Strangers When We Meet

This is a story about building a house. Is that too glib? Perhaps it sounds like it is, but it’s not meant to be. Would it be better if I said it’s about lack of fulfillment? Well, that’s true too; it’s a movie about both, and at  heart it’s a movie about people in love. All of these elements converge in Strangers When We Meet (1960), separate and unconnected when they initially come together, just as the title itself suggests, fuse and then diverge again at the close. Still, that climactic separation is not quite as clean or as complete as one might expect – after all, nobody and nothing can remain unchanged and unaffected by their experiences.

The post-war suburban idyll, that’s the image we’re first presented with. A peaceful and prosperous looking street gradually filling up with chattering parents and children bustling along to the bus stop. They gossip and exchange small talk, bid a temporary farewell to the kids and then start to drift apart again, off to resume their day as the strangers they had been a few minutes before. But not all of them; architect Larry Coe (Kirk Douglas) lets his gaze linger a touch longer on the demure yet voluptuous Maggie Gault (Kim Novak), and she discreetly returns that slow-eyed appraisal. So there we have it, those tiny hairline cracks in the veneer of prim middle-class respectability are suddenly exposed to the glare of the early morning sun. I don’t suppose it’s necessary to go into huge detail regarding the plot here. Suffice to say that Larry and Maggie are both less than satisfied in their lives; she is married to a stiff and undemonstrative man while he feels suffocated by the twin pressure of unrealized professional potential and a wife (Barbara Rush) he blames for stifling his creativity. Therefore, we have two people struggling with what they think are unfulfilled lives, ripe for romance and risk. The trigger for it all, what tips the balance, is the aforementioned house. Larry has been given a commission by a bestselling novelist (Ernie Kovacs)  to construct his dream home – something he seizes onto hopefully, as a drowning man will snatch at anything buoyant. It’s this that actually brings Maggie and Larry together, the building of the house proceeds alongside the blossoming of their illicit relationship, with its completion resulting in… Well, watch it yourself and see.

Director Richard Quine had been making a succession of mostly light comedies throughout the 1950s, with a couple of films noir such Pushover and Drive a Crooked Road thrown into the mix. Bearing that in mind, a melodrama in the mold of Douglas Sirk would appear to be an odd project for him to take on. For all that, it works very well indeed, with Quine tackling the serious themes with skill, tact and sensitivity. He never allows it all to become too broad, overheated or overwrought. And visually, he paints  from an exciting and evocative palette as he and cinematographer Charles Lang Jr light, frame and color the movie beautifully – from the marvelously tinted and shadowed first “date” for the clandestine lovers to the warm autumnal mellowness of the final scene, and through it all Ms Novak’s costumes progress from brazen scarlet to virginal white later in the movie, indicating a journey back to spiritual purity. All in all, an excellent handling of cinema’s own special syntax.

So to the writing, the solid core of any piece of filmmaking and frequently the area where the most significant strengths or weaknesses lie. In this case it comes from the pen of Blackboard Jungle writer Evan Hunter ( a man I’m more familiar with for his 87th Precinct books under his other pseudonym of Ed McBain) and adapted from his own novel. As I said in the introduction, it’s a movie about building a house and as such needs a firm foundation to anchor it. Indeed the characters themselves comment on a few occasions about the precarious placement of the house, half joking that it may all come crashing down. And here the architect is seen to be really constructing his building for the woman he loves; she appears to have inspired it and even if he’s not fully aware of this himself, I think it ought to be clear enough to the viewer. The tragedy here is that he’s building this for someone else to occupy, which leads back to the accompanying theme of lack  of fulfillment – the entire premise of his love can never truly be fulfilled.

Still, it’s not quite as bleak as all that. I can only offer my own interpretation but I think  that, ultimately, Hunter wants to put across the idea that the act of loving, both the physical and the emotional, are as close to personal fulfillment as anyone can hope to arrive. That it may not always be a success or be directed towards the right person is perhaps irrelevant. Some will be lucky, they will connect with that ideal or perfect match, but for others the knowledge that they were able to touch on a form of perfection in an imperfect situation may actually be enough, or at least be enough not to negate that love which was but briefly shared.

The last time I wrote about a movie starring Kirk Douglas was on the occasion of his 103rd birthday. Since then he has sadly left us but in doing so he also left behind a wonderful legacy of performances to be enjoyed. He was of course a front line star, a man who seemed as big as the movies themselves yet versatile enough to be wholly believable in whatever role he took on. As an increasingly embittered middle-class man drifting into dissatisfied middle age, he’s never less than credible.

There’s a nice degree of subtlety involved in Douglas’ differing interactions with both Barbara Rush and Kim Novak, as wife and mistress respectively. Both actresses bring a lot to the movie too, Novak has the bigger role with more screen time and she uses that enigmatic quality to good effect – incidentally, this was the third of four films she made for Quine – and the hesitancy and uncertainty she tapped into so well in Hitchcock’s Vertigo is in evidence again. Rush has to wait till the third act to get her big moments and handles them just fine, notably the creepy confrontation with Walter Matthau’s two-faced neighbor. Matthau himself is delightfully sleazy and oily in his role, taunting Douglas during the pivotal barbecue scene before later making his move on Rush in the literally tempestuous climax. A word also for Ernie Kovacs, someone else who was used on a number of occasions by Quine. There are only hints at his quirky comedic side as he gives us an interesting take on the self-doubting writer, a successful man who is every bit as much in search of fulfillment, primarily the artistic kind in his case, as any of the other characters. The fact is that pretty much everyone in the movie is living their own variation on the American Dream; the problem is it’s giving most of them sleepless nights.

I’m not sure if Strangers When We Meet has been released on Blu-ray – someone will no doubt set me straight on that – but it is freely available in multiple locations on DVD. I’ve had the Italian release for some time but only recently got around to it, and I’m very pleased that I did. The movie has, to my eyes anyway, been presented very well and the marvelous Scope  image is highly immersive. The fact is of course that the story itself draws you in with its touching and deeply affecting portrayal of lost people searching desperately for meaning, fulfillment and genuine love.  It really is a rich, layered and intelligent piece of filmmaking, a joy to watch and one I’ll most certainly be revisiting.

172 thoughts on “Strangers When We Meet

    • I had no idea the film was as hard to come by. I’ve had my DVD for a while but only just got round to viewing it. It looks like it’s out of print in many places and so quite pricey. It’s the type of movie that would look exceptionally good in high definition.

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  1. Colin

    Nice write-up of a film I cannot say I have ever heard of. So many thanks, and on the list it goes. . How something with Douglas and Novak could slip past me amazes me.

    Gord

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  2. Hey Colin,

    That was a marvelously written introduction to this film and your deep grasp of of narrative (both in the structuring of your review and the film itself) pulled me in so much I have simply got to see this. The other reason is that I once drafted a screenplay involving a similarly neglected woman supervising the building of a family house believing that by making it perfect so would become her life – needless to say she falls in love with someone else in the process, in this case a physicist involved in a Mars (or was it Venus?) landing who in the closing scenes she realizes he has placed a token of their broken love upon its surface. ‘Strangers when we meet’ sounds much better! .

    Anyways, thanks for this and take care,
    Chris.

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    • Chris, how wonderful to hear from you – it’s been much too long. Yes, you should make an effort to track this down; I feel sure you’ll enjoy and appreciate it. I don’t know how easy it is to get a physical copy right now but I think the online option exists for it too.
      That screenplay sounds most intriguing. Perhaps you should revisit it?

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      • Yes Colin, it’s been too long I know. This looks like it will have to be an online viewing given the current delivery situation etc. I would love to let you know what I think of of it – do replies to your blog flag up in your email? If they don’t my email is chris@chrisbennettartist.co.uk, and you could contact me directly so that I could email you back.
        On my screenplay, yes, maybe I’ll be inspired to do so after viewing ‘Strangers when we meet’. 🙂

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  3. A wonderful, heartfelt review, Colin. I doff my hat to the quality of your thinking and the beautiful language you use to talk about love. I will re-read this review many times. And, of course, I’m off now to track down a copy of the movie.

