Wyoming Mail

I reckon titles matter. I’ve commented before on how certain titles have grabbed my attention and were directly responsible for my watching those movies. I know, it’s somewhat similar to the old “don’t judge a book by its cover” adage and, momentarily at least, it does make me wonder whether I’m being shallow. If there are titles which can draw me in, the opposite is true to some extent as well and there are those which have actively discouraged me; I’m thinking here of long, cumbersome examples or the generally unappealing variety. This brings me to Wyoming Mail (1950), which is not so much an unattractive title as a terminally prosaic one. Perhaps I’m wrong about this, perhaps it’s just some personal prejudice of my own, but I cannot imagine that one getting too many people excited and keen to see the film. Frankly, I have to wonder what the marketing department at Universal-International were thinking of when this picture was being produced. That aside, let’s see how the movie itself plays out.

Yes, it’s a story about the mail. To be more specific, this is one of these westerns which adds undercover/spy trappings to a tale of the gradual expansion of civilization in the Old West. The train was pivotal in conquering the frontier, that iron road was the connection from ocean to ocean and allowed for the transport of people and goods almost everywhere at speed. And part of its function was to carry the mail. That’s where the story kicks in, pointing out how the railroad was following on from the early Pony Express and stage lines in this regard, and how it was simultaneously becoming the target of criminal gangs. So what we’re looking at is an exercise in infiltration, where government operative and former soldier turned prize-fighter Steve Davis (Stephen McNally) is tasked with heading west with the aim of tracking down the head of a gang of highly successful raiders. This quest will require his incarceration in the territorial prison, a stint in “the hole” and a subsequent breakout. All the time he’s burrowing ever deeper into the criminal network and picking up new threads to investigate, he’s continually switching identities and the prospect of betrayal is never far off.

While that title is as forgettable as they come and the script, by Harry Essex and Leonard Lee, has no pretensions about offering anything of depth, the movie remains a hugely entertaining. This, I think, is largely down to the pacing and the amount of incident packed into a brisk 80 minute running time. From the opening minutes the story never lets up, barely pausing for breath as robberies, shootings, fights, double-dealing and a touch of romance sprint across the screen in a Technicolor delight shot through the lens of Russell Metty’s camera.

Director Reginald Le Borg is not someone I automatically think  of when westerns are being discussed. Although I do have a copy of War Drums somewhere, he’s most familiar to me for taking charge of a number of Lon Chaney Jr horrors, particularly a clutch of Inner Sanctum titles. I think the last movie of his that I watched was around the turn of the year when I enjoyed Vincent Price in an attractive looking piece of nonsense called Diary of a Madman. This is a handsome production as well and while I certainly wouldn’t like to refer to it as nonsense it is breezy and quite insubstantial. I’m not sure I can say much about Le Borg as a director beyond the fact he brought a welcome sense of urgency to the picture.

Having Russell Metty behind the camera is a big plus for any movie, but the other big selling point for Wyoming Mail is the cast. I like Stephen McNally a lot, he was one of those guys who was equally effective as hero or villain, in the lead or in support. He’s a good choice in this as the Easterner sent to smash the train robbers’ gang and his snappy, quick-talking assurance works a treat. The romance with Alexis Smith is mostly effective and enjoyable to watch, although I imagine it can’t have been much of a chore being asked to play a love scene opposite Ms Smith. One look at the cast ought to tell you you’re going to be in for a pretty entertaining experience. Just take a moment to read: Howard Da Silva, Ed Begley, Richard Jaeckel, James Arness, Richard Egan, Gene Evans, Frank Fenton, Whit Bissell. Granted some of the parts are small and the appearances fleeting but simply seeing these people on the screen is a pleasure in itself. Incidentally, McNally, Smith and Egan would appear together a few years later in Dick Powell’s enjoyable Split Second.

To the best of my knowledge, Wyoming Mail has only had one official DVD release anywhere. That was in France via Sidonis, and it’s one I haven’t bothered to pick up due to the tendency for that company to force subtitles. There aren’t too many Universal-International westerns that remain hard to access these days – unlike their crime and noir pictures – excepting those which seem to have problems with elements or prints in the incorrect aspect ratio. Anything I’ve seen of Wyoming Mail, which pops up online from time to time, suggests that the film is in good shape overall so it’s odd that it’s not been made more widely available. Mind you, I have a hunch the title can’t be helping in that respect…

156 thoughts on “Wyoming Mail

  1. A most welcome subject, Colin, and I am glad you enjoyed the film as yet another example of those colourful, snappy 80-minute westerns from U-I. I bought the film just recently myself (not Sidonis) and watched it last week. Not outstanding but very well done and entertaining.

    I like Stephen McNally a lot too and he tends to raise any film he has a good role in. You said that U-I noirs were more readily available yet there is a whole batch from around 1949-52 that I want and cannot seem to find (not easily, or cheaply, anyway). One later one that is equally elusive from 1957 is “THE TATTERED DRESS”. I shall keep looking. Bear in mind that I want hard copy of these, not on-line streamed.

    I have watched three most enjoyable films in the past 48 hours (keeping on with this enjoyable thread):
    “SCANDAL SHEET” (1952) with Broderick Crawford still under contract to Columbia and producing a formidable and quite vicious turn. Directed by Phil Karlson (need I say more).
    “THREE DESPERATE MEN” (1951), a fast-paced action western from Lippert and starring Preston Foster and Jim Davis. Very enjoyable for a traditional western freak like me!
    “THE HOUR OF 13” (1952), one of those British films with an American star, in this case Peter Lawford although he was actually born in London. Strong British cast with an 1890 London setting and really gripping. I enjoyed locations, particularly the climactic shots in the famous dockland street, Shad Thames, where all the warehouses were based for loading onto ships in the Pool of London.

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    • Jerry, perhaps I worded that a little clumsily. I was saying, or wanted to, that the U-I westerns are now accessible for the most part, bar a few which are chopped down ‘Scope versions, whereas there are big gaps when it comes to the crime and noir titles. Essentially, we’re on the same page regarding our disappointment there.

      That’s an interesting trio you’ve been watching lately. I’ve seen the Karlson movie, from a Sam Fuller novel, and it’s very well done, in my opinion – the great Burnett Guffey behind the camera on that one.
      I’ve not seen those other two but I like the sound of them, especially the latter.

