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TopBilled

Westerns on Retroplex & Starz

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Recently added on Starz:

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THE VIRGINIAN (1946) with Joel McCrea & Brian Donlevy. A remake of Paramount's earlier talkie that starred Gary Cooper. Benefits from sharp Technicolor photography and Fay Bainter in a supporting role. McCrea is very much at home in this picture; and he has nice chemistry with leading lady Barbara Britton.

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TOMAHAWK (1951) with Van Heflin & Yvonne De Carlo. Heflin turns in a fine performance, though the script is a bit preachy about giving things back to the natives (which given the era with its stereotyped portrayals, is certainly remarkable). De Carlo demonstrates mastery on horseback in an exciting chase scene. Rock Hudson has a minor role, and the often overlooked Alex Nicol is most attractive. Filmed on location in South Dakota in Technicolor.

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THE STAND AT APACHE RIVER (1953) with Stephen McNally & Julie Adams. Taut performances and a claustrophobic atmosphere give this western stand-off drama a lot of tension. McNally's character wants to go straight and probably will with sexy Adams hanging around. Fine supporting work by Russell Johnson and Jack Kelly. Don't miss this one.

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RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954) with Robert Mitchum & Marilyn Monroe. Hate to say it but Monroe's acting is fairly subpar in this one. The on-location filming in Oregon and the use of CinemaScope helps make up for the deficiencies. Costar Rory Calhoun is just as gorgeous as the outdoor scenery.

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THE RAWHIDE YEARS (1955) with Tony Curtis & Colleen Miller. Typical hokum about a gambler trying to stay one step ahead of trouble. Curtis plays the part with gusto. Normally he didn't star in westerns. Dependable supporting cast (Arthur Kennedy & William Demarest) helps weak plot. If you like Maverick you'll like this one.

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A few more westerns have been added on Starz:Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 5.04.32 PM.jpg
FORT DEFIANCE (1951) with Dane Clark
CATTLE EMPIRE (1951) with Joel McCrea
GARDEN OF EVIL (1954) with Gary Cooper
CATTLE EMPIRE (1958) with Joel McCrea
THE OREGON TRAIL (1959) with Fred MacMurray

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A few more westerns have been added on Starz:

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THE GAL WHO TOOK THE WEST (1949) with Yvonne De Carlo
BRANDED (1950) with Alan Ladd
BROKEN LANCE (1954) with Spencer Tracy
THE GUNFIGHT AT DODGE CITY (1959) with Joel McCrea
SEVEN WAYS FROM SUNDOWN (1960) with Audie Murphy

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On 5/14/2018 at 1:37 PM, TopBilled said:

Some more classic westerns have been added on Starz:

THE SECRET OF CONVICT LAKE (1951)
THE FIGHTING KENTUCKIAN (1949)
FURY AT SHOWDOWN (1957)
EL DORADO (1966)
DAKOTA (1945)

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Vera Ralston is so charming in this picture...she works well with John Wayne. Ward Bond is excellent as the bad guy. And Ona Munson has a spectacular dance hall number. But the most remarkable aspect of the film is the stunt work, plus the special effects. Don't miss the burning wheat fields sequence. Highly recommended!

I'm gonna check this out.  Walter Brennan and John Wayne.  I love that combination...

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34 minutes ago, Moorman said:

I'm gonna check this out.  Walter Brennan and John Wayne.  I love that combination...

Let us know what you think of the film.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Let us know what you think of the film.

I will do that...😃

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On 6/24/2018 at 5:24 PM, Moorman said:

I will do that...😃

Have you seen DAKOTA yet?

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As part of TCM's showing of Republic Pictures films the other day,  I learned that Vera Ralston married the head of the studio,  Herbert Yates, who was 40 years older than her.    Stockholder had to sue Yates because he was misusing company funds to promote his wife.

I wonder if this is a case where all that help really hindered her career.   

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Have you seen DAKOTA yet?

I've seen the beginning. Got to finish it. I've gotten to the part where Wayne's character was jumped by the goons on the train heading out of town.  Had to run out while I was watching.  I'm currently uploading and catching up on some films and will get back to it.

