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rayban

Forgotten Westerns!

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I saw an excellent Western yesterday that was a Republic Pictures Presentation.

 

"Roughshod" was released by RKO and was made in 1949.

 

It had a terrific cast - Robert Sterling, Claude Jarman, Jr., Gloria Grahame and John Ireland.

 

It also had a terrific supporting cast.

 

It concerned a struggling cowpoke (Sterling) and his brother (Jarman, Jr.) who were traveling to set up a new farm and bringing along with them a lot of horses for the farm.

 

Along the way, Sterling learned that he was being hunted by an escaped convict (Ireland) and his fellow escapees for a past encounter that went wrong and sent Ireland to jail.

 

Sterling also came to the aid of four down-and-out dance hall hostesses who had been tossed out of town and were trying - unsuccessfully - to travel on their own.

 

Although this film had all the trappings of the usual Western, it was essentially a "love story" between Sterling and Grahame, who were a very unlikely pair of "lovers".

 

He really regarded her as a great inconvenience and she was in love with her grit and independence.

 

There was also another "love story" between Sterling and Jarman, Jr., who did obviously worship his brother and hoped for a romance between him and Grahame.

 

Of course, everything worked out in the end, but it did look awfully grim for the longest time.

 

An unusual Western, in which two very different kinds of love - forbidden love and brotherly love - came to a really emotional head and smashed hard against each other.

 

Mark Robson directed the film - rather perceptively, too.

 

roughshod.jpg?w=474

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ROUGHSHOD has aired on TCM-- but not very often. As an RKO picture (not a Republic western) it is in the TCM/Turner library.

 

Jarman and Sterling were loaned out by MGM to RKO-- and both their film careers didn't last much longer. Grahame's contract was shared by RKO and MGM, and she would have an Oscar in the near future.

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Claude Jarman, Jr. would be going on to make one of his greatest films for MGM, "Intruder In The Dust" (1949)  and one of his greatest films for Republic - playing John Wayne's lost son - in "Rio Grande" (1950).

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Claude Jarman, Jr. would be going on to make one of his greatest films for MGM, "Intruder In The Dust" (1949)  and one of his greatest films for Republic - playing John Wayne's lost son - in "Rio Grande" (1950).

And Jarman did get a chance to play a more adult character in the MGM western THE OUTRIDERS with Joel McCrea.

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And Jarman did get a chance to play a more adult character in the MGM western THE OUTRIDERS with Joel McCrea.

He was such an extraordinary child actor - in "The Sun Is Up", opposite Jeanette MacDonald, he played an orphan who stole her heart - and rightly so.

 

In "Roughshod", the fact that he loves his brother (Robert Sterling) so is almost equivalent to giving Sterling some sort of sacred halo.

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"Hangman's Knot" is one of Randolph Scott's many Westerns for Columbia Pictures.

 

It has an extraordinary cast - Randolph Scott, of course, Donna Reed, Claude Jarman, Jr., Lee Marvin, Richard Denning, Jeanette Nolan and a lot of fine character actors like Frank Faylen.

 

It's a very tight, lean Western about a group of Confederate soldiers who are sent off to steal a

Yankee gold shipment - and these guys do it, too, and then are told that the war has been over for a month.

 

While they realize that they would now be branded criminals - and while they are hunted down by greedy bad men who are pretending to be a posse - they hole up at a way station which literally becomes a hell on earth for them.

 

It reminds me a bit of Jean Paul Sartre's "No Exit" - there really isn't any place to go and people don't do well together in closed spaces.

 

The most interesting relationship in the film is the one between Randolph Scott and Claude Jarman, Jr. - Jarman, Jr. is a very inexperienced kid, he's never really killed anybody before - and Scott takes this kid under his wing and tries to protect him from the god-awful environment.

 

When Jarman, Jr. is forced to kill Marvin's totally depraved character, it is really a moment of startling, deep drama.

 

In fact, Jarman, Jr. doesn't even seem capable of processing what he has just done.

 

There's a lot of violence, but Randolph Scott and Claude Jarman, Jr. do survive.

 

And, interestingly enough, they ride off - together.

 

A deep relationship has been forged.

 

The director, Roy Huggins, I believe, does a very credible job of creating a hell on earth, which does not seem to have an escape for anybody.

 

It's more than threatening, it's scary - and the fact that Scott and Jarman, Jr. survive is a very surprising revelation.

