Coroner Creek

Revenge is a dish best served cold, or so the saying goes. Perhaps the truth is that it’s no dish at all, just an unappetizing craving arising out of wounded emotions. If anything, the coldness, or let’s at least say coolness, that inevitably arrives with the passage of time leads to a more satisfactory reckoning. Coroner Creek (1948) is what is commonly termed a revenge western, that is a story driven by the desire to settle a score and, as with the better examples of this variation on a genre, questions the desirability of this outcome and the effect on the protagonist.

A stagecoach being pursued by a band of whooping Apaches across the sun-baked badlands. That’s something of a cliché in the genre and it’s how Coroner Creek opens. While it may be a familiar and well-worn situation it’s still a dramatic one and does offer the twist of having the Apache raiders seen to be in the employ of a white man, one who remains unidentified as he methodically goes about shooting those within the stage, shooting all but one woman. Here we have the motivation for our protagonist Chris Danning (Randolph Scott) – although this isn’t explicitly stated till later in proceedings it is obvious enough from the start and I doubt if it constitutes a major spoiler. Nor does the identity of the man who Danning has determined to track down and kill. He pieces together enough information from a wounded Apache to allow him to set out across the arid southwest with an idea of who his quarry is. His path eventually leads to the town of Coroner Creek and the local strongman Younger Miles (George Macready). Danning’s game plan is to needle, snipe and provoke Miles into a reaction, to pick away relentlessly at his armor and tease threads from the cloak of respectability he has surrounded himself with. The brutalizing effect this is having on all concerned is made shocking clear on a number of occasions yet there is also a small flicker of hope amid all this darkness, one borne by the calm and steadfast hotel owner Kate Hardison (Marguerite Chapman).

Coroner Creek, adapted from a Luke Short novel, has a strong spiritual element running through it. This is natural enough for a story dealing with a moral issue such as the quest for revenge. It’s Marguerite Chapman’s character who represents this spirituality most obviously, her religious faith (though never piety or sanctimony) is clear to see and her concern for Danning runs deeper than a simple attraction. The movie never shies away from portraying the dehumanizing power of vengeance and it’s the willingness to confront this that raises it above average. Director Ray Enright (Flaming Feather) does some of his best work in this picture and, alongside cinematographer Fred Jackman Jr, shoots from a range of angles and uses the light and shadow to great effect.

Did you ever get hit with a bullet? It’s like a hunk of iron ripping and tearing into you. It sets you on fire inside. Sometimes you don’t die right away. You just bleed and hurt for a long time.

Those lines are spoken by one of the characters late on, just before he gets to experience the truth of his own words in a scene that is memorable for its unflinching cruelty. In fact for a movie made in the late 1940s Coroner Creek is remarkably graphic. There is a sequence around the middle which involves the mutilation of two of the characters’ gun hands. This is mean enough in itself but the fact they act as bookends for a truly bruising encounter between Scott and Forrest Tucker (rehearsing for a similarly tough brawl a couple of years later in The Nevadan) adds to the shock value. However, it’s important to understand that none of this is gratuitous, it’s not put on screen simply to provide some cheap thrill. The picture is nothing if not frank, and it openly acknowledges the effects of violence on the characters, both physically and psychologically.

Scott naturally dominates the movie and continues on that path he’d chosen in the post-WWII years (although arguably it was a journey begun even earlier in the likes of Lang’s Western Union), a path which would trace the development and gradual maturing of his western persona. There are moments of gentleness and humor where his patrician charm shines through but these are overshadowed by the darker, driven side of his character, looking ahead to the obsessive quality he would then hone to perfection in collaboration with Boetticher. Marguerite Chapman, as noted above, helps to temper this somewhat and her benign influence is not to be underestimated. The other significant female part belongs to Sally Eilers, in one of her last roles here and working for ex-husband and producer Harry Joe Brown.  Her contribution is big enough yet it feels slightly truncated at the same time, as though it ought to have had a bit more depth than is ultimately the case. I’m left wondering if certain plot strands weren’t trimmed or curtailed, and there are a few instances of clumsy editing too.

Scott tended to do well when it came to villains to face off against and actors such as Richard Boone and Lee Marvin helped him raise his own game. George Macready (did he ever play a good guy?) is the bad man on this occasion and he is as cold and manipulative as one would expect. That carefully modulated voice, disconcertingly prim and menacing, is well used. He is strongly supported by Forrest Tucker; simultaneously amiable and rotten, he uses his physical presence to excellent effect. Alongside these two Douglas Fowley is shifty up until his spectacular demise while Joe Sawyer is wonderfully contemptible as the blowhard whom Scott threatens in a most chilling way – another of those hard-edged little scenes in a hard little movie. Of the others in the cast, Edgar Buchanan and Wallace Ford turn in the kind of carefully judged performances that make them a pleasure to watch.

Coroner Creek made its appearance on DVD  in the US some years ago in a Sony/TCM collection of Randolph Scott westerns . The movie was shot in Cinecolor, with the limitations of that process, and is variable in appearance. At times the image looks very strong and then weakens noticeably. All told though, I’d say it looks quite acceptable. The film shares disc space with John Sturges’ The Walking Hills and has a handful of supplements such as galleries and a short filmed intro by Ben Mankiewicz. I would place the movie among Scott’s more enjoyable and interesting efforts, and it should easily satisfy any fan of the star’s work.

138 thoughts on “Coroner Creek

  1. A fair review of one of Randolph’s enjoyable and entertaining westerns. Supporting cast George Macready, Marguerite Chapman, Forrest Tucker, Edgar Buchanan, etc contributed good backup. Marguerite was demurely attractive. The action was surprisingly very brutal for its time.

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  2. A thought or two re Coroner Creek. Ellen Drew was set to play Kate Hardison but took ill. I would have liked that. Macready played several sympathetic parts in The Doolins of Oklahoma and Seven Days in May, both somewhat winning. Now, about philosophy; killing the bad guy is good, and helpful, in that it has a ripple effect, possibly saving some or all the rest of us; kind of a religious experience.

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    • The problem is recognizing who the bad guy is, and the effect the killing has on the one doing it. Where does it leave him? Does it provide closure or moral satisfaction? Is his humanity enhanced or diminished by the experience? I’d like to think these were the kind of questions the filmmakers were posing. And I don’t believe there are any simple answers.

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      • Too complicated. You kill the bad guy because you have to, and are not dehumanized. If one believes war is bad, I suggest taking a look at the major wars of the 20th century. That is complicated. But without those wars, where would we be?

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  3. A really good choice of western to review and an excellent and thought-provoking piece by you, Colin. But then, you are truly in your comfort zone, and mine, with this film.

    Personally, I rate “CORONER CREEK” up there with the best of the Ranown films and it is one of my favourite westerns. “MAN IN THE SADDLE” too. I note that yet again the source of a Luke Short novel is adapted to a superior western. “CORONER CREEK” is certainly not kids’ stuff; pretty dark and brutal at times but is one of the films that was to put Scott in the Top Ten stars at the U.S. Box Office (any genre) for a time. A film I return to quite often.