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52 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

As part of TCM's showing of Republic Pictures films the other day,  I learned that Vera Ralston married the head of the studio,  Herbert Yates, who was 40 years older than her.    Stockholder had to sue Yates because he was misusing company funds to promote his wife.

I wonder if this is a case where all that help really hindered her career.   

I didn't catch the wraparounds. Is that really the kind of gossipy tidbits they were telling viewers? They didn't even show a Vera Ralston film that night. I don't get why they have to malign her. I had a very illuminating chat with Herbert Yates' grandson two years ago and we discussed Ralston. The power struggle behind the scenes involved a lot more than her starring in some films. And the truth is that not every film they lined up for her were films she did. Sometimes they ended up giving those projects to Yvonne De Carlo or to Ella Raines. 

Vera is very good in a lot of films. Everyone who worked with her at the studio found her charming and lovely. She was never expected to be on a par with Bette Davis or Greer Garson. 

Her career was never hindered by anything. In fact, her career was helped by Yates. Just like Yates helped the careers of all his stars. In this case, he just happened to fall in love with Vera and married her. He also gave her brother Rudy jobs producing movies at the studio. But I am sure the wraparounds didn't mention Rudy Ralston because they were too busy focusing on the age difference between Yates and his young wife, since that was juicier, more scandalous, more gossipy. TCM needs to get back to focusing on movies and stop bringing all these urban legends into the wraparounds.

Yates wanted his wife to be successful. Just like Hearst wanted Marion Davies to be successful. And Walter Wanger wanted Joan Bennett to be successful. It would be more problematic if a producer did not promote his wife, because then we'd have to ask whether or not he even cared about her doing well at all.

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27 minutes ago, Moorman said:

I've seen the beginning. Got to finish it. I've gotten to the part where Wayne's character was jumped by the goons on the train heading out of town.  Had to run out while I was watching.  I'm currently uploading and catching up on some films and will get back to it.

You haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet.

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12 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I didn't catch the wraparounds. Is that really the kind of gossipy tidbits they were telling viewers? They didn't even show a Vera Ralston film that night. I don't get why they have to malign her. I had a very illuminating chat with Herbert Yates' grandson two years ago and we discussed Ralston. The power struggle behind the scenes involved a lot more than her starring in some films. And the truth is that not every film they lined up for her were films she did. Sometimes they ended up giving those projects to Yvonne De Carlo or to Ella Raines. 

Vera is very good in a lot of films. Everyone who worked with her at the studio found her charming and lovely. She was never expected to be on a par with Bette Davis or Greer Garson. 

Her career was never hindered by anything. In fact, her career was helped by Yates. Just like Yates helped the careers of all his stars. In this case, he just happened to fall in love with Vera and married her. He also gave her brother Rudy jobs producing movies at the studio. But I am sure the wraparounds didn't mention Rudy Ralston because they were too busy focusing on the age difference between Yates and his young wife, since that was juicier, more scandalous, more gossipy. TCM needs to get back to focusing on movies and stop bringing all these urban legends into the wraparounds.

Yates wanted his wife to be successful. Just like Hearst wanted Marion Davies to be successful. And Walter Wanger wanted Joan Bennett to be successful. It would be more problematic if a producer did not promote his wife, because then we'd have to ask whether or not even cared about her doing well at all.

All the host said was about the marriage the rest I got from Wiki.    As for her career;  to me it wasn't a very successful one (and comparing any actress's career to that of Davis or Garson is a strawman).    My point was that if she had signed with another studio maybe her film legacy would have included more first rate productions.  

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6 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

All the host said was about the marriage the rest I got from Wiki.    As for her career;  to me it wasn't a very successful one (and comparing any actress's career to that of Davis or Garson is a strawman).    My point was that if she had signed with another studio maybe her film legacy would have included more first rate productions.  

Not to sound too reactionary but I don't like it when you tell people they are doing straw man arguments. I find it a bit disrespectful. I was alluding to how people sometimes say she was not a very good actress. I mentioned two Oscar winning actresses as counterpoint because I was taking your comment about how she was promoted to illustrate that Republic never even promoted Vera for an Oscar. She was used to entertain, not wow audiences with her acting abilities. The studio never promoted her the way other actresses were regarded or promoted by their home studios.

