ago and thought it was OK.

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    • I really enjoyed MASTERSON OF KANSAS. George in the lead role was good as Masterson. However, second billed and little known character actor James Griffith makes the most of it and gives the performance of his career by stealing the show as Doc Holliday. When I think about this movie…..I think of James Griffith as Doc Holliday. In my opinion, he played the role so well it put Griffith in the upper echelon with all the others that portrayed Holliday.

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  2. Colin,I too have only seen LAST OF THE BADMEN on TV as a pan & scan. When seen in the correct ratio (this time 2.35) and restored these films can be viewed under far more favourable aspects. I think you will enjoy ROBBER’S ROOST a very strong supporting cast is very much a plus factor.

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    • Yes, that supporting cast is part of the reason I got it.
      Recently, I also picked up a copy of Black Patch.
      Canyon River is another I saw on TV, but I have to say it didn’t really work for me. I’m quite keen to get hold of Seminole Uprising but it doesn’t seem to be the easiest to find – I think there’s a French release but it will suffer from the usual subtitle problem.

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    • I agree John…knowing the high regard Colin has for the Scott/Boetticher films, I would think he would be impressed with ROBBERS’ ROOST. Consequently, I could of easily seen Randolph Scott in this movie. I felt the screenplay was intelligently written from the Zane Grey novel and the cinematography was top notch. Montgomery was excellent reminding me of his earlier A-film efforts. The entire cast didn’t let down a bit either.

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  3. Pleased you have chosen a George Montgomery picture to feature, Colin, as he was a leading second-string stalwart of the western throughout the 50s. As John says, “THE TEXAS RANGERS” & “CRIPPLE CREEK” were two of his absolute best but I rate “INDIAN UPRISING” quite high too. The film chooses to reflect the reality of the shabbiness of the treatment of the red man by the government and thus it is a film of relevance.
    We have joked before elsewhere how George always sported magnificent stetsons though here of course he eschewed that for a more appropriate army titfer.
    I am going to look forward to more Montgomery westerns being reviewed here!

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    • There will be more of Montgomery’s films on here in the future, Jerry, not least because, as you said there, he was a leading figure in the second tier westerns of the 50s. Of course, second tier should not be equated with second rate, and those movies formed the backbone of the genre.

      I think you’re right too to refer to Indian Uprising as “a film of relevance” as it does slot into that pro-Indian cycle that built throughout the decade and it can take its place alongside some very fine work by the likes of Delmer Daves and George Sherman.

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  4. I meant to mention – “CANYON RIVER” was itself a remake of the earlier Bill Elliott “THE LONGHORN”, also from Monogram/Allied Artists.

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  5. A quick glance at her filmography drew my attention to another of her films I must look out for, Homicide for Three based on Patrick Quentin’s novel Puzzle for Puppets. This stood out for me because I’m a mystery fan and also due to the fact not many of Patrick Quentin’s Peter Duluth stories have been adapted for the screen

    I wouldn’t hold your breath. By one of those astonishing coincidences we’d all splutter about if it appeared in a novel, I had Homicide for Three slated to watch and write about today. My account will appear in late July/August, but the short version is that the makers turned a perfectly serviceable PQ novel into a very mediocre comedy mystery. The only good thing in it, to be honest, is Long.

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    • Ah, that’s a little disappointing to hear. Mind you, I’ll still be interested in perusing your longer take on the movie when it appears later in the summer.

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  6. Have not seen this but I did see Apache Rifles a long time ago and found it OK. I had also seen Black Patch ages ago and find it more indoor settings rather than outdoor. I would prefer Westerns moving outdoors for the visuals and action. Best regards.

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  7. Colin, good write-up of a good George Montgomery Western. Hands down, I’m a George Montgomery fan from the days of my youngsterhood. Montgomery was in a lot of Westerns and in my opinion his screen presence made the movies he was in that much better. I just like to watch him because of the naturalist way he goes about riding; handling a pistol and rifle; walking motions; and of course no one wore a hat better(I like Jerry Entract’s use of titfer for Montgomery’s lid).

    Your review describes Montgomery’s performance as a solid and personable lead, his part being a much more straightforward and less complicated one. For a more complex role and a top notch performance by Montgomery, I recommend BLACK PATCH(1957). I’m not going to give away anything here, because I look forward to your review.

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    • Walter, I’d already heard positive comments about Black Patch and that was why I picked up a copy. So thanks for adding your recommendation, which moves it a few places nearer the head of the queue.