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    • Even though Scott’s western career is extensive and lengthy, I think it’s fair to say that his work with Boetticher overshadows much of it, which is both understandable and justified. That said, there are a number of strong films outside of those and I’d place both Coroner Creek and Man in the Saddle among them, and probably Hangman’s Knot too.

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  4. Every time l see the name Luke Short, l keep wishing that I’d kept all the western paperbacks with the great covers that l bought in the 1960s.
    Yes, Coroner Creek is a favourite of mine, and l don’t mind the Cinecolor, l always think it suits westerns.

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    • I don’t think the Cinecolor is a major issue either, but it does present some problems from time to time – it just looks a bit “off” on occasion, which isn’t much of a way to express it I suppose.

      Generally, I’ve found that Luke Short’s name in the credits as the source of a story means a well constructed tale is on the way.

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  5. Colin
    “CORONER CREEK” is a good Randy duster. Well done. I always felt Ray Enright was somewhat under used in Hollywood. He always seemed to me to have a solid hand on the material and turned out watchable films.
    Gord

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    • Enright was a good solid director, from what I’ve seen of his work, but not one whose work has imprinted itself on my memory to any great extent. Any of his movies I’ve seen have all been competent, professional jobs.

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  6. Must get hold of it and watch it again. It’s not in my collection so I must have had some reservations , but often you find a second viewing changes your opinion.
    I rate Man in the Saddle too. Alexander Knox made a good adversary.
    Watched Hangman’s Knot again last night and enjoyed it once more.Lee Marvin always such a good villain. Frank Faylen was also good and the young Claude Yarman Jr.

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    • The supporting casts are important in our enjoyment of many of these movies. It’s easy to focus solely on the stars but the collaborative aspect of cinema should never be underestimated.

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  7. Quote Colin…… “cinematographer Fred Jackman Jr, shoots from a range of angles and uses the light and shadow to great effect.”

    Throughout the movie there seemed to have a noirish kind of feel to it. I’m wondering if presented in B & W would it had even been better? Any comments?

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    • Scott, there are some very shadowy and moody shots and sequences – a noirish feel, especially in tandem with the revenge quest theme, is an apt description.
      Would it be even better in B&W? I’m not sure it would to be honest. I think Jackman does great work with shadow and darkness within a color palette, something requiring considerable skill and artistry, and I prefer to think he deserves credit for how well he achieved his “noir” look as it stands.

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      • Colin……thanks for your followup comments……and yes, Jackman definitely pulls it off.

        Just wondering……did you find any significant meaning with the camera closeup of The Criterion music box and the music playing thereof in the bunkhouse? It really kind of came out of nowhere…..it was an interesting touch, but there must have been a reason for it. Any thoughts on this?

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  8. In answer to this question, it happens I first saw CORONER CREEK in B&W. Though I was going to say it was on an old black and white TV, I’ve now remembered it actually was on a color TV but a black and white print, which I believe happened a lot with Cinecolor movies. In any event, it played well enough as I remember, but I was glad to see it in color later and will say that it should be seen that way and is indeed artfully photographed and visually very effective. But I’ll acknowledge, I believe any film should be seen in the format in which it was made. In the case of color and black and white, these were years when there could be a choice, at least for many films, but even if not, directors, cinematographers and everyone else tried to work with the format.

    CORONER CREEK is indeed a very good Western and should satisfy anyone who likes this kind of story. I know I’ve noted before–and others have too–that most of Randolph Scott’s best postwar movies were made for his own production company with partner Harry Joe Brown, and this is one of those. SEVEN MEN FROM NOW is an exception, made for Batjac, but as it initiated the Ranown cycle, which Brown and Scott than took up, sustaining Scott’s relationships with Budd Boetticher and also Burt Kennedy who did the lion’s share of the scripts, it is poetically at one with the films of that company. It’s not to disparage Scott’s other films through these years–more variable, they are generally enjoyable and share in observing his persona as he becomes fully mature within it. But Scott seemed to care more about the scripts in these ones they produced (there are 17) and to put more into them.

    So CORONER CREEK is one of those–the second one, and will just note in passing that like the first GUNFIGHTERS, it’s in Cinecolor but then the next two THE WALKING HILLS and THE DOOLINS OF OKLAHOMA, are in B&W and then they returned to Cinecolor with THE NEVADAN. So it was a choice each time and given the subjects, moods and setting of each of these films, I believe it was the right choice in each case.

    Every Scott film anyone has named here as a Ranown precursor that they liked it one of the Scott/Brown productions so that kind of makes my point. And it seems I feel pretty much the same way–next to the Ranowns, I like HANGMAN’S KNOT, A LAWLESS STREET and MAN IN THE SADDLE best,
    After that maybe THE NEVADAN and CORONER CREEK more or less equally, though each has individual strengths. In CORONER CREEK, I do like the way that Scott is motivated (a dead wife–I assume I’m not giving any
    secrets anyway there) anticipates half of the Ranowns. The treatment of the idea becomes in different ways varied and even more moving there but it does work well in this earlier film too.

    One thing I enjoy in pieces Colin writes for RIDIN’ THE HIGH COUNTRY is that he is always mindful of the soul-destroying cost of revenge in Westerns–recognizing it as one of the strongest motifs of the genre in its great post-war years–and more generally, that the killing of one human being by another is essentially tragic even in the most complex circumstances, something to which the genre is so sensitive and which gives it the profound spiritual dimension that so many of these films carry without pretension or affectation.

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    • What I appreciate more and more as I watch Scott’s post-war work is that sense of a thread running through it all, the gradual understanding that he, along with his writers and producers, were headed towards an artistic destination, trying to fulfill a goal. It suggests that the genre itself was invested with a purpose at that point.

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      • Colin…..so glad you put that into the words. It’s what I’d been thinking all along about the filming of this movie. To that end, what impressed me was at the film’s beginning, just after the stagecoach robbery. Firstly, the initial in town staging appearance of Scott projecting a cigarette smoking closeup shot depicting a seriously intent Scott. Followed by the interaction with Scott and Forrest Taylor (veteran Indian Scout McCune) and then the subsequent scene with both of them meeting with the old Indian warrior (Charles Stevens) at a secluded adobe village. The staging and execution of those scenes and interactions really set the tone and plot for which we were about to see. I’m always pleased to see Charles Stevens…..he brings an authenticity to his roles very few can. Also, I thought Forrest Taylor caught the camera’s attention and delivered exceptionally well. I haven’t read the Luke Short novel, so have no idea if these early vignettes’ were added into the screenplay or not, but it seems to highlight what you and Blake so insight-fully connect and touch upon.

        Oh Colin…….about the music box scene. For me it signified a new redemptive chapter was about to open up for the town and townspeople of Coroner Creek. The climactic scenes that followed all lead to that end….or should I say to that new beginning. Of course, it was the Scott role that was the driving force behind it all.