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    • Hi Steve, and thanks. I’m happy to hear I got you interested in the movie, and I do hope you get the opportunity to check it out. Being able to share our thoughts and recommendations, both to receive and pass them on, is a big part of what running a blog like this is all about.

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  4. Great post Colin – something of a forgotten movie but one I remember liking a lot. I always liked Quine and I always think of him in the same vein as his close friend and collaborator with Blake Edwards (they were both joint best man at Jack Lemmon’s wedding to Felicia Farr) as they could handle pretty much any genre but seemed happiest with comedy. Quine and Novak were an item for quite a while and he directed some of her best films in her Columbia heyday. I don’t think it has ever made it to HD – my recollection is that it is not in fact that easy a movie to get in good version of DVD either. The US release went OOP ages ago. There is a Spanish edition i reckon?

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    • Thanks Sergio. I’m rather fond of Quine’s films too – over the Christmas break every year, I usually try to fit in a viewing of Bell, Book and Candle, which was another good vehicle for Kim Novak.

      Yes, the DVDs are scarcer than I initially thought. I don’t know about Spain – not checked yet – but I have this Italian release. Understandably though, these things probably won’t be so easy to get hold of given the current appalling circumstances.

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      • That’s the DVD I would normally go for, no question! You’ve really made me want to see it again but will probably resist for now. I have ordered a few things via Amazon since lockdown but I’ve got plenty to keep me busy obviously! I did just get the Indicator JOHN FORD AT COLUMBIA set delivered (I don’t know who handles their deliveries but they did a great job), so very much looking forward to opening that this evening.

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        • That Ford box looks like a fine set from the reviews I’ve seen, so you should have plenty to keep you going there. Other stuff will take care of itself in time.

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  5. Beautifully written and expressed, Colin! My initial thought was that I have probably never seen this film but on checking my records I find I have – doubtless on TV and many years ago. I will see what is available.
    I have been waiting for some time now for two deliveries from Amazon from overseas. Stuff I have ordered from within the UK has turned up with no problem but stuff coming in seems another matter, not surprisingly.
    Off topic, but returning to comments on an earlier thread – my new high-def restoration from Network of the 1949 film “MAN ON THE RUN” arrived swiftly and I have just sat down to watch it. I had acquired (and watched) a PD copy a while back but really it was a poor transfer. This new one is a ‘corker’. I am not saying the film is a classic but it is very much my sort of film! Written and directed by Lawrence Huntington (at his peak) and photographed by the highly-experienced Wilkie Cooper with Derek Farr as the young lead. He was a good actor and does a fine job here and it is a pity that his career developed in character roles mostly. Very good supporting cast, with Edward Chapman, John Stuart, Edward Underdown and a young Laurence Harvey in a supporting but quite telling role as a DS.
    The restoration shows a few minor imperfections such as the odd density fluctuation but really it is a lovely job with many interesting locations.
    A superior film of its type and well recommended.

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    • Thank you, Jerry! I do hope you get a chance to see the film again when things eventually approach some kind of normality – not surprising, I don’t think there’s much movement anywhere beyond the strictly domestic these days.

      Thanks for the feedback on Man on the Run – it’s the type of film I enjoy too, as you know, and I will be purchasing a copy at some point in the future.

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  6. Very interesting input from Jeremy “High Def” Entract.All I can say to Gary at DVD Beaver and Glenn at Cinesavant is “watch your backs chaps….”
    “Density Fluctuation” that’s a new one on me..I’m impressed as I’m gobsmacked!
    I’ve only seen a dodgy German DVD of MAN ON THE RUN and the Network version seems to be a wise investment. All I remember about the film apart from the striking locations is the very cynical view of post war England in general. Totally agree regarding Farr always good value as either hero or villain. Sad that Huntington’s career faded as the 50’s progressed like many great Brit directors from the 40’s. His final film THE VULTURE was a vary sad swansong despite a rather good cast.
    I don’t know if Jerry (or anyone else for that matter) is aware of the “Reel Streets” site-there are some very interesting screenshots of the various London locations used in MAN OF THE RUN.

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  7. To my mind DOUBLE CONFESSION; EIGHT ‘O CLOCK WALK; BANG! YOU’RE
    DEAD and TOWN ON TRIAL are worthy contenders for the RTHC treatment.
    All four titles show Mr Farr’s considerable range.
    Two of these titles are from Lance Comfort before his decline into B movies.

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  8. “Density fluctuation” I take to be describing the fluctuations at the start of some scenes where the light is a little bright for just a second or so until the contrast corrects. All barely noticeable. Seeing the film in its new restoration gives whole new enjoyment of this film.

    Yes, John, Reel Streets is a wonderful website, isn’t it? I use it a great deal.

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  9. Hi, Colin – I watched “Strangers” last night. Nearly 60 years after its release, it remains powerful and accomplished story telling. SPOILER ALERT One aspect of it that has had me thinking is how it portrayed the lives of the women in that well to do neighbourhood. The Director economically conveys the drudgery and boredom of being a housewife – eg the scene of Maggie slaving in her kitchen – while the men could pursue their dreams as architects or writers etc. When Larry is upset with his private life, he takes it out on the builders at the house. Maggie has only her small child to vent on. Poignantly, In the beautifully realised farewell scene, Larry speaks enthusiastically about his big new project in Hawaii, while Maggie can only drive downhill and back to her sterile home in the suburbs.Another one to thank you for, Colin.

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    • Yes, true. It’s interesting to note the changes in prevailing social norms such as those. Good examples too, and I think you could say the same for Barbara Rush’s character and how much of her life is lived vicariously through Larry, indeed how some of the strain on the relationship comes through his awareness of this fact.

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  10. While as I said earlier, I have not seen STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET. But it all sounds a bit like the 1957 J.Lee Thompson film, WOMAN IN A DRESSING GOWN. The drudgery and boredom of being a housewife jumps right out at the viewer in that one. Tony Quayle, Yvonne Mitchell and Sylvia Syms headline. Been a few years since I caught it, but it was a real hard hitting bit of domestic drama as I recall.

    Gord

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    • I haven’t seen that one, although I notice it is available on DVD, and it sounds interesting. I get the impression it may be grittier or bleaker in tone as was often the case with British productions. The classic Hollywood melodrama frequently aimed for contrast, the juxtaposition of a glossy and polished facade with the mixed emotions behind it all.
      Directed by J Lee Thompson, I see. He did very interesting work in the UK before his move to Hollywood.

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  11. Colin
    Once I get to seeing STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET I can make a more accurate comparison.
    Gritty and bleak would be an on point comment on the Thompson film.

    Gord

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  12. Hi, John K – following your mention of it, today I dug out my copy of EIGHT O’CLOCK WALK for another look. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is taut and well paced and the trial sequences are credible and tense. Derek Farr is very good in it and Cathy O’Donnell’s sweet girl next door persona works beautifully. I’d join you in recommending it to fans of well made crime dramas from the 1950s.

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  13. Cathy ‘O Donnell was also in MAD AT THE WORLD (1955), a tough hybrid of the JD Vigilante movie. MAD AT THE WOULD also features another favourite of mine, Karen Sharpe.
    MAD AT THE WORLD can be viewed on line.

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  14. Thanks for this fine piece! I recently enjoyed this film along with Middle of The Night and Drive The Crooked Road for the first time. My estimation of all involved rose after watching this film.

    Regards,

    Tynan @ 4 Star Films

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  15. Colin-sorry to veer off topic yet again and I must say that I enjoyed your take on STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET although I’ve never seen the film.
    I should imagine that you have the Network DVD of EIGHT ‘O CLOCK WALK lurking somewhere-it’s well worth checking out.
    Network also released BANG YOU’RE DEAD and I liked the rural poverty aspect as opposed to urban poverty which features in so many films including MAD AT THE WORLD.

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    • Well now, you know there’s no on or off topic in this place, so veer anywhere you like, John.
      I wasn’t sure about Eight O’clock Walk and checked my database but it seems I never picked it up – I will though now I’ve noticed its absence.