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  8. WOW! This Montgomery entry is really gaining pace,
    perhaps Colin thinks why he didn’t feature a GM film earlier on.
    Just to back-track…..
    I too found CANYON RIVER a let down,especially as Harmon
    Jones has made some great genre movies and some fine Westerns
    (THE SILVER WHIP,A DAY OF FURY)
    BLACK PATCH also did not work for me,though it has it’s admirers,
    for me the film ended as soon as it was getting interesting.
    Oddly enough,for it’s overall lack of action I adored this film as a kid.
    All I can say about SEMINOLE UPRISING is don’t bother,it’s far and
    away the least of the Montgomery/Sam Katzman Westerns many of which
    were pretty good: MASTERSON OF KANSAS,JACK McCALL DESPERADO,
    THE PATHFINDER,FORT TI,BATTLE OF ROGUE RIVER.
    SEMINOLE UPRISING is crammed with stock footage,even by Sam’s
    cost cutting standards. As I recall,and I’m in no hurry to re-visit,there is
    a really annoying voice over narration (William Fawcett?)
    Along with the similar PAWNEE George’s two worst Westerns.
    When all is said and done George was certainly a lot better than many
    of the films that he appeared in,but there again he did have an alternate
    life as a master craftsman,a true renaissance man in fact.

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    • I see. That’s all very interesting, and very useful too. Thanks.

      I’d though Seminole Uprising looked like it might be of interest but perhaps I’ll let that idea cool for a bit and if I happen to run across it, fair enough. If not, then OK.

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    • Well, I just watched Seminole Uprising online. Yes, it is packed with spliced in footage and that narration, another cost cutting measure to keep the audience aware of what’s happening, is overused.
      On the other hand, it’s not a bad way to pass an hour or so and Montgomery is fine in the lead. The story had potential but neither the money nor the ambition to fully realize it are there. So, I don’t feel it’s a dreadful movie by any means, more of a missed opportunity.

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  9. Interesting sidetrack on indoor or non location Westerns.
    Another good one,of course is QUANTEZ.
    I also like GHOST TOWN directed by Allen H Miner who also
    directed BLACK PATCH and the very interesting THE RIDE BACK.
    GHOST TOWN is a no-budget Bel Air production but worthy
    of a look if you can track it down.
    Interesting that GHOST TOWN includes the iconic lone figure
    in a doorway shot and even more interesting that it was actually
    released before THE SEARCHERS.

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    • I’d like to see GHOST TOWN, the kind of Western with a few isolated characters that I often like (I’m fine with Westerns that lean to exteriors or interiors–plenty of first-rate ones of either kind). John K., I note a release date of March 1956, only a few months before THE SEARCHERS–which was a much bigger budget, more high profile film, maybe ready to go for awhile even before GHOST TOWN was quickly made, and maybe someone on the more modest film had seen that image. Of course, even if not, there are lots of very specific reasons why it is sublime in Ford’s hands, and all his own in the end.

      Still, you definitely piqued by interest. From what we both wrote, I believe that we had the same problem with BLACK PATCH–so without having seen all three yet maybe THE RIDE BACK is the best of Miner’s three Westerns of the time. He’s kind of distinctive, plainly capable of something–a different mood, an embrace of offbeat characters and relationships if they are there. I haven’t thought about this a lot. GHOST TOWN was on TCM apparently, so hopefully they will show it again.

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      • I could hope that “GHOST TOWN” may just turn up on TCM UK in that case, Blake. This is a mid-50s western I have never seen (there aren’t so very many of those!) so, fingers crossed. John has piqued my interest too.

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  10. So, George Montgomery enters Colin’s checklist
    joining Dale Robertson,Rory Calhoun,Jock Mahoney, Rod
    Cameron and others. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before
    Guy Madison and Scott Brady join them,and REALLY making
    Mr Entract’s day William Elliott. (If only some brave soul would
    release the newly restored version of HELLFIRE)
    Colin,the doggone way he is,would have a field day discussing
    religious aspects/symbolism in Westerns,there’s a ton of it in
    HELLFIRE.
    Not fully understanding Colin’s checklist criteria,I note director
    Ray Nazarro is not included despite,I think INDIAN UPRISING being
    his sole entry on RTHC.
    Nazarro directed some pretty good pacy programmer Westerns several
    with Mr Montgomery,I might add.
    SOUTHWEST PASSAGE is one of his very best and more than worthy
    of a future RTHC essay.
    Colin,I note you keep mentioning your now legendary “to be viewed”
    stack-how’s that going, especially like myself, you are buying far less
    films these days. It’s all very well bumping films further up the pile
    but can you see the day soon approaching when there is nothing left
    you have not watched in your collection.

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    • I’ve not seen that much of Nazarro’s work, John, although I do have a few of his movies in the collection and I have written on Apache Territory before.

      And reaching a point where there’s nothing unwatched is an awful long way off – there’s always something else, always! In fact, I just found an online version of Seminole Uprising so will probably waste an hour or so later on checking that out.

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  11. I can imagine myself watching this and wondering if I’d seen it before. Rather like the George O’Brien and Tim Holt westerns at RKO where I amaze myself with my precognition.