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  9. Excellent review of a strong film. You’re right in your assessment that Scott’s portrayal of Chris Danning prefigures the persona he developed for the Boetticher films. They used to call Jim Morrison of The Doors “The Lizard King”. However, I think George Macready deserved that appellation while Morrison was still a pre-schooler. Although Macready did go completely against type as the Reverend Thomas Garfield who battles the devil (Ray Milland) for Thomas Mitchell’s soul in “Alias Nick Beal” (1949).

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    • Yes, somebody made that point to me about Alias Nick Beal on Facebook too. But Macready really did have that reptilian quality nailed in what feels like a long succession of movies.
      By the way, if a movie ever deserved and needed a decent release it has to be Alias Nick Beal.

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      • Wow, Colin, you are a real night owl! I used to work for a global corporation and had a guy in the UK who reported to me, so I’m very aware of the time differential. I went over there about six times for business and enjoyed London and stayed in the Cotswolds once.

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        • Ha! Yes Frank, I’m used to keeping late hours. When I’m in Greece I work evenings so It’s kind of a habit with me. Now, that I’m in Ireland with a bit of time off I still tend to have that nocturnal routine.

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  10. Colin, a really good thoughtful interpretive write-up of what I personally think is a superior vengeance driven “Eye-for-an-Eye” Western drama. First of all, the genesis of the movies’ story, which came from the mind of, who I think was the “Dean” of the Western novelists during the 1940’s and 1950’s, Frederick
    D. Glidden, better known as Luke Short. Short’s novel first appeared as a serial in the SATURDAY EVENING POST(19 May-7 July 1945) and later in book form in 1946. I recommend reading this 150 page novel, it is a good one. Fact is I recommend reading anything with Luke Short’s name on it. In 1948 alone, four movies were released that were adapted from his novels. Besides CORONER CREEK, there were: ALBUQUERQUE serialized in WESTERN STORY as “Dead Freight For Piute, ” 18 November-23 December, 1939, and in book form 1940; STATION WEST serialized in the SATURDAY EVENING POST, 19 October- 30 November, 1946, and in book form 1947; and BLOOD ON THE MOON serialized in the SATURDAY EVENING POST as “Gunman’s Chance,” 15 March-26 April, 1941, and in book form 1941.

    Was the movie CORONER CREEK different from the novel? Of course it is, but that is okay, because screenwriter Kenneth Gamet did a top notch job of adapting the novel to the screen. One example, without giving away too much, is the beginning of the movie with the Apache ambush of the stagecoach led by a renegade White, which I think was the right start and set-up for what will follow in the movie. The novel begins with Chris Danning(Randolph Scott) waiting at the Apache Agency trading post. He builds a cigarette while he waits for the scout(Forrest Taylor). I’m not going to describe this scene, because Scott’s above commentary, did a very good job of that. Like Scott, I enjoyed seeing Charles Stevens as the wounded Apache, with a story to tell. Stevens does bring an air of authenticity to his roles, though in reality, he wasn’t the grandson of Geronimo. Stevens first told the story in an October, 1927 issue of PHOTOPLAY magazine and it has been repeated many times since, by many other writers. Actually his father, George Stevens, was a scout, mail carrier, and the first elected sheriff of Graham County, Arizona. George’s first wife was the daughter of a Coyotero Apache Chief named Escetecela(I’m not sure of this spelling). She died in 1882, while George was sheriff, and he remarried in 1884 to a Hispanic.woman, who was born in Sonora, Mexico. She was the mother of Charles and his older brother Albert. So, unless she had some Indian ancestry from a Mexican tribe, which could be possible, Charles Stevens wasn’t an Indian. Anyway he wasn’t the grandson of Geronimo. Well, I’ve chased that rabbit far enough.

    CORONER CREEK is a really good Western, that I think a lot of, and I rank it up there with some of the best. Randolph Scott is brilliant in this role with his now weather-beaten features, dignified Southern voice, and manner. He acts with his eyes, facial expressions, and movements. By 1948 he was our image of a “Man of the West.”

    I agree with Blake Lucas’s point concerning the best Randolph Scott Westerns were the ones he did with co-producer Harry Joe Brown, with the exception being SEVEN MEN FROM NOW(filmed in 1955, released 1956) and I would also add RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY(filmed in 1961, released 1962) produced by another fine Western Producer Richard E. Lyons.

    The seeing of a, ” thread running through it all, the gradual understanding that he(Randolph Scott), along with his writers and producers, were headed towards an artistic destination, trying to fulfill a goal. It suggests that the genre itself was invested with a purpose at that point.” This point is worth repeating and like commenter Scott said, I’m glad you put it in those words. Too me that is were the audience participation in the movie making process comes through the gate. We the audience, as individuals, will see things that the movie makers may have not set out to do in the beginning, but wound up doing in the end, whether they intended to do it or not. Brown/Scott were in the movie making business and they wanted to make money and they knew that Westerns made a lot of money that helped keep the studios running. ABILENE TOWN(filmed in 1945, released 1946) and BADMAN’S TERRITORY(filmed in 1945, released 1946) both starring Randolph Scott were making money. Kind of a no-brainer there. So, Brown/Scott signed their first agreement in June, 1946 as Producers-Actors Corporation with distributor Columbia Pictures and then they were off to the races. Randolph Scott alone was not enough to make a good movie, but he was a good start, so they went after good stories, actors, actresses, directors, photographers, production people, and good locations. They wanted to make the best Westerns they could, to keep the audiences coming back for more. They accomplished that and I think they started a very successful thread beginning with WESTERN UNION(filmed in 1940, released 1941) and THE DESPERADOES(filmed in 1942, released 1943) both produced by Harry Joe Brown. Looking back now, and we certainly can with our re-watchable DVD’S and Blue-ray’s, we can see the motion picture art that everyone involved created. As an audience of individuals we get to see what we like and don’t like, but isn’t that what makes it so interesting.

    Good gosh almighty. I really meandered all over the place. Colin, keep on keeping on and everyone keep commenting. Take care and stay healthy.

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    • Walter, that’s very welcome background information, not to mention some astute commentary on the production history of the Scott/Brown partnership. Thanks for that.

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    • Just to note–possibly I wrote a little carelessly before but was only taking up the 1946-1960 years for Randolph Scott and leaving out his post-Ranown, post-retirement return in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY.

      I guess I assume something around that film, which I personally rate among the four greatest of the actor (and comparably great among films of fellow icon Joel McCrea). It is one of my favorite Westerns ever, and I believe that I’ve expressed that many times.

      It was interesting to read about Luke Short, an author you have plainly enjoyed. I’ve never read any of the original stories, just seen the movies. Maybe I will get to them yet.

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      • Blake, I knew how you thought about RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. I like to mention this GREAT movie every chance I get. Also, I enjoy reading anything you write, because for me it is so thought provoking and interesting.

        I recommend writer Luke Short to anyone. He wrote so many good ones. If you can, read RAMROD(1943) and BLOOD ON THE MOON(1941). I like the movies, also.

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  11. I really enjoyed and welcomed both Blake’s and Walter’s insightful and knowledgable analyses of the wonderful Scott- Brown formula that was so successful and continues to give us lasting pleasure. I feel certain Scott would agree with me.
    Gosh, I feel I may just have to pull a Scott western off the shelf today!

