Colt .45

In  almost a dozen years of writing about a wide range of movies in general, and westerns more than any other genre, I’ve tried to point out the type of film I happen to be talking about mainly in relation to theme, and digging down to cast an eye over subtext where appropriate. From time to time though, that approach is unsuitable for the simple reason that the movie in question was conceived and shot as an almost pure exercise in entertainment. Now this is just an observation, a statement of fact as I see it, and not a criticism of the work. I see Colt .45 (1950) very much in that light, a movie primarily concerned with delivering an hour and a quarter of polished and fast-moving diversion, with no more than the occasional flick of a hat brim in the direction of meatier matters.

There have been a handful of westerns borrowing their titles from firearms – Winchester ’73 and Springfield Rifle, for example – and thus building the plot around the importance of those weapons to the characters. Colt .45 is all about the famous revolvers and how their use or misuse affects the lives of those who come into contact with them. One could, I guess, argue that there is a point to be made, and one which is indeed alluded to, concerning the ethics and responsibilities of guns and their users. However, it’s not expanded on in any great detail in the movie and therefore not an aspect I’m going to delve deeply into either – I’m sure there are a variety of opinions on the issue and I want to head off any potential friction by pointing out that there are many other fora to be found around the internet better suited to the expression of any such views so I’d be pleased if we could refrain from setting off down that particular path here.

Leaving that aspect aside, what we have is a pretty straightforward quest for justice yarn as pistol salesman Steve Farrell (Randolph Scott) finds himself not only robbed of the guns he’s been promoting, but also accused and imprisoned as an accomplice of the man who stole them. That man is Jason Brett (Zachary Scott), an ambitious sociopath who sees his new acquisitions as a handy means of obtaining the money and power he covets. The plot is essentially the story of Farrell’s determination to get the guns back and restore his own reputation. Along the way, he will encounter a weak-willed miner (Lloyd Bridges), his tough and resourceful wife (Ruth Roman), and a corrupt and dissembling sheriff (Alan Hale).

As I said above, the film doesn’t have a great deal of depth, but nor has it any  pretensions. It’s aim is to tell a familiar story in a brisk and  breezy manner, and it fulfills that ambition admirably. The main highlight in director Edwin L Marin’s filmography is possibly the very enjoyable John Wayne/Ella Raines western Tall in the Saddle. He’d made a lot of programmers including a couple of Philo Vance mysteries before moving on to a number of noir thrillers with George Raft, and had then seemingly settled into a run of solid westerns with Randolph Scott before his untimely death at the age of 52. Colt .45 is a pacy affair, packing a lot of story and incident into its brief running time and even manages to paint its Indian characters in a positive and sympathetic, albeit a very superficial, light. A major plus is the Technicolor cinematography of Wilfrid M Cline which has both the interiors and the location work on the Iverson Ranch looking especially fine.

I can’t help thinking of Colt .45 as a Saturday afternoon movie, partly because of its no nonsense approach but also because that would have been how I first experienced it on TV at some time back in the mid or late 1970s. Randolph Scott was a great hero to me as a small boy and those screenings of his westerns were a big influence on my view of cinema during my formative years. Somehow, that has never left me and I still get a buzz when I sit down and revisit one of these fast-moving efforts. Scott is a typical straight arrow in this, with all the pride and nobility that was innate to him but lacking the complexity and inner hurt he would perfect in the coming years – sure there is a touch of emotional bruising there but it’s not explored to any extent.

Zachary Scott is a sound villain, probably too loud and overbearing at the beginning but dialing it back and settling down as the plot unfolds and his character nears his goal. In many ways, the strongest presence in the movie is that of Ruth Roman. She always had an air of a tough broad on screen and gets plenty of opportunities to play a dominant part in this movie – doing some hard riding, getting shot, blasting her way out of captivity and even knocking the leading man out cold at one point. In contrast, Lloyd Bridges is all hand-wringing  angst and self-doubt as her ineffectual husband, a neat study in weakness and venality in fact. And a word too for Alan Hale in one of his last roles. For me, he’ll forever be the sidekick of a laughing and swaggering Errol Flynn, a slightly bumbling but true companion. There’s still a suggestion of that twinkle in his eye as his sheriff attempts to play the two ends against the middle, and it’s a pleasure to see him grace another movie for the studio with which he did such great work over the preceding two decades.