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    • I think certain plot developments can become very familiar if you watch a lot of material tackling common themes. The more formulaic the production, the more pronounced that familiarity tends to be I find. Fortunately, while I recognized a number of types and situations cropping up in Indian Uprising, I never got the feeling that it was stale.

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  12. This has been an interesting thread as I’ve not seen many George Montgomery westerns and previous comments have helped me gauge which ones are his best. I’ve got two directed by Ray Nazarro from the movies 4 you western classics set, GUN BELT and THE LONE GUN, in my dvd collection and THE TEXAS RANGERS often shows up on TV. Incidentally, I recently bought both volumes of an excellent book, ‘Six-Gun Law’ and ‘Six-Gun Law 2’ by Barry Atkinson. The first volume covers all of Montgomery’s westerns in depth as well as those of Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea and Audie Murphy. ‘Six-Gun Law 2’ covers the westerns of Rory Calhoun, Rod Cameron, Sterling Hayden and Richard Widmark. They are nicely produced with black and white stills and posters from most of the films and provide a good source of reference.

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  13. I’ve enjoyed reading this piece and the comments. And I will acknowledge that INDIAN UPRISING is one Western that I have not seen. Of course, it is on my list to see–I will see any movie in the genre made in this period. I made up lists for every year a long time ago, with those I’ve seen and those that I have’t (from Phil Hardy encyclopedia) and over time have caught up with a lot of those I hadn’t seen, as well as seeing so many over (this tends to be a good idea, especially with a director one likes–I found a few years ago that I’d cruelly underrated Andre de Toth’s excellent LAST OF THE COMANCHES).
    And truth to tell, I haven’t seen APACHE RIFLES either–have been meaning to make a point of it since Colin wrote about; in truth, I am just a couple of films away from being complete on Audie Murphy, one of those actors to whom I’m attached. Really though I’ve spent a lot of time with this genre, it is such a treasure trove through its best years it seems like there is no end to it.

    I’ve seen a lot of Ray Nazarro over the years and somehow never found him much more than capable, though that’s enough for some of those Westerns. Rory Calhoun liked him and I believe partnered with him for some films, of which APACHE TERRITORY is not bad covering familiar, uh, territory.

    As for George Montgomery, yeah, he sure can wear a hat well–he must have had the head for it or something. I was especially taken with the broad hat he wore in ROBBER’S ROOST, a film that I liked a lot when I saw it but now the hat is the thing that seems to stand out most. Montgomery is a solid lead in the movies he is in, so depends on script and direction, as it does for most.

    The best movie I’ve seen with Montgomery was THE TEXAS RANGERS (1951; Phil Karlson). This was an excellent director who went on to make a truly memorable late 50s Western with GUNMAN’S WALK; this earlier one could have been a much more ordinary Western without him–there are things about it that are brilliant.

    I do think the best with Montgomery should have been BLACK PATCH, which I finally saw a few years ago. The first couple of reels are memorable, indeed could almost be described as haunting they are so effectively done, but they are build around a relationship between three characters that seems to be the heart of the movie and then one of these characters abruptly leaves the canvas early. It’s never as good after that–it was disappointing in the end. There are some particularities about all this, but I don’t want to give anything away. If it comes up for discussion here, we could talk about it then.

    I appreciated Jerry saying this about INDIAN UPRISING: “The film chooses to reflect the reality of the shabbiness of the treatment of the red man by the government and thus it is a film of relevance.”

    Yes, it can’t be said enough, and though I won’t comment on the subtext already present in Colin’s piece, I’ll just reiterate that of course, in truth the Western of the Classical years–the 50s most specifically–was generally very sensitive to the tragedy of the American Indian and this sorry part of the history of the American West, much to its credit, and for the most part found a mature balance in telling these stories. Daves and Sherman, directors noted by Colin, are certainly stellar but they are far from the only ones.

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    • Last of the Comanches is a film I’d forgotten I have a copy of – it’s nice to see it recommended, although much of De Toth’s work recommends itself I find.

      I really liked your comment on the genre saying that: it is such a treasure trove through its best years it seems like there is no end to it.
      I couldn’t agree more and one of the great pleasures for me is the fact I seem to be discovering little gems all the time.

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  14. Just wanted to say that I discovered your wonderful blog this morning randomly through Google (I think I was looking up reviews for The Far Country) and have now been procrastinating all day at work reading it, ha! Thanks so much for all the great writing, particularly when it comes to Westerns and film noirs (my two favourite genres!). I’ve already found some titles on here I didn’t know about that I need to buy on blu-ray.

    I grew up in England loving Spaghetti westerns, but was not terribly familiar with the genre outside of those. Now as an adult and with the blu-ray format being as mature as it is I’ve been expanding my Western horizons through my home collection, especially when it comes to the classics from America.

