I’ve met a lot of men in my time. A woman they forget, a mine busting with gold, even the faces of their own children. But I’ve never met a man who forgot a grave he dug.
The Last of the Fast Guns (1958) is set mostly in Mexico, and as a result it belongs to a smallish group of westerns that transplant their heroes south of the border. Generally, these films involve men searching for something or someone. In this case, the hunt is ostensibly for a man, but the reality is that the hero is on an altogether different quest – as he chases after shadows and memories he’s actually trying to pin down a kind of inner peace, looking to come to terms with his own demons and violent nature as the country changes around him.
The opening is stark, brutal and a little shocking in its cold abruptness. The first image we see is a cemetery with a freshly dug grave, and a man quietly riding away from it. At first glance, this scene has an almost supernatural quality, as though the rider has just risen from the earth before mounting up and moving off. However, the truth is that Brad Ellison (Jock Mahoney) has been making preparations, quite literally doing the spade work before heading off to find an occupant for that new grave. He enters the neighboring town and calmly guns down an unnamed man in a brief duel. Right away we know the type of character we’re dealing with, a man of few words with a dangerous reputation that can make him a fortune but is also something of a curse. No sooner has he removed a threat than he’s presented with a proposition: head over the border and track down a man named Forbes. The reason is Forbes’ brother is a wealthy man in poor health and wants to find him to avoid his estate passing on to a treacherous partner. The thing is men like Ellison don’t get hired unless there’s a high risk factor, and the disappearance of two previous messengers is testament to that. Forbes is an elusive figure, someone who’s spoken of in hushed, almost reverential and awed tones, and his shadowy, spectral presence hangs over the picture. Ellison’s mission brings him into contact with four people: Michael O’Reilly (Lorne Greene), his daughter Maria (Linda Cristal), his foreman Miles Lang (Gilbert Roland) and an old padre (Eduard Franz). These four, in different ways, have a powerful effect on Ellison, shaping his destiny as they help and hinder his efforts to catch up with the mysterious Forbes.
The Last of the Fast Guns is a very interesting piece of work from director George Sherman. It’s one of those late 50s westerns that is very much in the classical mold, but also looks forward to and anticipates some of the trends that would surface in the following decade. The dialogue is terse and economical, rapped out with the kind of staccato rhythm that wouldn’t seem out of place in a film noir, and loaded with existential undertones. The hero is much more of an anti-heroic figure than one typically associates with the 50s – the black clad, mercenary Mahoney recalling Burt Lancaster’s grinning rogue form Aldrich’s Vera Cruz, but not quite achieving the amorality that would characterize the bounty killers peopling many 60s westerns. In a sense the link here is not so much with the approaching spaghetti westerns as the regretful nihilism of Peckinpah. That aspect was reinforced for me by an early scene which sees Ellison stopping off at a type of outlaw refuge when he’s just entered Mexico. This is a lovely interlude as he sits around with James Younger and Johnny Ringo, reminiscing about the past and lamenting the passing of Jesse James and Billy the Kid. For all that, The Last of the Fast Guns is at heart a classic 50s production, concerning itself with notions of rebirth and redemption. And that brings me back to that haunting opening. Ellison can in fact be seen as something of a resurrected soul, a man striving to leave death behind him, to achieve or earn his place among the living. Perhaps it’s telling too that, like in The Wonderful Country, the implication is that this can only be realized in Mexico.
Former stuntman Jock Mahoney is probably best known for playing Tarzan, but he made a number of good westerns from the mid to late 50s. I guess it’s fair to say he wasn’t the most expressive actor around but he did have a lot of physical presence and was a good fit in westerns. His laconic style works very well here where he’s taking on the role of a tough gunman and killer. In complete contrast – even down to the predominantly white costume – Gilbert Roland is typically swaggering and arrogant. Roland cuts a much more ambiguous figure, leaving the viewer guessing for long periods of time just whose side he’s really on. Together, Mahoney and Roland balance each other out and their friendship/rivalry is one of the most attractive parts of the film. The casting also has a strong television connection: Lorne Greene being forever associated with Bonanza and Linda Cristal evoking memories of The High Chaparral for me at least. Personally, I don’t feel Ms Cristal had a huge amount of screen chemistry with Mahoney, although there is just about enough there for her role as his spiritual savior to work.