I’m not sure how easy it is to locate Colt .45 for viewing these days. It was released on DVD a good few years ago by Warner Brothers as a triple feature, with Fort Worth and Tall Man Riding, but that might be out of print now. Anyway, it’s a most enjoyable western, of that type which seeks to occupy and engage you for a little over an hour and does exactly that with considerable ease.

76 thoughts on “Colt .45

  1. Colin, a good review of what I consider to be an average Randolph Scott western. I last saw it about a year ago and remember feeling that Zachary Scott over played the villain and made it too hammy, which spoilt it a bit for me. I too have fond memories of watching Randolph Scott westerns with my Dad on Saturday afternoons on BBC2 during the 1970’s. I also recall the BBC running a season of his films under the title of “Randy Rides Again”. Those were the days!

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    • I know the memory can cheat at times, Ian, but it seems to me now looking back that these kinds of westerns, and especially ones starring Scott, were something of a fixture of the weekend afternoon schedules. I miss those days quite a lot.
      Yeah, Zachary Scott seemed very ripe and shouty in the early scenes in particular and I was a bit disappointed by that. However, he does calm down considerably later on. Considering the fact movies aren’t shot in sequence I wonder if it wasn’t a conscious decision to make his character more comfortable as his criminal power develops.

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  2. What a joy! A Randy Scott western is always welcome, Colin, so many thanks, chum. This is fairly light-weight Scott in truth but hugely entertaining (as you say).
    Edwin L. Marin was a ‘workmanlike’ director, I guess, but he made several good westerns with Scott and I really am rather fond of the crime dramas he made with George Raft too.
    Ruth Roman should be remembered rather more than she probably is as she was a strong presence in a number of good films, including “THE WINDOW” (1949),where she played a nasty piece of work!

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    • Yes, it is a lightweight affair, Jerry, but there’s nothing wrong with that in my book as long as it’s well executed.
      I’m not sure why Ruth Roman isn’t more of a “name” as she was in plenty of very good movies, and being the leading lady in a Hitchcock movie (Strangers on a Train) usually meant lasting recognition for most actresses.

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      • Of course “COLT .45” was a Warner western and they are often considered not as solid as Scott’s Columbia westerns where Scott and Harry Joe Brown were involved as producers. It is a generalisation but a reasonable one, I feel.

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        • Yes, it is a generalization but it’s also one I feel holds true for the most part. Actually, maybe “not as solid” isn’t quite the term I’d use – how about not as multi-faceted?

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  3. This one has eluded me though I’ve watched a lot of Scott Westerns lately. Hangman’s Knot (fantastic), Tall Man Riding, Riding Shotgun, Man in the Saddle (all OK), and the very interesting The Walking Hills. What does anybody here think about Canadian Pacific?

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    • To be honest, I’ve not yet seen Canadian Pacific but I’d welcome any comments on it too.
      The Walking Hills is most certainly interesting, and probably a bit better than that.

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  4. Hi, Colin – your description of this one as a ‘Saturday afternoon movie’ reminded me of all my Saturdays as a boy watching Westerns at the local cinema. Audie Murphy was my hero in those days. And perhaps that’s what these ‘pure entertainment’ Westerns were aimed at: a movie that kids would enjoy while also being watchable for their parents. I have that three movie set you mention and am going to have another look at Colt .45 as soon as I can.

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    • There’s much to be said for films with a wide appeal – it’s not an easy thing to achieve without making major compromises.
      Hope you enjoy the movie whenever you get around to it, and it’s always a pleasure to be able to either introduce someone to a film or remind them of one they have forgotten about.

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  5. Can’t add much here as I responded to it much the same you did, enjoying it but not feeling it was a major Western or anything like that.