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        • An adaptation of X v Rex, which I have but haven’t read yet. Generally, I like Philip MacDonald’s writing; everything he tried didn’t always come off but he was very inventive and forever experimenting.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Colin, Jerry
    Personally I found was a pretty entertaining B-western that moves along at a nice pace. . The nice Technicolor is an added bonus for the watcher.as well. Stephen McNally is one of the most under-rated actors out there and It does not matt seem to matter which side of the law he plays, he delivers.
    Gord

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    • Is it fair to call it a B though, Gord? I thought it looked as though it had a bit more cash lavished on it, and even some location work included.
      Anyway, it looks great all the way through, it is pacy and has a most personable lead in McNally. Perhaps he wasn’t the most showy performer around and even if his is not a name that will be familiar outside of film buff circles, I’ve rarely been disappointed by any movie he appeared in.

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      • “Not a name that will be familiar outside film buff circles”. I have a highly knowledgable western-nut friend who tells me that his 17 year-old grandson has never heard of John Wayne.
        Equally, my daughter and son-in-law named their second daughter Alana. My reaction was to say how nice and that film star Alan Ladd had named his daughter Alana. To which they retorted ‘Who the dickens is Alan Ladd???’ oh well…….

        It does seem that young folk now are only interested in films of the most recent vintage. And yet I love delving back to films of the 40s and even 30s, all before I was born. Pity really.

        Liked by 3 people

        • There are young classic film enthusiasts around – various internet fora and some FB groups have made that clear to me. However, they are certainly in a minority, possibly this is true of all age groups if we’re going to be honest.
          I think a lot of this is down to the way broadcast TV has changed, how it’s no longer the catch-all medium it once was an the way our expanded choices has actually led to people sealing themselves into their own comfortable cultural bubbles and never being exposed to anything else.

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        • That people do not know things or history — and that goes beyond the entertainment industry, is not any kind of standard.

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            • That is a generous point of view, but when I was a child and I mean ten or below, I knew the names of mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Tom Mix, and many more. Same with classic literature and sport. I was not alone; everyone else knew as well. it is something cultural, and not at all good. Of course, we did not know the names of various substances, nor were we abusive, so I guess that even things out nicely.

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                  • Yeah, I think my position is basically this, Jerry. The always connected world we’re occupying these days amounts to something like a relentless assault on our senses – due largely to the fragmentation of media there is a seemingly endless stream of information to be processed. This is frankly impossible to do without applying some kind of filtering mechanism, and I say this in full awareness of the fact I’m guilty of this too. To clarify, I find it beyond my abilities to remain au fait with every aspect of the modern world; I know full well that there are vast swaths of popular culture of which my knowledge is either sketchy or non-existent. I’m not exactly proud of this but I don’t see how I can do much about it. I acknowledge the fact I apply my own filters out of necessity so I don’t think I’m on the firmest of ground if I censure others too harshly for applying a different set of filters.

                    All I can do is try to get my own enthusiasm for the material that interests me out there and hope it may spark a positive response in someone.

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              • Barry, I think I am in your ‘lane’. When I was growing up in grade school between 1955 and 1965, I learned much of my American/world history not necessarily from books and school, but from earlier movies and TV. By doing so, it pretty much shape my existence of beliefs in who I was and want kind of person I wanted to be. It helped me set morale benchmarks and a guide post for my future. Seems the generations that followed have little concept of history and the important role it plays. Consequently, what ever little knowledge they have of history they just want to erase it and start over again at year zero. If one asks those youngsters what they strive to be many have no clue. The most common response I hear is they want to be a somebody………a celebrity. Unfortunately, we end up with a declining society that lacks contributable substance.

                Liked by 2 people

          • I grew up in Ireland so I never thought there was anything unusual about meeting or knowing someone called Shane – you’d have to go out of your way to avoid them.

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        • Jerry, I agree there aren’t really that many classic film fans about anymore, especially young ones. When I grew up everybody found it strange that I loved old movies. They thought I was crazy. I’ve heard a few Millennials say they don’t even watch movies from the 90s. Too old-fashioned.

          But to my astonishment I found out a few years ago that there’s actually quite a few classic film blogs out there. More than I thought.
          In case anybody’s interested, here’s a list of members of the Classic Movie Blog Association. Lots of good blogs there, about many different classic movie topics.
          http://clamba.blogspot.com/p/members.html

          Liked by 2 people

          • There’s plenty of online activity in this area and the act there is still a market for classic cinema in terms of Blu-ray, DVD and so on is further evidence of interest. Sure we’re not talking about a mass market phenomenon but that ties in with what I said before anyway – the way media is distributed and consumed has become fractured and people tend to find their own niches and stick to them. I don’t think this is entirely healthy but that’s how it appears to be.

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            • I’m frankly always surprised that there are so many films coming out on DVD/Blu-ray, especially lots of little B movies. Obviously I’m glad about it, but I have a hard time believing that companies can make any money from selling a product that really only hard-core film buffs appreciate.

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      • Colin
        An upper B, a lower A? I guess it depends on how one classifies them. Either way would be correct. McNally did some great bits as a guest star on numerous television series. I recall one episode of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE he shone in.
        Gord

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        • How about calling it a programmer? Maybe it needed to be made later for that but I tend to think of them as kind of A- pictures.

          As for McNally’s guest roles on TV, I remember being pleased to see him pop up on an early episode of The Rockford Files.

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  3. Havent seen this one but that’s a good cast. Must catch up with it.
    Incidentally,Colin, I’ve been clicking the Like button without success – not just on your site. Any ideas what the problem could be?

    Liked by 1 person

    • None whatsoever. Some odd glitch in the WordPress software? I just clicked “like” on your comment so I think it’s working for me? You don’t have a “like” facility attached to posts on your site, right? Perhaps that’s something to do with it – actually no, that makes no sense.
      I shall take it a read you liked this post anyway. 🙂

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        • Yep…..seems to be the case. I’ve tried time and time again to log in as a WordPress account holder to no avail. Even tried as a new account holder……..no dice. Apparently, they recognize by email address and it kicks it out. The good thing is I can still comment and reply……just can’t activate the ‘like’ button or receive notifications. So……for all you that comment……just figure I like your comments.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, it’s a WordPress blog and I have had no problem in the past clicking ‘Like’ on posts I like, so my blog then shows the link.
        I just know what the problem is now.
        It is a shame I haven’t been able to do that on Google blogs.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The compatibility issue between WordPress and Google blogs has been a source of irritation for some time.
          By the way, a “like” from you just appeared. Thank you for that!

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  4. I’ve been trying to track this movie down for ages. The cast sounds great and I’ve really become a fan of Stephen McNally. Definitively underrated.

    I never really thought about boring or exiting titles but I do find posters very interesting. If the poster catches my eye, I’ll definitively watch the movie.

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    • Aside from this, the only others that spring to mind are those I mentioned – the Vincent Price movie and those Lon Chaney titles. One of the latter is Weird Woman, the first screen adaptation of Conjure Wife.

