Romance, revenge and renewal – introduce a movie from the mid or late 1950s with those words and the chances are people will think you’re talking about a western. I guess there’s a point that could be made here about those themes being more a reflection of the era than a specific genre, even if that genre seemed to favor them more or treat them with greater sensitivity. Fire Down Below (1957) is certainly not a western – if it’s necessary to find a label, then I suppose it could be called a kind of Caribbean adventure/melodrama – but it does take a good long look at the three words I used as an opening. Of course it also follows the cardinal rule of moviemaking by ensuring this is woven into a consistently entertaining story.
Many a good yarn has originated in a bar, and this one essentially begins there. Tony (Jack Lemmon) and Felix (Robert Mitchum) are two drifters, the kind of figures who seemed to abound in mid-20th century movies, men who have either lost something in life and are casting around for it, or who have never possessed it in the first place. A combination of curiosity, disillusionment and aimlessness has drawn these two to the Caribbean, and fate has thrown them together as joint owners of a clapped out boat. Their morals are, shall we say, flexible and they’re not overly particular about how they earn a dollar. So it is that Irena (Rita Hayworth) comes into their lives, a stateless person hailing from somewhere in the Baltic and now in need of someone to smuggle her through immigration. While the two men are friends they are very different characters, Tony being a romantic idealist whereas Felix is jaded to the core. The effect on these two of sharing a confined space with an attractive woman is as powerful as one might expect. Enthusiasm, desire, envy and bitterness all make an appearance as the tensions simmer in the tropical heat and eventually boil over into conflict and betrayal. The upshot of it all is that Tony swears vengeance on his former friend, but there will be a further trial to be endured before any form of closure can be achieved.
I don’t imagine it’s any coincidence that the ship carrying Tony back for his longed for reckoning is named Ulysses. Just like the hero of Greek mythology, his is a long journey home, not quite a decade perhaps but it certainly develops into a supreme challenge and, as with all fables, there is a lesson to be learnt. Vengeance is a wonderful narrative device, it drives characters toward a confrontation, frequently with their own personal demons, and the better tales leave it in no doubt that it’s an unworthy goal. I think Fire Down Below is one of these better tales and the way the conflict is ultimately resolved lays bare the lie at the heart of the quest for revenge. Personally, I think it’s hugely satisfying that after the great conflagration, both emotional and physical, everything is settled not through violence but with a simple kiss. It’s somehow fitting that it is Irena who emerges Athena-like to restore harmony.
Robert Parrish was in the middle of a very strong run here, and would follow this up with two exceptional westerns, Saddle the Wind with Robert Taylor and The Wonderful Country which reunited him with Mitchum. This was a rich period for the director, blending timeless stories, attractive visuals and the kind of themes that defined an era of filmmaking. The movie looks very good and makes fine use of its locations, as shot by Desmond Dickinson, but it’s not just a glossy travelogue. Parrish was adept at these stories of intertwined relationships and crises of conscience, and he seemed to raise his game when presented with the right material.
I said at the beginning that the movie could be characterized in three words and it’s also true that it all hinges on three different people. Jack Lemmon had already won himself an Oscar in John Ford’s Mister Roberts, and Fire Down Below was another step on the path to growing stardom. He’s a good choice for the mid-West rover; he had that fresh charm and impishness about him at this stage that made his romanticism believable, as well as the subsequent shattering of illusions and his thirst for revenge. The only point where I felt skepticism taking over was at the notion of him going head to head with a bull like Mitchum in a stand-up brawl. Mitchum is his typical cocksure and swaggering self, looking askance at the follies of the world and, you feel sure, not sparing himself any of that acerbic assessment.
However, everything ultimately depends on Rita Hayworth’s Irena. She provides the motivation for all the drama and passion, and I think the honesty of her performance is a big plus. This was her return to the big screen after an absence of four years and, by all accounts, a truly rotten and abusive marriage to Dick Haymes. She wasn’t yet 40 years old but she had about her the aura of one acquainted with disappointment, a woman grown aware of both the pros and cons attached to her beauty. I’m back with honesty again, but there is a raw frankness to her admission at one stage that she has debased herself in life, and the need this woman has to recapture some sense of self-respect is pivotal. Her great triumph, dramatically and spiritually, is sealed right at the end – one simple action serves to restore her own self-esteem, redeem her lover, and grant a precious gift to his rival, dignity.