    With Randolph Scott, these ones that aren’t as great play a supportive role to the ones that were better through these years (more often, those by his own company with Harry Joe Brown at Columbia), and so they have a place. And I like that other Scott in this too–Zachary Scott is an interesting actor, maybe a little too intense in the beginning of this as you say but doesn’t hurt it much. His likable friend turned ambivalent villain in “South of St. Louis” is one role in a Western that I like him in especially.

    With Ruth Roman, don’t forget that among her Westerns are ones as strong as “The Far Country” and “Great Day in the Morning”–and those are good roles too. Really, she’s a very effective actress usually–has that key role in “Bitter Victory” as well.

    It’s interesting to think of Edwin L. Marin directing Randolph Scott in as many movies as Budd Boetticher (more with the non-Western “Christmas Eve” that I have not seen). He’s no Boetticher. He doesn’t have a fascinating and deep sensibility like that, nor the other’s artistic talent. But he seemed to work well enough with Scott, who must have liked him. My first thought was that I’d agree “Tall in the Saddle” with John Wayne and Ella Raines is his best movie but actually among the more middling ones with Scott, the first one they did, “Abilene Town” stands out and in my memory I’d choose that for Marin.

    As I said, I can’t add much. Liked it in the same way you and others did it seems. Lesser Westerns of these years are just fine with me, nor are they even in all ways different, because the ones that are great and eternal are entertaining too.

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    • I suppose part of my motivation here was to make the assertion that it’s not necessary for a movie to be regarded as a major work in order to be deemed worthy of appreciation. I feel that as long as it achieves what it sets out to do, regardless of how modest that aim may be, then it is deserving of some credit.

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  6. You were right that its perfect for a Saturday afternoon movie. In fact saw this and Riding Shotgun as Saturday matinees when I was a small boy. I remembered being introduced to Randolph Scott thru them and enjoying both then. Have not seen them for quite some time. Best regards.

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    • It seems a few of us have a similar memory of this title and other midrange Scott westerns, or they have similar associations for us at any rate. Simple, or lesser known, material does sometimes have this effect.

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      • The virtues of a clean, straightforward narrative should never be overlooked. I love Sam Fuller for instance, but apart from his war films I think his approach would drive my Dad to complete distraction (which is to say he’d just fall asleep on the sofa!)

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        • I’m of the opinion that all approaches are valid, although it goes without saying that they won’t all work for everyone, so long as the filmmakers are honest and upfront about what they want to achieve.

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  7. Regarding CANADIAN PACIFIC not a high point in Scott’s filmography but he was riding very high at the box office at the time, the film was a hit. Railroad saga is undone by silliness especially in the scene where Randy is given a blood transfusion on a moving train-blood groups are of no importance in this movie!
    Even worse is J Carrol Naish in the Gabby Hayes type role as a character called “Dynamite Dawson.” Dawson’s term of endearment is to call Randy a “Cock Eyed Terrapin.” Worse is yet to come in he scene where Dawson passes off sticks of dynamite as cigars to the very stoopid Injuns…they blow their heads off… very non p.c. but no doubt lowbrow audiences loved it. The scene belongs in a Three Stooges short,not a Scott Western. The recent Kino Blu Ray looks lovely but cannot save the film. Around that time Scott was making much stronger films like CORONER CREEK and THE DOOLINS OF OKLAHOMA.

    Regarding Ruth Roman one of her pictures I’d love to track down is JOE MACBETH (1955) This Brit made Noir was a re-working of The Bard as an American gangster flick. Paul Douglas plays the title role and Sid James is also on hand. Around the same time Douglas also starred in THE GAMMA PEOPLE John Gilling’s first fantasy picture and Warwick Films only venture into Sci Fi. THE GAMMA PEOPLE is one of the very few Sci Films not to make it to DVD or Blu Ray. THE GAMMA PEOPLE would make a wonderful Paul Douglas double bill on disc as they were both Columbia Pictures and certainly both curios. The only problem….does anyone remember Paul Douglas?