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        • It’s not a patch on Night of the Eagle. The Inner Sanctum titles make for a fun series but they are very much B movies. They work fine on that level and the ones Le Borg directed a are perfectly competent and professional but there’s nothing distinctive about his work.

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  5. Like you and all, I would avoid any unimaginative/unartistic titles i.e. The Raid and this. I have always like Alexis Smith and with such a strong supporting cast this should be interesting. Best regards.

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  6. Colin, another good write-up of a right up my alley middle budget Universal-International Pictures programmer from the 1946-1963 years. I’ve seen WYOMING MAIL(1950), but it has been awhile. I first saw it as a youngster. CBS affiliate WREC-TV Channel 3 Memphis, Tennessee used to show a lot of Universal-International movies during the 1960’s and ’70’s on the EARLY and LATE MOVIE presentations. Those were the days when everyone, for the most part, were watching movies from the 1930’s, ’40’s, ’50’s, and ’60’s on TV. That was what was on for our viewing pleasure. Those were the days when it was a treat to catch a rerun of a movie that we wanted to see again. In 1975 I would have never thought that I would be able to reach over and pull out a DVD of my favorite movie, or TV show any time that I wanted to watch it. I think we are living in a “Golden Age” of viewing and our choices are so many and this is astounding too me, to the ‘inth degree. We have the new technology to thank for this.

    Are my senses bombarded with all our connected endless flow of information and disinformation? Of course they are, but I think that we can filter it out by using good old common horse sense. As in, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, especially if there is something wrong with the waterhole. Take in what you like and pass it on to someone else, because they might enjoy it also. Colin, I enjoy your enthusiasm for the material that interests you, because it interests me and many others. Because of the World Wide Web we know that there are a lot of Classic movie and TV buffs out there. Margot gave us a list and there are more out there. Margot, that is why there is a market for new Blu-ray’s of big budget, tight budget, and no budget Classic and not so classic movies. We like them, right down to the ground.

    Jerry, I live out here in the hinterlands, also known as the fly-over country. So, I might have a little different take on the 17 year-old not knowing who John Wayne was. That is because I know a lot of young people who know who Wayne was and who Clint Eastwood is. Also, believe it or not, Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe. These youngsters know things and care about their freedoms and responsibilities. Barry, there is hope out here, because there will always be enough of these knowledgeable and responsible young folks to carry on after we’re gone. They are busy working and trying to survive. It’s just that the fractured media doesn’t cover them 24/7.

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    • A delightful comment all round, Walter – thank you for making it.

      I was only a youngster in the 70s but I grew up watching all kinds of stuff, old and new, on the TV because, as you said, that’s what we had. I’m sometimes nostalgic for the sheer variety I was exposed to, whether I wanted to be or not, yet I’m also aware that nostalgic plays tricks too. I would have given much back then to be able to access my favorites at will – the notion was a fantastic one to me as well. So yes, for all the specialization and narrowing of interests nowadays, I wouldn’t really trade it for a world where if you missed something, you had no way of knowing when or if you would ever catch it again.

      I’m tend to be positive about young people too. Of course that’s probably down to the fact I’m a teacher and so I am in constant contact with teenagers. I have to say that for every stereotypical disaffected one there are perhaps a dozen at least who are full of enthusiasm and keen to learn as much and as widely as possible. What is important is that thirst for knowledge. As long as it is regularly quenched and kept active it will grow, it expands. If youngsters are searching out information on what interests them, that is good. It may not always be my choice but that’s not the point, what matters is the desire to learn. I can always try to nudge people towards broadening their horizons but the truth is those who are keen to learn will seek out a range of stuff by themselves anyway.

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    • Walter, this is a very nice comment. I’m just glad companies bring out all these classic movies now. I was just wondering because they are all now restored/remastered which costs a lot of money. And as I said, this is a niche market with for really just for hard-core fans.

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  7. Such great discussion here. I certainly wasn’t intending to sound negative about young people and as you say, the vast majority of nice, sensible, hard-working youngsters everywhere are the ones that don’t get in the news. I only have to look at my granddaughters to see that.
    Good old common horse sense is spot on, Walter, and I loved what you wrote. And also, of course, is that love of U.I. films that we all share.

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  8. Jerry, I didn’t think you were being negative. I thank you and Colin for the kind words. I didn’t start out to go off on different trail, but you never know. Also, Jerry since you have a DVD of WYOMING MAIL, is that actually Lee Marvin as the train engineer, who gets shot? Jeff Arnold identified him, but Marvin isn’t credited on IMDb, but I realize IMDb isn’t infallible, because recently I was watching CAPTAIN NEWMAN M.D.(1963) and recognized actor Rex Holman, but he wasn’t listed on IMDb as being in the movie.

    I’m a Stephen McNally fan, also. I watched him recently in a couple of movies with Audie Murphy. THE DUEL AT SILVER CREEK(1952) and HELL BENT FOR LEATHER(filmed 1959, released 1960) and he was good in both. As a hero in the first and as a villain in the later. I also liked him in SPLIT SECOND(filmed 1952, released 1953), which Margot calls an “Atomic Noir.” Her very good write-up of this movie is at: https://downthesemeanstreetsblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/split-second-1953.html

    Take care and have good health, everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Walter…….first of all welcome back.
      In regards to the Lee Marvin look-a-like who played the Train Engineer. I think iMDB has it right when they call out Woodrow Parfrey in the uncredited role. If you see some photos of a younger Parfrey there seems to be a resemblance, especially so as the mustached Engineer.

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  9. Walter, many thanks for pointing out Margot’s site. How could I have missed it?
    Margot, great work on your site. Lol!!! It is going to take me a while to get through it all. Excellent stuff.
    Gordon

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  10. FILMS FOR THE WEEKEND ARE
    1 -THE TANKS ARE COMING -1951 Steve Cochran A re-watch of this WW2 action job written by Sam Fuller.
    2- FORD vs FERRARI First time watch of this 2019 production.
    3- CATTLE KING – 1964 Also a first time watch of this Robert Taylor duster.
    4 – TARANTULA -1955 Fun low-budget UI sci-fi film. Must have seen this 20 times already.
    5- PAINTED DESERT -1938 First time for this George O’Brien programmer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have to wonder what the marketing department was thinking. Even mailmen from Wyoming would be unlikely to get stoked about that.
      Yes, even though it’s not uncommon to see strong support casts in studio productions of the era, this is an especially noteworthy example.