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  16. John K recommending a film for watching online!!!! Will the sky fall???
    I add my prompt to you, Colin, to pick up “EIGHT O’CLOCK WALK” . I don’t think you would be disappointed.
    I have just finished watching what seems to be something of a rarity, “THE TWO-HEADED SPY” (1958). It appears to be unavailable on DVD other than a Spanish release, which is a shame as it is a very gripping, suspenseful story based on truth. It stars a great British (and Jerry) favourite, Jack Hawkins, and was directed for Columbia by Andre De Toth. British cast of good character actors too.

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  17. All
    So it is time for the weekly question. What are your films for the weekend? Myself,
    I have lined up the nifty noir, NARROW MARGIN 1952,. Then Alan Ladd in APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER 1951 followed by a western that I have never seen, REVOLT AT FORT LARAMIE 1957 with John Dehner, Don Gordon and a young Harry Dean Stanton. Then i’ll top it off with SANJRO 1962. This is a samurai film from director Akira Kurosawa which stars my fav, Toshiro Mifune.

    Gord

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    • I’ll be going for CARIBOO TRAIL, a Randolph Scott Western I haven’t seen before but first few minutes looked good on Tubi. Then MR DENNING DRIVES NORTH, an excellent British thriller written by Alec Coppel who scripted VERTIGO. Finally, a new movie FORD V FERRARI, which has a stellar cast of Christian Bale, Matt Damon and Catriona Balfe. She is an exceptionally talented actress. Happy watching, all of you!

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      • Steve
        CARIBOO TRIAL is an actual area in the interior of Canada’s British Columbia. It is even today a prime beef raising area. Been through it numerous times in my younger days. It was the only road from the Yukon where he lived, down to Vancouver on the coast. A decent duster with Victor Jory doing fine work as the baddie if I recall right.. MR DENNING DRIVES NORTH is nicely put together thriller. Now i’m going to need to see if I can find my copy.
        Gord

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        • Hi, Gord – thanks for that info on the Trail: I didn’t know any of it. You have certainly lived in some special places! I’m going to try to find out if the movie was actually made in those parts. I have watched MR DENNING today and would be interested in your take on it if you do find your copy. Very best wishes. Steve

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          • Steve
            LOL!!! Special places to live if you like minus 40 c temps. I guess my MR DENNING film is at my storage unit. Oh well, i’ll grab it next time i’m over there. What I do recall about DENNING is Lom and Mills shining.

            Gord

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            • You’re right about Mills and Lom, Gord and I thought Phyllis Calvert and Sam Wanamaker were very good, too. It’s an entertaining film which I’d label as a comedy thriller. I was thrilled to see a Vampire jet in one of the early scenes – a Royal Australian Air Force squadron, of which my father was a member, flew them in Malta in the early1950s.

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              • Steve
                You are very close to the mark calling it a comedy thriller. Now for sure i’ll need to hit my storage and dig it out for a re-watch. De Haviland Vampire are neat looking beasts. Back in the late 60’s and early 1970’s we lived in Abbotsford B.C. the home of the 3rd biggest airshow in the world. I saw Vampires and Demons on show there several times.. Plus any other type of aircraft you could name. The BLUE ANGELS and many others put on great displays of flying. Probably why i’m such a big fan of aircraft films.
                Gord

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  18. Two Headed Spy is a must watch for its story, cast and one of the best from Andre de Toth. Just watched Fort Vengeance directed by the ever dependable Sealander about the Northwest Mounted Police. It is entertaining and a good time filler. Best regards.

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  19. Did a search for Mad At The World and stumbled on Keefe Brasselle, one of the co- stars thereof. Surprisingly, just watched him in Three Young Texans starring amongst others, Mitzi Gaynor and Jeffery Hunter and ably directed by Henry Levin who gave us entertaining sci- fi, musicals, westerns, comedies and adventure movies in 50s and 60s. Its an unusual ‘young’ westerns in its own vein.

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  20. Keefe Brasselle seems to have been an extremely troubled
    person in real life.
    He was no stranger to notoriety and was said to have Mafia contacts.
    Oddly enough his last film BLACK GUNN (1972) a Blaxploitation picture
    has Jim Brown battling The Mafia.
    BLACK GUNN was directed by Brit Robert Hartford Davis and had an interesting
    veteran cast including Stephen McNally and William Campbell.
    As a collector of British curios,especially of the B Movie variety
    I’m very keen to see the two Brit B Movies Brasselle made
    WEST OF SUEZ (Fighting Wildcats) and DEATH OVER MY SHOULDER.
    Veteran Brit director Arthur Crabtree co directed the first and also
    is credited as sole director of the second.
    Both these films are impossible to track down and the fact that they
    are British B’s emphasise Brasselle’s career decline.
    WEST OF SUEZ is very appealing to me as it co stars Brit B regular
    Kay Callard, although Ms Callard was in fact Canadian.
    Chris,I waited years to catch up with THREE YOUNG TEXANS and sadly
    found the film underwhelming.
    FORT VENGEANCE I enjoyed except for Sitting Bull played by Michael
    Granger-I normally relate Mr Granger to gangster type roles.

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  21. I don’t know what Blake Lucas makes of all the diversions this post has taken, after all it was Blake who recommended STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET and Colin jumped at it like “a duck on a June bug”
    To be honest I’m not that fond of glossy soapers despite Colin’s write up being stellar, to say the least. STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET has never been high on my wants list, having said that if it turns up on TV I’ll probably give it a go. As far as a purchase goes there are just too many other titles out there on my wants list right now.
    I guess Douglas Sirk was the doyen of romantic soap operas in the 50’s and I’ve seen quiet a few of those. Despite my non interest in the genre (an auteurist friend of mine once stated “if it’s not blood and thunder you’re just not interested” -he certainly
    has a point.) I have enjoyed several glossy 50’s soaps like two CinemaScope efforts from Fox FRAULEIN and HILDA CRANE more so for their appealing casts as opposed to their interesting story developments. Fox liked to combine soap operas with war pictures and D DAY THE 6TH OF JUNE and IN LOVE AND WAR are more than decent entertainments.
    I’ll be very interested to hear what Colin thinks about MAD AT THE WORLD, a far from perfect film although it does have intriguing elements. A common error in these type of films is that the “teenage punks” are rather long in the tooth for this sort of thing.

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    • Do give the movie a look if or when you get the chance, John – it is a classy affair and there’s a lot going on to enjoy.
      I didn’t manage to squeeze in Mad at the World yet, but I’ve not forgotten it – don’t worry.
      Funny you should mention Hilda Craneas I watched that not so long ago. It’s not as good as works by Sirk or Minnelli, or the one under discussion here, but I still found it satisfying enough.

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  22. HILDA CRANE was interesting in that Jean Simmons a true
    superstar at the time was supported by Guy Madison certainly
    a second string lead at the time.
    In the also interesting A BULLET IS WAITING Simmons is again
    supported by Rory Calhoun and Stephen McNally both second string leads
    considering her then superstar status.
    A BULLET IS WAITING is a very good minor film from an A list director,
    I might add.
    Hope you’re not expecting too much from MAD AT THE WORLD
    more of a curio than anything else but worth a look.

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    • Yes, Hilda Crane was very much Simmons’ show, although Madison was fine too.
      A Bullet is Waiting is a title that keeps getting pushed onto the back burner with me, and it’s going to have to stay there a while longer as I won’t be in a position to access my copy for another few months.

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    • John
      I first saw A BULLET IS WAITING a decade and a hail or so and was rather surprised how much I enjoyed it. The entire cast and crew meshed well I thought.

      Gord

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  23. Just watched (a first for me) “THE ATOMIC CITY” (1952) which was a good kidnap thriller with plenty of suspense and a rather unusual setting – the nuclear testing site at Los Alamos, NM. Gene Barry stars with Lydia Clarke, Nancy Gates and a very good (as always) Milburn Stone. Anybody out there seen this one?

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    • Jerry
      Seen it several times over the years and it always entertained. I always thought Gene Barry should have been used in more films. He delivers the goods if one asks me.