As far as I’m aware there are only two DVD editions of The Last of the Fast Guns available at present, from France and Spain. I have the Spanish release from Llamentol (currently on sale at a fairly good price here) which presents the movie in anamorphic scope and clearly comes from a strong source print. As is usual with this company’s releases, there are no extra features on the disc and subtitles can be removed via the main menu. I reckon a lot of George Sherman’s work is underrated and there’s a rich selection of material waiting to be mined for those unfamiliar with him. The Last of the Fast Guns is a good example of Sherman’s deceptively relaxed filmmaking style. The movie is a visual treat, runs for a lean 80 minutes and has a lot more depth than you might expect. Recommended.
50 thoughts on “The Last of the Fast Guns”
Oh, I want to see this! Always did enjoy Jock Mahoney, especially after catching his version of Tarzan. And of course, I’m a long-time fan of the charismatic Gilbert Roland. Thanks, Colin.
I’m most familiar with Mahoney from his stint as Tarzan too Mike. As I said though, he was good in westerns – Joe Dakota, which is a spin on Bad Day at Black Rock is worth checking out for example. And I’ve always been a fan of Gilbert Roland too.
This sounds like one of those masterfully woven western tales that I tend to love. The pictures are rich and inviting making me wish I was watching this film today. Thanks for adding another one to my never ending “must see” list.
Masterfully woven is a good way to describe the story Paul, and the way it all unfolds is fascinating. It’s definitely one to keep an eye out for.
I saw this film many years ago at a Drive-In theatre. I need to watch it again, because I don’t have much memory of it. However, I certainly remember Jock Mahoney. You mentioned the TV connection; it applies to Mahoney, too. In my neck of the woods Jock is best remembered for his starring role in the B-Western TV series, “The Range Rider.” He and his co-star, Dick Jones, were accomplished stuntmen and stunt riders who always put on a good show. Mahoney also starred in a more adult TV series, “Yancy Derringer.”
In his last years, Mahoney enjoyed nothing more than attending film festivals as a guest and discussing film making with other actors such as Ben Johnson, Harry Carey, Jr., and others. I was lucky to be able to attend a couple of these events and he and Carey were always approachable and willing to spend time talking to fans and admirers such as myself. Ben was a great guy, but very much on the quiet side.
In my possession are framed pictures signed by all three actors. I’m not sure that we will ever see their likes again.
P.S. ~ Great review, as always. Your review and recommendation has made me begin a search for the film.
I’m glad to hear I’ve given you an appetite for seeing the movie again – I think it’s a really worthwhile film and deserves a bit of attention.
On the TV shows you mentioned earlier, I noticed that Yancy Derringer is out on DVD and I’ve been toying with the idea of picking it up at some point.
Really appreciate you mentioning your memories of meeting Mahoney and the others – it’s always good to hear how appreciative guys like that were of their fans and the interest they continued to have in their work too.
Yancy Derringer is actually quite watchable. I have the first 7-8 episode reviews up on IMDB. A fun show that should have ran longer than the one year.
Gord, I got my hands on a copy of Yancy Derringer and, while I’ve only glanced at it so far, it looks like it should be an enjoyable show.
Never even heard of this one Colin! I liked Mahoney’s films as Tarzan a lot though and have always had a crush of Cristal ( I dare say seeing HIGH CHAPARRAL as a kid on the telly had something to do with it) and I like the sound of the opening in particular – you did a great job here – sold! Cheers matey
To be honest, I only became aware of the movie not that long ago myself, mainly as a result of a discussion that took place over at Toby’s 50s Westerns site. I’ve always liked most of what I’ve seen by Sherman and, like yourself, the casting drew me in. I figure it’s one of those lesser-known titles that’s worth highlighting.
Cristal was a favorite of my own from The High Chaparral on TV when I was a kid, but I remember her from Wayne’s The Alamo and Ford’s Two Rode Together as well. Sherman used her in another movie I’d very much like to see – Comanche.
Interesting choice. Not a great movie, but an interesting one.
Quite. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a great movie, but it is a quality production with plenty of interesting things going on.
I remember seeing this a long time ago and find it passable. Now that you have reviewed it, will have another look at it soon. .Best regards.
Thanks Chris. Personally, I feel it’s more than passable – somewhere in the mid-range of 50s westerns maybe. I think the location shooting elevates it and the script is pretty strong.
I think that Blake Lucas and myself have tried to champion Shemans work over on
Tobys blog so I will not repeat myself too much here.Many of his Westerns are well
worth tracking down,I will highlight REPRISIAL! and HELL BENT FOR LEATHER as
personal favorites.The latter title is my all-time fave Audie Murphy film BTW.