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      • Personally, I think the screenplay and movie would have been better served if the role of the leader of the bad guys would have been expanded with McNally playing his typical bad guy persona. Thus, eliminating the role played by Roy Roberts. Heck Colin, you don’t even mention Roberts in your review. In the lead role I would have someone like Jeff Chandler. Chandler would have been even a better fit with the female lead Smith. In my opinion, having these three would would have lifted the movie up another full notch. As far as a movie name…….how about ‘Rails of Wyoming’. Just my thoughts.

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        • I deliberately avoided any mention of Roberts to stay away from spoiler territory, although I don’t suppose that matters much – I wasn’t sure how to speak about him without giving too much away, such is the way the part is written.
          Anyway, I partly agree. i don’t feel there’s anything wrong with McNally as hero in this film, and it is a role he fulfilled on as many occasions as he played the bad guy. No, for me that’s fine and actually works even better because of the dual identity his mission requires him to adopt. Basically, it is ideal for someone who was able to play hero or villain with ease.
          That said, I do think you make a good point about the villain’s role needing to be expanded. Again, the script kind of precludes that by maintaining the mystery/whodunit aspect at its core.

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  11. FILMS FOR THE WEEKEND
    So far I have watched THE TANKS ARE COMING 1951. It is a fast moving Warner’s war picture with Steve Cochran, Phil Carey and Robert Horton. The film was written by Sam Fuller. Next I took in CATTLE KING 1964 It was okay, but not a barnburner by any means. Then it was that fun 50’s Sci-Fi programmer from U-I, TARANTULA. John Agar and pretty Mara Corday headline this tale of a experiment gone wrong and the giant spider it creates.
    Gord

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  12. First things first namely Mr Gates. Glad you caught up with CATTLE KING I pretty much agree with your comment but it was nice to see veteran producer Nat Holt
    attempt to make what was basically an old fashioned traditional Western, especially in changing times. I note CATTLE KING had a supporting role for Robert Ivers, an actor I always liked but never made the A list or even the B come to that. Robert had a promising start in SHORT CUT TO HELL an A.C.Lyles
    production and the only film directed by James Cagney. In his on screen prologue Cagney thought Robert has a great career ahead of him, sadly it never happened. Ivers was excellent in SHORT CUT TO HELL and is probably best known for his role as Elvis’ buddy in G.I.BLUES. Lyles used Robert again in a war picture with Rory Calhoun and finally he was way down the cast list in Lyles’ TOWN TAMER. SHORT CUT TO HELL is,of course a remake of THIS GUN FOR HIRE (a 4K restoration is due from Eureka UK) and Cagney lends a pulpy B Movie energy to the film which is well recommended. I don’t think it will be too long before SHORT CUT TO HELL turns up on Talking Pictures TV. When all in said and done Graham Greene’s original A Gun For Sale SHOULD really be set in pre war 30’s London. I always thought it would make an ideal Neil Jordan project with say Cillian Murphy in the Ladd/Ivers role.

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    • You know, that’s an interesting idea for another version of Greene’s novel. I love the Ladd/Lake move but a new look at it, and one closer to the text, could have some worth.

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  13. Paging Mr Gates,part 2…

    Gordon I note some time back you mentioned Louis King’s ROAG GANG (1936) on your to be watched pile….GO FOR IT!! ROAD GANG is a well paced B movie of the innocent person incarcerated by corrupt officials genre and there were plenty of those in the ’30’s. Louis King made a similar film later called PRISON FARM which is even better. Another outstanding B Movie of similar ilk is Robert Florey’s WOMEN WITHOUT NAMES. Sadly PRISON FARM and WOMEN WITHOUT NAMES (Paramount titles now owned by Universal) are not on disc. ROAD GANG is available as a senastional B Movie double bill with Louis King’s DRAEGERMAN COURAGE on Warner Archive a total must for genuine B Movie fanatics.

    BTW Gordon TARANTULA! is great Clint’s early appearance is now the stuff of legend. Love that Mara for her great contributions to Westerns and creature flicks.

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    • John K
      ROAD GANG is in the group for next weekend’s films. Thanks again for the pointing it out to me a while back. I’ll add WOMEN WITHOUT NAMES and PRISON FARM to my list of stuff to look for. Mara Corday is so easy on the eyes, that I had to backtrack a couple of times in-order to catch up with the story again. Corday’s last 4 screen credits are bit parts in Eastwood films.
      Have a good weekend, Gord

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Now down to the situation at hand…………
    Firstly so wonderful now to have regular Walter; long may your superb insights continue.
    WYOMING MAIL was produced by Aubrey Schenck having recently departed Eagle Lion for Universal for a few films, including the excelent Noir UNDERCOVER GIRL also with Alexis Smith. Mr Schenck would then co form Bel Air;more of that later. WYOMING MAIL is one of the few 50’s Universal-Internatioal Westerns not helmed by one of their contract directors another being THE RAIDERS directed by Lesley Selander. THE RAIDERS was released by Sidonis but sadly with forced subs something they are thankfully no longer doing. The Sidonis DVD was by all accounts very nice looking so hopefully a Blu ray release will not be too long in appearing. Sidonis normally up grade their old DVD releases to Blu Ray, as they have done recently with APACHE DRUMS surely Stephen McNally’s greatest
    “starring” Western. The Sidonis version of APACHE DRUMS has no forced subs thankfully. THE RAIDERS (1952) was Lesley Selander’s only Universal International
    50’s Western and starred Richard Contre and Barbara Britton.

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  15. Reginald Le Borg….
    Firstly Colin,it’s mighty fine to see you feature a “Make Something Out Of Nothing” director. Hopefully over time William Berke,Ford Beebe,Lee Scholem,
    Sidney Salkow,Paul Landers and Thomas Carr will join the RTHC roster.
    To be fair Le Borg had a much bigger budget to play with on WYOMING MAIL,sadly that was rarely the case. Take his two “Ansco Color Specials” made for Lippert SINS OF JEZEBEL and THE GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID both clunkers of the highest order. The latter title was reputedly made for less than $100.000.
    The film was a quick cash in on the Barbara Payton/Tom Neal scandal. Le Borg also followed Payton to England for THE FLANAGAN BOY (aka Bad Blonde) a tawdry little B picture. Le Borg returned to England a decade or so later for THE EYES OF ANNIE JONES a decent little thriller with Richard Conte and Francesca Annis. Le Borg worked with Aubrey Schench on a variety of Bel Air projects. WAR DRUMS which Colin mentioned has a bigger budget than usual and it’s in color. Providing you can live with Lex Barker as an Apache Warrior, and those spiteful “Indian Maidens” (that’s the polite term) who look as if they have just wandered in off a J.D. flick,there’s plenty to enjoy here. The combat scenes are fierce (very graphic scalpings) and what class the film has is down to Ben Johnson as the film marked a return to the big screen for the actor.
    Schenck and Le Borg also clocked in THE DALTON GIRLS a cute premise that just does not come off,low budget and black & white to boot. Le Borg is back in his comfort zone with THE BLACK SLEEP a very silly monster mash up that despite everything I’m very fond of. Mr Schenck also has a cameo role in the film,he looks as if he’s having a great time, I might add. This was Bel Air’s effort to revive Gothic Horror,at least it tied us over until Hammer and Roger Corman showed us how it really should be done.
    So, Le Borg is never going to be considered an Auteur but I wonder how many of today’s Hot Shot directors would cope with his threadbare budgets? Finally, being the type of creature I am it’s always comforting to see a Le Borg (or indeed a Berke or Landres) make the RTHC roster.

