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Joel McCrea westerns...


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It use to turn up now and then on the Fox Movie Channel so it appears to be one of those films that Fox has been keeping for itself. Still, TCM has been getting more films from Fox of late so perhaps at some point in time it will end up on TCM.

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Colorado Territory is my favorite McCrea Western. It's a Western remake of High Sierra, by the same director, Raoul Walsh, but I think it's just as good in its own way. I always tear up at the end.

 

Trooper Hook made in the 50s with Barbara Stanwyck is another underrated film. She plays a woman who was captured and lived as a wife of an Indian, and McCrea acts as her protector as she returns to her husband. Great chemistry between McCrea and Stanwyck and balanced portrayal of native Americans.

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I recorded the Joel McCrea westerns from Friday morning and I am starting to watch them. Colorado Territory and Wichita were the two I was most interested in but will watch them all. McCrea just seems so natural in these movies, dare I say this, as good as the "Duke" as far as I'm concerned, and that's no knock on Mr Wayne either.

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I would agree that McCrea has a much more easy going style as opposed to Wayne's . But there's no denying that Wayne was the bigger box office star. Yet I believe that Joel McCrea could have been a very good substitute for Wayne in most of his films. If McCrea had gotten some of those roles (Wayne's) McCrea would be more highly regarded today. The more I watch Joel McCrea the more I like him.

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I like both McCrea and Wayne but when it comes to a comparison of their westerns, there's not much doubt who appeared in the better ones. Wayne was highly fortuntate that both John ford and Howard Hawks wanted to work with him. McCrea didn't have that same luck (though, of course, Colorado Territory and Ride the High Country, both done by master western directors themselves, are fine efforts).

 

A look at Wayne's non-Ford and non-Hawks westerns puts him closer to the level of McCrea's work in that genre. (The one noteworthy exception to that for Wayne would be Hondo, a genuinely fine effort with the Duke at his best, in my opinion).

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I like the Joel McCrea westerns better than John Wayne's. Just a personal preference. Same for Randolph Scott. I prefer his westerns >>> Wayne's. That's not to say I don't like John Wayne's overall (westerns + all else) body of work.

It's picking nits. They all their have good and bad films. Comes down, at least for me, as to who you like better as an actor, and the style they portray. I go with McCrea-Scott-Wayne.

But that's just me. We're all different. It's what makes watching and discussing movies fun.

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