I totally agree with you Colin that this film pre-figures the Spaghetti Westerns in certain
scenes. Part of the films success is the wonderful photography of Alex Phillips.
Phillips really knew Mexico and also shot THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY and the
underrated SIERRA BARON. One of my “Holy Grails” is a widescreen transfer of
SIERRA BARON, the Spanish DVD of a few years back was a pan & scan horror.
I have managed to track down a really nice “off air” copy but sadly pan and scan;
it just does not do Phillips lovely photography justice!
Yes John, there is a small band of dedicated Sherman followers out there. If I remember correctly it was either Blake or yourself who first brought the film in question here to my attention, and I’m very grateful for that. Phillips’ cinematography is indeed a major plus for this film, enhancing a good story and complementing Sherman’s direction.
As I’m sure you know, I’m always fascinated by the progression of the genre and how various movements grew out of earlier works. Films like The Last of the Fast Guns fill in another piece of the puzzle for me.
I’ve seen your championing of Sierra Baron before and it’s a shame there’s not a better copy of the movie available as it’s a title I’d certainly like to see.
BTW, I got a copy of the new DVD of The Restless Breed the other day and had a quick look at it. It’s not a perfect transfer but not bad either – I look forward to watching it all the way through.
Glad that you received THE RESTLESS BREED and hope you saw my comments
over in Tobyland regarding the poor p.q. of FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS
and CARIBOO TRAIL.
Its interesting that Sherman worked in lots of other genres besides Westerns,
including Noirs,Swashbucklers and War Movies.
An interesting bit of trivia; one of his films SWORD IN THE DESERT (1949) was banned in England
and has never been shown there commercially.It did get shown at Londons National Film
Theatre in a “banned” season.In the programme notes it was pointed out that a Left-Wing
Cinema in Londons West End did attempt to show the film and riots took place.
I find it amazing that there was actually a Left Wing Cinema in London in 1949.
It is very, very hard to see what the fuss was all about these days but at the time the Government
were very unhappy about the way British Armed Forces were portrayed.
Its a shame because its an interesting movie;good cast too.
Yeah John, I did see your comments about the disappointing quality of those Randolph Scott titles – too bad, it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer for decent versions of those films.
Sherman was of course a very versatile director who made movies in a variety of genres. I’d dearly love to see Larceny and The Sleeping City.
Sword in the Desert has a terrific cast for sure, and it also sounds like an interesting movie – one to keep an eye out for.
Nice “B” oater. The Range Rider dallies with Victoria from The High Chapparal while trading insults and bullets with Ben Cartwright who’s looking for land to build the Ponderosa. Gilbert “Papa Zorro” gets carpal tunnel from his tight wrist bands. Seriously, Jock Jack Yancey Derringer Mahoney was an admirable westerns guy.
Ha! Nice tongue in cheek summary of the movie there Garry! And I agree Mahoney and westerns went well together.
For me, George Sherman’s masterpiece.
So I guess I like it more than most here though I think you were fair with it, Colin I especially like the redemption and renewal themes that seem increasingly to dominate most of the best Westerns of the late 50s, a period when the genre was its height. In your piece, you rightly compare this to THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY, another long underappreciated Western that is gradually coming to be recognized as one of the very greatest ever, so that gives an idea of the quality of FAST GUNS. And yes, setting these films in Mexico (though both have some part set on the U.S. side of the border, more in COUNTRY, before moving into Mexico) definitely has a tremendous effect on their character and does a lot to lift them.
There is a lot more to be said about all this but just a few things:
1) The beautiful Mexican locations Sherman found for FAST GUNS are just stunning–maybe it was
more evident to me because I saw it on the big screen on first release. I haven’t seen these locations in any other movie, those mountain ones especially. But Sherman had shot in Mexico before in TREASURE OF PANCHO VILLA and COMANCHE so he liked the country. (Might make a small correction that Mexico based cinematographer Alex Phillips, who did such a beautiful job on this, did work on THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY too, but shared cinematography on that with the great Floyd Crosby; it’s also extraordinarily beautiful color photography).