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    • Thanks for the feedback on Canadian Pacific, John. I have a copy of the movie although (no, don’t laugh) I actually forgot I’d purchased it. I must get round to it some time, and it’s good to have warnings like that about major weaknesses as adjusted expectations can mean a lot.

      I suspect Paul Douglas’ widow, Jan Sterling, would be much more familiar to many now.

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    • Hi John, I agree with you. The reason I asked about Canadian Pacific was because it was so very disappointing. I was on a Scott role watching tons of his movies and stumbled on this one. The premise is very good, it’s just oddly enough a very boring movie and it shouldn’t be. Maybe I have problems with Jane Wyatt, an actress I could never warm up to. Colin, I’d put in on the back burner.

      For Ruth Roman, Great Day in the Morning is a must. You get Virginia Mayo too.

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      • Margot, don’t worry, there are plenty of other contenders a lot further up the viewing list. I’ll be watching it sooner or later of course, but it’ll be some time when I’m in a tolerant mood.

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  8. Completely agree with comments above on “CANADIAN PACIFIC”, especially John’s inclusion of the awful scene with the Injuns and the dynamite, BUT the Kino BluRay is a beautiful restoration and the locations look stunning.

    I remember Paul Douglas from fine movies like “FOURTEEN HOURS”.

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  9. Canadian Pacific is just fine. The scene with the Indians did not bother anyone in 1949 and does not bother me now. PC thinking means to me, at least, you sacrifice your own opinions to that of the populace, or The Mob. Re Colt. 45 — not nearly as much fun, and Zachary is awful in it, in fact my understanding is that he was not feeling well just prior to and during the shoot. In any case, Warners let him go.

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  10. Hi Barry, good to see you comment and hopefully I hope you don’t see me as one of the “P.C. MOB.” It’s just that Edwin L Marin let too much hokey nonsense drift into his Scott Westerns which I’m sure more astute directors like De Toth and Ray Enright would have axed. There’s some similar nonsense with Gabby Hayes and his mule, and the Indians in THE CARIBOO TRAIL though nowhere near as silly.

    Regarding CHRISTMAS EVE another slack,tepid Marin effort, the only point of interest about this film is that Scott is third billed under the two Georges, Raft and Brent. Oddly enough Scott’s career would soar with many major triumphs yet to come,while the two Georges careers would nose dive. Both Georges made British B Movies a sure sign of a fading career. Interestingly, the Georges also followed a Brit B Movie path followed by other Warner Brothers roster players namely Wayne Morris, Zachary Scott, Dane Clark, Pat O Brien and William Lundigan.

    Margot,don’t know if you noticed but later this month Warner Archive will release GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING as a restored Blu Ray,it’s first “official” release on disc.

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    • John,
      I will pass on commenting further re either Colt .45 or Cariboo Trail, but it is my understanding that Scott did Sinners Holiday aka Christmas Eve as a favor to Benedict Bogeaus. And no one liked it but the ‘people.’

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    • John, I think you put the finger on the problem with the hokey nonsense. Sidekicks. Especially Walter Brennan and Gabby Hayes. Comic relief in the shape of those two and other sidekicks was – at least for me – an annoying fact in many Westerns (and other genres occasionally).
      Jeff Arnold wrote a nice article on sidekicks not long ago, very informative, it’s just that I hate them.

      I’ll definitively get the Blu Ray of Great Day in the Morning. Never thought that would happen. Thanks for letting me know.

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  11. Margot, as bad as “sidekicks” are the really hard to take ones are in the B Series Westerns like Smiley Burnette and Dub Taylor where their antics seem to take over the whole movie. Gabby’s OK when a director can reign his antics in but in EL PASO he virtually ruins the film,plus his so called “comic
    antics” do not blend with the vigilante violence.
    I always prefer “mean” Walter Brennan to “loveable” Walter Brennan especially in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. Walter’s OK in THE FAR COUNTRY and you might be interested to see Gary’s review of the new Arrow Blu Ray over at DVD Beaver, a must have on day one as far as I’m concerned. Gary’s also reviewed Indicator’s extras laden version of Losey’s THE DAMNED another firm favourite. I also thought Losey lost his mojo somewhat when he moved from black & white to color I adore the early Brit films like TIME WITHOUT PITY,THE CRIMINAL and THE SERVANT,I guess ACCIDENT was sort of
    black & white in color,if that makes any sense.