I’ve concentrated a lot on the three main characters here but I think the supporting cast of Bernard Lee, Bonar Colleano, Herbert Lom, Edric Connor, Anthony Newley and Eric Pohlmann deserve a brief mention at the very least.
I have an old DVD of Fire Down Below which was released many years ago and it still looks quite strong with rich colors and an attractive CinemaScope image. I understand it’s recently been included in a keenly priced 12 movie set of Hayworth’s films on Blu-ray via Mill Creek, and I imagine it will look even better in high definition. To date, I don’t believe the film has had an official release in the UK, an omission I would have thought one of the independent labels might seek to correct. Anyway, for the time being, I’ll leave you with Jeri Southern’s rendition of the theme tune:
76 thoughts on “Fire Down Below”
As I recall Lemmon was proud that one of his compositions made it into the film. In the 1980s thus seemed to be permanently on rotation on the independent Italian TV networks and I must have seen it 4 a 5 times then. I always thought it worked pretty well – I agree that the fisticuffs between Mitcham and Lemmon is extremely unlikely. But I do like the ending in particular, I think that’s very well judged too and works very nicely. Of course one of the oddities about the film is that it has this big British angle to it, which does always make it seem like a slightly out of sync Hollywood movie, as with so many made in England in the 50s presumably using frozen funds.
I think this was Warwick Films’ biggest effort. The British actors in the cast actually blend into the exotic surroundings very well in my opinion, but yes their presence does give it a slightly different flavor to other Hollywood movies.
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Much as I like the Warwick films, I reckon this was probably their best if not their most characteristic – and I think Parrish probably had a lot to do with that – along with the sheer star wattage!
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Yes, I reckon I’d agree on all counts there.
A nice choice my good man, and well said as always. It has been a while since I caught this one last. It was on a VHS taped off one of the now defunct movie channels that were big when cable first started offering pay channels. Now I’ll need to hunt up a dvd because it sounds like a re-watch is in order. For a fellow with only 23 directing credits, he managed to turn out some nice work. Cry Danger, The Mob, Assignment: Paris, Shoot First, Up from the Beach and the two westerns you mentioned. And of course he collected a best editing Oscar for Body and Soul.
Again, nice choice
I’m very impressed by the work Parrish was doing around this time, worthwhile movies with strong and credible character interaction.
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With these three in the leads, I don’t know why I have never seen this one. Will look out for it after reading your review. The Hayworth box is tempting.
Still can’t get my ‘Like’ button to work for your blog. Have investigated but can’t find a solution.
I think you might like this; the material is very accessible and the whole thing is immensely satisfying.
I wish I liked this film more than I do,perhaps a lot of that has to do with Hayworth an actress I can take or leave,usually it’s leave. (line borrowed from Margot,it’s a goodie so I thought I’d steal it 🙂 I have the Rimini Editions Blu Ray and it’s a stunning transfer in the appealing 2.55 ratio.
For me the film is easy to take and Mitchum is outstanding. Film went way over budget for Warwick and failed to make a decent profit,also I understand there were bad vibes between Parrish and co producer Irving Allen,who considered Parrish too “arty” which Warwick certainly were not into at that time. Still for colorful locations and set pieces the film is hard too beat. I’m far too facile to see all the subtext that Colin reads into this movie for me it’s an interesting potboiler not much more.
Still many Warwick Films that have not appearted on disc yet especially A PRIZE OF GOLD (Widmark) THE MAN INSIDE (Palance) KILLERS OF KILLIMANJARO (Taylor) HIGH FLIGHT (Milland) and THE BANDIT OF ZHOBE (Mature) I’m also rather fond of their Anthony Newley comedies like JAZZBOAT and IN THE NICK. Warwick’s sole foray into Sci Fi THE GAMMA PEOPLE also remains unreleased. With the latest Bond NO TIME TO DIE still awaiting release due to the plague perhaps it’s a good time to release Warwick’s NO TIME TO DIE with their favorite leading man Victor Mature.
A potboiler – yes, you could use the term and I don’t find it an especially pejorative one. Sometimes I think it’s easy to get tricked into thinking that when we can apply a popular label, this means the work in question is lacking in some area, and I don’t see how that has to be the case at all. All types of genre pictures, and those are typically the strongest, can be said to display certain tropes that are characteristic of their genre. The more successful ones, and that often equates with the more entertaining ones, tend to have some solid theme at their core. I feel that’s the case here.