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    • Quote Jerry…..”I feel certain Scott would agree with me.”

      I doubt you meant me…….but I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks, Walter.

      As a side note Jerry. It did prompt me to take in another Scott movie yesterday, but not a western. It was GUNG HO! for the umpteenth time.

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      • I most certainly did mean you, Scott, as we are probably of one mind here, my friend.

        “GUNG HO!” is a real goodie, isn’t it? As good (or even better) IMHO is “CORVETTE K-225”, a really superior war picture.

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        • Well thank you Jerry…….I will take that as a compliment.

          Yes I agree, GUNG HO! is a good one. I’m sure audiences, especially American, were up from their seats cheering this one on. Today, I put it on par with BOMBARDIER (1943)…….with CORVETTE K-225 a notch above.

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  12. Scott, we don’t need to get you confused with Randolph Scott, so you are Commenter Scott, when we discuss Randolph Scott.
    I, like you, noticed with satisfaction the placing of a Criterion disc playing music box in Dellla Harms'(Sally Eilers) bunkhouse. The music playing cherub decorated music box wasn’t in Luke Short’s CORONER CREEK novel, although the scene was, the scene played out at the corral and Andy(Wallace Ford) wasn’t caught in his longjohn’s by Della. We can thank set decorator George Sawley(WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, 1962) for that neat artistic touch. Did it mean anything in particular? I don’t know, but I think that will come under the audience participation part of movie making. I think your signification is as good as any.

    Jerry all this reading about CORONER CREEK makes me not only want to watch a good Randolph Scott movie, but read a good Luke Short novel. Currently I’m reading TEXAS TRIGGERS(1938) by Eugene Cunningham. The first 160 pages have been action packed to say the least.

    Thumbs up and stay safe and healthy.

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  13. Walter,
    Our good friend, Mike Richards, who commented earlier and I have often bemoaned the fact that both our mothers thought they were assisting our adult development by putting all our western comic books (and other good comics too) on a bonfire! All that lot that went up in smoke would fetch a pretty penny today.
    Luckily, I managed to hang onto all the western paperbacks I bought in the late 1950s and early 1960s and they reside safely in my attic. I still like to pull one out occasionally and have a thoroughly enjoyable read. My attic has a number of books by such as Ernest Haycox, Louis L’Amour, Max Brand, Matt Chisholm, Clair Huffaker, Lewis B. Patten and two by Luke Short (“DESERT CROSSING” & “RIDE THE MAN DOWN”).
    Good to talk to you again, amigo.

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    • Jerry, how I understand about mothers throwing our favorite childhood possessions in the trash. As an young adult, I remember saving what was left of mine and taking the still prized possessions with me.

      I admire your taste in Western novels. Have you ever read Clair Huffaker’s THE COWBOY AND THE COSSACK(1973)? I think it is his best novel and a Classic. It would have made a really good Western movie and was optioned several times over the years, but never has been made into a movie.

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  14. Two Luke Short Novels/Stories seldom mentioned are “Ride the man Down” (what a cast – Rod Cameron,Forrest Tucker, J Carroll-Nash, Brian Donlevy, Jim Davis etc) and “The Hangman” with Robert Taylor a short story Luke wrote twice with a different slant each time. One Novel he did write which would have made a brilliant Film was “The Whip” loosely based on the real J.A.Slade.

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    • Bruce, I agree that Luke Short’s THE WHIP(1957) would make a real good Western movie. It is a real tough hard-nosed story that I wish someone would still take an interest in making into a movie, but what few Western movies that are made today, just re-make the older and much better movies. They should look to the literature of the West, of which Frederick D. Glidden(Luke Short) was the “Dean.”

      I especially remember one particular scene, from THE WHIP, concerning a hanging, which is unforgettable. Especially knowing how the real Jack Slade met his end. Yes, I think the character Will Gannon, is loosely based on Jack Slade. Also, I think Short is asking us about the age-old question of whether law and order is worth the violence necessary to achieve it.

      THE WHIP was first published as “Doom Cliff” in both COLLIER’S and THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. The first two parts were published in COLLIER’S in the December 21, 1956 and January 4, 1957 issues. COLLIER’S then ceased publication. THE SATURDAY EVENING POST bought the rights to the remaining unpublished installment and published it on February 9, 1957.

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  15. No, I’ve not read that Huffaker novel but I will try and seek it out. My favourite of his that I have read is “POSSE FROM HELL” which I read long before I saw the film. I must have read that around 60 years ago!

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  16. Jerry, Clair Huffaker’s THE COWBOY AND THE COSSACK(1973) is a unique Western in a unique setting, about a cattle drive across 1880 Siberia made by fifteen Montana drovers and their escort of Cossacks. The character Slim is patterned after the one and only Slim Pickens, who was a good friend of Huffaker. I own a first edition hardback, which includes the wonderful illustrations of Brad Holland. Yes, the character Slim is drawn as Slim Pickens. I highly recommend this novel to everyone.

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  17. “…what few Western movies that are made today, just re-make the older and much better movies.”

    Why do you say that? That’s the last thing I would want. The older and much better movies” are not going to be made better–or anywhere close to to that. And I think we know that if we saw “3:10 to Yuma” (2007; James Mangold).

    I’d be more likely to have patience for something new or that had not been adapted before–though I’ve learned by now not to count on that either.

    Well, not to hit too much of a down note…

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    • Blake, my mistake because I left out a word, or more, in print that I said in my head, but it didn’t make it to the printed page. I tend to do this at times of distraction, or when I’m tired. What I actually meant to say is what few Western movies that are made today, they, as in makers of, just don’t have anything of importance say(in my opinion) and they just make bad rehashes of what has already been done before with much better movies, than they can ever hope to make. Leave the Classics and near Classics alone. Make a movie from Luke Short’s THE WHIP(1973), without throwing in a bunch of useless f-words and other vulgarities. Do they not understand what redemption means? I don’t think they have a clue.

      My apologies for not making myself more clear on a subject that I love. Thumbs up and stay safe and healthy.

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  18. Last night I was talking with one of my younger brothers (Whitehorse, Yukon) and he reminded me about our father’s photo collection. My dad was a photo nut from his teens till he passed. He was from Nanton, a small town south of here in Calgary. Anyways, the year before he joined Armed Forces and ended up in Korea during that “Police Action”. He was working for a transport outfit moving truckloads of stuff out at Banff in Banff National Park in the Rockies. It was equipment for the Randolph Scott film CANADIAN PACIFIC. After dad passed, my brothers and I had spent hours going through some of the thousands of photos. There were several taken outside of the Banff Springs hotel of Scott, Victor Jory and Jane Wyatt having a smoke. Now I need to get hold of my youngest brother who has all these photos to dig them up again. When he does I’ll post them here. My memory must really be slipping to have forgotten this.
    Gord

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  19. Barry
    Thanks for the kind words. These memories do bring a smile to one’s heart.

