Certain directors seem to get mentioned or name checked quite a lot on this site, particularly in discussions following on from the main posts. One of those is Lesley Selander, a man with a long and varied career but something of a specialist in low-budget westerns. Anyway, he’s a guy who crops up a lot here yet, despite having seen a number of his films now, I’ve never actually featured any of his work. Well, I guess it’s time to put that right by taking a look at Shotgun (1955), a tough little western with a good cast and some nice location shooting.
What we have is a classic revenge tale, although perhaps a quest for justice fits too. The central character is Clay Hardin (Sterling Hayden), a marshal in a small town, working in partnership with his older mentor, Fletcher (Lane Chandler). Lawmen have the unfortunate tendency to make enemies in the course of their work, and these two are no exception in that regard. Ben Thompson (Guy Prescott), a hardened criminal, has just spent six years in prison after having been brought in by Fletcher and Hardin, and he’s quite literally gunning for them. However, things don’t go entirely as planned, Fletcher finding himself on the receiving end of double shotgun blast while Hardin remains unharmed. Their task only half completed, the killers beat a hasty retreat. Meanwhile, Hardin vows to avenge the death of the man he called a friend. As the pursuit gets underway another subplot is introduced, a deal between Thompson and a band of renegade Apache for the delivery of a consignment of repeating rifles. Along the way, Hardin acquires a couple of traveling companions – Abby (Yvonne De Carlo), a former saloon dancer desperate to get to California and a new life, and Reb Carlton (Zachary Scott). Reb’s a smooth-talking bounty hunter and an old acquaintance of Hardin’s. These three form an uneasy and brittle alliance, initially born of a combination of convenience and potential profit, that may either help Hardin achieve his goal, or possibly prevent him from doing so.
I called Shotgun a tough little western, and I think that’s a fair description; it starts out with a feeling of menace and becomes downright mean in places as it progresses. The character of Hardin grounds it all with a sense of honor, but even so it’s of the hard-bitten and hard won variety. The screenplay, by Clarke Reynolds and actor Rory Calhoun, never shies away from highlighting the less savory aspects of the old west – the cool murder of Fletcher, the aftermath of an Apache raid, torture (involving stakes, wet rawhide and a rattlesnake), and a particularly nasty death. No, this isn’t a movie that pulls its punches or romanticizes the frontier. As a result, there’s a sense of danger, or maybe a lack of security might be more accurate, at all times. Selander seemed to have a knack for directing these gritty kinds of westerns; I watched Fort Yuma not that long ago and it displayed a similar frankness towards violence. Context, of course, is everything, and Selander wasn’t using violence in a gratuitous way. The instances of cruelty on screen don’t take place merely for cheap entertainment, they are consistent with the characterizations and the consequences are never glossed over. The most important characteristic Selander brings to the picture though is urgency, the kind of forward movement necessary for any pursuit drama to succeed. There’s never any shortage of incident as we follow Hardin, always pressing ahead towards his ultimate objective. Selander doesn’t let the pace drop, framing the action against the harshly beautiful Arizona landscape but never lingering on it, and wraps the whole thing up in around eighty minutes.
Sterling Hayden appears to have had a penchant for appearing in westerns featuring off-center elements. Johnny Guitar is chock full of strangeness, Terror in a Texas Town opens and closes with a harpoon taking on a six-gun, and Shotgun also climaxes with a highly unorthodox duel. His large frame and loud, somewhat abrupt style of delivery made him an imposing figure, well suited to film noir and westerns. He had a directness too, bordering on aggression, that made him believable here as a former outlaw brought in from the cold. There’s always the feeling that, despite his inherent loyalty to a murdered friend and the ideals he learned from him, he’s only a step or two away from breaking all the rules in his thirst for vengeance.