2) I intend to research sometime but I think that Sherman, in a period of relative independence (he was non-contracted then) found this project and went back to Universal-International (where he had worked for a long time earlier) and got them to produce it. David P. Harmon, who wrote this original screenplay (and it is so good we should mention his name for sure), worked on REPRISAL! with Sherman, so he would have been able to get Sherman to read it. And I know the original title was actually THE WESTERN STORY. Pretty audacious title–and it’s probably good they changed it–but as with the present title, I think there means to be an intimation about what does happen to the last of fast guns as the West closes.
3) And that’s what moves me about it. It’s implied in Colin’s piece what happens and I won’t give it away but it is so moving as to have an actual spiritual beauty.
4) I don’t agree too much that this anticipates Italian Westerns, or other later Westerns either. The spiritual side of the genre mostly went by the wayside in post-classical Westerns–I’m not saying that’s bad or good just that there is a change, so this is best appreciated in the mainstream of Westerns of its own time. It’s certainly not as if THE WILD BUNCH (or Italian Westerns either) discovered Mexico as a significant setting–it was always there. Yes, Mahoney’s character is indeed hard-bitten but that is characteristic of gunfighters in Westerns through the 50s. The difference is that neither the character nor the film is cynical, and Brad does, as you say, seek peace and an end to gunfighting and that’s what it’s about. Later Westerns are more cynical–the one 50s Western that most anticipates both Peckinpah and Leone (and other lessers of their time too) is surely VERA CRUZ; it is not so cynical in the end, but Lancaster’s character definitely is and anticipates the mercenaries who are heroes of those film, only remember, he was the villain. Wearing black is the only thing Lancaster’s Joe and Mahoney’s Brad have in common.
5) I think Jock Mahoney was a strong actor in his brief but impressive series of late 50s Westerns, and really the last leading actor to carve a niche at this level of programmer Western/B Western (they sure don’t look like one expects of a B, especially this one). But as the 50s ended, this level of Western seemed to end with it, Audie Murphy, already long established, the only one to sustain it. So that was too bad for Mahoney. But he is a favorite of mine even so and will stick up for him more than you have. Obviously Gilbert Roland is a great actor, and has a complex role here, and for me, one of its assets (along with Mahoney in black, Roland in white) is the way the the qualities of these two actors (and their characters) balance each other. As for beautiful Linda Cristal, she is not in it a lot, but her character is key and there is one long, beautifully sustained scene with Mahoney that kind of sets up where the whole movie will go (will also note I’m guessing Sherman kind of discoverd Cristal earlier, at least for American movies, because COMANCHE was her first English-language one I believe).
Well, I don’t want to overstay my welcome here. When you say this was discussed at 50 Westerns from the 50s, I’m sure I participated. I’ve long championed this movie as the single most underrated of all the great Westerns and I stand by that. I’m really glad to hear about this Llamentol release which I didn’t know about until now because this is the one I’ll get. I would have probably got the Sidonis but hadn’t yet and it’s nice to know the subtitles can be disabled for this one.
Colin, I like what you say about Sherman in your piece and as one who has seen a lot of his movies I’ll say definitely there is a lot there to be mined, so many good movies, and Westerns especially but others like SWORD IN THE DESERT as well. Somehow, he went under the radar for years while American directors were being discovered but I have a feeling that is in process of changing now. At least I hope so.
But if he has many good movies, there is none better than this one. It’s just my opinion, of course, and it may depend on what things draw one to a Western.
In any event, thanks for drawing sympathetic attention to it.
Wow! That’s a fantastic response Blake – I really appreciate your taking the time to write such a detailed and cogent reaction to my piece. Super stuff.
I think we’ve talked before about using the term “masterpiece” in reviews of movies. Generally, I avoid the word for reasons I’ve mentioned in the past but there’s another factor involved this time. I simply don’t feel I’ve seen enough of Sherman’s movies to put a label like that on this one. I will say that it’s maybe the best of what I have seen, so I hope I haven’t given the impression that I have any major issues with it. The cinematography, composition and script are all extremely fine in my opinion.
On a few other points you raised: I won’t argue about the influence on the spaghettis, I think you’re right that Vera Cruz is more directly influential. However, I do get something of the regret at the passing of the old west that makes me think of Peckinpah; not the nihilism of The Wild Bunch, more the gentle sadness to be found in Ride the High Country.
Also, the balance that comes from the casting of Mahoney and Roland is, for me, another example of the kind of duality that can be found in many of the best classic westerns (the work of Mann and Boetticher for example), and again in Peckinpah’s work (Gil and Steve, Pike and Deke, Garrett and the Kid).