Regarding Rita Hayworth, if anyone is on the fence about her, then this movie may not be ideal as it’s heavily dependent on her presence and performance.
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To be honest Colin,I have not seen that many Hayworth movies. I have seen THEY CAME TO CORDURA which for me was an endurance test,both the movie and Hayworth’s performance.
I’ve still not seen that one.
Hayworth was of the screen after Miss Sadie Thompson. She came back with a strong trio in my opinion though, a little older and bruised by life in this film as well as Pal Joey, which benefits from the presence of Sinatra and Kim Novak, and of course the Terence Rattigan adaptation Separate Tables, which I’m very fond of.
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Going way off topic here,but “lockdown” has enabled me to view a few films in my collection that I have not seen in ages and ages. I was so impressed with my recent viewings that I actually watched both of them twice. The first was the very underrated Western THE LAST POSSE a Western that uses the Noir staple of constant flashbacks. The other film was Cagney’s KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE which always seems to be overshadowed by WHITE HEAT.
Director Gordon Douglas was really on a roll at that time. Sure,Cagney was a bit long in the tooth to appeal to such dolls as Barbara Payton and Helena Carter but the actor’s natural chutzpah wins the day,and the ladies. Cagney’s Ralph Cotter is smarter than your average thug,he can even rattle on about cosmic consciousness to impress women that he hopes to bed. Ward Bond is outstanding as the most venal bent cop in movie history. What I noted on these recent viewings was the black humor and irony that spices up this most engaging Noir.
I must try to revisit Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye some time, it’s been an absolute age. In fact, I could do with revisiting some Gordon Douglas movies in general.
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KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE is amazingly hard-edged even by noir standards. Good movie though.
I think Douglas was at his creative peak at that time, just look at his output:THE DOOLINS OF OKLAHOMA, THE GREAT MISSOURI RAID, THE NEVADAN, BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN, WALK A CROOKED MILE, all that and THEM! just around the corner.
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Yes, he was variable, which is not all that surprising I guess given the number of films he directed, but his best movies have much to recommend them. Even lesser efforts tend to have points of interest.
I wish to add The Young at Heart, a remarkable remake of an even better picture, or script, Four Daughters, directed by Michael Curtiz with Priscilla Lane and John Garfield in the Doris Day/Frank Sinatra parts, but for my money, stolen by the great Jeffrey Lynn. Sadly, Sinatra’s desire to play a character who wins the girl and does not die at the end screwed the scenario, but despite that, still pretty good work by Douglas. Add Come Fill the Cup to the director’s exemplary work.
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I watched Young at Heart again over the holidays and had a good time with it. It could be argued the ending is a cop out but I don’t care, I liked it for deciding to go down the uplifting route. I know I could use some uplift right now, and I don’t suppose I’m alone in that.
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Jeffry Lynn’s Felix is the romantic rather than tragic center of the original film., but the alterations go much further. In Fannie Hurst’s story, are all ethnic and Jewish, as are most of Hurst’s characters, the children of immigrants, or immigrants themselves. This makes quite a difference, but in the first film, only Garfield’s character suggests that, and in the remake, no one does. As noted above, I like both films, but the original works best, and of course lead to a number of sequels or semi-remakes,
Barry,thanks for mentioning COME FILL THE CUP
which I dfon’t think has even had a DVD release-
I do remember seeing it on TV ages and ages ago and
would love to see a release sometime.
Another film I have not seen for several years is Henry
Hathaway’s THE DARK CORNER and I enjoyed a recent
viewing-like meeting up with an old freiend I have not seen in years.
THE DARK CORNER shows Hathaway as at home in those mean city
streets as he was out on the range in Lone Pine.
Joe MacDonald’s photography is sensational.
THE DARK CORNER has tried and tested elements a shamus,
(Mark Stevens) his loyal secretary (Lucille Ball) his duplicitous
ex partner (Kurt Kreuger) and a cop ever on his case (the always
excellent Reed Hadley)
There is a parrallel sub plot of an elderly art collector (Clifton Webb)
who is obsessed not only over art but also his much younger wife (Cathy Downs)
I did also note a “blink and you miss him” bit from John Russell.