Zachary Scott never played too many heroes, he didn’t really have the face or personality for it. His specialty was the urbane villain, or at least a highly ambiguous character. His bounty hunter role in Shotgun isn’t especially villainous, but there’s plenty of his typically venal and insincere charm on show. He’s happy enough to tag along with Hayden so long as there’s a chance he may outmaneuver him and collect a nice fat reward, but he remains essentially untrustworthy. The bonus, however, is that his mercenary part means he gets some of the choicest dialogue. Caught somewhere between Hayden’s avenger and Scott’s opportunist is Yvonne De Carlo. Always a striking screen presence, De Carlo spends much of her time enduring the various hardships encountered on the trail, though she does get to indulge in a memorably provocative bathing scene. The outright villain is played by Guy Prescott, all scowls and ruthlessness. In support there’s Lane Chandler, Rory Mallinson and the reliably unpleasant Robert J Wilke.
Shotgun, an Allied Artists picture, is widely available – in a VCI western set in the US, on individual disc in France, and this western set, which I have, from the UK. The UK release has the same titles, spread over two volumes, as the US version so I imagine the transfers should be broadly similar. The film is given a 16:9 transfer but hasn’t been restored at all – there’s not much distracting damage, although the opening could be described as a little rough in my opinion, but the color varies from time to time. Overall, I’d say it’s an acceptable presentation, just. It’s a good mid-range western which holds the attention, helped by the highly watchable cast, and I reckon it would serve as a good introduction to Selander’s no-nonsense approach to filmmaking.
You can also read other views on the movie by both Jeff and Laura.
66 thoughts on “Shotgun”
Must catch this. Anything with the combo of Hayden,De Carlo and Scott must be worth seeing. Looks like I’ll be getting that western set you mentioned.
I hope you get to check it out – the cast is strong and the story is well handled too. The UK set I have has fewer titles than the US version but each movie gets its own disc, which should mean less compression.
Nice One Colin!
Great to see you feature a Selander film and really do it justice.
My introduction to Selander was decades ago,certainly influenced by the writing of Chris Wicking.
Chris wrote a piece on SHOTGUN in the early Sixties for Motion magazine.
Later I joined the Eyeview Cinema Club in Notting Hill more or less run by Chris in the early
Sixties.Before the main feature Chris would run a clip from an old Selander Hopalong Cassidy
flick and wax lyrical about the “spirit of the West” and stuff.
Yikes! I was still at school at the time and Chris himself was only in his early twenties!
I must admit I did wonder what an intellectual and cineaste like Chris was doing bothering with the
likes of Selander,so I decided to check out some of the films myself and liked what I found.
In those days it was easy to catch up with Selander’s back catalog in the fleapits of London.
At The Eyeview Chris curated a wonderful season of Sci-Fi films,possibly a UK first.
He was also the first UK film writer to bring people’s attention to Budd Boetticher.
Legend has it that when Budd stepped off the plane in London his first words were
“take me to Chris Wicking”
Later Chris curated a major season of William Wellman films at London’s National Film Theatre.
Of course Chris was also a very talented screenwriter of cult cinema and TV.
I remember wonderful evenings around Chris’ flat off the Edgware Road where myself and
other film buffs would watch films on Chris’ living room wall!
I am eternally grateful to Chris for being a major influence on my outlook to film,and certainly
guiding me away from the mainstream which was the case with me at the time.
Some great reminiscences there, John, and it’s good to hear how someone so obviously passionate about cinema played such an influential role in shaping your appreciation of the movies.
It’s been great to see Selander getting more attention both here and on other blogs.
As Colin says SHOTGUN may be the first Selander film featured at RTHC but he has
certainly cropped up many times in the various discussions.
Someone,somewhere sited Joseph Kane (who followed a similar career path to Selander)
as being the “John Ford of B Movies.”
Actually to me Kane is more like the Raoul Walsh of B Movies especially in relation
to the pacing, and landscape compositions in his movies.
Furthermore,to me Selander is the Howard Hawks of B Movies.
Their films share a common bond in driven,often flawed males and strong strident females.
Of course when a director has made as many films as Selander there are low points as well as
highs but there is enough good stuff in his output to make him interesting at the very least.