    I’ll stop rambling, but again, thank you! Just an absolute goldmine for a fan of Westerns / good cinema.

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  15. Colin, I’m really enjoying all the comments concerning movies starring George Montgomery. I think Montgomery deserves his due. Only Randolph Scott starred in more Western movies than Montgomery did, during the 1950’s.

    John K, the bringer upper, brought up JACK MCCALL, DESPERADO(1953). Without giving too much away, in my opinion this movie is more unique than many of Montgomery’s other Westerns, because if the viewer is expecting the typical Hickock/McCall storyline, they will be thrown for a loop. For its time JACK MCCALL, DESPERADO is a revisionist Western, but not in the 1970’s sense. John O’Dea wrote the screenplay and David Chandler the story with Sam Katzman producing and Sidney Salkow directing. They came up with a surreal absurdist unhistorical rather Kafkaesque with Dostoevsky’s THE IDIOT thrown in, action packed low budget Western, believe it or not. It’s well worth watching.

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    • Walter, I’d never even heard of Jack McCall, Desperado till John and yourself mentioned it and I’m now intrigued, to say the least. I do enjoy the way some posts lead to all kinds of recommendations.

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  16. Yes, Jack McCall, The Desperado is an entertaining western. Could be one of the best from George Montgomery. Can’t remember much after seeing it a long time ago. Best regards.

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  17. I first remember viewing JACK MCCALL, DESPERADO(1953) as a youngster, At the time I was really into reading Western History and biography. James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok was really an interesting individual of the old Middle Border country(the border line drawn between Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and the Indian Nations{Oklahoma}). I first encountered Wild Bill Hickok in a July, 1954 edition of CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED, which my older brother had. I couldn’t read yet, but my eyes pored over the illustrations. Along about this time, on TV, I watched my first movie Hickok, which was Roy Rogers in Republic’s YOUNG BILL HICKOK(1940). Later I read Richard O’Connor’s biography WILD BILL HICKOK(1959). Needless to say, when I first watched George Montgomery as Jack McCall, I was somewhat disconcerted. So, as a youngster I didn’t like the movie JACK MCCALL, DESPERADO, because Jack McCall was the cowardly back shooter of hero Wild Bill Hickok. How dare these moviemakers portray McCall as heroic!

    As I got older and began my study of movies for themselves, my attitude changed. Yes folks, JACK MCCALL, DESPERADO isn’t a Historical documentary. It’s an entertaining Western with a different than usual storyline of events.

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    • While I feel movies shouldn’t be taken as history lessons but I also understand the temptation to view them that way, particularly where real historical figures are profiled or portrayed. I’ve wondered before now whether filmmakers mightn’t have been better off altering the names in such cases. Art and history are not the same but it’s easy enough to see how they can be confused.

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  18. If Steve is out there (Westerns2017) – I said I would revert when my BluRay of NOIR ARCHIVE VOL. 1 from Kit Parker Films arrived. It came today and I can DEFINITELY confirm, as others have done, that it is region-free. Plays beautifully on my (Region 2) player and looks very good too. Can’t wait to dive in!

    Hope this helps a little, Steve.

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  19. Good to see further love for JACK McCALL DESPERADO
    nonsense it may be,but this Sam Katzman production has decent
    production values,and as I recall no stock footage.
    Douglas Kennedy is a very nasty Wild Bill Hickok.
    The other Montgomery/Katzman/Sidney Salkow picture
    THE PATHFINDER is also good and again does not seem reliant
    on stock footage.
    I see from Colin’s checklist there are no Salkow entries as yet,but I
    guess that will change over time.
    Montgomery obviously liked working with Salkow.they both had Eastern
    European family roots. Montgomery had choice of director on ROBBER’S
    ROOST and they also worked together on the lower budget but engaging
    GUN DUEL IN DURANGO.
    Walter called me “the bringer upper” well I’ve been called worse things,
    ‘though I might add that Walter himself brought up screenwriter John ‘O Dea
    who also penned Salkow’s ROBBER’S ROOST as well as two Salkow pirate
    flicks PRINCE OF PIRATES and RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS. If I’m not
    mistaken the latter still languishes in Colin’s “to be viewed” heap.
    I’ve not seen PRINCE OF PIRATES but RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS
    is colourful and engaging with a strong supporting cast.
    There are a couple of Salkow’s 50’s Crime Thrillers/Noirs well worth checking out
    LAS VEGAS SHAKEDOWN and CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL the latter a low budget
    gem,well worthy of a RTHC feature.
    George Montgomery seemed to like these little Westerns that brought together
    several Western legends,with obviously THE TEXAS RANGERS well ahead of the
    pack.
    Silliest of the lot,but a darned entertaining 68 minutes is BADMAN’S COUNTRY.
    This little epic has Pat Garrett, (Montgomery) Wyatt Earp,Bat Masterson and
    Buffalo Bill sorting out Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid……Sweet!