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    • Salkow may make an appearance before some of the others mentioned, John. We’ll see.
      You mention The Flanagan Boy/Bad Blonde there and I’ve seen that one in the past – wasn’t it on one of those Hammer Noir DVD sets? I seem to remember it was OK, but it has been a while so I might be way off on that.

      Like

  16. Yep! I think you might be right about the Hammer Noir box sets-I hope Talking Pictures TV start showing some of the rarer Hammer Noirs especially CLOUDBURST,the best of them all IMHO. I seem to recall that you reviewed HEAT WAVE (House Across The Lake) some time back but cannot find Ken Hughes in your index. HEAT WAVE is in similar territory to BAD BLONDE but is by far the superior film. Both films have good supporting roles for Sidney James and he’s outstanding in HEAT WAVE as a sweet natured millionaire married to a Femme Fatale. Co star Alex Nicol was very impressed with James calling him a “Wonderful Actor” this was of course before he became the “Sid” we all know and love. Great scene where James and Nicol are loading up the boat with crates of beer and Sid goes into his famous “laugh” Of course I’ve a notion I may have said all of this before if I could locate that darn review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Heat Wave is a superior little movie – I wrote about it here.

      By the way, if you’re ever looking for a particular title, aside from the sidebar with the various categories of actors/directors/ genres covered, there is a separate Index page with its own tab under “Film Reviews – it’s in alphabetical order and fully linked and can be found here.

      Like

  17. Speaking of Alex Nicol…here’s one for Gordon A MATTER OF WHO (1962) an engaging comedy thriller with Terry Thomas and Alex Nicol trying to prevent a smallpox epidemic,not an ideal film for right now I might add. A MATTER OF WHO had an outstanding Brit supporting cast but now appears to be yet another “lost” movie. Originally an MGM release but not owned by Warners. This one ever appeared on your radar Gordon?

    Like

  18. I just finished watching Henry Hathaway’s “The Shepherd of the Hills” (1941) with John Wayne, Betty Field, Harry Carey, and Beulah Bondi. A very strange tale of bitterness, hatred, and revenge. John Wayne is excellent as a young man smoldering with hatred for a father that abandoned him and his mother. His bitterness is only exceeded by his aunt’s (Beulah Bondi) black hatred for what she perceives as a cursed existence. Betty Field (one of my favorite actresses) is moving as a young woman who loves Wayne but knows she can’t have a life with a man bent on revenge. Harry Carey’s role is pivotal — I’ll leave it at that. Marc Lawrence totally plays against type as a hapless, mute hillbilly. The story takes place in the Ozarks and some scenes were shot in Branson MO though most of the filming took place in the San Bernadino National Forest. The movie is beautifully filmed in Technicolor. This is an offbeat film with little action, but the actors keep the tension and suspense at a high level. Ultimately, this dark, somber film becomes a story of redemption.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Frank
      I saw it years ago when it first came out on VHS here. Cannot recall what my take on the film was to be quite honest. I need to give this a re-watch. Thanks for the reminder.
      Gord

      Like

    • It has been an age since I watched anything with Wayne, and I’m probably due to revisit some of Hathaway’s work too. I have not seen this movie all the way through and now you’ve caught my attention with what you’ve written.

      Like

  19. Finished my last two FILMS FOR THE WEEKEND. First up was the 2019 – FORD vs FERRARI Not a big fan of racing films but this one works rather well. Matt Damon and Chris Bale headline.
    PAINTED DESERT -1938 This George O’Brien programmer has the standard story of good guys up against a bunch of black hat claim jumpers. Nice, quick and to the point.

    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Margot, it is my pleasure to highly recommend your write-ups. In the future I would like to read your takes on FORTY GUNS, THE FURIES, FOUR GUNS TO THE BORDER, and DUEL IN THE SUN.

    Scott, Although, I don’t have a DVD of WYOMING MAIL, I think I’m with you on the train engineer being the wonderful character actor Woodrow Parfrey. Parfrey should be familiar to all Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood movie fans. Yes, I’m glad to be home, although we have to go back to St. Louis, Missouri this week for a couple of days.

    Gordon, your welcome. Margot is a talented writer and fun to read. Gordon, I also like your movie picks. So many movies to enjoy.

    Jerry, I think in today’s world, especially during this awful Coronavirus mess, we need a lot more horse and mule sense. I wonder what my Grandfather Charlie S.(1898-1990), who owned and worked a lot of mules in his day, would think about what is going on today. He had the influenza in 1918 really bad and survived.

    John K. still brings up more movie titles than I can keep up with, but they do trigger a lot of good memories of entertainment. The ones that I haven’t seen yet, I want to take a look-see. Where is SHORT CUT TO HELL(1957) for goodness sakes alive? I don’t think that I have ever managed to see this only movie ever directed by James Cagney. Has anyone ever seen it, besides John? Who owns the rights? ViacomCBS?. I know it was an A.C. Lyles Production released by Paramount Pictures.

    Colin, I can see what you mean by catchy as opposed to uncatchy movie titles. How about THE TOWN(2010) or THE ACCOUNTANT(2016). Not exactly movies I want to see any way, regardless of boring titles. CONVERSATIONS WITH MY GARDNER(2007), well I think I like the title in French better, DIALOGUE AVEC MON JARDINIER. It does make you wonder.

    THUMBS UP!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Walter…….I’ve seen SHORT CUT TO HELL a few times. The iMDB reviews are all over the place on this one largely due to comparisons of the Ladd/Lake classic THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942). For me, James Dean comes to mind when watching Robert Ivers. I don’t know if that played a part in Ivers getting cast in this role or not, but sure makes me wonder. Especially, when considering the somewhat juvenile psycho nature of the Iver’s role and the counter-balancing of Georgann Johnson as a street smart lounge singer with a motherly caring disposition. In my opinion, it is Johnson’s snappy no nonsense dialogue that draws the viewer in the initial and progressing stages of the film. She’s is quite good at it and makes me believe I’ve gone back in time and am watching a Ginger Rogers re-do. Anyway, every time I view this movie I get a little more out of it. So Walter, if you want to take a ‘look-see’ as you say, here you go……………
      https://ok.ru/video/336386722552

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mighty fine review Scott. Although not exactly a household name Georgann Johnson has a very impressive list of credits. Yvette Vickers sizzles the screen in this one!!

