Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
CitySlicker

Five most "underrated" Westerns ...

Recommended Posts

So often, this genre is overlooked when it comes to awards or acclaim. I love most all Westerns, although I don't really appreciate the singin' cowboys or the true B Westerns, the serial types. But, in no particular order, here are my five most under-appreciated or "underrated" Westerns:

 

1) *Monte Walsh* (Lee Marvin, Jack Palance) 1970 ... a fading cowboy faces the final, fading days of the Old West.

2) *The Gunfighter* (Gregory Peck, Karl Malden, Helen Wescott) 1950 ... a gunslinger wants to quit his ways and rekindle his life with his wife and child but his past haunts him.

3) *Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid* (James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson) 1973 ... Sam Peckinpah's stylish look at the legend of The Kid.

4) *Coroner Creek* (Randolph Scott, George Macready) 1948 ... a cowboy film noir that has Scott looking for the white man who staged an Indian raid that killed his fiancee.

5) *Will Penny* (Charlton Heston, Joan Hackett) 1968 ... aging cowboy meets the right woman at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good choices and topic. *Coroner Creek* is the only one I have not seen anything of, at least not that I recall. I have many underrated favorites among westerns. Here are five out of the hat, in no particular order (though I admit the first is my favorite):

 

1. *The Wonderful Country* (1959, dir. Robert Parrish). This movie contains one of my favorite, if not my very favorite, Robert Mitchum performance. It's one of his most sensitive characters, a quality he's not known for.

 

2. *The Proud Rebel* (1958, dir. Michael Curtiz). Alan Ladd stars with his son, David, and Olivia De Havilland in a warm story about a Confederate veteran determined to provide for his (mute) son in the less than welcoming North.

 

3. *Invitation to a Gunfighter* (1964, dir. Richard Wilson). I prefer this Yul Brynner western to his much more famous turn in the "Mag 7". It's more psychologically complex. George Segal co-stars as another former Reb who has a hard time after the war. Brynner, a Creole gentleman gunfither in the mode of Richard Boone's Paladin, is hired by the town to kill Segal.

 

4. *Vengeance Valley* (1951, dir. Richard Thorpe). Burt Lancaster and Robert Walker star in a small western in the good brother-bad brother mold. Jo Ann Dru, Sally Forrest, John Ireland and many familiar faces make it very enjoyable. Burt is quieter than his usual wired up persona.

 

5. *Pursued* (1947, dir. Raoul Walsh). I wish TCM would show this one with *Blood on the Moon*, I think they'd make a great double-bill. Two noirish Mitchum westerns. Pursued is very psychologically complex for a western, and beautifully photographed in black-and-white.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Lord, there's so many to chose from....

 

1- "The Professionals"-Dir. Richard Brooks

Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode and Claudia Cardinale

Before "The Wild Bunch" there was this great western with a slam band shoot outs and a nice twist in the plot. Great Fun with the actors at the top of their game.

 

2- "Colorado Territory"- Dir.- Raoul Walsh

Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo

A terrific remake of "High Sierra" in a western setting by the same director. Works as well as the original, maybe a little better

 

3-"Hangman's Knot"- Dir. Roy Huggins

Randolph {chorus please} Scott , Donna Reed and Lee Marvin

Confederate soldiers ambush a gold train and kill all the Union soldiers, only to learn the war has been over for a month.With a posse of unlawful ones on their trail, they stand and fight in a stagecoach stop. Excellent oater with a young Marvin.

 

4-"Little Big Horn"-Dir. Charles Marquis Warren

Lloyd Bridges, John Ireland and Marie Windsor.

A small calvary unit tries to warn Custer of the coming attack,while the 2 officers are at each other because of one having an affair with the others wife. A forgotten minor classic...

 

5-"The Last Wagon"-Dir. Delmer Daves

Richard Widmark, Felicia Farr

Man {Widmark} who lived with Comanches and is being taken to be hung for killing white men and wagon train is attacked by Apaches and he and some young people survive and must get through to safety. Excellent acting and direction keep this one moving....

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on May 10, 2011 3:28 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'll go with these since they are either unknown to most Western fans , rarely seen, or rarely seen in the most complete un-cut versions.

 

1). *Il Mercenario* (The Mercenary) (1968) Director: Sergio Corbucci, with Franco Nero, Jack Palance, Tony Musante, Giovanna Ralli, and Eduardo Fajardo. Just a notch below the Sergio Leone films but its Corbucci's most polished Western you'll get a nostalgic vibe when you screen it for the first time. It's companion piece "Vamos a Matar Companero's" (1971) with the delightful Tomas Milian is a tad more comedic. Both have Ennio Morricone scores. Search for the complete uncut version (SPA Japan).

 

2). *Day Of The Outlaw* (1959) Director: Andr? De Toth with Robert Ryan, Burl Ives, Tina Louise, David Nelson, Jack Lambert, and Elisha Cook Jr. A noi-rish Western set in a snowbound town, Ives is great as the crazed outlaw gang leader. Finally out on a DVD.