A trio of films that he made with Rod Cameron are very good namely PANHANDLE,
STAMPEDE and SHORT GRASS with the latter title being outstanding IMHO.
There were several other Selander/Cameron titles which are also good but the three
aforementioned titles are the cream of the crop.
Another Selander Western with Sterling Hayden ARROW IN THE DUST is also very good
and Warner Archive have promised us a remastered widescreen version in the future.
Selander’s “cavalry trilogy” WAR PAINT,THE YELLOW TOMAHAWK and FORT YUMA are
also very good both brutal and ironic. The latter two films were hacked to bits by the censor
and sadly THE YELLOW TOMAHAWK no longer exists in color although there is a neg
still in the vaults that could be used.That film ought to be out there because among other
things it features one of Lee Van Cleef’s very best pre-stardom roles.
Other very fine Selander Westerns worth checking out are THE ROUND UP,BELLE
STARR’S DAUGHTER,DAKOTA LIL,COW COUNTRY and THE BROKEN STAR.
Selander also worked in other genres including Noir BLACKMAIL,Horror THE VAMPIRE’S
GHOST,Swashbucklers THE HIGHWAYMAN,adventure flicks DESERT SANDS
War films,BATTLE ZONE,FLAT TOP and Sci-Fi FLIGHT TO MARS.
Of the aforementioned THE HIGHWAYMAN is a very dark Gothic,tale,way above average and
DESERT SANDS is a very engaging Foreign Legion romp which needs to be re-issued
in it’s original Superscope ratio;a most capable cast I might add!
The fun thing about Selander is that there are always other films to track down,especially
considering his prolific output.
No Colin…I have not seen everything! 🙂
I would love to see Selander’s “wildcatter” flick (is that a genre or did I just make it up?)
STRIKE IT RICH with Rod Cameron,reputedly very good and also his romantic drama
RETURN FROM THE SEA with Neville Brand and Jan Sterling which has been championed by
Blake Lucas no less! TAMING SUTTON’S GAL is a backwoods drama in widescreen reputedly
not very good but the fact it stars Jack Kelly and Gloria Talbott means that I really want to see it.
The good news is that Warner Archive have already released some good Selander pictures and
they have promised us more in the future namely COW COUNTRY,STRIKE IT RICH and
ARROW IN THE DUST….it’s always good to have something to look forward to!
Speaking of Joseph Kane, one of his movies I’ve always liked is Fair Wind to Java – I have a DVD of this one but it looks slightly grotty, unfortunately.
On Selander, I have Panhandle on the same set as this film but haven’t watched it – will bump it up the queue. I’m also glad to hear Dakota Lil gets a recommendation as I’ve though about getting it but was unsure if it was any good. And I’d really love to see Arrow in the Dust.
Yep! That Spanish (I presume) version of FAIR WIND TO JAVA is not very good but the film
is. It gives us a much tougher Fred MacMurray than we are usually used to,at least until
QUANTEZ came along. I know she gets loads of flak but I have to admit Vera Ralston is
very good in FAIR WIND TO JAVA.
The versions of DAKOTA LIL that are out there are in black & white and not terribly good,
I’d love to see the film in color.On the Ignite website they do state that they have a high def
color master of DAKOTA LIL. On the Hollywood Classics site (who handle the Ignite library)
they say their version is black & white-I hope that this is a typo.
The UK release of DAKOTA LIL I think was obtained from the BBC’s “dead dog files” as
was I believe, the lackluster black & white version of FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS.
While we are on the subject of sub standard Euro DVDs I did ask Warner Archive on their
Facebook page if they own MONTANA BELL and DANGEROUS MISSION two old RKO films
that I am very fond of. The former has had a ghastly UK and a slightly better French release.
DANGEROUS MISSION has had an OK Euro release (Cinema Vertice)
Warners do own both titles but both require EXTENSIVE restoration work.