    Other directors who seemed to lose it a bit when they made color films are certainly people like Robert Wise,Mark Robson and in some ways Jacques Tourneur-their black & white films are just so good. Having said all that, I will admit to being fond of several of Tourneur’s color Westerns and look forward to revisiting GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING. Great to hear you occasionally check in at Jeff Arnold’s West.

    To digress even further when are we going to see Margot added to the roster of Femme Noir Doyens doing commentaries on Blu Ray releases? I’m thinking of trails already being blazed by Julie Kirgo,Imogen Sara Smith, The Nitrate Diva and Kat Ellinger. My all time fave Brit Noir is IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAYS and I note that DVD Beaver state that Smith’s commentary is so good that it’s worth double dipping over the already released version…praise indeed. I hope, Margot that you get to join the commentary roster,if your voice overs are half as good as what you write on your blog, then they will be very special indeed….wishful thinking! 🙂

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    • Smiley and Gabby were incredibly popular, both top ten Western Stars, but Walter Brennan is not a sidekick. He is a supporting actor and arguably the greatest. Check out The Westerner, To have and Have Not, Red River, Meet John Doe….many more.

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    • Brennan may be a supporting actor, but the supposedly funny “old coot” antics are something I just can’t take. I found Brennan almost unwatchable in The Far Country and Rio Bravo. Just not my thing. I agree though that “mean” Brennan is much better. He was without a doubt a good actor and I think he showed it in My Darling Clementine and The Westerner.

      Ha, ha, I wish someone would ask me to do a commentary. And maybe pay me for it. Not gonna happen. I agree about Imogen Sara Smith, she’s good and I like that she doesn’t mindlessly parrot generally accepted research as gospel.

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  12. I’ve never had the guts to admit it before but I also find Brennan’s “Stumpy” character in RIO BRAVO incredibly hard to take,but far less so in THE FAR COUNTRY. It’s been some time since I’ve seen the film as I’m holding out for the much delayed Blu Ray-Germany’s Explosive Media were supposed to release this a couple of years back. In THE FAR COUNTRY Brennan provides a nice contrast to Stewart’s loner/misanthrope and he also gets gunned down spurring our hero to finally take action.
    I don’t know how much schmoozing one has to do to get commentary gigs but it seems to be a natural progression that people who run informative intelligent blogs should also get to do commentaries. Furthermore I don’t know how aware the cats at say, Arrow and Indicator are of Colin-but they darn well should be! I can think of several blog people who could probably do a far better job than many of those who get these commentary gigs. At any rate our pal Toby is now going gangbusters with his excellent commentaries and quiet right too. I keep teasing him about how it would be so cool to seem him do a visual commentary as well,…hopefully in time.
    It’s all rather lovely to see engaging people like Julie Kirgo or C Courtney Joyner sitting in a cinema extolling a movie’s virtues. I only know Imogen Sara Smith from her fantastic writing, and it’s wonderful that she is also doing commentaries. Kat Ellinger I only know from the fact that she has done the commentary on a couple of Losey Blu Ray’s that I’m interested in; furthermore DVD Beaver’s Gary and Cinesavant’s Glenn really seem to like her so that’s fine by me.

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    • John, commentary tracks are not for the likes of me, although it’s flattering to be mentioned in those terms. That work needs a depth of knowledge and insight I couldn’t claim to have. I like sharing thoughts on movies here when I have the time but I’m under no illusions that I’m any kind of expert or critic.

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  13. OK Colin,but IMHO you have forgotten more about movies
    than certain people who get these commentary gigs,actually know,
    however for the time being let’s leave it at that.