If any readers have a copy of THE DARK CORNER to hand give it
another go-it may not be in the premier league of Fox Noir but it has
plenty going for it and will reward another viewing.
Mark Stevens is totally underrated as a Noir actor,his contributions to
the genre are generrally overlooked and that’s a shame.
Mark at Where Danger Lives some time ago did a wonderful overview
of Steven’s career and it’s well worth reading. Speaking of Mark, Laura
has just mentioned that there’s a new post at Where Danger Lives this time
centred on a rare PRC gem WHY GIRLS LEAVE HOME (1945)
Very good to hear Mark is also a fan of director William Berke who
Harry Cohn considered the best B Movie director in the business.
With Mark’s return to blogland let’s hope it won’t be too long before
we hear from Margot again on her very fine Noir blog.
john k…….if you don’t want to wait for a release of COME FILL THE CUP that may never surface you can see it here………..
I thought I had seen all films Cagney…..but no, to my amazement. Turns out to be one of his best in my opinion.
And as far as I am concerned, far more winning, or entertaining, than his later psychotic gangster parts.
Speaking of Cagney films that we haven’t seen, I just recently picked up a copy of Love Me or Leave Me, where he was nominated for an Oscar and where Daniel Fuchs won one for the screenplay.
Just backtracked through your back pages
and I note that you had an excellent piece on
THE DARK CORNER way back in 2007.
My goodness the traffic has increased on RTHC since those
days,and I see we have more or less the same opinion of the film.
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Well done on digging that one out, John. That was among the earliest bits I put up online – it was along time ago and could use a bit of polish.
Every time I go online these days I note that
my ever shrinking bank balance is yet to take another hit.
It’s only the first day of February and already there’s a loaded
stack of releases to tempt us to part with our cash.
Eureka (UK) have announced a 6 movie Boris Karloff at
Columbia set and Warner Archive have announced a new 4K
scan of Mark Robson’s ISLE OF THE DEAD.
Kino Lorber are releasing a Universal Noir THE WEB (1947) which
I believe has not even had a DVD release-it has a Noir cast to die
for,that’s for sure.
Then there’s Explosive Media’s proposed uncut version of
Aldrich’s SODOM AND GOMORRAH.
Add to all this Indicator’s on going Columbia Noir sets and you
are talking serious money here.
I saw that announcement about The Web, a film I’m rather fond of and have only ever seen in grey market copies. I do hope it gets a DVD release as well as Kino region lock their Blu-rays and that’s no good for me. And that reminds me I still need to pick up a copy of Calcutta at some point.
I’d describe The Web as part film noir and part melodrama. A very neat little movie, definitely worth seeing.
I’ve picked up a DVD copy of that new release of The Web, and I see that you have review of the movie up here.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on The Web. I do love Vincent Price in these sorts of movies.
Have always enjoyed most if not all Warwick films produced by Irving Allen and Albert R. Broccoli. Rita Hayworth is eye candy! Best regards.
Rita Hayworth was much more than eye candy, a phrase that should be directed at nameless non-entities.
Agreed. She was the ‘Love Goddess’ of the world! Cheers!
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Off topic again
So much for my first New Years resolution!!!!! I need a beer!!!!! Off to get a 15 pack of
a tasty local brewed Pilsner today. A cold one and a western go hand in hand. (or a film noir) It must be all the snow getting to me. 36 hours straight so far.
Speaking of one of the stars of FIRE DOWN BELOW, Jack Lemmon. While doing my nightly wandering around You-Tube, I came upon an episode of GOODYEAR THEATER. The 1958 episode starred Lemmon, Doe Avedon, Ross Elliot and a young Lana Wood, sister of Natalie. The episode was helmed by former big screen director, Robert THE CROOKED WAY Florey.
If you are interested, Go to You-Tube and type Goodyear Theater Jack Lemmon and the episode “The Victim” should pop up. Actually there are three or four Lemmon episodes in a row there.
Thanks – I’ll look into that.
I ran across a album of Robert Mitchum singing calypso on You Tube last night. It was released the same time more or less as the film FIRE DOWN BELOW.
Christopher Plummer has left us. 1929-2021
So many fine performances. Last month I caught him in the filmed stage play, “‘Caesar and Cleopatra”. It was fantastic.
