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pandorainmay

Favorite Women Characters in Westerns---Other than Maureen O'Hara, that is!

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For me its

Claudia Cardinale in Once Upon A Time in The West

Julie Christie in McCabe & Mrs Miller

Diane Cilento in Hombre

Geraldine Page in Hondo

Stella Stevens in The Ballad Of Cable Hogue

Martine Beswick in A Bullet For The General

Giovanna Ralli in The Mercenary

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Katie Jurado in High Noon gets my vote. Grace Kelly in the same film runs her a very close second.

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Here's another mention of Barbara Stanwyck in Forty Guns. Her first scene has her hard-riding into town leading her hands (the 40 guns). She's dressed in black from head to toe riding a bright white steed, pretty dramatic entrance. She runs the ranch (and the town) as the matriarch. This was a perfect role that would mature into her character in the Big Valley series.

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All the names are great. So I'll add "Denise Darcel" in Westward the Women (1952) and Vera Cruz (1954)

 

 

 

vallo

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Cinemalover, you were so right in including Barbara Stanwyck in "Forty Guns". She made many Westerns, and this is one of her best. I also liked her in "The Violent Men", even though she played such an evil woman. I had never thought about it before, but "Forty Guns" definitely prepared her for The Big Valley. Can you possibly imagine anyone other than her playing Victoria Barkley? That role was made for her.

 

Terrence.

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Terrence,

I never much appreciated the Big Valley while growing up but I've since had a chance to watch many of the episodes (being shown on the Western Channel) and she (Barbara Stanwyck) is just great. The show definitely grows on you. She had to be one of the strongest female characters in primetime in that era.

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Well, Cinemalover, here's another thing we have in common. I was so thrilled when the Westerns Channel started showing The Big Valley about a year ago. I even talked a friend of mine into watching those episodes, and now he's hooked on it. They had such great writers on that show and some big-name guest stars. And those Barkley boys---mighty easy on the eyes! I'm glad you have discovered it.

 

Terrence.

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Encore Western Channel has been showing reruns of a TV Series from the 1960's Called Cimarron Strip starring Stuart Whitman, as a Western TV show it was so - so, but recently an episode had Gaile Kobe and Lola Albright as guest stars, their appearances certainly drew my attention. Cimarron has been replaced by Bat masterson and the Rifleman.

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A lot of the best ones have already been mentioned, but I'll repeat a few of my favorites just because they're so rootin'-tootin' good.

 

Barbara Stanwyck in The Furies and Forty Guns.

Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again and Rancho Notorious

Debbie Reynolds in How the West Was Won

Claudia Cardinale in Once Upon a Time in the West

Gena Rowlands in Lonely Are the Brave

Vera Miles in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence

Jean Arthur in Arizona and Shane

Angie Dickinson in Rio Bravo

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I'm a huge fan of Diane Cilento in "Hombre." One of my favorite performances, period. On the darker side, Barbara Stanwyck in "The Furies."

 

Don't think anyone has mentioned Maria Schell in "The Hanging Tree." In supporting roles, Judith Anderson in "The Furies" and Aline MacMahon in "The Man from Laramie."

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I'll take Barbara Stanwyck in anything; as for other westerns, how about Rhonda Fleming in Gunfight At The O K Corral? Or Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles?

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She's kind of mean, arrogant but fun to watch - Ella Raines in "Tall In The Saddle."

Most of the cast of "Westward The Women."

Jean Arthur in "Arizona."

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I agree Barbara Stanwyck is great in any western...in anything, period. I also love my favorite Linda Darnell in MY Darling Clementine, but I don't care as much for her in Black Spurs...maybe because the part is small, maybe because she had died when the movie premiered...although it was a welcome return to the big screen after too many years. I much prefer her in Dakota Incident, where she still looks ravishing and had a fairly meaty part. I wish Fox, TCM or Encore Western would show Two Flags West, which I have never seen and has a big-name cast. Linda did not care for this role, feeling it offered no acting challenge, but she lokks beautiful in the stills I have seen.