    When dad got out of the Forces he ended up working north of Banff at Jasper, Alberta. This was the same time as they were filming RIVER OF NO RETURN with Mitchum and M. Monroe there. He took several real nice color shots of Mitchum sharing beers with some of the locals.
    Gord

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  20. Some wonderful discussions here,I was certainly taken by Colin’s leader piece on the sheer nature of revenge and Blake’s later more philosophical take on the subject.
    Certainly most Westerns rely on giving the audience a visceral thrill in seeing justice done and the bad guys getting their just deserts. Boetticher and indeed Burt Kennedy changed all of that, the killing of Richard Boone and indeed Claude Akins in THE TALL T and COMANCHE STATION respectively are indeed tragic, despite the terrible deeds committed by the pair the Scott character has some degree of affection for both of them. I’ve discussed with Blake before the sheer impact of the line “don’t do it Frank” in the climax of THE TALL T. Even in the non Kennedy DESISION AT SUNDOWN the rules are broken, Scott’s quest for revenge is really all in vain,furthermore it costs him the life of his only friend.
    Take two Eastwood movies: in THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES the audience really wants the rotten Bill McKinney character to suffer and he does at the films sensational climax although Eastwood’s character has been on a learning curve, he has regained his humanity,mainly from characters he has encountered on his
    journey. With UNFORGIVEN the nature of violence,its futility, is explored in even more detail…”it’s a helluva thing killing a man,takes away all he’s got,all he’s gonna have”
    Before Eastwood Henry King’s powerful THE BRAVADOS is a very impressive take on the nature of revenge,especially as Gregory Peck’s victims are innocent of
    the crime he relentlessly tracks them for. The “twisted” ending of Joseph Kane’s SAN ANTONE we have discussed before and as revenge Westerns go it’s certainly a rule breaker.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most of this conversation on the nature of justice and revenge reminds me of Spielberg’s Munich, a film I dislike and despise. No more needs to be said.

      Like

    • Yes, those lines of dialogue you mention, John, are ones we’ve seen arise in conversation before for the very good reason that they go to the heart of much of what the western in its best form has tried to communicate. As such, they are well worth repeating, in my opinion anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Just thought I’d point to the French Western site http://www.westernmovies.fr as mentioned before the French imprint Sidonis no longer have “forced” subtitles on their DVD’s and Blu Ray’s. They recently reviewed the new Sidonis Blu Ray of HANGMAN’S KNOT but sadly it would seem that it’s just a cleaned up version of the old DVD and not a new high def master. HANGMAN’S KNOT is certainly a very superior Scott Western but according to the French site not really worth the upgrade.
    A couple of new Sidonis releases also feature the hard to find COUNT THREE AND PRAY from George Sherman. COUNT THREE AND PRAY is more Americana than Western
    (think STARS IN MY CROWN which it shares elements with) but is one of Sherman’s best pictures. The Sidonis Blu Ray is by all accounts very nice indeed and is presented in the appealing 2.55 ratio. Western Movies have also reviewed the Sidonis Blu Ray of THE BRAVADOS which is from the same master as the Twilight Time and Explosive Media release. The Blu Ray version of THE BRAVDOS is a considerable upgrade and is well recommended. As impressive as THE BRAVADOS is for me it pales alongside THE GUNFIGHTER a film that just seems to get better with each viewing-certainly Gregory Peck’s finest Western hour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since The Gunfighter is being mentioned here it’s probably worth noting for those who are unaware of the fact that the movie along with Nightmare Alley and The Razor’s Edge are due to be released on Blu-ray in the UK in September.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Call myself a Scott fan and I have just caught up with Coroner Creek which was new to me. I enjoyed it a lot, an impressive cast, but dare I say, Randolph displayed a lot more anger and emotion in later revenge films.(cf Decision at Sundown).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good, I’m glad to hear you liked it. Decision at Sundown was a few steps further down the line, the intensity had had some more time to build. It’s a movie which has gradually risen in my estimation over the years.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. This Weekend My Films are
    GUNS OF DIABLO 64 Charles Bronson – Never seen it
    SMASHING THE MONEY RING 193? Ron Reagan – Never Seen
    THE HORSE SOLDIERS John Ford Rewatch
    THE RENAGADE RANGER 38 George O’Brien, Rita Hayworth -Never seen .
    Gord

    Like

  24. Gord, please let us know how the above films fared with you? “SMASHING THE MONEY RING” is one of a short series for Warners that Ronald Reagan made as Lt. ‘Brass’ Bancroft (4 films). I have, and rather like, one of the other four.

    Off topic (sort of), but I have just watched “DEPORTED” (1950) that was reviewed here by Gordon as a ‘guest’ review. I concur with opinions made at the time (June) and enjoyed it. It was perhaps unusual for 1950 that the whole film was shot in Italy, with a mostly Italian cast apart from the main characters. Jeff Chandler showed he was a big star in the making and Marta Toren was lovely and good in her part though I would have liked to see her allowed to develop her role to more depth.
    The more I see of Chandler the more I enjoy his films.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Have you seen Chandler in “Bird of Paradise” (1951) directed and written by Delmar Daves? Rather than being a remake of King Vidor’s 1932 version with Joel McCrea, it’s really “Broken Arrow” relocated to Polynesia. Chandler, as Tenga, reprises his role as Cochise and Debra Paget’s character mirrors Sonseeahray in “Broken Arrow”. Even the artwork on the opening credits of “Bird of Paradise”s very similar to that in “Broken Arrow”. Jack Elam is wonderful as a sleazy bigot (I think he has one of his best roles here) and Everett Sloane is chilling as a white man who’s been tossed out of paradise. Winton Hoch (“The Searchers”, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon) does some beautiful on-location camera work. It’s an unusual but interesting film. Daves was obviously was cashing in on his success with “Broken Arrow”.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Colin-regarding the UK version of THE GUNFIGHTER that you mention,
    I feel they are on a “fool’s errand” here as there are already two very good
    European versions of the film already available furthermore Criterion have an
    extras packed version of THE GUNFIGHTER later this year.
    I will be VERY interested to see DVD Beaver’s comparison with the various versions
    when the Criterion version appears.
    The Criterion artwork is sensational,I might add.
    Colin-from a personal point of view do you ind if I ask is COUNT THREE AND PRAY
    your thing?…furthermore have you ever watched STARS IN MY CROWN?
    Perhaps you don’t like religion combined with Western elements but more to the point
    I’ve probably totally got the wrong end of the stick…again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good questions, John. I’m afraid the answer is a dreary one tough – the fact is I’ve never seen either of those two movies because they hadn’t been easily available to me for a long time. I would like to view though in the future, not least because I’ve hard a good deal of positive comments on both.

      On The Gunfighter and the UK release I spoke of, I’ve since read mutterings that it’s not certain at this point. I may have been a bit hasty therefore. Should it appear, one would have to see how it stacked up against a Criterion version – over the last few years that label has not always been as solid as was once the case – and of course there’s always the matter of region locking to take into account.