This saddens me very much. Every loss of yet another link to cinema’s glorious past seems to upset me more. I saw Plummer in the wonderful Knives Out last year, one of only two movies i managed to catch on the big screen in 2020, and his presence added so much to the enjoyment of it all.
And another sad loss comes with the passing of songwriter Jim Weatherly.
Plummer made one of my favorite cat and mouse thrillers of the 70s, THE SILENT PARTNER. It features a nifty screenplay by Curtis (L. A. Confidential) Hanson.
What is the weather like for everyone?
Day 6 of snowing. Right now in Calgary, it is minus 31C with the wind, which is about minus 23 F
Indicator have announced Volume 3 of their wonderful
Noir sets due to hit the streets in May.
This time all 6 films are making their Worldwide Blu Ray debut.
As with the previous 2 sets there are 3 films that I have seen and
3 I’ve never seen before.
All 6 films are first timers as far as my collection goes.
I feel this set is Indicator’s strongest yet with Gordon Douglas’
BETWEEN MIDINGHT AND DAWN very welcome in high definition.
It’s heartening that Noir is so super popular these days and I’m equally
excited about Warner Archive’s new 4K restoration of CROSSFIRE.
Yes, it’s a nice looking set once again. However, as someone who has all of these movies in what I feel are perfectly acceptable DVDs, I won’t be indulging in this myself.
I’ll go along with you all the way with, BETWEEN MIDINGHT AND DAWN. A film that is not a masterpiece by any means, but should be seen by more folks. Simply said, It works. A nice way to spend time in front of the tube!
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These Indicator sets show how many Columbia Noirs I
have been missing all these years.
I seem to have been unaware of all those DVD collections
from several years ago.
Among other delights it’s always good to add further Glenn Ford
titles to my collection.
The only one I’m not that fussed about in that set would be The Sniper, which seems to be well regarded but I can’t say I was impressed by it.
I thought The Sniper was simply awful. It’s a Stanley Kramer production and that should immediately set off warning bells. Yep, it’s not going to be a thriller or a film noir it’s going to be a Social Problem Movie. And a dull heavy-handed one.
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The Sniper for me is a bit better than that, but just a bit. On the other hand, Adolphe Menjou and Gerald Mohr are always welcome in this house. You can have the rest.
I respect and frequently sympathize with Kramer’s intentions in his movies but he did have an unfortunate tendency to let the message dominate the storytelling and filmmaking, and the result can be preachy and therefore dull. I really like Inherit the Wind, the sweaty confinement of it all seems to match the mindsets and issues under consideration, and the three leads are at the top of their game.
I have another Kramer movie nearby which I hope to watch soon and maybe even post something on, but we’ll see how that goes.
My issue with Hollywood Social Problem Movies is that even when I agree with the message (and frequently I do agree with it) I still find myself resenting being lectured. And being emotionally manipulated in a shameless way.
Of course you could argue that a movie is supposed to manipulate our emotions, but I prefer it to be done in a way that makes me less consciously aware of being manipulated.
The British made a few movies in the 50s and 60s that could broadly speaking be described as Social Problem Movies but they tend to be more willing to trust the viewer to draw the appropriate conclusions.
Yes, subtlety is generally a good thing anyway, but it becomes even more important when a filmmaker wishes to raise issues for debate or consideration.
Those British movies you’re referring to would be the Dearden/Relph productions, I suppose?
I’ll go along with you on THE SNIPER. It really did not move me. I have it down for a re-watch, but I must admit it it will most likely be a long wait till then.
I probably need to look at it again too. I think it was one of those films that didn’t live up to the buildup for me. I’d read many positive comments about it before seeing it (perhaps Ursini & Silver were among them, but I can’t say for sure) and then came away somewhat unimpressed in the end.
Just a couple of hours north of here it has hit minus 52 C which is minus 61 F. The polar front is moving its way to us in Calgary. So much for going out tomorrow for a quick trip to the bank. I really do not want to turn into a statue!
Tonight I am going to watch a Duke film I have not seen since I was a kid, THE CONQUEROR.
I’ve not seen that for many years either. It has a poor reputation but I can’t say now whether it’s deserved or exaggerated, or for that matter how much the alleged long term health effects of the locations chosen have influenced perceptions.
BTW, those temperatures sound shocking.