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    • I don’t know why I haven’t featured anything by Salkow on here. I do have copies of a number of his movies so you’re right that he’s likely to make an appearance at some point.
      I had thought about writing something on Chicago Confidential a few years ago but then didn’t, and I’m not sure why.

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  20. Looks like you have some future viewing from the suggestions in the comments regarding Montgomery films. I’m not saying Salkow is some unheralded genius,just an interesting maker of genre movies,many routine, with the occasional gem among the mix.
    I’ve never seen Salkow’s LAST MAN ON EARTH that one has always evaded me for some reason. I have seen and enjoy Salkow’s TWICE TOLD TALES Edward Small’s attempt to jump on the lucrative AIP/Corman bandwagon. While Salkow lacks Corman’s verve TWICE TOLD TALES is a more than decent entertainment,with a veteran cast well used, furthermore it’s simply a gorgeous looking movie.
    Salkow’s sole Audie Murphy Western THE QUICK GUN is a re-working of Ray Nazarro’s TOP GUN,with the advantage this time of colour and
    Techniscope. Audie was looking pretty bored by this time and Ted de Corsia chews up the scenery as never before. THE QUICK GUN is not the worst Murphy Western ever but it’s a long way from his Universal classics.
    On the missing list is Salkow’s BLOOD ON THE ARROW which can be viewed on line in very poor quality. The film is much sought after by readers of Toby’s Western blog, I remember it as more or less on par with the A.C.Lyles Westerns of the era, no better no worse,however as it’s now a rare item I would jump at an “official” release in good quality.

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    • For some reason I’ve never seen Twice Told Tales. I keep meaning to get a copy but then it gets put off, and I couldn’t tell you why.

      I’ve seen The Quick Gun and though it OK, although I agree it’s not the best Audie Murphy film. Anything with Murphy is worth a look at the very least, but that one does need to be approached realistically.

      Blood on the Arrow has me curious too. The Last Man on Earth is worth watching. I don’t know if any of the versions of Richard Matheson’s book have done it justice. Salkow’s movie isn’t bad by any means – even so, I still prefer The Omega Man.

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  21. Colin,to be honest watching movies on-line is something I have always avoided but my attitude regarding that may change especially with the general lack of 50’s Westerns now getting released on disc. To add to this Salkow kick I might mention that a couple of his low budget 50’s Westerns are now available on line in what I consider pretty decent quality. GUN BROTHERS (1956) and THE IRON SHERIFF (1957) are in my opinion quite watchable, bearing in mind that you managed to sit through SEMINOLE UPRISING.
    It’s also worth mentioning both Montgomery and Salkow were Edward Small regulars. Edward Small seemed to like churning out these low budget
    quickies among more high profile fare like 99 RIVER STREET and the occasional big budget movie like WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION and SOLOMON AND SHEBA. As B Westerns go I’ve seen far worse than GUN BROTHERS and THE IRON SHERIFF and if you have not already seen it I think you will enjoy the mystery element of the latter.

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    • John, you know Gun Brothers is available on DVD in the UK, although it seems to have gone out of print in the US.
      I’ve seen The Iron Sheriff, online I think, and thought it was quite enjoyable. I think it had been slated for a DVD release in the UK in the past and then got pulled for some reason.

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  22. Colin writes…….”I’ve seen and enjoyed a number of episodes Cimarron City, his late-50s TV show”. Yes….an overall worth while viewing experience to be sure. I was particularly impressed with the opening episode ‘I, THE PEOPLE’. Excellent mini-screenplay that exhibited a solid dialogue among the characters that enables and maintains a brisk pace. Special Guest Star Fred MacMurray gives a strong performance and fills his role perfectly.

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    • I agree with you, Scott! “CIMARRON CITY” was a more than passable, albeit apparently troubled, TV western series. In addition to George Montgomery, the series benefitted from the solid presences of John Smith and Stuart Randall.
      I think the first episode “I, THE PEOPLE”, to which you refer most favourably, was maybe also the best episode, benefitting greatly from Fred MacMurray’s strong performance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of the great strengths of a lot of television from this era is the range and depth of talent on show episode after episode – much of the enjoyment derives from seeing who was making a guest appearance on a particular week.

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      • One thing that has always stood out for me is how long George Montgomery was able to maintain that athleticism and youthful appearance for so many years. I can’t think of too many actors of that era, and beyond, that were able to accomplish his level of fitness for so long. I don’t think the guy ever got old until he was actually elderly.

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  23. Colin, like you, I had eagerly look forward to the special guest appearances of old big name stars in either cop and westerns tv series weekly. Their appearances added to the glamour and excitement of the show!