      Gord.

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      • Gene Barry was in some very entertaining movies during the 50s and of course there is his TV work on Burke’s Law and Bat Masterson. I remember reading that he wasn’t the easiest man to work alongside, and he seems to get a lot of bad press over the ITC show The Adventurer.

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        • Colin
          I still remember the theme song for BAT MASTERSON which I watched as a young child. One Barry film to look up where Barry is the nasty of the piece, is, 1954’s ALASKA SEAS. It features a cast with Barry, Robert Ryan, Jan Sterling, Brian Keith and Tim Carey. It is a remake of the 1938 “Spawn of the North”. Well worth a look imo.

          Gord

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  24. Further to that, I was interested to see Lydia Clarke as she was married to Charlton Heston for 64 years until his death 11 or 12 years ago. Her movie CV was small.
    And it’s always a pleasure to see Nancy Gates in anything. A beautiful lady who played such a key role in the great “COMANCHE STATION” of course.

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    • Jerry
      Just a couple of weeks ago I caught Miss Gates in that fun 1956 Sci-fi film, WORLD WITHOUT END, with Hugh Marlowe and Rod Taylor. She never seemed to give a bad performance.
      Gord

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  25. THE ATOMIC CITY has just premiered on Talking Pictures TV a Godsend to UK vintage film fans-Talking Pictures TV constantly show the sort of movies the mainstream channels now refuse to show. I did not catch it the other night but will when it’s repeated. It would seem that Talking Pictures TV now have a newly minted deal with Paramount so that’s great.
    Soon they are showing ANOTHER TIME ANOTHER PLACE yet another soaper with an “Introducing” Sean Connery credit,although Connery had done quite a bit before this title. I’m hoping TPTV can show WHERE’S JACK and THE STRANGE AFFAIR two more hard to track down Paramount titles.
    I’m sure there will be several Westerns in that deal,who knows perhaps some of the A.C.Lyles Westerns might show up and if they are in Techniscope that would be fine too. Speaking of Techniscope TPTV did show UP THE JUNCTION, another title I’ve not seen since it’s initial release. Even at the time I found the film awkward and unconvincing and at the time it failed to make a star of Dennis Waterman-he had to wait for several years until THE SWEENEY burst onto our TV screens. The print of UP THE JUNCTION that TPTV showed was in very good shape.
    Paramount seemed to like to use Techniscope for their Brit flicks at the time both THE STRANGE AFFAIR and ALFIE were shot in that process. It’s hard to believe that a film as iconic as ALFIE has not yet had a Blu Ray release…typical of Paramount. I’m hoping TPTV can unearth some of the hard to find Paramount Westerns like THUNDER IN THE SUN.
    Colin-I think you will find much to enjoy in A BULLET IS WAITING, a minor film for both Simmons and John Farrow considering their status at the time and only a cast of four I might add. Rory Calhoun is excellent and Jean was never more beautiful than in this picture.

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    • That is interesting and welcome news. Mind you, I’m not likely to be in a position to see much of any newly acquired output for a fair bit of time – nevertheless, it is encouraging to hear of such developments.

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  26. Be great if “TOWN TAMER” was in the deal as it seems a bit hard to find. I seem to remember it as maybe the best of the A.C. Lyles westerns.
    The print of “THE ATOMIC CITY” on TPTV was excellent btw.

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    • Jerry……you can find TOWN TAMER (1965) on YouTube. Lots of familiar faces from the 40’s and 50’s westerns. Interesting to see who pops up.

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      • Thanks for letting me know, Scott. Since my comment I have looked at Amazon UK and find the DVD is available though pricey. Confess I don’t watch films online. There’s always a first, I guess…….

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s certainly not my preferred option either, Jerry. However, I have gone down that path when there aren’t any choices. For example, I recently watched the entire Crime Doctor series online as that is the only way to do so right now.

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          • Ah yes, I get the point, Colin. I was lucky enough to pick up a set (unofficial…shh) at a film convention I attended near Birmingham for years, sadly now discontinued, of the entire series of Crime Doctor, Mr. Moto and the Universal series of Sherlock Holmes films. Of course, storage space is an ever-present issue but it never stops me adding titles!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, storage. Due largely to my various moves, I decided to bite the bullet some years ago and simply dumped the cases/packaging for my stuff and transferred the lot to binders and the like. It made a huge difference.

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              • A number of my friends did that too, Colin, to massively ease storage. Sad old fool that I am, I love the packaging and movie posters of the day too much to ditch them. So I live with the consequences……

                Btw, I have just watched “MAN OF THE FOREST” (1933) which I guess will be beyond the comfort zone of many readers, being made that early and a B-western to boot. Personally I love watching westerns from 1930 on (particularly Bob Steele, Tim McCoy and Buck Jones). This particular film was a first ever watch for me. I had only ever seen one other of that series, “TO THE LAST MAN” about 40 years ago at The National Film Theatre in London. This one was directed by Henry Hathaway with Randolph Scott, Harry Carey, Noah Beery, Barton MacLane, Buster Crabbe – terrific cast. I even spotted Tom London in a brief uncredited shot. He was supposed to have appeared in more films than almost anyone, largely westerns.
                My next western watch is probably going to be “STATION WEST” (1948) – the rain today kindly gives me the added excuse to stay in and watch even more films LOL.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I love the artwork too, but I reached a point where something just had to give! I do hold onto booklets, mini posters and the like though.

                  I’m not at all knowledgeable about 30s westerns, with a few notable exceptions. It’s a gap I need to work on at some stage.
                  It’s years since I saw Station West but I recall it as a very enjoyable western noir. It was the first movie I featured on this site, a long time ago!

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                  • I’ve caught up with 1930s westerns in the past 3 decades or so, so that they form an important part of what I enjoy now. The B-westerns particularly are interesting to see because the small studios used a lot of folk who had been working cowboys and wranglers. Obviously films made in the early 30s were only a few years after the movie west depicted (Wyatt Earp was still alive!). The films themselves had a certain freshness about them too as they did not yet have that formulaic look. One has to view them though for the time they were made but their lack of polish and sophistication are part of the charm.
                    Do let me know, Colin, if and when you do start to delve!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, their closeness to the era they depict makes them interesting – they aren’t something I’ve deliberately avoided, just an omission. It is something I will try to rectify in the future.

                      Like

                    • Jerry
                      Your comment on 30’s westerns that their lack of polish and sophistication are part of their charm. I feel the same way about early television episodes. Clapboard sets and such make them all the more fun. It is neat to watch the actors and crew learn a new craft, tv production. Just like the 30’s westerns,.it was all learn on the fly.

                      Gord

                      Liked by 1 person

                • Yes Jerry, I too love those westerns of the early thirties….especially those Zane Grey screenplays. They seem like little mini-epics to me.

                  Colin and Jerry…….as a side note. Much, if not most, of my movie watching enjoyment is online, i.e. YouTube, ok.ru, etc….For me, since 2007, it’s the only viable choice I have as I reside in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. So I’m grateful for the online enjoyment I do get. Consequently, on occasion, I will chime in when a particular film has shown up online knowing a fellow contributor is seeking to view such a film.

