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Forty Guns (1957)

Colin:

A good piece on Fuller’s western, featured on an excellent site, which I’d urge people to pop over and read, and browse around generally.

Originally posted on Films on the Box:

When it’s on: Monday, 11 May (2.50 pm)
Channel: Film4
IMDb Link

‘May I feel it?’
‘Uh-uh.’
‘Just curious.’
‘It might go off in your face.’
‘I’ll take a chance.’

One of the aspects of the Westerm I find most fascinating is its dying days, the realisation that American expansion has caught up with the untamed frontier, making its ways approach their ending. This is a theme of Forty Guns I really like. Both its hero, Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan), and rancher Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck), have long histories, complicated back stories, and know the elements that have defined their lives are drawing to a close. They’re becoming anachronisms, and their riding off in the direction of California together at the end is symbolic of the dawning new chapter in Arizona’s own tale.

But this is only one aspect of Forty Guns, a film I found very hard to pigeonhole…

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Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Readers Choice 4

I haven’t run one of these polls for a while now so I thought I’d resurrect the idea and throw the decision of what movie will be featured next open to the readers. The options this time are Joseph H Lewis’ A Lawless Street (1955) or Richard Fleischer’s The Narrow Margin (1952) – a western or a film noir. The poll will stay open until 23.59 Wednesday and the winner will be written up some time afterwards. Take your pick, people…

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Forty Guns – Upcoming Blu-ray

Fans of Sam Fuller should be very pleased to see that Forty Guns, his 1957 western starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan and Dean Jagger, is coming in a dual format (Blu-ray/DVD) edition from Eureka in June as part of their Masters of Cinema line. More details on their website here. I’m looking forward to this.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

2014 in review

Thanks to all who visited and commented – let’s all hope for good things in 2015!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 46,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
24 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Underrated Thrillers

Earlier this year I contributed a list of underrated westerns to Brian’s site Rupert Pupkin Speaks. It was kind of fun thinking about and compiling those titles and I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to submit another selection. This time it’s underrated thrillers – I’ve written about all of them at one time or another on this blog, some of them a good few years ago now, but you’ll need to pop over to Brian’s place here to see which ones I settled on. Please have a look when you get the chance.

 
18 Comments

Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Another Anniversary

It’s exactly seven years ago today that I put up my first post on the now defunct FilmJournal site. Although my output at this place has slowed to something of a trickle of late, I didn’t want to let the occasion pass without a mention. I hope to get back to writing a bit more regularly as soon as possible, time permitting of course. Anyway, in the meantime, let me just say thank you to all the visitors and movie-lovers who have helped keep this site going – there’s been some vibrant and informative chat over the years, and that’s what really forms the heart of the place.

 
26 Comments

Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Stranger’s View

Last weekend I went to the cinema to see a movie set in my homeland. I suppose it qualifies as a kind of period piece now, the action taking place over 40 years ago. ’71 is a thriller which unfolds amid the Troubles in Belfast in the titular year. Frankly, it impressed me a lot, and not only because it recreated the world in which I grew up, with its tight pacing and essentially simple storytelling. As I watched it, and then reflected on it afterwards, I was struck by how the film tapped into the mentality of the people, my people, and thus offered a very honest portrayal of the times and circumstances. The director of this movie is Yann Demange, a man of French birth. This had me thinking how some of my favorite films set in my country had been directed by those who were basically outsiders – Odd Man Out (Carol Reed) and The Gentle Gunman (Basil Dearden) – yet managed to get under the skin of the people on the screen and perhaps see us more clearly as we really are.

It occurred to me then that this isn’t some isolated phenomenon confined to films set in Ireland. Hollywood in its heyday was packed with émigré directors who shaped the popular culture of the era. Film noir is one of my own favorite styles and came to be a staple of American cinema in the golden age, yet the movement was largely dominated by those born far from its shores – Lang, Wilder, Siodmak (who grew up in Germany), Tourneur, Brahm, Ulmer and many others besides. Isn’t it a little odd that such men should wind up as the biggest movers and shakers in what was arguably a generic American film movement? The western, which is the genre closest to my heart, has fewer examples of course, but directors such as Lang, Tourneur, De Toth and Fregonese still made significant contributions to its development.

So, I guess that’s the question for the day: is it sometimes more beneficial for a filmmaker to come at their subject, or indeed genre, free of the inevitable baggage an insider brings along? Does distance in some way sharpen perspective and allow a clearer appreciation? I’m not sure  there’s a definitive answer but if anyone feels inclined to offer their thoughts, they are most welcome.

 

 
26 Comments

Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Killers in HD

As a huge Robert Siodmak fan, I just wanted to pass along the news that Arrow Films in the UK are releasing The Killers on Blu-ray on November 17. It’s up for pre-order on their website here.

For me, it’s an awful close run thing trying to decide whether The Killers or Criss Cross represents Siodmak’s best work. Either way, it’s a terrific and very welcome bit of news.

 
34 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Andrew V McLaglen

It’s just come to my notice that veteran film and TV director Andrew V McLaglen has passed at the age of 94. The son of Oscar winner and John Ford favorite Victor McLaglen, his long career in showbusiness makes for impressive reading and some highly entertaining viewing. On TV he directed over a hundred episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel and wasn’t far off that total for Gunsmoke. On the big screen he helmed a number of late-era John Wayne movies and a trio of enjoyable adventures I remember seeing in the cinema back in the day – North Sea Hijack, The Sea Wolves and The Wild Geese.

 
29 Comments

Posted by on September 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Save The Alamo (1960).

Colin:

I wanted to pass this message on from Toby’s westerns site. It’s a shocking state of affairs to say the least, and all of us who care about the movie, or just the legacy of cinema in general, need to pass our feelings regarding this along to the studio.

Originally posted on 50 Westerns From The 50s.:

alamo03_70mmprinttest

It’s hard to believe that John Wayne’s The Alamo (1960) is in danger of being lost. What’s doing it in? First, the natural breakdown of its original film elements. Second, MGM’s lack of interest in saving it, even if the public helped pitch in to pay for it. (If there was ever a reason for Kickstarter to exist, this is it.)

Read Robert Harris’ report on the elements and MGM’s crappy attitude here. And if a letter-writing or Facebook-flodding campaign gets going, hop on it.

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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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