 

Another favorite, Susan Hayward, has two great performances that I'm recalling. One is in Rawhide with Tyrone Power, taut and suspenseful; the other the modern-day (50s) western "The Lusty Men"... giving Robert Mitchum and others plenty to lust over.

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Here's some western ladies that i never get tired of watching:

 

marilyn monroe - river of no return

olivia de havilland - proud rebel

susan hayward - garden of evil, untamed, the conqueror

linda darnell - dakota incident, two flags west

rita hayworth - they came to cordura

jane russell - montana belle

mae west - my little chickadee

joan crawford - johnny guitar

yvonne decarlo - border river, silver city

jennifer jones - duel in the sun

vera ralston - surrender, jubilee trail, plainsman and the lady, belle le grand

faith domergue - duel at silver creek, escort west

marlene dietrich & margaret lindsay - the spoilers

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Guest

This is a great, great list, and I am not sure I can improve upon it (only to say I NEVER liked Joan Crawford's western, and I think Susan Hayward was great in *Rawhide* with Tyrone Power).

 

However, I want to throw in four unbelievably stunning women who were great in Westerns:

 

1) Virginia Mayo in *Colorado Territory* (w/Joel McCrea) and *Along The Great Divide* (w/Kirk Douglas and Walter Brennan). She is gorgeous in a scene where she is just finished washing her hair and meets McCrea for the first time in *Colorado Territory* See her in a very underrated Western, too, *Fort Dobbs*, with Clint Walker and written by Burt Kennedy.

 

2) Karen Steele. She was in many of the Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher-Burt Kennedy Westerns, and she was very good to look at, particularly in *Ride Lonesome*, when she is combing her hair in the morning. We know women of the real West did not look like her, for if they did history would have recorded a much greater migration Westward.

 

3) Vera Miles A lovely face. From Wichita, Kan. *The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance* and *The Searchers*

 

4) Joanne Dru ....*She Wore A Yellow Ribbon* and *Red River*. Beautiful, simply beautiful.

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I also enjoyed randy's list a lot, and there are some that I wish I'd included in mine, especially Rita in They Came to Cordura and Marilyn, Jennifer and Olivia. GiddyUp from your list I would also have added Joanne Dru to mine, she's really awesome in those westerns.

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See Virginia Mayo in *Colorado Territory* The scene where she first meets McCrea is awesome. She drops her head and throws her hair back. She is exquisite. And Mayo was also good in the other Westerns I mentioned. Very underrated. By the way, *Colorado Territory* is a Western remake of *High Sierra*, the popular Bogart film. And I do agree with you about Dru... Yum!

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And both directed by the great Raoul Walsh, this is a very adult western for its time. Mayo makes no bones of what she is,also showing men hanging was not really done in those days, usually it was the shadow on the ground. The plot followed "High Sierra" very closely ,except for the ending, which was a good choice for this version,I,m sure thanks to Walsh directing both. Nobody played a tough woman better then Mayo as she did for Walsh in the same year in "White Heat".. This is one of my favorite westerns.....The DVD has been released in Italy, but not here....

 

Message was edited by: fredbaetz

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Regarding Johnny Guitar, the film is so odd, and the chemistry between Joan and Sterling Hayden is so weird, i just can't look away. And the technicolor is super.

 

I'm nutso for Susan, but i was bored with Rawhide. I thought it was going to be more exciting.

 

And I do love Virginia Mayo, she is a goddess. I prefer her in Smart Girls Don't Talk, Flaxy Martin, White Heat, Silver Chalice, and Congo Crossing. I liked Fort Dobbs and VM is good in westerns; i just prefer her as a smart-aleck in crime movies.

 

I've never seen Karen Steele as of yet, and have had little exposure to Vera Miles and Joanne Dru so far. Vengeance Valley sounds like it could be good.

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