 

Matt and Jaime - a journey that seems like the beginning of the end - 

 

  1987-2.jpg

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Fighting Caravans was a 1931 time that starred Gary Cooper in the title role of Clint Belmet. The film is about a young Frontier Scout who helps guide a freight wagon train across the country,fighting off Indians and evil traders,while his two crusty companions try to save him from falling in love.

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I moved to the San Francisco bay area in 1967 to work as staff cameraman for a remote outfit called Tel-West Productions in Redwood City. it was a 6 camera remote truck the same as the networks used. In fact our first job was for Wide World of Sports in Seattle on Thanksgiving Day covering a football game. The President of Tel-west was Claude Jarman Jr . He was working as PR for John Hancock Ins. at the time and president of the San Francisco Film Festival. I found him to be a charming, friendly and outgoing person. He looked almost the same as when he did "The yearling" only about 6' 3'' at the time. I worked there a year and a half and never had any problems, we talked once in a while when he stopped by the studios in Redwood City, mostly about movies. When i left to go to work in L.A. at ABC Hollywood, I went to his offices to hand in my notice. He walked with me to the door and shook my hand, thanked me for the work i did for the company.....

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I moved to the San Francisco bay area in 1967 to work as staff cameraman for a remote outfit called Tel-West Productions in Redwood City. it was a 6 camera remote truck the same as the networks used. In fact our first job was for Wide World of Sports in Seattle on Thanksgiving Day covering a football game. The President of Tel-west was Claude Jarman Jr . He was working as PR for John Hancock Ins. at the time and president of the San Francisco Film Festival. I found him to be a charming, friendly and outgoing person. He looked almost the same as when he did "The yearling" only about 6' 3'' at the time. I worked there a year and a half and never had any problems, we talked once in a while when he stopped by the studios in Redwood City, mostly about movies. When i left to go to work in L.A. at ABC Hollywood, I went to his offices to hand in my notice. He walked with me to the door and shook my hand, thanked me for the work i did for the company.....

 

Such a great comment. Thanks for sharing. A week ago I watched RIO GRANDE, and I thought he was just perfect as the son of John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara. His film career ended too soon.

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I moved to the San Francisco bay area in 1967 to work as staff cameraman for a remote outfit called Tel-West Productions in Redwood City. it was a 6 camera remote truck the same as the networks used. In fact our first job was for Wide World of Sports in Seattle on Thanksgiving Day covering a football game. The President of Tel-west was Claude Jarman Jr . He was working as PR for John Hancock Ins. at the time and president of the San Francisco Film Festival. I found him to be a charming, friendly and outgoing person. He looked almost the same as when he did "The yearling" only about 6' 3'' at the time. I worked there a year and a half and never had any problems, we talked once in a while when he stopped by the studios in Redwood City, mostly about movies. When i left to go to work in L.A. at ABC Hollywood, I went to his offices to hand in my notice. He walked with me to the door and shook my hand, thanked me for the work i did for the company.....

fredbaetz, thank you so much for that memory about Claude Jarman, Jr., I never tire of watching him in any of his movies - my most recent experience being both Randolph Scott and Claude Jarman, Jr. in "Hangman's Knot".

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fredbaetz, thank you so much for that memory about Claude Jarman, Jr., I never tire of watching him in any of his movies - my most recent experience being both Randolph Scott and Claude Jarman, Jr. in "Hangman's Knot".

I always liked "Hangman's Knot" very much and thought it was one of Scott's best Westerns and very under rated...Scott did 2 with a young Lee Marvin, the other being the classic "7 Men From Now". John Wayne was to have done it, it was a Batjac production, but Wayne was busy with John Ford's "The Seachers". So he got Scott to star but Scott would do it if they hired Budd Boetticher to direct.. It became a classic Scott Western....

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I always liked "Hangman's Knot" very much and thought it was one of Scott's best Westerns and very under rated...Scott did 2 with a young Lee Marvin, the other being the classic "7 Men From Now". John Wayne was to have done it, it was a Batjac production, but Wayne was busy with John Ford's "The Seachers". So he got Scott to star but Scott would do it if they hired Budd Boetticher to direct.. It became a classic Scott Western....

I've just bought a collection of Randolph Scott westerns.

 

I do not really know his work in the Western genre. 

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I've just bought a collection of Randolph Scott westerns.

 

I do not really know his work in the Western genre. 

 

It's a coincidence you make this comment Ray...yesterday I purchased two collections of westerns on DVD. I bought packs of Paramount and Universal westerns, since they do not air on TCM and are showing up less frequently on the Encore Westerns channel and Retroplex. 