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  14. The “Sidekick” goes Euro,or John’s Post Brexit Blues!

    As much as Margot may dislike Walter Brennan or
    Gabby Hayes these guys have got nothing on the B Series
    Western sidekicks.
    As annoying as these cats can be sometimes often film makers
    add to the pain by providing them with terrible running gag gimmicks.
    I remember a Wild Bill Elliott B where his regular sidekick was
    “Cannonball” played by Dub Taylor.
    I guess Jerry will know the title of the film but in one of their
    adventures the producers decided to provide Dub with a xylophone
    to irritate audiences even further,
    A very un wise move and Dub referred to the darn thing as a
    “silly-phone” Silly says it all but we do know that Dub far outlived
    these type of roles.

    Still the antics of Dub Taylor Smiley Burnett and friends have
    nothing on the Italians and Germans who decided to introduce
    “sidekicks” into their Westerns.
    In the German made Stewart Granger Winnetou/Old Surehand
    Westerns we get Croatian actor Milan Srdoc (aka Paddy Fox)
    as “Old Wabble” The only way I can describe Milan’s character
    is as William Fawcett on speed,if one could imagine such a thing.
    No doubt The Germans found Milan’s antics hilarious.
    Not to be outdone The Italians had Manuel Muniz as “comic relief”
    in several Spaghetti Westerns.
    He appeared in several Giuliano Gemma Westerns.
    I like Gemma,so handsome,charismatic and athletic, and Courtney
    Joyner likes him as well so that’s fine.
    I could,however do without Manuel’s comic relief especially in
    THE RETURN OF RINGO where he plays Morning Glory a plant
    obsessed weirdo! Little Shop Of Horrors has nothing on this guy.
    When all is said and done….come back Dub and Smiley…all is forgiven!

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    • I haven’t really seen any Wild Bill Elliott or Roy Rogers Westerns, so mostly I was spared the sidekick. I do know the Winnetou/Old Surehand Westerns – like some of them too – but yes, they overdo the sidekick shtick too.

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  15. Well,Margot,I’m amazed that you have actually seen
    some of the Winnetou Westerns,and actually like them!
    These films are generally ignored in Blog Land or at least
    in the very few blogs that I follow.
    Speakeasy’s Kristina did mention that she has family roots
    to Eastern Europe and I believe one of her distant relatives actually
    appeared in one of them.
    Kristina’s been kinda quiet lately and that’s a shame.
    Although Stewart Granger by some accounts hated virtually
    every film he was in,he seems remarkably at ease in the
    three Winnetou films that he made-he brings a much lighter
    touch to the role than Lex Barker (both actors had the same agent)
    Back in the 60’s I worked in Mayfair and during my lunch hour
    wandering up New Bond Street I spotted Granger in what looked
    very much like his “Old Surehand” outfit, Stetson and all.
    He looked incredibly tanned and handsome.
    I don’t think the Wild Bill Elliott B Series Westerns would be your
    thing but the 10 or so Republic A Westerns that he made are
    more than worthwhile,especially THE SHOWDOWN and HELLFIRE.
    I find what you do and don’t like in Westerns intriguing so if you care
    to indulge me,I’d love to know say, five of your favourite Westerns,
    but to avoid any bias and for obvious Westerns no Noir Westerns
    i.e. RAMROD,BLOOD ON THE MOON……thanks!

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    • Wil Bill Elliott – or William Elliot at the A picture level. His best, and most entertaining film is Wyoming (1947) with a great cast, including Gabby Hayes, who does not play a sidekick. It is the anti-Shane. Well worth checking out. With John Carroll, fine as usual, Virginia Grey, Albert Dekker and Vera Ralston.

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  16. I grew up in Europe too so that’s how I know about the Euro Westerns.
    I can tell you some of my favorite Westerns if Colin doesn’t object because we have gone quite off-topic here. Colin, if you think this doesn’t belong here, just delete my answer.