MONTANA BELLE was filmed in Trucolor which is problematic in itself and DANGEROUS
MISSION was filmed in 3D which poses a whole raft of transfer problems.
Warners do say however,that they do intend to release remastered versions of both films but
not for some considerable time. I thought the fantastic job that they did on THE WHITE TOWER
was sensational,the next best thing to seeing it in cinemas at the time of release.
I also believe Cinema Vertice DVDs have “forced” subs,just in case you were interested in
checking this out Colin.
Yes, I have the Spanish DVD, and it could be an awful lot better.
Thanks for all the additional info too, John. I have the UK Fighting Man of the Plains – it’s OK, watchable. I kind of expected Dakota Lil might be of comparable quality.
Dangerous Mission is a movie I caught on TV long ago and I’d love to see it again but I never bothered with that DVD as I’m reasonably sure, as you say, the label adds those irritating forced subs.
Colin-If you don’t mind watching a black & white version of a color film then I would say
DAKOTA LIL is actually better p.q. than FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS.
I do hope that someone releases the Color version of DAKOTA LIL at some point.
It’s certainly not an ideal situation – not the same, to my mind anyway, as watching a colorized version of a B&W movie but seems to be the only option with a handful of titles at the moment.
I think I may at some point e-mail Hollywood Classics to see if the info on their website
is correct. If they do in fact hold the color version I might lobby some of the boutique labels
to see if they might consider releasing it.
Among other things DAKOTA LIL does have a stirring Dimitri Tiomkin score.
Off topic but I just got my Blu-Ray of MAN OF THE WEST from Eureka and its a lovely transfer,
As you know I do have certain “issues” with this film but Eureka’s super transfer does render
many of my reservations with this film pretty redundant.
The process De Luxe color does seem to be very compatible with the Blu Ray process as the
wonderful transfer of Explosive Media’s FORT MASSACRE shows.
I also received my Koch Blu ray of CHARLEY VARRICK and I must say its one of the best
transfers that I have ever seen..with great bonus features as well.
Thanks Colin BTW, for the link to Jeff’s fine piece on SHOTGUN which I missed the first time
I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the new Eureka release of Man of the West – my own copy is still in transit and I’m very keen to see it.
Thank you for the kind words, John! Always a treat to read your comments about related films here and at Laura’s and Toby’s sites.
Thanks for the great review Colin, as ever an eye opener on a career I didn’t know much about – and some great talkback too, really informative – thanks everyone!
Cheers, Sergio, it’s always a pleasure to offer a few pointers. Like you, I’m most grateful to John for taking the time to add so much useful information.
I certainly have a sudden and great urge to watch a lot of Selander films 🙂
I can always fix you up with a few tasters some time, if you want. 🙂
And seven years later, I finally watched this one! First, thanks so much for getting me the DVD. The film is full of good things, like the last scene between Scott and Hayden, though I did find it a bit rough round the edges at times. And it looks like in making the video master they ignored the day for night instructions that would have been available for the initial prints as the opening sequence is clearly meant to be at night but is often in blazing sunlight. De Carlo makes for a memorably tough and feisty leading lady and the fact that about 90% is shot outdoors on location is a real bonus. Thanks again for the recommendations 😁
It’s great that you are taking the time to come back and comment on this stuff after catching up with it. There are a few rough spots from a technical perspective but the movie is a good solid effort.
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More to follow – making the most of a bit of leave 😁
Coincidentally, Laura just provided me a copy of SHOTGUN so I’m even keener to get back to it now (I did see it many years ago but was on black and white TV and my memory is faint though I know my impression of it was a good one).
Following John Knight’s extensive comments just want to say again that it is John K. who prompted me to give Selander a closer look and catch up with a fair number of his films just in the last few years. It’s especially the case with the three Rod Cameron/Allied Artists ones that he mentions, PANHANDLE, STAMPEDE and SHORT GRASS, all very good Westerns everyone here should see.