The link you make with Peckinpah does make sense, meaning in relation to HIGH COUNTRY and to those paired characters. We’ve talked about Peckinpah here and you know I think he kind of traveled his own trail, not just the same one the other later directors did, as influential as he is said to be in that period–and of course he bridges that classical/modernist divide more than anyone else
Yes, I remember the discussion about the word “masterpiece” and I think your policy about it is pretty good. It probably isn’t that illuminating most of the time, and I’m getting to the point I don’t feel the need to give an extra push to a Mann or Boetticher but will just talk about what is there, But in this case, because I think he and the movie are still so underrated, and unlike you, I’ve seen a lot of Sherman’s movies (well over 40 now), I felt I wanted to get out there for it pretty strongly.
Well I wouldn’t argue with your assertion that The Last of the Fast Guns is Sherman’s masterpiece; I may feel uncomfortable using the term myself but anyone who’s seen 40+ of the man’s movies is definitely in a position to make that call.
Hi Colin….to build on your opening point about Westerns set outside of the American nation-state West, an interesting film that would also fit that categorization but actually involve a dual internal-external “search for home” is Blackthorn (2011). This imagining of Butch Cassidy (Sam Shepard) surviving in South America/Bolivia into the 1920s sees Cassidy strike out for America and features some beautiful South American landscapes that, in my view, feel quite “Western” in their own way.
In terms of the film you have reviewed, I see that it can be viewed in its entirety now on YouTube (of course, quality will differ).
Hi Chad. That’s a movie I haven’t seen and it sounds like an interesting premise. I like those westerns or western-themed movies that use South American locations – the landscape is obviously different but it’s very attractive too. I’ll have to look out for Blackthorn.
It would seem there are plenty of Jock Mahoney admirers out there so thats fine.
The six or so Westerns that he made for Universal all have their own merits;most have
been released or are forthcoming from Sidonis,France. They will release the interesting
SHOWDOWN IN ABILENE later this year. Their version of the excellent A DAY OF FURY
is a very decent widescreen transfer and is available on Blu-Ray as well,I understand.
I would be a very happy bunny if these films were released by Koch in Germany with
their lovely packaging and all. The only one on the missing list is the modern day set
SLIM CARTER……….I really want to see that film!
Some George Sherman afterthoughts;Colin I can highly endorse both LARCENY and
THE SLEEPING CITY both very fine movies. Also,round about the same time TARGET
UNKNOWN is excellent with a most capable cast.
Still cannot find someone who loves HELL BENT FOR LEATHER as much as I do,
will not say any more except that its top-drawer Sherman in my book. This film MUST
be seen in Widescreen,the transfer from Koch is outstanding.
I do not know if Blake Lucas has seen FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE (1960) aka NONE BUT THE
BRAVE its one of several diverse things Sherman was doing for Fox at the time.
Anyway all I know is that its a boy and a horse saga and was shot by Alex Phillips…
really thats all I need to make it a must see for me.
The two Sherman Westerns that seem to be overlooked (not by Blake I might add)
are the two late Forties films that he made for Columbia just as he was upgraded to A
features after years toiling away making series Bs.
RENEGADES (1946) is a highly romantic Western that may have appeal to people that
normally do not like Westerns.Larry Parks surprisingly good in the unlikely role of a doomed
member of an outlaw clan.RELENTLESS (1948) with another actor we do not associate
with Westerns (Robert Young) is also an excellent and offbeat film.
Budd Boetticher mentions Sherman in his autobiography………..he calls him “little” Georgie
Sherman.Anyway Budd states that MGM wanted to hire Sherman to direct the Clark Gable
Western LONE STAR but Universal would not release him at that time. Big mistake, according
to Budd;as he was sure Sherman could have enticed Gable over to Universal!
John, I’m pretty fond of Hell Bent for Leather – I wrote a bit about it last year here. And you’re right, the transfer on the Koch DVD is excellent.
That’s a nice little nugget of info concerning Lone Star. That’s a pretty flaccid movie in my opinion and it’s intriguing to wonder if Sherman might have been able to add a little more urgency to it.
John K., I haven’t seen FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE. Of course, I want to. As you’d guess (or maybe I already said so somewhere), I too like his late Forties Columbia Westerns RENEGADES and RELENTLESS, up a grade from the Republic series pictures but since I’ve seen few of those I’m not inclined to dismiss them. The last two Republics were main features, THE LADY AND THE MONSTER and STORM OVER LISBON and photographed by John Alton–I’ve seen both of those and they are interesting, both starring Vera Ralston, Richard Arlen and Erich von Stroheim.