She had first rate productions, many 'A' films at Republic. She did not need to go to MGM or Paramount to have a better career. In fact she probably would have been lost in the shuffle at other studios. Some would not have worked with her because of her accent. But Yates saw something in her and guided her. He put Maria Ouspenskaya in one of Vera's early dramatic films, because Ouspenskaya was a renowned acting teacher and helped Vera develop her craft. Sometimes Yates "demoted" her to third or fourth billing, bringing in people like Ruth Hussey and Claire Trevor to lead the film, so Vera could work with them and improve. 

So Vera benefited at Republic in ways she might not have benefited at other studios. All her movies were at Republic. And she did no TV. I can't think of any other person in Hollywood whose whole screen career was so carefully defined at one studio. Typically stars would get loaned out. Or freelance and bounce around. Her whole career in Hollywood was guided by Yates.

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I just finished watching the Universal western MONEY WOMEN AND GUNS (1958) on Starz. 

In Kim Hunter's first scene she catches Jock Mahoney bathing in her pond. She shoots his bar of soap.

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By the end of the film they're planning to get married.

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Her son is played by child star Tim Hovey, who was in several Universal films.

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On 7/8/2018 at 10:04 PM, TopBilled said:

You haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet.

I finished watching this yesterday.  It was ok.  There were good and bad points in the film for me.  The bad.  A personal thing of mine is the tone of films. Its harder for me to get into lighter toned Westerns and Film Noir films. Out of the gate I didn't like how Hugo Haas's character was portrayed.  By the time I got to Captain Bounce ( of all things) and Nicodemus, I knew this was not your typical Western.  That quibble out of the way, what I did like: The cinematography in this film was just gorgeous.  From the opening sequences at the Mansion owned by Marko Poli, and all the way till the end of the film. It was just about perfect.  The river scenes really stood out and the corn field scenes stood out.  The stunt work was fantastic also.  Again, theres nothing wrong with the film, its just the tone is not my preference. I don't like Blazing Saddles and its considered a classic.  I rank Dakota a 6 out of 10...

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On 7/10/2018 at 2:49 PM, Moorman said:

I finished watching this yesterday.  It was ok.  There were good and bad points in the film for me.  The bad.  A personal thing of mine is the tone of films. Its harder for me to get into lighter toned Westerns and Film Noir films. Out of the gate the I didn't like how Hugo Haas's character was portrayed.  By the time I got to Captain Bounce ( of all things) and Nicodemus, I knew this was not your typical Western.  That quibble out of the way, what I did like: The cinematography in this film was just gorgeous.  From the opening sequences at the Mansion owned by Marko Poli, and all the way till the end of the film. It was just about perfect.  The river scenes really stood out and the corn field scenes stood out.  The stunt work was fantastic also.  Again, theres nothing wrong with the film, its just the tone is not my preference. I don't like Blazing Saddles and its considered a classic.  I rank Dakota a 6 out of 10...

Yes, tone is a matter of personal taste. I happen to like genre films that experiment and try a different tone or approach with audiences. It helps get us away from the cliches and make the stories a bit less predictable.

The scenes with the fire in the cornfield were excellent. There was a lot of exciting action in the film. I think I read somewhere that Walter Brennan felt his role was under-developed. He went with a broader, more comic interpretation to give the character a bit of flair and differentiate him from the others.

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, tone is a matter of personal taste. I happen to like genre films that experiment and try a different tone or approach with audiences. It helps get us away from the cliches and maybe make the tropes a little more tolerable, less predictable.

The scenes with the fire in the cornfield were excellent. There was a lot of exciting action in the film. I think I read somewhere that Walter Brennan felt his role was under-developed. He went with a broader, more comic interpretation to give the character a bit of flair and differentiate him from the others.

I have typos everywhere in some of my posts 😃  You can tell that Brennan really enjoyed his role in this. It similar but more over the top than his role in " To Have and Have Not " with Humphrey Bogart.

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1 minute ago, Moorman said:

I have typos everywhere in some of my posts 😃  You can tell that Brennan really enjoyed his role in this. It similar but more over the top than his role in " To Have and Have Not " with Humphrey Bogart.

Yes what a great performer he was.

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Yes what a great performer he was.

He is a must watch for me also which is why I wanted to see Dakota.  He has great range also.  This was just a gorgeously filmed movie:

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