(These too were on loan from Laura and much appreciated). But others were good too, like OUTLAW’S SON and TALL MAN RIDING (a second look though first in color), solid Randolph Scott Western with some striking scenes. Of ones I saw earlier, WAR PAINT was a standout comparable to the Camerons for me. THE BROKEN STAR was also very good. I agree Selander is good with violence and that it’s always well-motivated as well as unusually tough.
Just to correct John on one point. I didn’t champion RETURN FROM THE SEA; rather, it’s a movie I haven’t seen that always sounded intriguing because so much a departure for him and has the unusual casting of Neville Brand and Jan Sterling as stars of a love story. When I saw this was going to play on TCM in coming months I pointed it out, and am looking forward to seeing it then.
It’s great to hear you have a copy of the movie to hand, Blake – I think you’ll enjoy it.
Like yourself, John’s championing of Selander’s films also led me to actively look out for examples of his work.
Cracking review, another that had me flicking on to Amazon before deciding to rein in the horses, going away shortly, etc. Perhaps one for another time. I don’t know a lot about the director, but the cast looks sensational and I always find Sterling Hayden completely watchable. I almost feel I should apologise once again for not having seen it, but then again my copy of Ceiling Zero arrived yesterday so that will be getting a viewing shortly…
I’m starting to feel like I’m a bad influence, Mike. 🙂
Seeing as you scored a copy of Ceiling Zero, I hope it meets your expectations.
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I’m sure it will, but really I am a victim of this site’s success, wanting to see all the things you discuss that I haven’t. I can only be grateful. Loving the Bogart-Bacall set also.
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That’s incredibly flattering, Mike, especially since I always admired your own choices and approach to film writing – and that stretches way back to when you and I were both members of the old FilmJournal posse in its heyday. So thank you.
I think you said you hadn’t seen To Have and Have Not from the Bogart/Bacall set? If so, that’s bound to hit the spot – or perhaps it already has done so.
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Thanks also – I spotted recently that Film Journal was no longer there. I’ve no idea if anyone was still working on it by then, probably not, but it was brilliant in its day and so many writers I admired in there – yourself, 100 Films, John Hodson, Clydefro, Ghost of 82, many others. A great community, learned a lot about classic cinema, there was all sorts of heart in it, and I’m left a little sad that it’s no more. On a more personal level I’m sure I’ve told you that the High Country was a reference point when I was trying to catch up with good Western cinema.
Re Bogart & Bacall, I actually watched To Have and Have Not instead of Dark Passage, and really enjoyed it. Many shades of Casablanca with a tougher edge in places. Looking forward to Dark Passage also now, but you know the old cliche too many films, not enough time…
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I think FilmJournal simply didn’t have the level of technical support that was necessary. It was a great project but grew inflexible for me – on a technical level – and it was therefore time to move on. I’m glad I was able to transfer all the content I had there, although a good many comments couldn’t be moved. I miss it too.
I figured you’d like To Have and Have Not, and I hope Dark Passage works too, whenever you get round to it.
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It’s all already been said (much better and much fuller than I could) but I should just like to add my own personal enthusiasm for the work of Les Selander. He made some of my favourite westerns, going all the way back to a Buck Jones in 1937 and multiple super films in the Cassidy series and beyond the 50s to some of the best episodes in the ‘LARAMIE’ TV series.
I watched his ‘SHORT GRASS ‘ again only last weekend. A terrifically-good western.
Thanks, Colin, for a really fine review of ‘SHOTGUN’, a western I have only seen once but like a whole lot. I understand Rory Calhoun wrote it (as you said) and had intended to star in it himself but I am not sure why this did not happen.
I fully concur with John K’s love of things Selander and thank him for all the really useful info imparted.
Thanks, Jerry. I don’t know what happened that led to Calhoun not starring in the movie after writing it – other commitments/projects maybe. Either way, the casting is more than fine by me as it stands.
If you need to see the movie again, just drop me a line.
Another great review of an enjoyable western starring Sterling Hayden. As usual, I always look forward to any westerns from either Lesley Selander and Sterling Hayden. Best regards..