 

3). *China 9, Liberty 37* (1978) Director Monte Hellman with Fabio Testi, Warren Oates, Jenny Agutter, and Sam Peckinpah. A condemned gunman is given a last minute reprieve on condition he murders rancher for a railway company, an off the beaten path Western with a lot of twists. (search for an un-cut bootleg)

 

4). *Dirty Little Billy* (1972) Director: Stan Dragoti with Michael J. Pollard as Billy Bonnie, a for once very un-romantic look at the beginnings of a legend. Tag line "Billy the Kid was a Punk". Also with Gary Busey, Willard Sage, Dick Van Patten. (search for bootleg)

 

5). *La resa dei conti* (The Big Gundown) (1966) Director Sergio Sollima with Lee Van Cleef, Tomas Milian, Walter Barnes, G?rard Herter, and Nieves Navarro. Van Cleef in one of his best leading roles almost reprises his Mortimer character from "For a few Dollars More". Ennio Morricone score. (look for the Franco Cleef restoration DVD).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great lists ... love *Day of the Outlaw* and, of course, *The Professionals* is one of my favorites, so it's on one of my more big-time lists ... some great ones, though ... I'll throw in one, *Doc*, with Stacy Keach and Faye Dunaway ... a lot on the lines of *Dirty Little Billy*.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard not to like Mitchum in a Western ... Both *Pursued* and *The Wonderful Country* are really good. ... I would like to see *The Wonderful Country* in a widescreen format.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And she was SOOOOOOOO SEXY, Virginia was HOT.....I was 8 when I saw it for the first and that was my impression then and it still is to this day........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that based on what I have seen and the films that I think could have received more box office support or more viewership when aired on television are the following:

 

First five:

The Fastest Gun Alive 1956

The Tin Star 1957

Hour of the Gun 1967

Will Penny 1968

Bite the Bullet 1975

 

Second five:

Comes a Horseman 1978

Heartland 1979

Barbarosa 1982

The Grey Fox 1982

Appaloosa 2008

 

Edited by: fxreyman on May 11, 2011 11:53 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have some great movies on your list. THE GUNFIGHTER, in its quiet inevitability, is one of my favorites. MONTE WALSH so real and atmospheric you can touch it. WILL PENNY is a beautiful and sensitive character study that should be seen by more. Charlton Heston's best work. Joan Hackett is even better.

 

I like LONE STAR, with Gable and Gardner. I like the John Sayles film by the same title. Henry King's THE BRAVADOS is fine. I don't know if SANTA FE TRAIL is underrated. But it's the best of the Curtiz/Flynn westerns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the single most underrated Western is "The Culpepper Cattle Company" released in 1972.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Blood On the Moon*- A faithful working of the Luke Short novel, and one of the first noir westerns. Robert Preston is outstanding as the oily baddie.

 

*Ramrod* - Joel McCrea is caught in the midst of two dueling ranches, both in the wrong. Don DeFore's character is the model for Burt Lancaster's in *The Professionals*.

 

*Vengenace Valley* - I know, I know . . . My first three all based on Luke Short novels. Robert Walker is mean, evil, and nasty, double-crossing his father, wife, and adopted brother.

 

*The Violent Men* - Glenn Ford, Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Brian Keith, and an excellent Max Steiner score. `Nuff said.

 

*Rio Conchos* - Richard Boone is magnificent in this actioneer about keeping one's word.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another fine list ... really like *Ramrod* and *Blood on the Moon.*

Most interesting about the lists is the range of what viewers consider "underrated" movies.

For example, I think of *The Professionals* as well received by critics and the public alike. At the same time, I view Peckinpah's *Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid* as sort of overlooked.

Might this just be me? I imagine it's all about perception. ...

*The Culpepper Cattle Co.*, is another excellent choice for "underrated."

Any one remember Lee Marvin's *The Spikes Gang*? I thought this was pretty good, too.

I'm going to take another look at some of the "spaghetti westerns" listed, too.

 

Edited by: CitySlicker on May 31, 2011 11:04 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like this one, too. People get dirty and dusty, their hair gets out of place and you can almost smell the aromas even though you're glad you can't. It's nearly like being on a real drive. Folks, give this a look.

 

I was talking about The Culpepper Cattle Company. You'd think that if I'm going to recommend a movie I should let you know its name.

 

Edited by: wouldbestar on Jun 1, 2011 7:42 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PURSUED and BLOOD ON THE MOON will be the opening night double bill at UCLA next month when they have a series of Mitchum Westerns!

 

Jack Favell has listed a couple of my underrated faves. In no particular order here's my list:

 

WESTWARD THE WOMEN

 

ANGEL AND THE BADMAN

 

WAGON MASTER

 

ROUGHSHOD (a delightful discovery thanks to TCM)

 

AMBUSH (or maybe COLT .45, a crazily entertaining movie...or YELLOW SKY...and Don DeFore was an absolute revelation in RAMROD, sure wish he'd done more roles like that)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don DeFore was an absolute revelation in RAMROD, sure wish he'd done more roles like that)

 

It was hard to work Hazel into a western.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I had to pick one I would say *Heaven's Gate*. It apparently took down a movie studio and a directer, box office bomb, but is much better than later "awards" Westerns.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MovieFanLaura - I am going out and find a copy of *Ambush,* it's the only one I haven't seen, but I trust your judgment. You have great taste!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

{font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}.and Don DeFore was an absolute revelation in RAMROD, sure wish he'd done more roles like that)

 

That is what I thought. For a guy who looks like Jack Carson's little brother he really was a different guy in "Ramrod." After that film there should have been more.

 

I do think "Wagonmaster" is coming out of the shadows as underrated but it still has a little ways to go. Anymore it is hard to have an underrated Ford western. {font}

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I do think "Wagonmaster" is coming out of the shadows as underrated but it still has a little ways to go. Anymore it is hard to have an underrated Ford western.

 

I agree, but if ever there was one, Wagon Master would be it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The one Western which I think has always been extremely underrated is "Nevada Smith".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...