 

One of the packs has ALBUQUERQUE, a Randolph Scott western he did at Paramount in the late 40s. 

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It's a coincidence you make this comment Ray...yesterday I purchased two collections of westerns on DVD. I bought packs of Paramount and Universal westerns, since they do not air on TCM and are showing up less frequently on the Encore Westerns channel and Retroplex. 

 

One of the packs has ALBUQUERQUE, a Randolph Scott western he did at Paramount in the late 40s. 

Jarrod, I liked Randolph Scott so much in "Hangman's Knot" that I really look forward to his other films in the collection

 

That, and, of course, the fact that he rode off with Claude Jarman, Jr. at the end of the film.

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Jarrod, I liked Randolph Scott so much in "Hangman's Knot" that I really look forward to his other films in the collection

 

That, and, of course, the fact that he rode off with Claude Jarman, Jr. at the end of the film.

 

He certainly made a lot of westerns...so you will have many great films to see. 

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I've just bought a collection of Randolph Scott westerns.

 

I do not really know his work in the Western genre. 

Scott like the great Joel McCrea decided to stick to Westerns in the late 40's and 50's. Scott had done Westerns in the early 1930's along with many other genre's, but there was something about Westerns that was a good fit for both the wonderful stars. One of Scott's best oaters was the 1941 "Western Union" directed by Fritz Lang. A beautiful Technicolor film from 20th Century Fox.If you're a fan of Scott, make sure you watch his final film "Ride the High Country" with Joel McCrea in one of his last films also. Directed by Sam Peckinpah it's pre "Wild Bunch" and a beautifully acted Western with great performances by 2 great Western stars..Make sure you get the Scott/Budd Boetticher box set...

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Scott like the great Joel McCrea decided to stick to Westerns in the late 40's and 50's. Scott had done Westerns in the early 1930's along with many other genre's, but there was something about Westerns that was a good fit for both the wonderful stars. One of Scott's best oaters was the 1941 "Western Union" directed by Fritz Lang. A beautiful Technicolor film from 20th Century Fox.If you're a fan of Scott, make sure you watch his final film "Ride the High Country" with Joel McCrea in one of his last films also. Directed by Sam Peckinpah it's pre "Wild Bunch" and a beautifully acted Western with great performances by 2 great Western stars..Make sure you get the Scott/Budd Boetticher box set...

Randolph Scott & Budd Boetticher - from everything that I've read, a match made in heaven.

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Scott like the great Joel McCrea decided to stick to Westerns in the late 40's and 50's. Scott had done Westerns in the early 1930's along with many other genre's, but there was something about Westerns that was a good fit for both the wonderful stars. One of Scott's best oaters was the 1941 "Western Union" directed by Fritz Lang. A beautiful Technicolor film from 20th Century Fox.If you're a fan of Scott, make sure you watch his final film "Ride the High Country" with Joel McCrea in one of his last films also. Directed by Sam Peckinpah it's pre "Wild Bunch" and a beautifully acted Western with great performances by 2 great Western stars..Make sure you get the Scott/Budd Boetticher box set...

 

RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY tends to be highly rated by most fans of the actors and the genre. It airs frequently on TCM so one won't have trouble finding it. 

 

I'm glad you mentioned the often overlooked WESTERN UNION. It turns up occasionally on Encore Westerns and Retroplex. Definitely a great picture for the reasons you mentioned above, plus it has Robert Young (on loan out from MGM) making a rare western appearance.

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TopBilled, I like your comments about Randolph Scott.  You're right--he fit the Western genre so perfectly.  And he made some good ones!  One of my favorites is "Comanche Station" with the beautiful Nancy Gates.  It's interesting, because he had to fight his feelings for Nancy, since she was married.  A great story line, and so believable.

 

Terrence.

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TopBilled, I like your comments about Randolph Scott.  You're right--he fit the Western genre so perfectly.  And he made some good ones!  One of my favorites is "Comanche Station" with the beautiful Nancy Gates.  It's interesting, because he had to fight his feelings for Nancy, since she was married.  A great story line, and so believable.

 

Terrence.