Thanks, Chris. As has been mentioned, there’s so much of Selander’s work that there is always something else to explore, and Hayden’s credits are pretty extensive too.
All this Selander talk prompted me to give DAKOTA LIL another look.
I do have a very poor color version of this film.
FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS is more or less a “town” Western with few scenic values.
DAKOTA LIL on the other hand has splendid scenery and lots of rugged outdoor action scenes.
Furthermore a lot of the interiors are lit with a Noirish feel which is lost in the black & white
This film really needs a restored color version as it’s one of Selander’s best.
It’s a shame that along with THE YELLOW TOMAHAWK two of Selander’s best Westerns
are on the missing list as far as color versions go.
DAKOTA LIL gives Selander regular Rod Cameron a change from his usual stalwart
hero.In DAKOTA LIL Cameron plays a brutal misogynistic villain who likes to throttle his victims.
The dialogue is witty and at times racy.
Rod Cameron: “I never did approve of schooling for women”
Marie Windsor:” By the look of your handwriting you don’t approve of schooling for men either”
Cameron:”Got any ridin’ duds;I’ve picked out a nice gentle horse for you”
Windsor: “Not too gentle;it don’t take me long to show ’em who’s boss”
DAKOTA LIL is a fast moving fun Western with a great script,score and an excellent cast.
You’re doing a great job of selling this movie, John. It sounds terrific – I’ve just ordered it.
Fifty Shades Of Selander
Well you can always rely on me to lower the tone of any blog.:)
Iv’e been through all this before over at Toby’s and possibly here as well, but its a fun subject
so I thought I would mention it yet again.
We are talking Women and Whips here!
Directors of vintage movies often to demonstrate female power and authority had their
heroines brandishing whips and riding crops.
Edward Ludwig on the other hand,always one to push the subversive envelope,had spoiled
brat Arlene Dahl brandishing a cat o nine tails in his engaging pirate romp CARIBBEAN.
There again there’s Fullers FORTY GUNS with “that” song.
Selander on the other hand liked his females to actually USE their whips.
This crops up (sorry!) as early as THE ROUND UP (1940) where Patricia Morison strikes a
would be assailant across the face with a riding crop,
Much later in DESERT SANDS (1955) we have to wait 45 minutes before second billed
Marla English strides into the film and for no apparent reason strikes Ralph Meeker across
the face with a riding whip.
In THE BROKEN STAR(1956) fiery Lita Baron bursts into song in a cantina.
Lita warbles a tune called “I hate you” and she sounds as if she means every word.
She cracks a fearsome looking whip while performing her song.
The terrified looking male patrons look on in stoned silence.
Later in the film Lita uses her whip on Howard Duff.
Best of all is COW COUNTRY (1952)
Selander regular Peggie Castle really lets Robert Lowery have it in a prolonged whipping
scene. It’s a jaw dropping “how did that get through the censor” moment.
Peggie makes B Western whip wielding heroes like Lash Larue and Whip Wilson look like
beginners in the whip stakes.
Marvelous stuff ! 🙂
I think I remember you mentioning that scene in The Broken Star before. I have a copy of the film kicking around here somewhere – I’ll have to dig it out and give it a watch.
Great work covering this tough, solid western, Colin! (Big thanks also for referencing my review of the film – much appreciated!) All this Lesley Selander talk from you, John K., Blake and others really whets my appetite to see more of his film work (especially that trio of Rod Cameron westerns Blake mentions). As usual, you have a clear grasp on the various strengths of the actors assembled here, and I like your referencing Sterling Hayden’s aggressive directness. He was indeed a tightly-coiled, physically imposing actor, and while he has some unusual and interesting westerns on his resume, I wish he had managed to star in even more.
Thanks, Jeff, and you’re more than welcome regarding the link – I’ve no hesitation recommending people hop over there and have a good browse round while they’re at it.