        Like

        • Thanks for the compliment John. Georgann Johnson began her onscreen acting career in 1952 television. Her acting skills seemed to be influenced by 40’s Hollywood for which became part of her skillful repertoire. Matter of fact, the character she was playing seemed to be of someone who’d been around the 1940’s block and was turning the corner into the 50’s. Unlike Ladd/Lake, a love interest was not necessary because the story line had taken that in an already known direction. Therefore, Cagney was looking for a slightly older female that could show empathy, coupled with a convincing adult maturity that would maintain a positive interaction of continuity between the male and female lead characters. Johnson surely answered the call by delivering a spicy dialogue and an onscreen presence that was instrumental in keeping this movie flowing right along.

          John…..here is another strange twist to the production and casting of this movie. We both got a James Dean vibe from Robert Ivers playing a mentally disturbed young man on the run from the law. Turns out, James Dean and Georgann Johnson co-starred together in TV’s Campbell Summer Soundstage (1952–1954) in the 1953 episode ‘LIFE SENTENCE’. PLOT – After breaking out of prison and on the run from the law, an emotionally disturbed Dean meets up with a empathetic Johnson. Coincidence…..or is there a pattern here? There is a lot of first time scenarios going on here. Cagney’s first directorial attempt, A. C. Lyles producing debut, first starring roles for upstarts Ivers and Johnson. Is there a connection between the Dean/Johnson and Ivers/Johnson casting scenarios? Was Lyles and Cagney hoping for a windfall at the box office, hoping to capitalize on the void left by James Dean’s recent untimely death……seen a lot of promotional tools, i.e posters, lobby cards and movie stills where Ivers is looking very much like Dean…..not to mention Cagney’s intro to his two new stars. And finally according to AFI…….Cagney throwing the dice by foregoing much of his fee for directing the film, but receiving a percentage of the film’s profits. I get the feeling this was just not some movie produced off the assembly line. I think as insiders, they were hoping for a sleeper by writing a formidable screenplay, based on the Graham Greene novel, and in turn, would be successfully brought to the screen by someone who’s worked in the genre for three decades. In the end….budgetary limitations and the absence of established star appeal must have hurt this film’s box office appeal.

          Hope I didn’t over do it here.

          Like

  21. OK, now they are. I was beginning to worry that Colin had installed a quality filter on the site and my comment had been rejected! 😂 My comment was along the lines of how much I was enjoying the comments. I also agreed with Gord about the quality of FORD v Ferrari and gave a plug to Catriona Balfe, who appears in the movie and is an outstanding actress. Watch any episode of OUTLANDER if you don’t believe me. Now I’m off to redo those Likes.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Im not a person…I’m a gun…………..
    Scott, thanks for your feedback on SHORT CUT TO HELL, and yes, I also got that James Dean vibe from Ivers.
    As a “Hardcore Luddite” I’ve never watched a film on-line and don’t have the necessary kit to stream,at any rate I’m chuffed at the interest SHORT CUT TO HELL has generated. Needless to say, I’d buy a Blu Ray edition in a heartbeat. Luddite that I am, I have totally embraced the Blu Ray format and love that medium for CinemaScope Westerns and classic Black & White Noir.
    Recently got Eureka’s 4K restoration of CRISS CROSS sublime is the only way I can describe the transfer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good to hear about Criss Cross. It and Lang’s Cloak and Dagger – I ordered both directly from Eureka in their 2 for £25 promotion – will be waiting for me when I get back to Ireland at the end of the week.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome John…….and thank you for helping me expand my American vocabulary of the King/Queen’s proper English. ‘Luddite’ and ‘Chuffed’ are words I never hear on this side of the pond.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I did mean earlier to chip in in this “intergenerational” thing discussed earlier,
    firstly dear reader you might get the impression that all I do in my spare
    time is clock the conversations of young people on buses,that’s only one
    factor about my life, honest.
    Some time back I was on a bus and a couple of 14 year olds sat in front of me,
    a boy and a girl-the following brief conversation ensued:
    Girl: “What’cha got there”
    Boy:”The new Bruce Willis DVD”
    Girl “Who the fuck’s Bruce Willis”
    So it’s not only golden era stars dismissed by a younger generation.

    Not long after a couple of rather hip I guess 17 year olds sat in front of me,
    the following exchange ensued.
    Boy one “What music are you into these days”
    Boy two “These days I only listen to classic stuff”
    Boy one “Like what”
    Boy two “Dylan,Johnny Cash,The Velvet Underground”

    Never been much of a VU person myself but I was impressed that this kid
    was listening to a band who’s heyday was 25 years before he was even born.

    Now if I may I will relate a story I think I told over at Toby’s which amused
    Walter no end so here’s another go.

    A friend of mine deals in film memorabilia and quiet recently was on his stall at
    a film collectors event.
    Two twentysomething females, stunningly attractive, according to my friend,
    approached his stall one of which had tattoos of Dean Martin on one calf and
    Jerry Lewis on the other.
    Her pal was after anything concerning Marius Goring,in fact she explained to my
    pal that she has a tattoo of Marius that virtually covered her entire back!

    Just goes to show…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great story! I can kind of understand the Martin & Lewis one. However, Marius Goring!! Really odd, but really reassuring too.
      It is strange how unpredictable people are, and how those we least expect can surprise us with their likes.

      Music has always been a different matter, in my opinion, and it’s possible to see all kinds of unexpected tastes. But music requires far less investment on the part of the listener – a song takes a few minutes to listen too, whereas a film is a more significant commitment in terms of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Scott, thank you very much for the site where I finally got to view SHORT CUT TO HELL. I think this is a good remake of a classic movie. I took the movie for what it is, which is a competently made crime thriller. I didn’t try to compare this movie to THIS GUN FOR HIRE(1942). I enjoyed it and I think it is worth watching. The only disappointment that I have is that this print didn’t have the James Cagney introduction, where he was talking up the young stars of the movie.

    Margot, since you like racing movies, and I know you like Rory Calhoun, try THUNDER IN CAROLINA(1960), which is a fun Southern fried stock car racing movie.

    i got a kick out of John K’s Marius Goring story. It shouldn’t be surprising, because a lot of people young and old, have seen the Classic THE RED SHOES(filmed 1947, released 1948). It is a stunning movie.

