Many books have been written about Hollywood Westerns. After 45 years, the late William K. Everson’s “A Pictorial History of the Western Film” (The Citadel Press, 1969) remains one of the best: a coffee-table book with substance. Everson appropriately tips his sombrero to John Ford, John Wayne, Henry Hathaway, and Howard Hawks (with measured praise for “Red River”), and his comments on films spanning the history of the genre up to the end of the 1960s, from “The Great Train Robbery” (1903) to “The Wild Bunch” (1969), are incisive and thought-provoking. As a film scholar and preservationist, Everson was particularly knowledgeable about older and often obscure movies from the silent and early sound eras. Three of the classic titles he highlights are worthy of his approval and deserve to be better known than they are.
King Vidor’s “Billy the Kid” (1930) is slow going at times, particularly if you’re
In the Old West, small homesteaders run afoul of a big landowner who controls the local law and levies killer taxes on their ranches and farms. The homesteaders finally refuse to pay the taxes, and petition the governor for help. Meanwhile, expecting reprisal from the landowner’s hired guns, they build a makeshift fort for refuge. They also send for help from a mercenary who comes to their aid with his private army of four associates and a Gatling gun.
Just kidding about the Western setting. This is actually the plot of “Gonin No Shokin Kasegi,” also known as “The Fort of Death,” a 1969 Japanese chambara by Eiichi Kudo. Nevertheless, the similarities are there. The homesteaders are peasants, the landowner is their oppressive feudal lord, and the higher official they’ve petitioned is the emperor. It’s easy to squint and superimpose an Old West setting out of an American B movie,
Ann Rutherford‘s most notable screen roles were in films made away from both MGM and Wallace Beery. She was a young woman who falls for trumpeter George Montgomery in Archie Mayo’s 20th Century Fox musical Orchestra Wives (1942), and became enmeshed with (possibly) amnesiac Tom Conway in Anthony Mann’s Rko thriller Two O’Clock Courage (1945).
Following a couple of minor supporting roles — in the Danny Kaye comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) at Goldwyn and the Errol Flynn costumer The Adventures of Don Juan (1948) at Warner Bros. — and the female lead in the independently made cattle drama Operation Haylift (1950), opposite Bill Williams, Ann Rutherford retired from the screen. (Rutherford would later say that her Operation Haylift experience was anything but pleasant.)
She then turned to television, making regular television appearances in the ’50s (The Donna Reed Show, Playhouse 90,
Los Angeles (April 14, 2011) – Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is bringing even more classics to DVD in April through its unique “manufacturing on demand” (“Mod”). The newest group of films will be part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection and available through online retailers. The vast catalog ranges from 1980’s Defiance to 1965’s four-time Academy Award® nominated A Thousand Clowns.
Enjoy your favorite movies from across the decades including:
● Davey Crockett, Scout (1950): A U.S. military scout is assigned to stop Indian attacks on a defenseless group of wagon trains making their way West. Stars George Montgomery, Ellen Drew, Noah Beery Jr. Directed by Lew Landers.
From the Press Release
The Return Of William Castle, a 15-film festival of horror and exploitation classics by the director and master showman, complete with their original gimmicks (Emergo!, Percepto!, Illusion-o!, and others – including one created exclusively for Film Forum), will run
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