                  Liked by 1 person

  27. The next couple of weeks has great titles coming up on my various cable channels. Some new to me, and others I need for a re-watch. These include
    DARK TOWER 43 UK David Farrar, Anne Crawford Never seen it
    PORK CHOP HILL Time for a re-watch
    STOP ME BEFORE I KILL 61 UK Ronald Lewis, Diane Cilento- Another one I’ve never seen
    MY DARLING CLEMINTIME 46 Re-watch
    VERA CRUZ Been years since I last saw this
    TREASURE OF PANCHO VILLA 55 Never seen but Colin’s review makes it sound like it is worth a look.
    THE DEFIANT ONES 58 Been at least 30 years since last I took this in.
    WITNESS TO MURDER 54 G. Sanders and Babs. Been a while so it needs a re-watch
    THE COMANCHAROS 61 Something from the just passed Whitman
    MISTER ROBERTS Hard to say no to this comedy classic
    ALL NIGHT LONG 62 UK P. McGoohan, R. Attenbrough Another one I have never seen
    SAPPHIRE 59 UK Nigel Patrick Only ever saw it on a poor quality vhs. This will be a nice upgrade
    FOXFIRE 1955 Jane Russell, Jeff Chandler Never seen
    ACE IN THE HOLE 51 This could easily be the best film Kirk Douglas ever made.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jerry,
    The DVD of TOWN TAMER that you mentioned on Amazon UK is a German bootleg and 4×3 as well-as generally with these things the picture quality will be crap too. The only A.C.Lyles Western to get an official release was JOHNNY RENO arguably the worst of the lot. There are lots of bootlegs (mostly German) floating around all in the wrong ratio. If I watch these things at all I want to see them in Techniscope 2.35…it makes all the difference.
    I agree with you TOWN TAMER was probably the best of the lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I’m not a fan of those Lyles titles myself, I must admit that a poor presentation does no movie any favors. There are some dreadful German bootlegs on the market, really appalling quality.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Thanks for confirming my suspicions, John. I just (re)watched after many years a terrific suspenser, “PUSHOVER”. Another fine Columbia ‘noir’. Surprised to find it was filmed in 1.85:1 for a film released in 1954 (so probably filmed in 1953).

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s been something of an eye-opener in recent years to discover how many films were supposed to be viewed wide. Mind you, anything up to and including 1.85:1 would have been framed and shot so as to allow screening in Academy ratio with major issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I seem to have had a real Fred-Fest of late, Gord. Which is just fine with me.

        I know what you mean about early TV. They were on a learning curve. It is not always great being the age one is (not with Covid-19 lapping at our heels) but on the other hand I feel grateful that I grew up with TV as it grew and experienced my favourite series at first-hand. In the same way many of my favourite westerns were seen at a cinema on first release (NOT the 1930s ones though I might add!! LOL)

        Liked by 2 people

  30. Jerry
    Fred made more good films than bad. I think I might dig up a few of his for a go-around. I agree wholeheartedly about loving early tv. I enjoy finding episodes or series that I have not seen since I was a kid or teenager. Half the fun is picking out the older film actors who were now doing bit parts on tv. Been on lockdown here because Covid-19 now for 5 weeks. It is giving me a chance to catch up on some titles I have been avoiding for various reasons. As Bette Davis said, “This getting old a’int for sissys”.

    Gord on the

    Liked by 2 people

  31. All
    And now for the question of the week. WHAT FILMS ARE UP FOR THE WEEKEND?
    First up will a re-watch of PORK CHOP HILL 1959. Next i’ll take a twirl around the western dance floor with ABILENE TOWN. Always liked this R. Scott duster. Then i’ll take in THRONE OF BLOOD 1957, the Japanese version of MACBETH. This of course stars Toshiro Mifune as the lead. Plus I need to watch a few of the tv series I’ve recorded the last few weeks.

    Gord

    Liked by 2 people

    • Weekend undecided as yet, Gord, but I have watched quite an assortment this week.

      “WALK ON THE WILD SIDE” (1962) was one I had never seen before; a steamy drama set in New Orleans with Laurence Harvey, Capucine, Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Baxter and a very sexy Jane Fonda. Pretty downbeat.
      “THE WOODEN HORSE” (1949) a superior P.O.W. escape film adapted from his book by Eric Williams. I read the book years ago. Williams was played (different name though) by Leo Genn, with Anthony Steel and David Tomlinson as the other two escapees.
      “THE STRIP”(1951) – The Strip being Sunset Bvd in L. A. Starred Mickey Rooney and Sally Forrest in a gangster drama set in one of the many clubs along the Strip. Some terrific jazz throughout (Rooney was a drummer in this) featuring Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Barney Bigard and Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines.
      This morning I am fancying a Hopalong Cassidy western, possibly “HEART OF ARIZONA” or “BAR 20 JUSTICE”, but definitely one featuring the trio of William Boyd, Russell Hayden and George Hayes.

      Let us know how you enjoy yours, Gord.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jerry
        Seen all you mentioned except the last one. THE WOODEN HORSE was on tv here it seemed every other month when I was a kid. The CBC, Canada’s version of the BBC broadcast plenty of UK stuff during the 1960’s. We should be so lucky now.
        Gord

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, Jerry and Gord – I watched THE WOODEN HORSE for the umpteenth time a couple of weeks ago and found it hugely enjoyable. My plans are to watch LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN again – has there ever been a colder beauty than Ms Tierney as she lets the disabled boy drown? Next, I’ll watch, for the umpteenth time, the great Henry Hathaway TRUE GRIT, my desert island Western.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Steve
          As Jerry said, WOODEN HORSE is a top p.o.w. movie. As for Ms Tierney, an ice queen for sure in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN. Been a few years since I caught the Duke film. Enjoy.
          Gord

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  32. Enjoying all the titles suggested and have not seen most of them, especially the noirs. There is The Legend Of Tom Dooley starring a young Michael Landon I saw in a stand alone cinema in the late fifties. I have not seen this since then. Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a very clean looking version online, dubbed into French unfortunately. The film also seems to have been uploaded in half a dozen segments, in so-so quality, to YouTube.

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  33. Chrisk
    LOL I saw Tom Dooley at a drive-in back in the early 60’s. All these years later I still have the song rattling around in my head.
    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Gord, I last saw Tom Dooley on release in the UK which i think was 1960.

    I haven’t watched “TRUE GRIT” for some years either, Steve. You just gave me an ideaLOL! Come to that, I haven’t seen “THE SHOOTIST” in quite a while either. It is a fine western but one I find rather disquieting and depressing because, I suppose, it was Duke’s farewell.

    Enjoyed the Hoppy film this morning, “BAR 20 JUSTICE”. I think I may be in very much a minority here as one who loves the ‘B’ or series westerns 1930-54. They’ve always been a part of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to find it difficult watching movies I know were a performer’s last, or where they are visibly ill – The Harder They Fall is problematic for me for that reason.

      Like

  35. In an earlier post I mentioned that Talking Pictures UK have now started to show Paramount titles. At the time,wishful thinking,I guess,I thought how wonderful if perhaps some Republic titles might be included with the Paramount deal. Well it now seems there are,next week TPTV are showing a real rarity
    SCOTLAND YARD INVESTIGATOR with C Aubrey Smith,Erich Von Strolheim and slinky Stephanie Bachelor.
    The film is a real rare one and hopefully other Republic B Crime Thrillers might also be in the mix.

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    • John
      Always wanted to see SCOTLAND YARD INVESTIGATOR. It has been on my want list forever. As for the slinky Stephanie Bachelor, what a nasty femme fatale she could play. One of my favorite Republic film noirs is “Port of 40 Thieves” with Bachelor pulling out all the stops. Am a big fan of the this studio’s crime and film noir productions.
      Gord

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  36. Some threads back Gordon mentioned that ACTION OF THE TIGER was a new title for him. I’ve just received the new Warner Archive Blu Ray and splendid it looks too. I first saw the film in a double bill with HOUSE OF NUMBERS a Jack Palance prison break flick. HOUSE OF NUMBERS is one of several vintage MGM titles still awaiting a DVD or Blu Ray release.
    Other MGM titles awaiting release are RING OF FIRE and ROGUE COP. RING OF FIRE can be viewed online in horrendous quality, on that title I am
    prepared to wait for hopefully a Warner Archive Blu Ray. With ROGUE COP a highly sought after Noir I understand there are various “rights” issues concerned delaying the films release.
    I loved ACTION OF THE TIGER as an 11 year old-the narrative is pretty straightforward and the film is packed with action in lovely scenic locations. ACTION OF THE TIGER has a supporting role for Sean Connery playing a drunken lout. There’s a further DR NO connection with director Terence Young and villain Anthony Dawson. I don’t know if Warners had access to an uncensored print or if it is an export strength version. There is during the film quiet a bit of nudity when Martine Carol goes skinny dipping-no way were those scenes in the version that I saw as a kid. It’s also interesting that Warners DVD of THE ANGRY HILLS had topless nudity at the start of the film-which would certainly have been cut from the UK release.
    I really enjoyed ACTION OF THE TIGER an action packed colourful romp and nothing more-perfect self isolating entertainment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • John