    Colin, I hope you have a safe and chuffed to bits trip to Ireland.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re are welcome Walter. Glad you found it a worthwhile viewing. Regarding the Cagney prologue…..the movie prints I’ve viewed have been without. Perhaps, some of the options online that are available for streaming may have it. However, I’m just not willing to shell out to find out.

      As Colin has previously mentioned…….surprisingly, a lot of these hard to find movies one can find on ok.ru online. I just go to the Google search page, enter the movie title, release date and ok.ru. For example……..Short Cut To Hell 1957 ok.ru…….it’s that simple. Cheers.

      Like

      • I should have also mentioned. These ok.ru movies for online viewing are free. I’m also discovering that the majority of the films are a full notch above in clarity compared to the you tube offerings.

        Like

        • I have recently got hold of a copy of “SHORT CUT TO HELL” and although I haven’t got around to watching yet I did notice that the James Cagney introduction was present and correct.

          Liked by 1 person

  25. This epic thread goes on and on,more power to it,I say.
    May I join Walter in wishing Colin a safe and happy return to Ireland.
    “Chuffed to bits” was actually used by Mr Obama at one point,I do believe.
    Marius Goring had some most interesting credits and acting tonal chops,
    I love his campy commando in Tourneur’s CIRCLE OF DANGER and his return
    as a romantic hero,of sorts in Geroge Sherman’s engaging romp
    SON OF ROBIN HOOD a film now impossible to find in it’s original
    CinemaScope format.
    Be interested to hear Jerry’s take on SHORT CUT TO HELL and
    his recently obtained STORY OF MOLLY X.
    Jerry (and me) are in for a treat when in early August Talking
    Pictures TV show Joseph Kane’s modern day Noir Western HELL’S
    OUTPOST with John Russell at his nastiest.
    It would seem TPTV have the whole gamut of Paramount (and Republic)
    titles,they continue to show the sort of films the mainstream UK TV stations
    no longer wish to show.
    They also have Wyler’s THE DESPERATE HOURS in August as well.
    I’m pretty sure SHORT CUT TO HELL will turn up as well eventually.
    Is TPTV available in Ireland,hope so because I’m sure Colin will love
    HELL’S OUTPOST.

    Like

  26. During lockdown we have not spent money in pubs, cafes or restaurants , holidays and much-reduced need for petrol so instead I have been seeking out (in DVD format) mainly small, hard-to-find films often Republic, Allied Artists and Universal-International in particular.
    This has all seen my ‘to watch’ pile grow somewhat. One result is that I still haven’t got to see “THE STORY OF MOLLY X” but hope to soon. But today, John, I did watch “SHORT CUT TO HELL” (with the Cagney introduction), a film I had never seen before. A remake of “This Gun For Hire” and in turn based on Graham Greene’s novel ‘A Gun For Sale’. My kind of film in many ways. Robert Ivers was good in his role (though lacking Alan Ladd’s charisma) but I thought Georgann Johnson very good. Surprised she didn’t make it in her movie career. Enjoyable fare.
    Yes, looking forward to seeing “HELL’S OUTPOST” again. Thanks to good old Talking Pictures TV.
    With Rod Cameron and John Russell heading the cast, what’s not to like?
    Currently awaiting 2 deliveries from the U.S. eagerly. The Warner Archive DVD of “ESPIONAGE AGENT” (1939) and “SPY HUNT” (1950) from Victor Canning’s fine novel ‘Panther’s Moon’ with Howard Duff at U.I.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. THE QUIET AMERICAN 1958 Audie Murphy, Michael Redgrave, Claude Dauphin and Bruce Cabot, Has any of you good folks seen this? It is coming up this Sunday on TCM and I was wondering if it is worth recording or not..

    Gord

    Like

    • Gordon……..I have seen ‘Quite American’ a number of times. It’s a favorite of mine. The later version with Michael Caine is good too, but overall prefer the earlier version with Murphy. When combining the two, there are a lot of parallels to my own life living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia…….especially involving the Vietnamese girl. My wife and girlfriend are both Khmer.

      Liked by 2 people

  28. Hopefully you will be arriving back to Ireland about now, Colin. Good journey and keep safe.

    I’m back to basics today. Just finished a rewatch of Randolph Scott’s “THUNDER OVER THE PLAINS” (1953), directed by Andre De Toth and IMHO among Scott’s best westerns for Warners. It is not one that often gets a mention when discussing Scott’s films but I feel it really should.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jerry, I’m in Ireland again but still in the process of adjusting – it’s a wee bit cooler here, to put it mildly.

      I liked Thunder Over the Pains well enough when I watched it earlier this year. It’s not top tier for either star of director but it’s not at all bad.

      Like

  29. And this weekend my films are….
    BACK TO BATAAN 1945 Been a few years since last took this Duke film in.
    ROAD GANG 1936 Must watch this one after hearing Jerry’s remarks on said film. Sounds like a real killer.
    PRAIRIE LAW 1940 A RKO programmer with George O’Brien in the lead.
    BLACK LEGION 1937 Bogart, Joe Sawyer. Saw this quite a few years ago on vhs and quite frankly do not recall the plot. I used to tip a tad too much rum back then.
    BRIGHTBURN 2019 A sci-fi film I have heard interesting things about.
    MURDER BY CONTRACT 1958 We must get a noir into the mix. Vince Edwards plays a cool as ice hitman.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Opps
    Sorry John K,
    I mean your praise of ROAD GANG for putting it on my radar!. I’ll blame the mistake on lets see…The weather, lack of paying attention, one beer to many last night?
    Gord

    Like

  31. Hi Gordon,
    I hope that you enjoy ROAD GANG.
    It’s one of many excellent B Movies from Louis King who’s
    career goes way back to the silents and fans will remember his early
    Buck Jones Westerns.
    His run of B Movies for Paramount are generally excellent titles like
    PERSONS IN HIDING (exceptional, pre figures GUN CRAZY & BONNIE & CLYDE)
    ILLEGAL TRAFFIC,TIP OFF GIRLS,UNDERCOVER DOCTOR, and HUNTED MEN.
    Mr King was a Christian Scientist but religion does not get in the way of most of his work
    except for HUNTED MEN which does tend to get a bit cloying
    towards the end.
    Now Young Master Entract seems to have plenty of pocket money
    these days and seems to be on some sort of spending spree
    he might might like to splash out on the Warner Archive double bill
    of ROAD GANG/DRAEGERMAN COURAGE which is well
    recommended.

    Like

  32. Films for the weekend
    Managed to take in PRAIRIE LAW 1940 This is another standard RKO western programmer with a story we have all seen before. Evil types selling land to farmers even though it is really owned by local rancher types.
    Next I worked in1945’s BACK TO BATAAN with John Wayne and Tony Quinn. War film with the boys going after the Japanese. Had not seen this in years.