    I never really make lists because I either like a movie or I don’t. If I like it very much, it’s a favorite. So, here’s a few, more than five, I love, in no particular order. I’ll pick: Ride Lonesome (and the rest of Ranown), John Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy, Winchester ’73 (and the rest of Mann/Stewart), No Name on the Bullet, Westward the Women, Hondo, Last Train From Gun Hill, Backlash, Man With the Gun, Raw Edge, Jubal, Forty Guns (oh yes). And many many UI pictures.

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    • No such thing as off topic around here, Margot. 🙂
      I’ve been greatly enjoying the recent discussions, even if I haven’t been playing much part in them myself.

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    • I like your list, Margot and it contains many of my favourite Westerns. Interesting that you have Hondo there. I think it has been underrated and it has a lot going for it. I take it from ‘40 Guns’ that, like me, you’re a big Stanwyck fan. She is magnificent in the great Mann Western ‘The Furies’.

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  17. Really enjoyed reading your list of favourites, Margot. Personally, I wouldn’t disagree with virtually any on that list – some really fine westerns there! (I would add a few more but it is so difficult to narrow down a list of favourites, isn’t it?)

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  18. The reason I asked Margot to supply a list is because
    I knew her choices would be eclectic,and they did not disappoint.
    Mighty fine to see titles like BACKLASH,RAW EDGE and
    MAN WITH THE GUN included-a nice diversion from
    the usual suspects.
    THE FAR COUNTRY is included despite previous comments
    on Mr Brennan.
    Interesting that virtually all of Margot’s choices are from the 1950’s
    generally regarded as the genres greatest decade.
    I think Colin’s credo regarding “off topic” is the same as Toby’s
    anything goes as long as cats like Will Ferrell are not brought into the mix.

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    • Well, as probably most people would agree, the 50s were by far the best decade for Westerns. That isn’t to say that there weren’t good Westerns before (or after), it’s just the output of real quality work in the 50s is staggering. My list could go on and on. And I won’t mention Will Ferrell.

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  19. Ferrell was Toby’s name drop BTW.

    Another very good William Elliott A Western is THE PLAINSMAN AND THE LADY. In the Femme Fatale stakes Gail Patrick certainly gives Margot from DETOUR a run for her money. Gail has married an elderly,frail banker,who has had a stroke and about to croak. His demise cannot happen quickly enough for Gail,she arrives
    at his bedside and tells the poor old geezer how repulsive she finds him,and taunts him regarding her other lovers. Its a scene worthy of classic Noir and rather chilling as we watch the poor old guy fade from view. When all is said and done it proves Joseph Kane was far more than a B director.

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  20. OK….The cyber gremlins that plagued me yesterday seem to have resolved themselves…hopefully!!

    As THE FAR COUNTRY has been discussed here I thought I would comment on the new Arrow Blu Ray. Among the extras there is an excellent visual commentary
    from Allen Rode and Courtney Joyner. This “Mann At Universal” feature lays to rest,hopefully,finally the background behind Mann and Stewart’s falling out.
    Mann only made THUNDER BAY,THE GLENN MILLER STORY and STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND as a favour to Stewart. He thought that the script for NIGHT PASSAGE was “trash”
    Furthermore as Mann considered that he had already done three favours to Stewart that the actor should let him bow out this time. As their discussions continued Mann finally commented that Stewart only wanted to make the film so that he could get to play his accordian. This was the final straw for Stewart,Mann’s remark upset him so much that they sadly never worked together again,thus ending one of the most creative partnerships in the history of the Western..

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  21. As far as image quality goes on the Arrow Blu Ray yet again master elements from Universal; do have seem to have been compromised. This time around the transfer is better than BEND OF THE RIVER where the existing elements were even more compromised. We do get the view the film in two different ratios 1.85 and the tighter 2.0.
    I would say that the screenshots on both DVD Beaver and Blu Ray.Com are a very accurate gauge,so,judge for yourselves. I do think that Mann’s comments on the NIGHT PASSAGE script were a tad unfair,I happen to be very fond of the film. NIGHT PASSAGE certainly veered away from the complex,often bitter characters Stewart played in the Mann films. NIGHT PASSAGE is certainly a better film than THE LAST FRONTIER although that film does have considerable merit. Mann much later commented how Stewart would get involved in as much of the physical action as was possible whereas Mature preferred to leave as much as possible to the stunt performers. I might add that NIGHT PASSAGE on Blu Ray is one of the finest transfers of a vintage Universal Western currently available.