The writer of LONE STAR, Borden Chase also mentioned Sherman in an interview. He didn’t like the movie and was asked if he had not wanted Vincent Sherman (who did direct it), and he answered “I wanted GEORGE Sherman.” And that would have made all the difference to a movie that surely could have been better. Not to dismiss everything Vincent Sherman ever did because he made some good movies but they are melodramas; this was his only Western.
Finally, I like HELL BENT FOR LEATHER very much–not as much as you, John, but the only time I ever saw it in ‘Scope was when it came out. So now I want to see it in ‘Scope again and maybe I’ll get the Koch since you and Colin seem happy with it. Here and in REPRISAL!, Sherman is the other director besides Delmer Daves to appreciate Felica Farr in Westerns and also made good use of her. I always wish she had done more.
Blake, that Koch Media disc of Hell Bent for Leather is really first rate and I certainly recommend it. Having said that, a quick look at Amazon Germany’s site suggests it may be out of print. There is a Spanish edition, which is most likely a port, readily available here & here though.
Colin, many thanks for the link to your review of HELL BENT FOR LEATHER……….how did
I miss that!!!
Blake, I DO hope that if/when Fox Archives finally release FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE
it is not one of their pan & scan horrors!
I did reply to your question regarding the source of FLIGHT NURSE over at Laura’s blog
as I have not received the film yet I cannot confirm the source; I will keep you updated though.
Laura is on a real George Montgomery kick at the moment and that can only be a good thing.
The Dwan/Republic that I REALLY want is WOMAN THEY ALMOST LYNCHED…just cannot
understand how that film has not had an “official” release. I do have a decent “off air” copy
from some Euro TV station but it has burned in (non-removable) French subtitles.
A question Blake, what is Dwan’s standing among film experts in The States, I recall from Toby’s
blog seeing details of a most interesting Dwan Film Festival recently. I get the impression that
he is far more highly regarded in France for instance. At any rate there are far too many of his films
on the “missing list”.
Colin, please forgive me going slightly “off topic” here.
Sorry to be slow with this reply, John K., and hope you are reading it. I think Dwan’s standing among film experts in the States is pretty good, as long as we know who we are talking about. As far as the general public is concerned Dwan probably exists as no more than a name on the screen now, but for director-conscious people Allan Dwan is a very inspiring guy with a lot of interesting and stimulating movies.and there seems to be a lot of interest in him now. I think for most of us we’ve missed a lot more than we’ve seen, given how many he has made.
In any event, Dave Kehr, one of the best critics here, writes on DVD releases for the N.Y. Times and has a blog that links to his Times pieces and other things of interest.
You can get this easily:
If you scroll down to what I believe is now the the third oldest entry it’s called “The Dwan Patrol” and has links to “Il Cinema Ritrovato” which just did a Dwan retrospective they did this year, and a Dossier that is linked online with a lot of writing about him that was put out for that series. Also referenced is a book now out on Dwan and there is considerable Dwan discussion following these introductory remarks as well.
Just to say on Republics you have mentioned, though I haven’t seen “Flight Nurse” I’ve seen some of those others like “The Woman They Almost Lynched” and “The Wild Blue Yonder” and liked those pretty well though my favorite of his Republics is definitely “Driftwood.” On the whole I’d say that I like the Bogeaus productions that followed more as a group. Honestly, though I have some ideas about Dwan and some sense of his work, it’s not as much as a lot of other people do or as much as I believe I have about some other directors.
Many thanks for taking the time to reply Blake, and thank you for the link to Dave Kehr; very
interesting and another name for my notebook.
You make a very interesting point that with the huge volume of work by Dwan its is quite a
task taking it all in, or more to the point, tracking it down.
I get the feeling that as the Fifties progressed Dwan like Fritz Lang was working on less
class A projects, but still able to pull off impressive work, despite budget limitations.
DRIFTWOOD is certainly one that I would like to track down.
Oddly enough I watched another Republic film the other night (not a Dwan film I might add)
BRIMSTONE,also with Walter Brennan. The comparisons with his Old Man Clanton in
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is interesting to say the least.
I have not received FLIGHT NURSE yet but will update you when I have seen it.