    Tomorrow and Sunday it will be ROAD GANG 1936, BLACK LEGION 1937, BRIGHTBURN 2019 and 1958’s MURDER BY CONTRACT.

    Like

  33. Hi Gord

    I like your weekend’s selection. “PRAIRIE LAW” is superior for a B-western as one of the RKO series made by George O’Brien. He performed his own stunts in the main, which is impressive.
    I have not seen “BACK TO BATAAN” in years either. I hope you enjoy “BLACK LEGION” (another not seen in years) starring Dick Foran and supported by Bogie.

    Saw 2 superb Phil Karlson-directed films yesterday – “THUNDERHOOF”, a rather unusual 3-hander (plus horses) with some beautiful locations and “THE BROTHERS RICO”, tough, violent gangster yarn with Richard Conte. Good stuff.
    Today taking in a Brit starring Alan Ladd “HELL BELOW ZERO” (1953) with a background of whaling and a bad guy played by the excellent Stanley Baker. Not sure what else yet……
    I am aware that film-watching is slowing now as we get around doing normal (sort of) life again gradually.
    Jerry

    Like

    • Jerry……I followed your lead on Karlson’s THUNDERFOOT and THE BROTHERS RICO. Preston Foster I’ve always liked and he is in good form here. Richard Conte furthers solidifies my respect for him….the role is a natural for him. Thanks for putting it out there.

      Like

  34. Jerry
    You can tell George O’Brien was a real boxer from his fight work in his films. The guy is built like an ox. Only seen a few of his films but all have been entertaining. I quite like HELL BELOW ZERO with as you say, Stanley Baker doing an excellent turn as a bad guy. I’ll get to BLACK LEGION tonight along with a couple of others.
    Never seen THUNDERHOOF, or THE BROTHERS RICO.

    The heat here was finally getting to me, so finally bought an AC unit on Wed. Gad!!!! What a difference in comfort.

    Have a great weekend
    Gord

    Like

      • Frank…..thank you very much for bringing this film to light. This is truly one of the greatest films of all time. I had no idea it even existed! Makes me wonder how many of these gems I will miss out on before going to my grave. Can’t say too much about the production without major ‘Spoilers’. So I will limit it to just this……the stark contrast between the farm and city is so striking it made my head spin in utter disbelief. A remarkable film that has one thinking ‘they sure don’t make em’ like they used to’…..and how in the world did they even do it?

        Liked by 1 person

    • I know people in Montreal who have only bought air conditioning units in the last year or so, not Climate Change, at least not for me, I have been air-cooled since 1949. Of course, I am a controlling bastard, use heat in the winter too, but no ear muffs, or overshoes, unless absolutely mandatory. Control your environment, kid.

      Like

  35. Frank
    I know of SUNRISE and it is on my list. Several people I know have suggested it as a must see. Hopefully sometime soon.
    Gord

    Like

  36. John
    ROAD GANG 1936, You called this one right on the button. An entertaining story with fine work all around from the cast and crew. Where have they been hiding this one? Now I’ll need to dig up those others you mentioned like, PERSONS IN HIDING, ILLEGAL TRAFFIC,TIP OFF GIRLS,UNDERCOVER DOCTOR, and HUNTED MEN. They all sound like fun timewasters.

    Gord

    Like

  37. You are most welcome Gordon,so glad you enjoyed ROAD GANG. Louis King’s PRISON FARM covering basically the same territory is even better,plus the cast is more stellar too. PERSONS IN HIDING is a total knockout,one of the best B Movies ever. Another outstanding Paramount B Flick is PAROLE FIXER which
    has a scene that pre dates THE BIG HEAT where nasty Anthony Quinn gets a whole jug of scalding hot coffee slung in his face, this time round he deserved it.
    PAROLE FIXER was from Robert Florey.
    Caught a couple of lower case Noirs courtesy of Talking Pictures TV. I WALK ALONE despite it’s star power is a huge let down, despite one great scene where Wendell Corey is being stalked down a midnight street,a reflection of a shop’s signage is reflected onto the street which is rain swept,this scene alone makes the movie worth sitting through. DARK CITY starts off in cracking form but loses it’s way after a promising start. The narrative flows around in all directions with annoying sidetracks and diversions. The sole great performance is from Don DeFore who plays the fall guy and he’s sensational. When DeFore exits the film things slowly slide downhill. DeFore had a frailty which is ideal for Noir,I sure wish that he had made more of them,and indeed more movies in general. The same year as DARK CITY DeFore played a federal agent in the excellent SOUTHSIDE 1-1000 and of course is remembered for his splendid work in RAMROD. DARK CITY’s greatest sin is the sappy happy ending which totally ruins anything the film had going for it. Well crafted to be sure but for me a total let down.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Ramrod, a film that begins well but runs out of steam for while with McCrea hiding behind a door being saved by a dressmaker. Uggh. But Defore is sensational; steals, literally Joel’s thunder.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Regarding the aforementioned HELL BELOW ZERO, I always found it extraordinary that Alan Ladd after his greatest hit,his most iconic role (SHANE) would sign up for three potboilers (PARATROOPER,HELL BELOW ZERO,THE BLACK KNIGHT) for the newly formed Warwick Films. I understand the deal was excellent and all of Ladd’s demands were met, after all Warwick needed an A list American star to get their company off on the right foot. Most of the actual whaling footage (which is extremly brutal) was shot by a second unit aboard an actual whaling vessel. If nothing else the film does show how involved the UK was in whaling at that time. There are studio mocked up scenes of Ladd and Jill Bennett gleefully firing the harpoon gun. By an ironic twist both Ladd and Bennett died in their 50’s from an overdose. Ladd strongly opposed doing Warwick’s THE BLACK KNIGHT until his pal Euan Lloyd persuaded him that he would hardly have to appear that much in the film as many of his scenes could be filmed by a double under that suit of armor.
    BTW, Colin,Laura has given this post a nice plug on her excellent blog.

    Like

  40. Strange how coincidences occur but John K was talking (above) about two films I have just watched also, namely “HELL BELOW ZERO” (a rewatch) and “SOUTHSIDE 1-1000” (agreed, very good). Some great use of the Angels Flight Railway in L.A. in the latter.
    Then today I (re)watched a really fine war picture that I can strongly recommend – “THE ETERNAL SEA” (1955), an adult and intelligent biopic from Republic Studio centred around the development and use of aircraft carriers during the WW2 & Korean conflicts. Starred Sterling Hayden in terrific form.

    Liked by 1 person

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