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William Witney and the Westerns


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As one who feels fairly well versed in almost all movie categories, I think the one I know the least about from personal experience in viewing, is the Western one. For that reason I am thrilled that TCM is showing this Western festival of serial pictures and others which usually do not play on tv.


I own an Encyclopedia of Western Films mostly because I feel nescient about stars like Charles Starrett, Buck Jones, Tom Mix and so many others due to never having the opportunity to see their films. Now of course, the big Western movies I have seen since they are played a lot in revivals and on tv. It is only the smaller oaters which a kid would have seen in theatres in the 1930's and 1940's that I feel deficient about knowing.


For that reason, I enjoyed all the films I saw yesterday on TCM. I particularly liked seeing the two William Witney films, since the famed cult director's stuff is not always shown. "Home in Oklahoma" from 1946 was my favorite since it starred Roy, Trigger and Gabby, but I also liked "Springtime in the Sierras" from 1947 with Roy and Trigger even though Andy Devine was not as welcome.


Witney is credited for choreographing his fight scenes in Westerns according to the style of Busby Berkeley and has been said to be one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite directors so it was fun to see Witney's work on TCM. He did many films for Republic but also directed works like "The Bonnie Parker Story" and "Master of the World" with Vincent Price but is noted for his many innovative Westerns.

Though I look forward to reseeing many of the classic Westerns that TCM has programmed, it is the obscure ones that I am most excited about since no film knowledge is complete without knowledge of Westerns, in my book.

Anyone else watch any of the films yesterday? I really enjoyed seeing the inimitable Charles Middleton in an early one, but he was not playing Ming the Magnificent as a cowboy.


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