Three teenage boys discover a gunshot outlaw and nurse him back to health in “The Spikes Gang,” a 1974 western directed by Richard Fleischer available for the first time on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber. Lee Marvin plays Harry Spikes, an outlaw who inspires Gary Grimes, Ron Howard and Charles Martin Smith to join him as outlaws. Harry is calm, cool and calculating, endearing himself to the boys who have romanticized his life as an outlaw.
Will (Grimes), Les (Howard) and Tod (Smith) are farm boys seeking excitement and adventure and find it in Harry who recovers from his wounds with the boy’s help. The three boys are bored with the farm life as well as the harsh treatment they receive from their parents. Harry offers the boys a reward for helping him, but they turn him down instead asking to join Harry who declines their offer. The boys,
The alcoholic in cinema is larger in life because it is a societal reflection of the demons and destruction that affect millions of people globally. Film allows for the liberty to use creative licenses to highlight the physical and psychological pain and false feelings of pleasure to convey the true face of alcoholism and its hold on fictional characterizations that are bound by the poisonous allure of the bottle. However heavy-handed or hearty it may seem in portraying the detached drinker or happy drunk one thing is for certain…the depth and dimensional range of the chronic cinema sipper has never disappointed in giving
Written by Leigh Brackett
Directed by Howard Hawks
When El Dorado was first shown in 1966, the Western in its classical form was beginning to disappear from American cinema. John Ford, synonymous with the genre, released his last feature that year, and El Dorado would be the second-to-last film by its own legendary director, Howard Hawks. The Western was evolving and its old masters were giving way to modern innovators. The stylishly self-conscious films of Sergio Leone first signaled the shift (the films of his “Dollars Trilogy” came out in 1964-1966), and it was certified by the critical, ominous, and violent The Wild Bunch, directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1969. Hawks decried the slow-motion bloodletting of Peckinpah. He argued that he could kill four men, get them to the morgue, and bury them before this newcomer could get one on the ground.
With this as the context of its gestation,
Paramount has recently released two major John Wayne titles as two DVD special editions. The releases were tied in with the studio's Centennial line of classics. In fact, El Dorado probably doesn't qualify as a classic, as it represents Howard Hawks' virtual remake of his 1959 film Rio Bravo (which is a genuine classic.) Regarded as a good, run-of-the-mill Western when released in 1967, the film has grown in stature as film scholars grapple with the notion that there simply aren't artists around today as interesting as Wayne, Hawks and Robert Mitchum, the other lead. The film showcases a fine supporting cast including James Caan in one of his first major roles, Charlene Holt, Michele Carey, Ed Asner and old reliable character actors Paul Fix and Arthur Hunnicutt playing a role that seems tailor-made for Walter Brennan. The plot is virtually identical to that of the previous film:
All five titles were released on May 19th, 2009.
“Centennial Collection #8: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”
Photo credit: Paramount Synopsis: “”This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Behind the camera? John Ford, a director whose name is synonymous with “Westerns.” Gathered in front of it? An ideal cast – James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin. Now presented on two discs, with all-new special features, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance rides into town as classic entry in the Paramount Centennial Collection.
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