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    • While this continued in the 70s and 80s, the guests appearing in later years seemed more often to be drawn from those gradually winding down their careers. Television from the 50s and 60s had far more current and upcoming movie stars turning up regularly.

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  24. Colin, I’m really enjoying the commentary generated from your write-up of INDIAN UPRISING starring George Montgomery. Montgomery is receiving his due here and I hope more in the future.

    Regarding Scott’s mentioning of an anti-Hickok theme during the 1950’s in Hollywood being brought up on other blogs. What other blogs? John K. may have mentioned this on another blog, if my memory serves me right. Calling John K. for confirmation. As we well know, Hollywood has a long history of playing fast and loose in portraying historical figures. The only other anti-Hickok 1950’s movie that I can think of, at the moment, is a real curio titled I KILLED WILD BILL HICKOK(1956). This is a real low budget indie Western filmed in 1954 on the Iverson Ranch location. Unlike JACK MCCALL, DESPERADO, this anti-Hickok movie has no Jack McCall in sight. Johnny Rebel(John Forbes) kills Hickok(Tom Brown) in Tri-City, New Mexico Territory, which is a long way from Deadwood, South Dakota. WOW! Talk about alternate History.

    Actor John Forbes is actually producer/writer/actor/stuntman Johnny Carpenter. Carpenter helped create several of these indie oaters of the early and mid 1950’s. Actually I KILLED WILD BILL HICKOK is entertaining in a cheap sort of way, especially the action packed last reel.

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    • I’m in no way qualified to comment on the historical accuracy or otherwise of such matters, Walter, but I too have been having a blast with the way this discussion has developed.

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    • I’m with you Walter….. that action packed last reel of I KILLED WILD BILL HICKOK was an eye popper, especially the town shootout. The staging and special affects of the gun and rifle fire really stood out and got my attention. Johnny Carpenter was sturdy and convincing in the lead role. He also was the credited writer for this very good low budget western. Also, I wonder if he ever stood in for Audie Murphy in any of his movies? Carpenter resembled Murphy in looks, voice and demeanor……he could of been his clone.

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      • Scott, I agree with you about Johnny Carpenter and I’m glad there is always someone trying to keep traditions alive. In Carpenter’s case, he was giving it a good try in keeping the 1929-1945 era of Westerns, or “Cowboy” movies alive. Carpenter was considered the last of the independent shoe-string B-Western stars. He was, hands down, a budget pincher and corner cutter, but he loved to make Westerns. His best onscreen claims to fame were four low-budget Western movies that he starred in, wrote, and produced in the 1950s, SON OF THE RENEGADE(1953), THE LAWLESS RIDER(1954), OUTLAW TREASURE(1955), and I KILLED WILD BILL HICKOK(1956). Personally, I think these low-budget oaters are fun to watch.

        In SON OF THE RENEGADE there is a face-off with Wild Bill Hickok(Ewing Brown) and Red River Johnny, Sr.(Johnny Carpenter). Brown portrays a more realistic looking Hickok, but you have to see it to believe the duel. At the time it was considered a most violent western. Well, let me tell you, it is the most gunplaying, fisticuffing, bronc riding oater coming at you. Also, for good measure Red River Johnny, Jr.(Johnny Carpenter) makes time with not one or two women, but three. The last reel showdown is a humdinger.

        Yes, Johnny Carpenter did resemble Audie Murphy(from the side view, a little Montgomery Clift, maybe) and I wouldn’t doubt that he may have doubled him. Carpenter was a stuntman on THE KID FROM TEXAS(1950) and did stunts and was one of the badmen in THE DUEL AT SILVER CREEK(1952), which both starred Audie Murphy. Carpenter loved horses and was an excellent horseman, and also was good in using firearms, whether it be pistol or rifle. He was from “True Grit” country. By that I mean, Yell County, near Dardanelle, Arkansas. Johnny and his brother Fred made there way to Hollywood by the early 1940’s, where they became stuntmen. Johnny Carpenter has quite a story out there on the fringes of Hollywood Westerns.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Steve(westerns2017), thank you for the kind words. Scott and John K. triggered my memory, so blame them for my ramblings. I hope Colin doesn’t mind. Yes, Dardanelle, Yell County, Arkansas is a real place. It is in the Arkansas River Valley at the edge of the Ouachita Mountains. It is beautiful country with a lot of History.

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            • I hope Colin doesn’t mind

              Not in the least, Walter. I’ve enjoyed all the commentary that has flowed here, and I’m sure most others will feel the same.