Gord, I always think that Canberra where I live has a cruel winter, sometimes getting down to -5 C. (It’s by far the coldest of Australia’s capitals and the only one that isn’t on the coast). After reading your temperatures, I think I’ll stop complaining. Have never seen THE CONQUEROR, but have never read any reviews that encourage me to do so.
LOL Minus 5!!! Canberra here I come!!! Right this minute the weather channel says minus 37 C here with the wind. The last while I have been watching episodes of BLUE HEELERS 1994-06, MATLOCK POLICE 1971-76 with Michael Pate and HOMICIDE 1964-77. All pretty good television series from down under. HOMICIDE in particular is quite good. Love the early b/w episodes.
Just finished THE CONQUEROR. Jeepers, that is one less than stellar bit of film making. Seen worse films but not sure when. They should have just made it as a western. A good cast running around looking foolish but I’m sure all the interference from Howard Hughes did not help with the production.
Something like 93 people out of the 200 cast and crew died of cancer. Filming in a location that glowed at night did not help, but then again they were all 2 or 3 pack a day smokers. One or the other got them.
Back in the mid 60’s we were living in Whitehorse in the Yukon, and it hit minus 65 with the wind for an entire week. My one brother still works up there. Me, I do not want to go near the place! Winter is too damn cold and in the summer there are mosquitos the size of eagles buzzing around.
Hmm, perhaps I don’t need to bump The Conqueror further up the list as a matter of urgency then.
Tonight I am going to watch a pair of Rory Calhoun films I have never seen, THE DOMINO KID from 1957 and RIDE OUT FOR REVENGE, also from 57. Anyone have a comment or two on the films?
First off weather in Phnom Penh doesn’t change here much…….averages high and low between 92F and 75F much of the year. During the warmer season add 5 degrees.
Interesting you circled back around to Rory Calhoun as I did too a few days ago. I don’t know what exactly triggered that impulse but glad I did. I took in POWDER RIVER (1953), DAWN AT SOCORRO (1954), RED SUNDOWN (1956), UTAH BLAINE (1957) and THE GUN HAWK (1963). RED SUNDOWN and THE GUN HAWK were first time watches. All of these films I very much enjoyed. Things that caught my eye…….
– All five movies had costumes of Calhoun featuring his trouser belt buckle on his left side hip which seemed to be a trademark of his.
– POWDER RIVER a screenplay based on the Earp/Holliday saga 1939 “Frontier Marshal”.
– DAWN AT SOCORRO in my humble opinion the best of the Rory Calhoun efforts. I kept seeing Clark Gable delivering much of Calhoun’s dialogue. I thought the opening reel at Socorro was the best of the film emulating the events of the OK Corral.
– RED SUNDOWN again the best reel was the opening performance of James Millican. It set the story line for the entire movie. Also seeing henchman Johnny Carpenter doing his rifleman thing was an eye catcher.
– UTAH BLAINE with Calhoun donning his dual firearms. Traditional right side down the hip…..left side reverse holster and pistol inside the hip. Looked awesome.
– THE GUN HAWK a real sleeper this one is. A low-budget production released by Allied Artist and directed by veteran Edward Ludwig. This movie has just enough steam to keep one entertained until it picks up speed with Calhoun giving a terrific performance leading up to and including his dying end. Rod Cameron comes along for the ride and gives us a sturdy and compassionate performance as the pursuing sheriff. Ruta Lee is also there in good form as Calhoun’s love interest. Strongly recommended.
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Completely agree Gord about Dawn at Socorro.
I think Red Sundown and Dawn at Socorro are among the very best of Calhoun’s pictures.
Well wouldn’t you know it……adding to my list of Rory’s westerns I did a re-watch of DOMINO KID (1957).
As noted in my previous post I will comment on things that I found interesting and caught my eye…….
DOMINO KID……..this time around to spice his costume up Rory dons a trouser horseshoe belt buckle centered on his waste, not the silver square center bar buckle just off the left hip that he usually sports. The silver medallion vest worn is of the same design Rory wears in his TV series “The Texan” that was released the following year 1958. Although, in “The Texan” Rory is back to wearing his belt buckle off his left hip. I find it interesting that Rory seems to give his costumes that personal touch that his fans can identify with.