I completely agree on Hayden and westerns – he made a fair few and all of those I’ve seen so far have been very enjoyable.
I like this one. Have the VCI edition and with the three principle actors one gets their monies worth. Nicely done.
Cheers, Mike. You can’t fault the performances of any of the three principals in this one, and the writing and direction help a lot – then again, they rarely put a foot wrong anyway.
This is completely off track of this piece but since you and so many of us here love THE FUGITIVE (meaning the TV series of course), I thought I’d note the passing of Walter Grauman (1922-2015, who died March 20.
Grauman was a director whose career may not seem especially outstanding if looked at broadly, but there’s just no denying he made an exceptional contribution to this great show. He directed the first episode “Fear in a Desert City” which beautifully set the tone of the whole. In the first season, Grauman also directed the moving two-part “Angels Travel on Lonely Roads” with the wonderful performance of Eileen Heckart, and he directed the haunting, key “Ballad of a Ghost” in the second season. His final episodes were the two-part “Landscape with Running Figures” with Barbara Rush
playing Gerard’s wife who memorably interacts with Kimble in a a beautifully sustained sequence in an empty bar in a ghost town. For me, this two-part show is arguably the peak of the entire series, linking Kimble and Gerard through the figure of the troubled Marie Gerard in the way it does. I know that’s saying a lot because so many episodes of the show were great. But in any event, Grauman directed 11 episodes including the ones I’ve named and I believe he always did well on the ones he did–he plainly connected to this and had tremendous feeling for it and it brought out the best in him.
It’s as good a place as any to add it, Blake, bearing in mind how often the show has cropped up in conversation here in the last few weeks. His passing is something I wasn’t aware of so it’s good you noted it and highlighted some of his better work.
Worth noting too that he also directed a fair number of episodes of The Untouchables and Barnaby Jones, two shows that I quite enjoyed.
Colin, I really enjoyed your take on this movie. I think I need to revisit it as while I enjoyed it, I had some trouble with the violence. That said, you’ve pointed out its positive attributes and the film is quite appreciated by a number of people — my dad calls it one of his favorites.
Thank you very much for the link to my review!
I’ll be reading through all the comments on the morrow but wanted to let you know I was glad to come across this review when I arrived home from the TCM Fest!
Thanks, Laura, and you’re more than welcome regarding the link.
I’m pleased to hear this piece and the positive comments by others on it may have played a part in encouraging you to see it again.
Hope you had a great time at the TCM Fest.
Thanks, Colin, the festival was amazing! I’ll be writing about it regularly for some time to come. 🙂 Wish everyone here could visit one day!
In a serendipitous bit of programming, TCM will have a 9-film Lesley Selander tribute on April 9th. Wanted to make sure all the Selander fans here with access to TCM have a heads up!
Nice to see often overlooked directors like Selander highlighted in this fashion.
Just to continue a theme I touched on over at Toby’s but it’s interesting that
SHOTGUN’s co-scripter Clarke Reynolds also wrote several Euro Westerns.
Euro Westerns are not the done thing over at Toby’s but you know me,always one to stir
things up a bit!
What’s interesting is the Reynolds scripted MAN CALLED GRINGO is about to be released
by Wild East. MAN CALLED GRINGO was Roy Rowland’s last Western but what’s unusual is
that the leading man is German,Gotz George.
Generally when American directors worked in Europe the films they made had American leads.
As I mentioned at Toby’s several American directors of Westerns worked in Europe in the Sixties
like Selander,John Sturges,Burt Kennedy,Paul Landres and George Sherman,but the Euro
Westerns they made all had American leads.
I know that MAN CALLED GRINGO has been released in Germany several times with a German
only soundtrack and never thought an English one existed.
As also mentioned I’ve never dipped my toes into the Wild East pond yet but some of their
releases look interesting,to say the least.
I’m not a huge fan of Euro westerns myself but I don’t mind dipping in from time to time. Aside from Leone, I haven’t really featured them here – or does Red Sun count too?