      Like

    • Hi John……if you don’t mind I’d like to chime in regarding COUNT THREE AND PRAY. I thought the film held up fairly well compared to STARS IN MY CROWN…….at least until the final reel when the script goes ridiculously sideways and looses continuity of the previous proceedings. It left me thinking……what in the heck were they thinking? Even Van Heflin seemed perplexed and disinterested.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Scott, I’m thrilled to find another person who has seen COUNT THREE AND PRAY even if you are less fond of the picture than me…it would make a wonderful RTHC essay,don’t you think. The ending did throw a curve but Iliked the darker tones towards the final scenes. Thanks so much for “chiming in”
        I recently caught THEY CAME TO CORDURA and I thought Heflin (and Richard Conte) totally wasted in fact I’ve never seen Heflin so unappealing on screen.

        Like

        • Quote john k……..”it would make a wonderful RTHC essay,don’t you think.”
          Of course, that would be up to Colin. For me, I think I will plead my 5th Amendment Rights. LOL

          Liked by 2 people

      • And Tourneur said it was his favorite of his films. It was Joel McCrea’s favorite as well I believe–one he used to like to show at home.

        It’s a very beautiful film and only gets richer. COUNT THREE AND PRAY does have some resemblances but though I do like a lot of things about it it doesn’t come up to STARS IN MY CROWN at all in my view. That said, I’m not making a final judgement as it’s one I haven’t seen in proper anamorphic ratio yet and mean to do so.

        I will add that everyone knows I love Sherman and I believe he can come up to Tourneur’s level for uin his very best films–that’s saying a lot.

        STARS IN MY CROWN would be a good movie for folks to watch right now, for a number of reasons that I guess are pretty obvious.

        Liked by 3 people

        • “STARS IN MY CROWN would be a good movie for folks to watch right now, for a number of reasons that I guess are pretty obvious.”

          Yes. I once commented on RTHC that, from an artistic standpoint, I can’t think of a better “family” film than “Stars in My Crown”. It has appeal for both cineastes as well as for parents who are looking for a movie that deals with faith, spirituality, and ethics.

          Liked by 1 person

  26. To get back on track an interesting element of CORONER CREEK was the stomping of the characters gun hands. This element has appeared in many Westerns and is worth another go ’round. Most memorable of all is when the repellant Alex Nicol shoots James Stewart’s gun hand which causes Stewart to cry in pain “you scum” one of the key scenes in any Mann Western. A understandably shaken Stewart is guided to his horse by Gregg Barton a gang member capable of some degree of compassion,at least. THE MAN FROM LARAMIE also breaks the revenge Western rules by the fact that finally Stewart cannot bring himself to kill Arthur Kennedy who eventually becomes a figure of total disgust. All things being equal Kennedy’s death is far more painful,at the hands of the Indians.
    The disabling of gun hands appears in many Westerns by different means especially in DECISION AT SUNDOWN where it is almost self inflicted. Other memorable “gun hands” : THE MAN FROM DEL RIO and WARLOCK. Best of all ‘though is ONE EYED JACKS where Brando is not only flayed but has his gun hand smashed by a rifle butt. As highly ambitious “super Westerns” go I much prefer ONE EYED JACKS to say DUEL IN THE SUN and THE BIG COUNTRY. I’m a long way from the biggest Brando fan on the block but I find much to admire in ONE EYED JACKS and it’;s certainly a film every Western fan should see at least once.

    Always one to put a plug in for COUNT THREE AND PRAY a film nobody seems to have seen apart from Blake,I guess, as mentioned before the film is more Americana than Western. There are certain comparisons to Tourneur’s STARS IN MY CROWN. Furthermore Sherman’s film is very “Tourneur Like” especially in the tonal moods; things get very dark towards the end of the picture. When all is said and done I like STARS IN MY CROWN better as well as another Tourneur film CANYON PASSAGE again for its sense of “community” peppered with often colorful contentious townfolk. COUNT THREE AND PRAY has those elements in spades.

    Up against another Tourneur film I much prefer COUNT THREE AND PRAY to GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING which again has a fine villain turn from Raymond Burr. COUNT THREE AND PRAY has lots going for it the opening plays like a parody of the opening of Boetticher’s HORIZONS WEST. Budd referred to his pal as “little Georgie Sherman” Joanne Woodward’s very broad performance is a matter of taste but it’s fine by me. There again what’s an aspiring young actress to do when regretably
    the script describes her character as “Mountain Trash”

    Like

    • That’s interesting about One-Eyed Jacks, which I wrote about here some years ago. I still feel the same about it – it’s one i think western fans ought to see, bit I can’t bring myself to like it all that much. Unlike yourself, I’d take either Duel in the Sun or The Big Country over it any day.

      Liked by 2 people

  27. If we all liked the same stuff it would be a very boring
    World indeed,in fact it’s the divided opinions that often
    are discussed that makes RTHC such fun,for me at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Films for the Weekend
    GUNS OF DIABLO 64 Charles Bronson – Never seen it. What a waste of time this was. It was really two episodes of the 63-64 tv series “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters” This was a series with a 12 year old Kurt Russell as part of a wagon train heading west. The networks at the time would cobble a pair of episodes together and pawn them off in Europe as actual films. Terrible stuff that seldom made any sense.
    SMASHING THE MONEY RING 193? Ron Reagan – Never Seen. Jerry, this was a brisk little programmer with Ronnie out to smash a ring of crooks making phony money. The gag here is that they are doing it in a prison workshop. Plenty of action with comic relief from Eddie Foy Jr. Liked it.

    THE RENAGADE RANGER 38 George O’Brien, Rita Hayworth -Never seen. Our man O’Brien is a Texas Ranger undercover to get the goods on a crooked tax collector. Added bonus for George is he gets to court a 20 year old Rita Hayworth. In the mix is Tim Holt, who would soon become RKO’s leading cowboy more or less taking over the films O’Brien had been making.

    THE HORSE SOLDIERS Re-watch A Middle of the pack Ford duster that is an effective timewaster.

    Like

    • So Gordon, regarding THE RENEGADE RANGER……..what did you think? Personally, I thought it moved along quite nicely? Also, the historical aspect seemed genuine to the period.

      Like

  29. Scott
    I liked it. It is the 4th or 5th O’Brien film I caught in the last month or so, and all are well done B-dusters. The villains are always so well played in these RKO films. A young Rita was also a pleasure to see. As you say, the pace kept things moving right along for the whole 59 minute runtime. George is starting to become a new fav for me.
    Gord

    Like

  30. I hope Blake Lucas gets tro see COUNT THREE AND PRAY in it’s correct ratio 2.55 available on Blu Ray from Sony USA and now Sidonis France. The Sony version was not cheap but these days I’m going more for quality as opposed tro quantity in my disc buying.

    I don’t know if other readers have noticed but the new…ish Australian label Imprint are stepping up their releases. I have not indulged as yet,furthermore I find their releases hard to track down at a reasonable price,so far. Also, some of their editions seem to go out of print very quickly.