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        • Great info on Johnny Carpenter, Walter!
          When I got the 1954 Speed’s ‘Western Film Annual’ there was a big feature on one of Johnny Carpenter’s films. I believe it was “THE LAWLESS RIDER”, although it was reviewed under the (probably provisional) title, “THE OUTLAW MARSHAL”. It starred Carpenter of course and was produced by Alex Gordon (an Englishman) and directed by Yakima Canutt. Canutt’s son Tap was a leading stuntman on the movie which had roles for Douglas Dumbrille, Kenne Duncan & Bud Osborne. Lots of reasons to see it but I’ve never yet managed it.

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          • Jerry, thank you. I find it interesting that THE LAWLESS RIDER(1954) received a big feature in F. Maurice Speed’s WESTERN FILM ANNUAL(1954). I doubt if it received much print coverage here in the USA.

            I’ve never read any of these Western Film Annuals. Are they a real good source?

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            • Hi Walter,
              The Speed annuals (1951-61) were everything to me in terms of learning about westerns, knowing the stars (both A and B) as well as the many wonderful character actors and having a year by year listing of cinema releases (in the UK). It later became apparent that some of the articles allegedly written by stars were actually written for them by western film historian, William K. Everson. There were many historical pieces though about the ‘real’ west as well as the ‘reel’ west!
              I still have all of them and I do still refer to them and sometimes just plain enjoy looking at them. Invaluable to me.

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        • Walter……had the opportunity to see SON OF THE RENEGADE (1953) the other night. The first reel confrontation and subsequent duel with Wild Bill Hickok and Red River Johnny Sr. was done convincingly realistic. It set the pace of the film thinking this was going to be something special, if and when, those two should meet up again. Unfortunately, that never happened because the plot shifted rather quickly to the exploits of Sr’s offspring Red River Johnny Jr. There was a lot of action packed sequences along the way as you noted. But, the shoot out at the end was a humdinger. It reminded me of the ending sequence of THE BEAST OF THE CITY (1932) where the good guys/bad guys would square off and have their final showdown.

          Walter, I agree with you about the resemblance of Montgomery Clift…..especially in this movie. Also, the custom worn by Carpenter was very much like the one worn by Clift in RED RIVER……leaves me wondering if Carpenter knew this.

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          • Scott, as you can tell SON OF THE RENEGADE(1953) is a first time effort in screenwriting for stuntman Johnny Carpenter. The script has enough holes in it to drive a Mack trunk through. Much less all the confusion involving characters names. Looks like they brought in veteran announcer/narrator Pat McGeehan(THE RED SKELTON HOUR) to explain what was going on. An extensive prologue was written, which seemed right out of a Pulp Western magazine.

            All said and done, Carpenter’s movies were made by a 2nd Unit team. That is what these performers did for a living. They performed all the stunts and action scenes for larger budget movies. In SON OF THE RENEGADE they are the whole show. The stunt men and women are the actors and actresses, for the most part. The Long Haired Kid(Robert “Whitey” Hughes) became a legendary stuntman and stunt coordinator. Because of his short stature he would put a wig on and double actresses. I don’t know if this was an inside joke on writer Carpenter’s part, by having him play the Long Haired Kid. Valley Keene stunt doubled for Elizabeth Taylor in GIANT(1956). There are some really good photo’s of Valley Keene and James Dean on the internet, especially the ones of Valley standing on James’ knees and then standing on his shoulders. SON OF THE RENEGADE was filmed on Jack Ingram’s ranch. Ingram played the outlaw gang leader Three Fingers Jack.

            Yes, I think it was a missed opportunity to not have Red River Johnny, Sr.(Johnny Carpenter) and Wild Bill Hickok(Ewing Brown) face each again, but didn’t happen. I really got a kick out of that one confrontation, though. This may have been another inside joke by writer Carpenter. Wild Bill called Red River Johnny, Sr. “Little Arkansas.” Johnny Carpenter being from Dardanelle, Arkansas.

            Regarding Red River Johnny, Jr.(Johnny Carpenter) wearing a similar outfit to Matthew Garth(Montgomery Clift) in RED RIVER(1948). How about Red River Johnny, Sr.(Johnny Carpenter) wearing a bib shirt with the flap down, just like Tom Dunson(John Wayne) in RED RIVER. Also, Carpenter was made to look older, just like Wayne as the older Tom Dunson. So, I’m pretty sure Carpenter would have known this.

            Scott, I also found it interesting your comparison of the endings of THE BEAST OF THE CITY(1932) and SON OF THE RENEGADE. I think THE BEAST OF THE CITY is a really good Pre-Code gangster movie
            out of the MGM stable. What a cast: Walter Huston, Jean Harlow, Wallace Ford, Jean Hersholt, and Mickey Rooney.

            The Johnny Carpenter low budget Westerns are certainly not high art, or mid art by any means. They weren’t very polished, but I found myself watching them and was certainly not bored.