About the movie itself. Although, not quite one of Rory’s top tier, but does rank close to it. Just the same, I liked it. My favorite part is his encounter with ‘that man’ James Griffith (Sam Beal). The screen presence and dialogue delivered by that guy Griffith when given an opportunistic meaningful part just shines. Once again, give him the script, let him do his Griffith thing, invariably gives the proceedings a big boost. It sure woke me up.
Nice group of Calhoun dusters I must say. Seen all except GUNHAWK. Have reviews up on IMDB for UTAH BLAINE and POWDER RIVER.
Love your weather!
BTW Where’s Jerry?
Regarding THE SNIPER,I think I preferred Arnold Laven’s similar WITHOUT WARNING. I also watched,for the first time Laven’s DOWN THREE DARK STREETS a very well acted and shot (Joseph Biroc) movie,though quiet mild by crime thriller/Noir standards. Neat climax,confrontation beneath the “Hollywood Sign” Trivia note DOWN THREE DARK STREETS in the UK only had a “U” Certificate wheras the support picture THE YELLOW TOMAHAWK has an “A” (under 14’s only admitted with an adult) THE YELLOW TOMAHAWK was cut severly by the censor but it’s still a very violent movie and sadly only available now in black & white. One of Rory’s best I thought although DAWN AT SOCORRO is exceptional-funnily enough it’s at the top of my must re-watch heap.
Been watching lots of Fox Noir: THE STREET WITH NO NAME,KISS OF DEATH, and CRY OF THE CITY all exceptional. Donald Buka very good in STREET WITH NO NAME and even better in BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN where he more or less steals the show as an unstoppable gangster. Mr Buka had tons of TV credits but made few movies,too bad because I thought he had compelling screen presence. He had a rare male lead in OPERATION EICHMANN where he played an Israeli agent in Allied Artists quickly made film to gain interest from the sensational trial.
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Down Three Dark Streets isn’t at all a bad movie, I rather liked it when I last saw it. I’ve still not managed to get round to The Yellow Tomahawk, sadly.
That’s a nice selection of Fox noir you’ve been enjoying, John. I’m very fond of Cry of the City.
Yes John, a real shame about YELLOW TOMAHAWK only being able to see it in black & white. I was able this time around to see it online in 720 res thinking it might improve my opinion of the film. Unfortunately, it only made me wish more if only I could see it in color as was originally shown in theaters, as it must have been an eye popping experience. Even at that, I think it’s a good effort from Calhoun, but the movie, as a whole, suffers a couple of notches viewed in B & W. Sad when this happens. 😦
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THE YELLOW TOMAHAWK was shot in a process
called Color Corporation Of America, which was,
I believe an upgrade of Supercinecolor and strangely
enough several films made in that process now only seem
to exist in Black & White: OVERLAND PACIFIC,
CAPTAIN KIDD & THE SLAVE GIRL and SABRE JET.
According to Bob Furmanek a color master neg does
still exist for THE YELLOW TOMAHAWK but I doubt
if anyone would be willing to pay the lab bill.
I see that HMV in the UK seem to have Ride the High Country lined up for a Blu-ray release as part of their Premium Collection line. I consider this to be most welcome news.
DOWN THREE DARK STREETS is a film that should get more press. A nicely done bit of work from both cast and crew. Martha Hyer in particular shines as she keeps thrusting her upper-works at Crawford as she cracks wise with lines like, “Do you mind if I put something on? I don’t like men staring at me before lunch”. Excellent. The writers, Gord and Mildred Gordon would dust this one off in 1963 and use most of the story to make, EXPERIMENT IN TERROR with Glenn Ford.
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Kind of you to inquire, John, my friend. Actually I’m here in the background but have missed the past day or two when your list of ‘noirs’ and Scott’s list of Rory Calhoun westerns have been thrown into the mix. Every one of those films mentioned score high with yours truly LOL. I like all those Calhouns and agree with the consensus that “DAWN AT SOCCORO” was a career high for him. Also rate “RED SUNDOWN” and “UTAH BLAINE” as superior westerns of their level.
Gord asked about 2 others and while not among Rory’s very best they are highly watchable IMHO, particularly “THE DOMINO KID”.
All this talk of weather experienced by you guys in different parts of the globe makes me appreciate living in England LOL! I’m very content with weather that remains boringly un-dramatic.
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Good to hear from you. DOMINO KID and RIDE OUT FOR REVENGE, i’ll get to later this week now that I know they are worth a look.