Another later Dwan film that I am really keen to revisit is ENCHANTED ISLAND with Dana
Andrews. This was one of those RKO films from their final days and I understand was released
by Warner Brothers. I did catch up with it in the mid Sixties and all that I can remember about
it was that it was an incredibly beautiful looking film.
It is good to hear that there is a lot of interest in Allan Dwan at the moment, long may it continue.
I found the exchanges here getting more interesting. Some of the Bogeaus productions deserving attention are Silver Lode (Payne), Passion (Wilde) and Tennessee’s Partner (Payne/Reagan). All of these are above average westerns and directed by the capable Allan Dwan. Best regards.
Passion is a movie which I need to get round to viewing – I have a copy on DVD but haven’t watched it yet. Thanks for the reminder.
Hi, just wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for WordPress Family Award. http://vinnieh.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/wordpress-family-award/
That’s very kind of you Vinnie – thanks very much!
Colin … !
58 was a great year for Westerns: The Big Country, Man of the West, Saddle the Wind, The Bravados, The Law and Jake Wade …
Never heard of the Last of the Fast Guns though … but I’ve got a lot to catch up on.
Hell of a blog here and you really know your stuff. Have a good one.
Yeee Haw !
Thanks JC, your place looks pretty good too – visually very impressive. I had a quick look round and added you to the blogroll.
I’m glad if I’ve introduced you to a new western and, if you get the opportunity to see it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
It will be my privilege to add your fine blog to my Links as well .
Thank you kindly.
(Did you know that the word blog doesn’t yet seem to be in the Google spell check dictionary ?!!! Strange – It suggests: glob, dog, log, bog, slog or biog instead. Some of those ain’t very flattering)
I think glob or slog fits mine sometimes.
You’re welcome JC.
There are times when I can’t get a post to come out just as I want, and the word slog is certainly one that springs to mind on such occasions. 🙂
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I took a peek at “The Last of the Fast Guns” and I’ve decided to watch it. I’ve seen Jock Mahoney in Douglas Sirk’s critically acclaimed “A Time to Love and a Time to Die” (1958). Mahoney receives third billing behind John Gavin and Liselotte Pulver. I don’t recall him making much of an impact but it’s a good film about German soldiers on the Eastern Front. The only annoying thing about the movie is that Paul Frees (the voice of Boris Badenov on “Rocky and Bullwinkle”) dubs the voices of the non-English speaking male actors in over-the-top thick accents. The novelist Erich Maria Remarque is cast as a professor and Klaus Kinski plays a Gestapo Lieutenant.
But I’m eagerly anticipating “The Last of the Fast Guns”. The beginning looks good!
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From comments you’ve made here on other movies, Frank, I think this film will draw a positive response from you. I fell it’s Jock Mahoney’s best role and one of George Sherman’s best movies too. It’s also an appropriate choice right now with the passing of Linda Cristal just the other day.
Speaking of Douglas Sirk, I’ll be putting up a piece on one of his movies in the next few days, the first one of his I have featured here.
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What a good movie and one that I would have never watched if it wasn’t for your excellent blog. The script is very strong, the on-location cinematography is excellent, and the uncredited score by Han Salter and Herman Stein accompanies the story perfectly. You mentioned the white and black costumes. As you suggest, the amiable, buoyant Miles, who seems spiritually receptive, is really a “whited sepulcher” who is unregenerate. The seemingly damned Brad is the one who finds redemption and rebirth. The other outlaws, Johnny Ringo, James Younger, and Ben Thompson are also seeking entry into paradise (“a ranch in Oregon”) but they find no rest in Grypton’s Limbo which they eventually flee. They lack Brad’s hunger to keep searching. Ostensibly, he is seeking Edward Forbes but in reality, he is seeking his true self. In real life, these other outlaws died violent deaths at ages 32, 40, and 54 respectively (one suicide and one possible suicide).
In my comment above, I mentioned the annoying Paul Frees who dubbed a number of German and Russian actors in Douglas Sirk’s “A Time to Love and A Time to Die”. Well, wouldn’t you know it that when Miles and Brad show up at the cantina in the middle of nowhere and the Mexican owner starts speaking, I burst out laughing as it was the ubiquitous Paul Frees doing the dubbing. It didn’t detract from the film at all, but it gave me a chuckle.
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Thanks for coming back and sharing your thoughts. I’m happy to see you found something of worth in your viewing – I did think you might though.
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