 

Thanks Terrence. But I think Ray's comments were better than mine. :)

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One thing about Scott's movies was that he had great villains to play against.  There was Lee Marvin in the afore named films, Richard Boone in The Tall T, Andrew Duggan and Michael Pate in Westbound and Claude Akins  in Comanche Station.  The one error is Pernell Roberts in Ride Lonesome; how I wish Akins or Marvin had done that one.  This always made the films more interesting as these great actors made you see things from their point of view and this could be very disconcerting.  The Scott, Brown and  Boetticher, trio really knew their stuff.

 

Budd B did the same thing for Audie Murphy at Universal.  My mother once commented "Can't he make anything else besides Westerns?"  As good as his usually were why did he have to?

 

fredbaetz:  You're still alive?  I've not seen your posts in quite a while and was afraid you'd gone the way of that "other Fred" our late and lamented Dobbs.  Glad it's not true.

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I am glad that the Randolph Scott westerns are available in collections - because I do not really know the man's work in Westerns - but the nihilism of "Hangman's Knot" really knocked me out.

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I am glad that the Randolph Scott westerns are available in collections - because I do not really know the man's work in Westerns - but the nihilism of "Hangman's Knot" really knocked me out.

 

What made it seem so nihilistic to you?

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One thing about Scott's movies was that he had great villains to play against.  There was Lee Marvin in the afore named films, Richard Boone in The Tall T, Andrew Duggan and Michael Pate in Westbound and Claude Akins  in Comanche Station.  The one error is Pernell Roberts in Ride Lonesome; how I wish Akins or Marvin had done that one.  This always made the films more interesting as these great actors made you see things from their point of view and this could be very disconcerting.  The Scott, Brown and  Boetticher, trio really knew their stuff.

 

Budd B did the same thing for Audie Murphy at Universal.  My mother once commented "Can't he make anything else besides Westerns?"  As good as his usually were why did he have to?

 

fredbaetz:  You're still alive?  I've not seen your posts in quite a while and was afraid you'd gone the way of that "other Fred" our late and lamented Dobbs.  Glad it's not true.

Yes. I'm still kicking around the ol homestead. My better half passed away about a year ago and it's been slow getting back to normal. She and I were together 25 years. But it's good to join up with the "Hollywood Posse" and talk movies again. Thanks for the welcome back...

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Black Patch (1957)

 

I watched this little gem again and was amazed one more time at what can be done with a small budget when the people involved give a damn about what they're doing.  The few flaws are more than overcome by what's right.  

 

Either the cinematography leaves a bit to be desired or this was a bad print.  When I first saw it in the 60’s it seemed a bit too dark even for b&w so it might not be my copy.  That’s a shame.

 

The story, by co-star Leo Gordon, is unusual in that it shows people dealing with unwarranted gossip and jumped conclusions as well as jealousy which leads to a crime.  We see organized crime was not just the provence of certain nationalities but greedy men everywhere.  And that law enforcement is a tough job with little appreciation.  Sound familiar?

 

George Montgomery is Matt, a marshal whose work has blinded him in one eye giving the film its title and making him question his future.  While he is finding himself his girlfriend marries a friend.  She shows up in town, unaware that he is there, to meet her husband not knowing he has helped rob a bank so they can buy a ranch.  The husband is still jealous of  Matt and despite her denials has reason to be.  She meets with Matt to prove she’s over him but the opposite happens.  Flytrap, Matt’s young and not too bight other deputy, knows about this.  

 

When the sheriff from the town where the robbery occurred arrives looking for strangers who might have been in on it, the deputy mentions Matt’s friend, Frank.  The sheriff and witness insist on seeing Frank and the witness identifies him forcing the Matt to jail him.  Frank refuses to say where the money is and Matt will not release him to the sheriff without a hearing.  The sheriff believes Matt is in on the crime.

 

The saloon owner, whose style Matt is crimping, arranges for Frank’s escape, then kills him in the attempt.  It looks like Matt killed him for the money and his wife and soon both are the targets of gossip and accusations.  Flytrap, who has his first crush on the woman, blames Matt and turns against the man he’s idolized.  All of this finally comes together but not in the typical way.

 

The actor who plays Flytrap, Tom Pittman, is unknown to me but he nearly steals the movie.  Sebastian Cabot is the saloon owner and Lynn Cartwright-Mrs. Gordon-is his girlfriend who surprises us in the end.  Montgomery’s frequent co-star, Diane Brewster, is the woman in the triangle.  All know what they’re doing.

 

There's a stereotypical Mexican-American deputy, which makes you wince, but otherwise it's a good movie that deserves a better print.  This keeps it from getting three stars rather than two and a half out of four. 

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