I have The Texican sitting unwatched on the shelf; considering it stars Audie Murphy and was directed by Selander, I ought to give it a spin. Also, I’ve been thinking of picking up the new Arrow Blu-ray of Day of Anger.
Colin,I have the Arrow Blu Ray of DAY OF ANGER.
It’s a lovely looking transfer,as always with Arrow.
The film is a pretty good Spaghetti but nowhere near as good as THE BIG GUNDOWN,
The film is a must for Lee Van Cleef fans and the extras are good.
I have not played the “shorter” version included in the package and it may play better than
the full length version which does tend to ramble on a bit.
Yes, I’ve been reading lots of positive things about the Arrow transfer, all their releases I’ve got so far have been really good in my opinion – long may they continue.
The Wild East release of MAN CALLED GRINGO (supported by THE LAST TOMAHAWK another
Euro Western) that I mentioned according to Wild East’s website seems to have sold out,and
that’s even before it has been officially released.
I am interested in “Gringo” purely because of Roy Rowland’s involvement I normally find
most of his films of some interest.
Wild East must have had a flood of advance orders for this item,I guess.
I have been meaning to give one of their “double bills” a go for some time now and that one
might have been a good place to start.
I don’t know if you saw my comments on the current thread over at Toby’s but I mentioned that
Film Jewels (Fernsehjuwelen) in Germany have another wave of releases from the Republic
vaults. Sadly as with previous releases a lot of these films have German only soundtracks.
They are releasing BRIMSTONE a first rate Rod Cameron Forrest Tucker A Western and it
is noted as being in English,for the moment at least. I will update you on this Colin, and advise on
picture quality because I believe that it’s a film that would appeal to you very much.
Thanks, John. I think you mentioned before that were planning on picking up a copy of the German release of At Gunpoint. If you do so, any feedback on that one would be most welcome too.
Colin,I was going to get AT GUNPOINT because both Alive AG and Amazon.de announced
that it had an English soundtrack.
At the eleventh hour this altered to German only,so obviously I did not get it.
Furthermore it’s not in the correct ratio; 1.76 I believe, as opposed to 2.35,though I could have
lived with that if the p.q was o.k.
What really hurts is DRAGOON WELLS MASSACRE in the correct 2.35 ratio but in German only.
The fact that they are releasing some 2.35 film as either 1.85 or even 4×3 makes me think
that they are getting these films from the vaults of some German TV station.
I see – that’s fair enough. I think you’re probably right on the source of the prints too, bearing in mind those TV-friendly aspect ratios.
It always makes me feel good to see someone put Selander in the spotlight (same goes for Ray Nazarro, too, to a lesser extent).
As I woulda guessed, you took on Selander with style, respect and insight. Great post. There’s nothing much I can add that hasn’t been said already. Wish I’d come along earlier in the game!
It’s never too late to join in, Toby. I enjoyed the film and writing it up was a pleasure, which has only been added to by all the great chat and comments that have followed.
Belatedly wanted to chime in and say how much I enjoyed this great little movie. It tries really hard not to be too simplistic and everybody gets an interesting backstory. Very satisfying little film – thanks a lot.
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You’re welcome, pal. I’m pleased to learn you found it entertaining.
When Hayden first lunges for DeCarlo I groaned a bit but they got over that pretty fast I’m glad to say – enjoyed the way it dodged a lot of cliches (along with some arrows – poor Zachary Scott, never could catch a break …)
Yes, you do have to feel for Scott, but I guess that’s the effect he filmmakers were looking for.
And I agree it’s refreshing to see cliches avoided or sidestepped skilfully.
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Thanks for the write-up my good man. You reminded me that I have this one on the shelf collecting dust.
Try and fit it in somewhere in your schedule, Gord, as it’s a neat little movie with that hard edge that’s typical of a lot of Selander’s work.
Found it, and on the must watch pile in now sits. Thanks again for the reminder!!!!!
Hope you like it, I reckon it’s a pretty effective picture.