    They have announced a Noir set which has a couple of titles that I’m very interested in. The four part set includes THE DETECTIVE STORY which I believe
    is already out on Blu Ray. Another Paramount title is also in the set ALIAS NICK BEAL which as far as I know is available on DVD. It is the two Columbia titles that really tick my box firstly FRAMED from Richard Wallace starring Glenn Ford,Janis Carter and Barry Sullivan. I’ve never even seen this one and it has the added attraction of being shot by the great Burnett Guffey. The other Columbia title is THE GARMENT JUNGLE another title I have never seen, mostly directed by Robert Aldrich but credited to Vincent Sherman. THE GARMENT GUNGLE has a wonderful cast,imagine Lee J Cobb and Richard Boone going head to head.
    The film was shot by Joseph Biroc who worked with Aldrich on several occasions. I hope Imprint later issue the two Columbia titles as “stand alone” releases. This set is volume 1 of what I’m sure will be many rare Noirs appearing later. I’d welcome feedback from any RTHC readers who have seen FRAMED or THE GARMENT JUNGLE.

    From what they have presented so far I find Imprint’s releases far more appealing than what Indicator are currently doing inthe UK

    Trivia note..isn’t it amazing that yours truly the most uber Luddite of all the RTHC crew has no trouble registering his “Likes” who would have thought it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have those two Columbia movies on very respectable DVDs but haven’t watched either yet so I can’t help much there. Of the others you refer to, I’d be keen to see an individual release of Alias Nick Beal as i don’ believe there’s been an official DVD or Blu-ray of that one anywhere ever.
      I do agree on the contrast with Indicator’s recent output in the UK – very little from them that I find of interest either.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. All

    Last night I watched a television episode from 1955 written by Luke Short. It was an installment of the STAGE 7 anthology series, and starred George Montgomery with Alan Hale Jr, Gloria Talbott, Don Beddoe and Karen Steele. The director was William A. Seiter and the D of P was Guy Roe. Name of the episode was “The Traveling Salesman”. The episode is played for laughs though not really that funny. It is I see also up on You-Tube.
    Gord

    Like

    • Thanks for that Gordon. I went ahead and took it in. I thought the dialogue was kind of funny……especially the way jealous brute Alan Hale Jr. twisted every word to start a beef with a non-confrontational Montgomery.

      Like

  32. Scott
    I agree with you on the Alan Hale bits, but as a whole I thought it rather flat. Call me a Jack Benny guy when it comes to tv funny stuff. A nice cast and crew on both sides of the camera wasn’t there. Karen Steele would go on to appear in 3 Randy Scott films, and if I might add, is a real looker. I like Talbott in that classic 50’s Sci-Fi, “I Married A Monster From Outer Space”. A much better film than the title would suggest. D of P Roe shot “Armored Car Robbery, Railroaded and Trapped” among his big screen work.

    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

  33. WOW! isn;t it amazing that all of a sudden we can go off on a
    Janis Carter direction.
    Funnily enough one of Janis’ more prestige movies is being given
    a brand new master from Warner Archive Nick Ray’s FLYING LEATERNECKS.
    I remember Janis from two superior Whistler episodes MARK OFTHE WHISTLER
    and POWER OF THE WHISTLER. The latter title from Lew Landers has Janis
    as a gal who likes to tell people’s fortunes from her deck of playing cards.
    When her friends tire of her antics Janis picks on a total stranger in a bar
    (Richard Dix) and the cards predict death within 24 hours.
    Unbeknown to Janis, Dix is not only an amnesiac but also an escaped
    homicidal maniac! Contrived,certainly, but this creepy little episode will keep
    you on the edge of your seat.
    Colin,I had no idea FRAMED and THE GARMENT JUNGLE were already out
    on DVD,where you (and Jerry) source these films from never ceases to amaze me.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. All
    Randolph Scott on tv, yes, on tv. 6-7 years ago I discovered an episode on one of discs I had bought from a fellow in Texas. It starts with Randolph Scott riding into a small town, dismounting , then looking into the camera and begins talking.to the viewer. “Welcome to the Theatre of The West.” He then gives a brief blurb on what the episode is about, and that it is set in 1890. The episode is called, “Officer’s Choice”, and stars Scott Brady, Paul Kelly, Cathy Downs and Ted de Corsia. I wrote a review to post on IMDB at the time, but could not find any reference to the episode on IMDB, so it never was posted. The review is now long lost. Anyways, I found the episode on You-Tube last night at the same time as the other episode I mentioned here yesterday. The episode was produced by Harry Joe Brown and a good guess would be that it was made between 1954 and 1956. (Paul Kelly died Nov 56) The episode was directed by veteran B man, Ralph Murphy. The cinematographer was Lester White. He shot WOMEN’S PRISION, PUSHOVER and Scott’s THE STRANGER WORE A GUN. The picture quality is not great but it is a rare bit of television.

    Go to You-Tube and type in The Forsaken Westerns or Westerns on the Web which should get you to the site. Plenty of tv episodes from various shows and lots of B-western films. Enjoy

    Gordon

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Good Time Girl 1948
    Just noticed that this fine film is showing here on TCM on Friday. Needless to say I will be recording it. The only other time I caught this was on a less than pristine vhs. Be nice to see an upgraded print.
    Gord

    Like

    • “Good-Time Girl” is a good crime/social comment film of its day (1948) and made a star out of Jean Kent.
      Good idea to set the recorder, Gord.

      I am away this weekend visiting family so the mouth-watering batch of new movies (old movies, new to me) just received will have to wait for me. Today though I watched “BIG HOUSE USA” (1955), a DVD from Kino Lorber, that is a tough, violent movie for its year starring Broderick Crawford and Ralph Meeker, with a great supporting cast including a blonde Felicia Farr (always a good addition!)

      Great weekend, everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Jerry
    Same as Colin says mate! “BIG HOUSE USA” (1955 I caught this one again myself a few weeks ago. What a low-life swine Meeker plays. Good film.
    Gord

    Like

  37. The scene where Reed Hadley turns the heat on Felicia Farr
    (playing an evil nurse) is really hard to take in BIG HOUSE USA.
    It almost equals the scene where Edmon Ryan grills Virginia Grey in
    HIGHWAY 301.

    Colin-
    Have you seen thr amazing Noir set forthcoming from Indicator
    and just when we had lost faith in them.
    I always avoided those Kit Parker sets as I had many of the films
    on Sony MOD discs and some of the choices were questionable
    and not really Noirs.
    This would seem to be the start of a very impressive series with one
    of my all time favourites (BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN) promised
    on a future set.

    Like

  38. Big House USA has some cast. Brod Crawford gets the classic line, “The Iceman Cometh” when Meeker arrives at the prison – Meeker’s character is nicknamed “Iceman” because he never cracks under interrogation by FBI man Reed Hadley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are TWO really gruesome scenes in the film but it’s a good film that will be hard to forget in a hurry!
      First scene involves the child and the second concerns a blow lamp. Tough to take but my kind of film.

      Like

  39. Audie Murphy – THE MAN 1960
    A television re-make of the Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino film, BEWARE MY LOVELY.
    Go to You-Tube and put in Audie Murphy The Man. The 48:14 version seems to be the best one quality wise.
    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must have a look at that. The Ryan/Lupino movie is OK but as I recall but nothing special, I should give it another look though. It’s certainly not a patch on On Dangerous Ground.