      ACTION OF THE TIGER It sure sounds good to me. HOUSE OF NUMBERS I watched just before the new year. RING OF FIRE I saw on TCM over here about 8-10 years ago. Then it just disappeared off tv. Same thing with ROUGE COP. It would pop up once in a while years ago but have not seen it in quite a while.
      .
      Gord

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Cripes!!!!
    I’ve just viewed an online trailer for ACTION OF THE TIGER where Martine surfaces from the water in a bathing costume- in the Warners Blu Ray Martine surfaces without a stitch-therefore I guess Warners have gained access to an export strength version.
    It’s been pretty common knowledge Horror and Exploitation pictures often had export strength versions upping not only the nudity but also the gore. I didn’t know mainstream adventure movies were at it too. Interestingly, the forthcoming Blu Ray of FLESH & THE FIENDS has the censored nudity scenes restored-Monty Berman & Robert Baker’s films were notorious for export strength versions of their films JACK THE RIPPER being a prime example. I certainly did not expect to see explicit nudity in a vintage Van Johnson MGM picture.

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  38. The prospect raised by John that Talking Pictures TV channel in the UK has an agreement with Paramount, and therefore the possibility of some rare Republic films getting shown is indeed exciting. They have already shown a rare Republic from 1946 “THAT BRENNAN GIRL” and now next week, as John says, “SCOTLAND YARD INVESTIGATOR” (my TV is already set to record it).
    Colin made a good suggestion and I have just emailed Sarah @TPTV on the subject in which I hoped for more rare Republic Bs and rather more specifically raised the question about whether they had access to a restoration of “RIDE THE MAN DOWN”. Won’t hold my breath but I live in hope.
    Very thankful to have TPTV.

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  39. In starting the weekend early I have just watched a 1951 U.I. film that I had never seen before, “HOLLYWOOD STORY” with Richard Conte, the lovely Julia Adams & Richard Egan. I really enjoyed the subject of the story and the appearance on set of a western being made by U.I. with Joel McCrea.
    I believe the scene took place in the interior of the house on the Universal lot that was later used in Hitch’s “PSYCHO”. When we did the Universal tour in 2000 we drove past that very house.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I like all this recommending what we have been watching recently although we have gone way off topic-still Colin does not seem to mind too much.
    I watched a real rarity recently MURDER IN GREENWICH VILLAGE (1937) a comedy thriller with far more comedy than thrills. The film coasts along nicely due to the charm of it’s stars Richard Arlen and Fay Wray. I will re watch ACTION OF THE TIGER tonight very easy on the eye especially Ms Carol.
    Fay Wray has reminded me that it’s time I gave HELL ON FRISCO BAY another look,no classic but sturdy entertainment. ACTION OF THE TIGER arrived pretty quickly in the post all things considered-I’m now waiting for BLOOD ON THE MOON to arrive-now there’s a film I have not watched in years-cannot wait to view the newly restored version.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. WOW…..this thread is exploding in every direction!!!……love it.

    Viewed PUSHOVER the other night. Really good fast paced suspenseful crime noir tightly put together. Fred MacMurray give his typical sturdy performance, but Kim Novak (film debut) shows her on-screen diversity without having to say much of anything….but when she does……it’s just that much better! For Novak fans a must.

    and JERRY……here’s three to remember. George O’Brien, William (Wild Bill) Elliott and Tim Holt.

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    • Ah, a fellow B-western fan! Hi Scott! Yes, those three you mention made some of the very best. Tim Holt and Bill Elliott are also revered over at buddy Toby Roan’s blog 50 Westerns from the 50s.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. I cannot vouch for others but myself I get pretty depressed seeing the avalanche of dreck being released by video companies while obscure great films get constantly ignored. While it’s wonderful that films like BLOOD ON THE MOON get much deserved and by all accounts wonderful restorations other films just lay dormant in the vaults. Occasionally something hits you straight in the face and restores ones faith in seeing that there is hope for these lost gems.
    Today, just now in fact, I have discovered that the BFI are releasing a restored version of the classic Brit Noir THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, due on Blu Ray this July. THE GOOD DIE YOUNG is available on a washed out DVD,in fact even the TV version is better. As always the BFI version will have a raft of extras and wait for it a rare export strength alternate version. THE GOOD DIE YOUNG has a Noir cast to die for…day one purchase as far as I’m concerned-as long as the banks have not all crashed by then!

    Liked by 2 people

  43. For me THE GOOD DIE YOUNG is Lewis Gilbert’s masterpiece from his “Noir Cycle” starting with early B pics like THE SCARLET THREAD up to the supremely creepy CAST A DARK SHADOW. Gilbert showed in those early pictures that here was a director most capable of making something out of nothing….COSH BOY being a prime example of this.
    Gilbert of course is better known these days for the Bond pictures and ALFIE but there are treasures to be mined in his early work. Talking Pictures TV often show ONCE A SINNER an early effort but very good. The scene in THE GOOD DIE YOUNG when Robert Morley disowns his worthless scoundrel of a son, Laurence Harvey, is chilling.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. A BFI restoration of “THE GOOD DIE YOUNG” on BluRay! I’ll be in the queue after you for that one, John.
    A big favourite film of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Hi Gordon,
    Glad that you like those Republic B Crime Thrillers as much as I do. Hopefully Talking Pictures TV will be able to unearth some of them in decent quality.
    I have seen PORT OF 40 THIEVES in very poor quality-would love to see an upgrade-glad that you are a Stephanie fan as well. I also like,among many other B Noir actresses, Dorothy Patrick, THE BLONDE BANDIT and LONELY HEART BANDITS are also very good.
    As truth would have it I would rather seen many of these Republic B Thrillers in pristine quality more so than their B Westerns.
    WOMEN FROM HEADQUARTERS is also a very good one. Evocative titles like DESTINATION BIG HOUSE only whet ones appetite even more.
    As far as I know RIDE THE MAN DOWN has not been restored yet but a UK TV screening would be most welcome. I’ve yet to encounter a copy where
    the ending is not obscured by darkness.
    A later Republic Noir ACCUSED OF MURDER has been restored and it has the added attraction of being in Trucolor and widescreen Naturama-sadly no
    video company has picked it up yet,it would be a blast if Talking Pictures TV were able to get hold of it.
    Coming back to ACTION OF THE TIGER Van Johnson has received some flak for not being an ideal action hero but I thought he did OK. Johnson is not too hot when delivering one liners but he gets by-Richard Widmark in my opinion would have been more ideal. One Johnson 50’s film I really love is 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET a film where I feel he is ideally cast.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. John
    Huge fan of this genre of Republic Pictures, have reviews up on IMDB for many of them, including, ACCUSED OF MURDER, WOMAN FROM HEARQUARTERS, HIDEOUT, LONELY HEART BANDITS, TIGER WOMAN, EXPOSED,GANGS OF THE WATERFRONT, POST OFFICE INVESTIGATOR, FEDERAL AGENT AT LARGE, INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR, SECRETS OF MONTE CARLO, WOMAN IN THE DARK, HARBOR OF MISSING MEN, STREET BANDITS, THE MAN IS ARMED, MISSING WOMEN, and several more.
    Gord

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a VERY interesting list of Republic titles, Gord! I kind of assume few, if any, are available on DVD?
      I have a lot of Republic B-westerns but not much of their other output.

      So far this weekend:
      “PITFALL” (1948) with Dick Powell and Lizabeth Scott. Having watched “PUSHOVER” days ago I guess I rather enjoy stories about ordinary Joes thrown in at the deep end, usually through their own weak moment.
      “THE WINDOW” (1949) a neat RKO thriller that says a lot in just 70 minutes. Perfect!
      “MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS” (1945) Columbia classic.
      Today I have my eye on two Canadian Mountie epics:
      “FORT VENGEANCE” (1953) directed by Les Selander. A film John K has mentioned and Colin has still to watch (I believe).
      “NORTHWEST TRAIL” (1945) an independent production in Cinecolor and starring Bob Steele. Some nice location shooting as I recall and Steele’s red jacket, all in glorious colour.
      Jerry

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Window is gripping stuff and shows how much can be achieved within a short running time.