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            • Wow Walter I had to read your wonderfully expressed comments no less than five times! You really get into the real life personalities of the characters and how Carpenter brought their presence to the screen. The focus of that point was particularly brought forth in the opening reel when many of these hard bitten individuals were each introduced…….closeups and all. It seemed that writer Carpenter intentionally did this to give each of them the recognition they were due for the many years of being behind the scenes doing the dirty work……the real work. That being said, there must have been a solid camaraderie among-st all the players.

              Walter, your insights are welcoming.

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              • Scott, thank you for your kind words concerning my ramblings. I have really enjoyed your keen insights and comments. It makes my day.

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  25. Again, referring to Scott’s question about the anti-Hickok theme in 1950’s Hollywood. This might come under the post World War II trend in portraying the so-called historical badman in a different light? In writer/director Sam Fuller’s I SHOT JESSE JAMES(1949), there is the “dirty little coward” Bob Ford portrayed by John Ireland, who dominates the movie. Ireland was very good in this movie, as was Preston Foster as John Kelly. Their portrayals make for a most interesting take on the story of Robert Ford and John O. Kelly.

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  26. So,this thread has now passed 90 replies,which might persuade our dear host to feature more second string Western stars in the future….bring on William Elliott, Scott Brady and Guy Madison!
    Speaking of Elliott, Scott mentioned THE SHOWDOWN and as he quiet rightly states a great Noir Western-how many other Westerns can you recall that begin with a grave robbing sequence during a thunderstorm at midnight. Perhaps, also Ray Nazarro deserves a spot in Colin’s index. I’m pretty sure this will not be his last RTCH entry.
    Walter asked about my previous comments on Hickok Westerns-I did comment,I think over at Toby’s about the 2017 movie HICKOK,with Chris Hemsworth, Trace Adkins, Kris Kristofferson and Bruce Dern. I’ve only seen the trailer which looks great, but the reviews on imdb are lukewarm, to say the least. Furthermore I found Walter Hill’s WILD BILL a huge disappointment.

    Walter, and only Walter, could name drop Johnny Carpenter, like Jerry I’ve never seen any of his movies but I also remember the article in The Western Film Annual. At the time Wayne Morris had seen the B Series Western to bed, was this a Carpenter attempt to revive the genre? It’s interesting that OUTLAW TREASURE features faded husband and wife duo Glenn Langan and Adele Jergens. Langan was at one time a hot rising star at Fox but,I guess will always be best remembered for “cult classic” THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN. Jergens,of course appeared in Roger Corman’s DAY THE WORLD ENDED which Walter and I have discussed elsewhere.
    I KILLED WILD BILL HICKOK featured Helen Wescott who showed so much promise in THE GUNFIGHTER but her career never took off in the way that it should. Helen also appeared in Ray Nazarro’s GUN BELT a good George Montgomery Western which also brought The Earps and Ike Clanton into the mix. Johnny Carpenter’s main claim to fame,I guess, was as a bit part player at Universal-thanks again Walter from bringing him into the now increasingly heady mix!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’ve been both amazed and gratified at the response this entry has provoked. Brady and Madison will, I’m sure make appearances in these parts in due course.

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  27. I love the fact that this nearly 100-strong thread comes off a George Montgomery western. Quite right that it should too as he was one of the genre’s main stalwarts in the 1950s. Anyone for Rod Cameron next (ish)?! (If that isn’t being way too cheeky, Colin?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Jerry, it is rather fitting under the circumstances.
      I’ve featured Rod Cameron here in the past though, and tomorrow will see a 50s Universal-International noir that’s been mentioned a few times here in the last few months.
      I think Guy Madison may well make his RTHC debut at some point over the summer though.

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  28. Well everyone, to think it all started with Colin’s write-up of INDIAN UPRISING(1952) starring George Montgomery. As Colin wrote, “a modest yet engaging cavalry western…” I hope we see more George Montgomery in the future. As in BLACK PATCH(1957) and JACK MCCALL, DESPERADO(1953). Also, some others like THE RETURN OF JACK SLADE(1955) and OREGON PASSAGE(1957) starring John Ericson. John Ericson, age 92, is still with us.

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    • I think I can promise one of those will appear here sooner or later, Walter. As for the others, I’ll have to look around for copies in the interim.

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  29. OREGON PASSAGE has been released as a Warner Archive
    MOD disc,overall the quality is pretty good,but the colour
    is a bit off in places.
    The lovely locations,Ellis Carter’s photography and
    Paul Landres’ direction make the film look more expensive
    than it actually was to make.
    I’d be more than happy to have a copy of DRAGOON WELLS
    MASSACRE in similar quality to the Warner Archive disc.
    Sadly DWM is one of many Allied Artists pictures now owned
    by Paramount,not Warners and the same goes for
    RETURN OF JACK SLADE.
    I’ve only seen ROJS as a 4×3 pan & scan which ruins
    the whole thing especially considering the widescreen location
    work (black & white)

    Like

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