      Like

        • The two films have the same stars but there is no other reason to compare them. Beware My Lovely is a familiar kind of film–I can’t say that I remember it well now.

          On Dangerous Ground is a very special film–a film noir that makes a full spiritual journey from darkness into light. It has so many great things about it: the script (which began in director Nicholas Ray’s own hands–this was a very personal project–and A. I. Bezzerides is always good) and Ray’s stunning realization even more, Herrmann’s music (he once cited as his favorite of his scores), piercing things that never leave you once you’ve seen them.

          Of course, everyone immediately remembers Ryan striking directly toward the camera (we are seeing him from the point of view of the suspect) as he says “Why do you make me do it?…you know you’re gonna talk…I always make you punks talk…”

          But even more memorable is his lonely return to his apartment that night. That may seem like a sequence that is done in a fairly simple way, even with that great music, but it has the perfect tone, texture and intimations of the most profound existential depth. Dostoyevsky would almost have to come back to surpass this.

          It’s hard to imagine anyone other Robert Ryan there–my favorite of all his roles and that is saying a lot. And Ida Lupino too is haunting. It’s always good to see them in roles that do justice to their gifts.

          Well, didn’t mean to say that much. But you get thinking about it, you know. A movie I’ve seen many times and will never be through getting back to.

          Liked by 1 person

  40. Colin
    LOL I know you are a Murphy fan and this would catch your eye. Not going to say a word about this one. I do agree with your take on the Ryan and Lupino version.
    Gord

    Like

  41. Based on a recommendation on this thread, I looked for “Big House, U.S.A.”. However, I couldn’t find it anywhere on the internet, not even on ok.ru. So I decided instead to watch “Crashout”, another prison break film made the same year as “Big House, U.SA.” “Crashout” stars William Bendix, Arthur Kennedy, William Talman, Luther Adler, Gene Evans, and Marshall Thompson as six convicts on the run. There’s a hierarchy of psychos in the group with, as you may have guessed, Bendix and Talman at the top of the heap. The acting was top-notch across the board. “Crashout” was directed and co-written by Lewis Foster and shot by Russell Metty. Foster won an Oscar for developing the story for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and Metty won for shooting “Spartacus”. A grim and morbid film, I nonetheless recommend it for those who like prison films.

    “Count Three and Pray” was also mentioned on this thread so I decided to take a look at it. I enjoyed it and it certainly provides a counterpoint to “Crashout”. But it’s simply not on the same level as “Stars in My Crown” which, for me, is a movie of distinction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve not seen it myself but I feel fairly sure John Knight spoke enthusiastically here about Crashout in the past.

      If we’re talking about recent viewings, I watched The Cobweb last night. While I wouldn’t rate it the best of his melodramas, there is something about Minnelli’s use of color and his talent for burrowing into the heart of destructive relationships that is quite hypnotic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quote Colin…….”While I wouldn’t rate it the best of his melodramas, there is something about Minnelli’s use of color and his talent for burrowing into the heart of destructive relationships that is quite hypnotic.”
        Colin, that would be a mighty fine lead in if you were to review this film. I liked the movie……thought provoking in many ways in retrospect to my own life with individuals impacting one other in the immediate and peripheral……..especially apparent in an unstable environment such as this film’s setting.
        To FRANK’s subsequent comment about Gene Kelly…….I agree it sure looks like him. I searched the Web, high and low, and could not find a thing about an appearance by him. Although…..I did come to understand that Kelly was an avid book reader and was known to read an entire book in one sitting. Could it be possible that Gene found that surrounding to his liking, thus plopped himself down and then friend Director Minnelli just went ahead and shot the scene around him?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I may come back to The Cobweb to give it a full appraisal at some point, Scott.

          On Kelly, that’s a neat theory and I’d love to think that could have been what happened.

          Like

        • Scott,

          I also scoured the internet and couldn’t find any confirmation that Kelly had a cameo in “The Cobweb”. If it’s not him, then Minnelli is pulling our leg. The man has a pipe and there are several portraits of Kelly with a pipe. And as you pointed out Kelly loved to read. He is dressed like Kelly with a sport coat with the shirt lapels on the outside. And he’s wearing light-colored socks that Kelly always seemed to wear. Here’s an example of Gene’s sartorial tastes.

          Like

          • If he looks exactly like Gene Kelly, then he is Gene Kelly fooling around with his friend Minnelli, and no mystery about it. He is even wearing his hairpiece, looking good, and certainly, no one is on set without the producers’ blessing.

            Like

    • Frank
      BIG HOUSE USA.is coming up on one of my cable channels in the next 2 weeks. Even though it was only a couple of months ago I caught it, I think I’ll give it another go around. Greedy so and so that I am. I see that NIGHT EDITOR is coming up here as well on TCM. Been far too long since I last saw that one.
      Gord

      Like

      • Thanks, Gordon. I’m now watching “Riot in Cell Block 11”. I hope to see “The Big House, USA” and make it a trifecta of 50s prison movies. I’ll keep checking my cable provider to see if it comes up.

        Like

  42. Frank,
    Always liked CRASHOUT. Lewis Foster was a decent director of B-features and television. He seemed to have enjoyed working with John Payne. The pair knocked out CAPTAIN CHINA, EL PASO, PASSAGE WEST and CROSSWINDS between 1949 to 51.One of the tv episodes I did about Edmond O’Brien was directed by Foster. And as you pointed out, he was a fair hand at writing.

    Colin
    Always wanted to see THE COBWEB but have never gotten around to it. Worth a look then you say.
    Gord

    Liked by 2 people

      • I started to watch “The Cobweb” to get a feel for it. I might be crazy, but I swear that Gene Kelly is sitting in a chair in the asylum lounge smoking pipe and reading a book. This is from 09:05 to the 09:14mark in the film. I know Kelly made at least three films with Minnelli so they may be having a little fun. However, no one mentions Kelly in the Trivia section for “The Cobweb” on IMDB. I took a snapshot but couldn’t past it here. I hope you don’t mind that I posted it on your Facebook page. You can delete it after viewing it. Is that Gene or just a double?

        Liked by 1 person

        • No problem, I’m actually glad you did. I hadn’t noticed that before but now that you’ve highlighted the scene I have to say it certainly does look like Gene Kelly. I’ll see if I can add the image in here:

          Liked by 1 person

  43. So here I am with a 1960 film, (Mission of Danger) directed by Jacques Tourneur that I had never seen or even heard of. I order in a pizza, grab a couple of cold brews and turn on the tv. The film starts and the credits begin, Keith Larsen, Alan Hale Jr, Patrick Macnee, Adam Williams, Bing Russell and several other names we all know. The film is set during the French and Indian war in the mid 1700’s. Looks good so far. 10 minutes in and I could see this was one of those fake films the studios would pawn off on the Euro audiences. It was simply 3 episodes of the tv series, “Northwest Frontier” strung together. An episode helmed by Tourneur in between a pair directed by George Waggner. I gave up by the time the first two beers and half the pizza were done. How silly of me to get fooled by these things.

    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

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