        No, I’ve not seen Fort Vengeance so far, Jerry, but we’ll see how things pan out this week.

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  47. Jerry
    None of those Republic noir were from studio dvds. Just stuff I had collected over the years from others in trades etc. Seen all your choices but the Bob Steele Mountie film. Old Bob had a small bit in PORK CHOP HILL that I took in yesterday. Great war film that I see every 4-5 years. Director Lewis Milestone hit with 3 standout war films imo, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, A WALK IN THE SUN and PORK CHOP HILL. I then took in ABILENE TOWN with Randy Scott . I must admit I had not seen this in over a decade, and found it not as good as I had recalled it. Strange how that happens sometimes. PITFALL might be Liz Scott’s best role if you ask me. What can one say about THE WINDOW, except it is a neat little gem of a noir. I like MY NAME IS JULIS ROSS, but then I like damn near anything from director Joseph H. Lewis.
    Today I take in the THRONE OF BLOOD which is the Japanese version of “MacBeth”
    Have a great rest of the weekend all..

    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Watched The Texas Rangers 1951 starring the ever dependable George Montgomery. It is a very brisk and exciting actioner no doubt. Have also lined up some other westerns later and one is a routine calvary picture, not seen for some time, The Tomahawk Trail from a young Chuck Connors. Stay safe and healthy. Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Consensus is that is George Montgomery’s best western, Chris. Some others come close (“Cripple Creek” etc) but everything really came together in “The Texas Rangers”, didn’t it?

    Like

    • Jerry…..I’m sold on Zane Grey’s ROBBERS’ ROOST (1955) as being George’s best. Shades similar to some of Randy’s best efforts of the era.

      Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right on target with those two Jerry. Of course with MASTERSON you’ve got the Earps’ and Doc Holliday thrown into the mix. James Griffith steals the show and delivers a standout performance as Doc Holliday which makes it all the more uniquely special. Had to be a shining moment in Griffith’s long acting career.

          Liked by 1 person

  50. The thread that wouldn’t die……………

    Well we are light years away from Kirk and Kim-I really
    don’t know what Blake Lucas (the original instigator) makes of
    all this-hope he’s not too offended-his absence suggests perhaps he is-
    Sorry Blake! but vintage film buffs will be vintage film buffs-if you know
    what I mean.

    Regarding Republic B Crime thrillers it’s interesting that B Western
    directors were no slouches when diverting to this genre-cases in point:

    Lesley Selander
    THE FATAL WITNESS (45)
    TRAFFIC IN CRIME (46)
    PASSKEY TO DANGER (46)
    BLACKMAIL (47)
    R G Springsteen
    SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATOR (48)
    HARBOR OF MISSING MEN (50)
    STREET BANDITS (51)
    MILLION DOLLAR PURSUIT (51)

    Mark at the wonderful Noir blog Where Danger Lives a few years back
    produced a wonderful gallery of Republic Noir posters
    If you google Where Danger Lives-Blog-Republic Posters
    that should get you there unless of course Colin can provide a more
    accurate (non Luddite) link.
    Furthermore the latest header on Mark’s blog is a wonderful gallery
    of Noir posters generally (recently updated) well worth a look.
    I love the “house style” on those vintage Republic posters.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Regarding Mountie Movies I wonder if Jerry or Gordon
    have seen the following Columbia B Westerns
    NORTH OF THE ROCKIES 1942 Lambert Hillyer
    Bill Elliott,Tex Ritter

    RIDERS OF THE NORTHWEST MOUNTED 1943 William Berke
    Russell Hayden,Bob Wills.

    What a wonderful double bill those two would make say from Mill Creek.
    Those William Berke,Russell Hayden,Bob Wills B Westerns are excellent
    those films really move plus I love Bob Wills music which blends perfectly
    with the action.
    a complete set on DVD or Blu Ray would be highly desirable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There used to be a guy called Clayton who visited here – although it’s been quite a while now – and I seem to recall him being something of a connoisseur of Mountie movies.

      Liked by 1 person

  52. Yeah,I remember him also I wonder what happened
    to some of your other regulars-there was Richard W and
    Daffyd Jones……….
    I mentioned the B Western Mountie movies because they
    are very hard to locate. As a genre I’m rather fond of it
    PONY SOLDIER,SASKETCHEWAN,FORT VENGEANCE
    and so on.
    Thought of you the other night watching Have I Got News For You
    (popular UK political satire programme) who are having to self
    isolate and appearing from home via video link when Ian Hislop’s
    cat Colin wanders into the frame-“you know Colin you’re not allowed
    in here”……….cats will be cats……….cute!!

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  53. Yes indeedy, John! – I have both “NORTH OF THE ROCKIES” & “RIDERS OF THE NORTHWEST MOUNTED” in pretty decent prints though a commercial set from Mill Creek would be wonderful.
    I love Bob Wills music too. I also love that Bob made sure he got in on the punch-ups and hard-riding too.

    Like

  54. While on the subject of Northwest Mounties. 1940 Northwest Mounted Police starring the great Gary Cooper was a huge disapointment but the color was awesome. Perhaps it is too historically accurate and the movie suffers. Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chrisk……..so you went ahead and broke the ice. lol. I was wondering if someone would chime in about the most well known mountie film of all-time. One could write a book regarding the warranted or unwarranted bashing this film gets by film critics and reviewers. Some rate the film in high regard…..some don’t. Some appreciate C. B. DeMille…..some don’t. I for one…….like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  55. Scott, happy to note you like it. Must have another viewing, but if I am not mistaken it is quite a long movie. Lol I broke the ice. Cheers. Best regards.

    Like

  56. Just viewed Tomahawk Trail from Bel Air and competently directed by Lesley Selander. A minor western well paced, exciting hand to hand combat, gun play and average script covering over an hour of sheer entertainment. This has been lying in my shelf for quite a long time. Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Though this diverged a lot from the original subject, I would like to just throw in a few thoughts (very belatedly I know) about “Strangers When We Meet” because it’s a film I deeply admire and really moves me.

    Lots of reasons for that and Colin, you caught some of it so beautifully in this excellent piece. I especially like the way you linked the building of the house with the relationship, with intimations of how the characters are trying to create something beautiful in each of these things.

    Of course, it’s never that simple–and there’s pain for everyone involved along with what is there to treasure; I like that the film sees both things and doesn’t feel the need to condemn anyone or be judgmental. These late 50s/early 60s Hollywood films hit a sweet spot for me because they are tastefully and artfully done, not needlessly explicit, but they are both adult and sophisticated from a moral point of view and try to see people in a generous way. I don’t mean every film, but so many of them, the great Melodramas of the period conspicuously. Certainly, it’s true of many Westerns then too as we’ve talked about a lot.

    I like Richard Quine very much and would just note that like his one time collaborating partner Blake Edwards, he liked to make comedies and did make some that are fetching but is at least as strong with more dramatic material. In Quine’s case “Drive a Crooked Road” is easily my favorite of his films (he and Edwards both contributed to the script of that one) but I’d say that next is “Strangers When We Meet”–it’s aesthetically beautifully as you observed in the piece as well as dramatically insightful and caring about these characters.

    I too would single out Kim Novak in this film and “Vertigo” and she carries her persona of an aching vulnerability into both but not in just the same way. Quine had directed her debut in “Pushover” and was plainly very invested (personally as well as professionally) and understood what kind of performance she’d give in a film like this and had it in mind. Hitchcock took Novak as a replacement for first choice Vera Miles (at least a good an actress though I love them both) and to my eyes, with something different resulting than he might have intended. His relative lack of attachment to Novak meant he gave her room to bring something of her own to the role, especially when Judy comes in and to me the film benefitted from this. No doubt it would have been great anyway but not in just the same way. “Strangers When We Meet” is iconic Novak–constructed for her to be there.