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  22. It’s interesting,on this thread GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING was also brought into the mix. Glenn at Cinesavant has just reviewed the new Warner Archive Blu Ray
    and he gives the quality of the transfer very high marks. This release is a must especially as the film has only been available in vapid, horrible 4×3 TV transmissions. The four Tourneur MGM “shorts” also sound very appealing. There are several other RKO Westerns that Warners own,and hopefully, eventually they will receive the same care and attention: DEVIL’S CANYON,TENSION AT TABLE ROCK and TREASURE OF PANCHO VILLA. I guess DEVIL’S CANYON is the least impressive of these RKO titles but Virginia Mayo in high definition..who can resist. Sadly Warners do not own several other RKO titles of interest especially SLIGHTLY SCARLET which Glenn also mentions. Hopefully Allan Dwan’s color/Superscope Noir,one day will get the restoration it so fully deserves. Another film in dire need of restoration is Dwan’;s SILVER LODE surely John Payne’s finest Western hour.

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    • John,
      Re Great Day In The Morning. Glenn does not give the film high marks in the story telling department, and had he…well I could not get through this slow moving dull obvious picture. Glenn did, but that is his job.

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  23. Barry,
    The film is a long way from Tourneur’s best but it’s pretty rare for a 50’s Western to debut on Blu Ray these days. If I may indulge in a little name dropping,way back in the early 1960’s I was at a soiree at Chris Wicking’s flat and Milton Subotsky was there too. Chris screened a print of Lewis Seiler’s THE BIG SHOT on his living room wall. One of the guests arrived late,he had just watched a screening of GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING at the Imperial Cinema Portobello Road. When asked what he thought about the film he replied “the scenery was nice.” I later caught up with the film at the Essoldo Caledonian Road double billed with CRY DANGER…..those were the days.
    Warner Archive and Shout Factory among others do not supply “screeners” i.e. review copies to both Cinesavant and DVD Beaver-if they want to feature these films they have to fork out of their own pocket. This also explains why neither site has reviewed LAW AND ORDER from Shout Factory. It also explains why both sites are very top heavy with Arrow and Indicator releases as they always supply review copies.

    Colin
    Regarding the picture quality on Arrow’s THE FAR COUNTRY I would say that the screenshots on both DVD Beaver and Blu Ray.com give a very accurate version of what to expect.

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    • Yes, I’ve seen a few comments elsewhere online that indicate the captures in question seem to be fairly accurate representations. If I didn’t have an acceptable copy of the movie already, I might have been tempted. As it stands though, I can’t justify the outlay so it’s no sale here I’m afraid.

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  24. Colin-some mis-information-or “fake news” if you will, from yesterday. I should imagine that Glenn at Cinesavant is on Warner’s “screeners” list as GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING has yet to be released. I was going by a piece I saw on Hollywood-Elsewhere stating that Gary at DVD Beaver does not receive review copies from Warner Archive, Shout Factory, Studio Canal and Network, among others. Gary confirmed this on his site and explains if he wants to review releases from those companies he has to fork out from his own pocket. I just presumed that the same applied to Cinesavant. Also Cinesavant review a huge number of Warner Archive Blu Ray’s in fact virtually everything. Sorry about that.

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    • No worries. I know some companies seem a bit hit and miss when it comes to screeners/review copies. I remember a few years ago, when I had more time, that I was getting sent discs by some while others had no interest in sending out material. I’m not sure what the criteria used is, and I’m not into that myself these days as you end up, in a way, obliged to feature some stuff you have little interest in, and my time is far more limited anyway.

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