    And Barbara Rush too. Well, I won’t go on too much about one of the most underrated of all actresses–as you say she come into her own in the last part. I remember from years ago how quietly chilling that scene is with Matthau, who is so powerfully effective in his very individual way with that sleazy neighbor, but a subsequent scene where she pleads with Douglas for their relationship has deep emotion too, enough to recall how memorable she is in that climactic moment of “Bigger Than Life” falling to her knees at Mason’s feet in that orange dress to beg hysterically for the life of their son.

    OK. Just one final word for now. I love Melodrama. Next to the Western, it’s probably my favorite genre, at least in this period. And please, can we not carelessly call Melodrama “Soap Opera”? They are two different things. The name Soap Opera refers mostly to continuing daytime drama on radio and then TV, so named because the original advertisers were soap manufacturers. It’s a different form–and I’m not demeaning it, but it’s different because it’s open-ended, whereas “Melodrama” refers to closed worlds and finished works in which there is the rise and fall of an arc and an enclosure to the story–with arbitrary elements that one is meant to accept and respond to as part of a formal design.

    As Douglas Sirk, who knew something about this, knowledgeably pointed out the name is derived from the Greek “Melos” for music–and it simply means music plus drama.

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    • Thanks for getting back on this one, and thanks too for encouraging me to actually get around to viewing it. I’ve said before that I do enjoy melodrama, and like yourself feel that the best examples from this era are rather special.
      On Ms Novak, and on melodrama too, following a comment back near the beginning of this long thread I also viewed Middle of the Night, made a year before this film. I thought it was another good, yet quite different, part for her and she held her own opposite March. Another movie that displays that generosity towards its characters that you referred to here.

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      • Quite likely everyone will have moved on from this great thread now but I was really interested to read Blake’s always erudite comments above. And I thoroughly agree with him that the late 50s/early 60s were a high water mark for not just westerns, as we have discussed before, but also melodramas like the film subject of this thread, the Douglas Sirk films and others ( Nicholas Ray’s “BIGGER THAN LIFE” for example).
        I know many who are devoted to film feel a certain disdain for TV by comparison, and I understand that but feel they cannot really compare fairly. I feel that late50s/early 60s period had some stellar TV series too (again a high water mark) – I will exclude westerns here as I just may be biased – but I am thinking of “THE DEFENDERS”, “SAM BENEDICT”, DOCTOR KILDARE”, “THE NAKED CITY” , “TARGET: THE CORRUPTORS”, “SAINTS AND SINNERS” and last but far from least “THE FUGITIVE”. These shows all had several things in common: adult themes, good writing, good acting whilst being sterling entertainment.
        I just feel the work of the people involved in these fine series deserve recognition.

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        • I agree with all that. TV was simply a different medium and operated on a far tighter schedule but that shouldn’t be take to mean it was an inferior medium – it was just a different one. It’s useful to bear in mind too how many people, both sides of the camera, had worked in the movies before shifting to TV – a glance at the credits of almost any classic era show is an education in this regard. There was a huge and deep pool of talent involved and that alone ought to refute any notion of TV being a poor relation.

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  58. Jerry, hope it was clear I was not getting after TV, and I agree with what you write here. There are some other shows you might have mentioned too. It’s interesting that you don’t mention THE TWILIGHT ZONE, as most people would (rightly, I would argue).

    It was a good time generally in most arts and popular culture then. I guess volumes could be written about how things changed in the course of the 60s, the many ways and the many reasons and the many consequences.

    I know I enjoyed a lot of TV shows growing up and will still watch them. My favorite will always be THE FUGITIVE even if hurt a little by switching to color in that last season (the way of all TV at the time unfortunately and black and white was so ideal for this series).

    I can understand why you didn’t want to get started naming Westerns because it would be hard to stop–to a great extent in the 60s TV picked up the slack with feature production for the genre down. Sam Peckinpah’s early years were nurtured in TV–I wonder if maybe the discipline wasn’t good for him, and I say that as someone who does like his Westerns at least among his later movies. His own series THE WESTERNER (he created and produced it as well as directing some of the episodes) was really good, and sometimes more than that. I’m not saying it was RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY yet the first show “Jeff” was a genuinely stunning half hour story, very adult and emotionally powerful, Brian Keith’s finest moment, and it is still haunting to me.

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    • Something I miss about classic era TV, and even that which ran up until, say, 20 years or so ago is its self-contained form. Tying in partially to what you posted before, the open-ended quality of modern TV – the soap effect, basically – irritates me. I prefer my story arc to be more limited, if that makes sense.

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      • Yes, British TV had a somewhat ‘golden era’ 20-30 years ago when they produced some stunning series whose popularity sustains to this day (and possibly largely because current drama is mostly lacking IMO).
        We had “MISS MARPLE” (the BBC version), “Agatha christie’s POIROT” (done complete, a tremendous achievement), the complete Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories starring Jeremy Brett, “INSPECTOR MORSE”, “Ruth Rendell’s INSPECTOR WEXFORD” to name some real highlights. After MORSE we had “LEWIS” and currently “ENDEAVOUR” (the younger Morse and entirely superb).
        Perhaps British TV’s high water mark was a couple of decades later than the US TV?!

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        • Yes, I think British TV hit something of a high later than the US. I’ve been working my way through and am now nearing the end of Secret Army, a show I’d not seen since its original broadcast when I was still a boy and one which I think might be one of the finest things the BBC ever produced.

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    • Gosh yes, Blake, if I starting in about western TV series We could be here all night!! LOL
      Peckinpah wrote some good stories for “THE RIFLEMAN” among others and that intro to “THE WESTERNER” – “Jeff” about his dog is a lovely piece.
      As you so rightly say, TV maintained certain western series in the 60s when cinema was cutting way back. “GUNSMOKE” of course but also “THE VIRGINIAN” which was filmed for a decade up to 1971 with high production values and again adult stories, well-written and acted. I am working my way through the series again after 5 decades and really enjoying them. James Drury, who we sadly lost just recently, was just right as the tough but fair ranch foreman.

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      • When I was growing up, the western on TV was mainly represented by reruns of The Virginian and The High Chaparral and I remain enormously fond of both shows to this day.

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      • The episode around the dog (who was in all episodes) was called “Brown” after the dog. “Jeff” was the girl from Blassingame’s past who had descended to prostitution in a sleazy border town. Dave comes to save her from this with very sad results. I’m guessing you know the one, Jerry.

        I believe “Brown” may have been intended to be first at one time, but then “Jeff” was shown first. “Brown” was a good episode, too–more comedic, like two others in which John Dehner did a recurring character.

        THE WESTERNER wasn’t a long-running show, unlike some of the others, just 13 episodes. I had plenty of time for any of those more popular ones too. My all-time favorite was probably MAVERICK, more of a comedy but could also be dramatic at times. It really had charm The James Garner/Jack Kelly chemistry as the two brothers was especially enjoyable. I watched all of this series again a few years ago over a period of about a year.

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  59. Major blooper from Jerry! Thanks for reminding me the dog was Brown not Jeff, Blake. After 70 the ‘senior moments’ come more often LOL!!
    In my earlier comment about some of the very good US TV series I forgot to mention “87th PRECINCT” & “ARREST AND TRIAL” which were very good throughout.
    And I should have added to my comments regarding British TV in the 80s etc that there were some great series in the 60s too, such as “THE HUMAN JUNGLE” & “DANGER MAN”.
    I did watch “THE TWILIGHT ZONE” and quite enjoyed it but I suspect it is a series I would enjoy more now.

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  60. Ford, Peckinpah, Sturges, Eastwood , Hawks, Fuller, Walsh, Wise, Wyler, Curtis, Lang, Daves, Stevens, Brooks, Huston, King, Kazan, DeToth, Vidor, Anthony Mann, and on and on. These director icons have delivered the goods for western fans. Their classic productions can be mstaples in our collections or library. Let us not forget the fabulous era of the “B” western. They are fillers we can cherish. We are so fortunate to share this time.

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