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The Tall Men

The legendary director Raoul Walsh hits The Big Trail one more time for a CinemaScope & stereophonic ‘big star’ cattle drive movie, dodging most cliches but taking a few squarely between the eyes. Star chemistry is what keeps them dogies movin’, with Clark Gable making it look all too easy. Frisky Jane Russell fares well, but not our favorite Robert Ryan: despite the high-profile billing, he pulls S.O.B. duty yet again. There’s no doubt about it, pilgrim … I see a whole lotta cows in this one.

The Tall Men

Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1955 / Color / 2:55 widescreen / 122 min. / Street Date September 17, 2019 / Available from Twilight Time Movies / 29.95

Starring: Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Robert Ryan, Cameron Mitchell, Juan García, Harry Shannon, Emile Meyer, Argentina Brunetti, Chuck Roberson, Will Wright.

Cinematography: Leo Tover

Editing: Louis R. Loeffler

Original Music: Victor Young

Written by Sydney Boehm, Frank Nugent from the novel by Clay
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David Ladd At "Shane" Screening, Beverly Hills, August 26

  • CinemaRetro
By Todd Garbarini

Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills will be presenting a Digital Cinema Package (Dcp) screening of George Stevens’s 1953 film Shane. The 118-minute film, which stars Alan Ladd as the hero and Jack Palance, Ben Johnson, Elisha Cook, Jr., will be screened on Sunday, August 26, 2018 at 3:00 pm.

Please Note: At press time, actor/producer David Ladd (son of actor Alan Ladd) will participate in a Q&A after the screening at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre on Sunday, August 26.

From the press release:

Shane (1953)

65th Anniversary Screening

Sunday, August 26, at 3 Pm

Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre

Q&A with David Ladd, Actor-Producer and Son of Alan Ladd

Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 65th anniversary screening of one of the most beloved Westerns of all time, George Stevens’ production of 'Shane.' The 1950s happened to be a golden age for cowboy sagas,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Review: "Gun The Man Down" (1956) Starring James Arness And Angie Dickinson; Blu-ray Release From Olive Films

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

"Gun the Man Down" is yet another Poverty Row low-budget Western shot during an era in which seemingly every other feature film released was a horse opera. Supposedly shot in nine days, the film is primarily notable for being the big screen directing debut of Andrew V. McLaglen, who would go on to be a very respected director who specialized in Westerns and action films. The movie also marked the final feature film for James Arness before he took on the role of Marshall Matt Dillon in TV's long-running and iconic "Gunsmoke" series. After failing to achieve stardom on the big screen, Arness found fame and fortune in "Gunsmoke" when John Wayne recommended him for the part. Wayne had been championing Arness for years and provided him with roles in some of his films. Following "Gunsmoke"'s phenomenal run, Arness seemed content to stay with TV and had another successful series,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Gun the Man Down

This almost completely forgotten '50s western couldn't compete with the big productions, but it has a good cast -- James Arness, Robert J. Wilke, Emile Meyer, Harry Carey Jr. Plus early work by writer Burt Kennedy, and the debuts of actress Angie Dickinson and director Andrew V. McLaglen. Gun the Man Down Blu-ray Olive Films 1956 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 76 min. / Street Date July 19, 2016 / available through the Olive Films website / 29.98 Starring James Arness, Angie Dickinson, Emile Meyer, Robert J. Wilke, Harry Carey Jr., Don Megowan, Michael Emmet, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez. Cinematography William H. Clothier Film Editor A. Edward Sutherland Original Music Henry Vars Written by Burt Kennedy, Sam Freedle Produced by Robert E. Morrison Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

When the 1950s rolled in John Wayne stopped being merely an actor and graduated to institution status, starting his own production company, Batjac, and promoting his own group of talent.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Shield for Murder

Dirty cops were a movie vogue in 1954, and Edmond O'Brien scores as a real dastard in this overachieving United Artists thriller. Dreamboat starlet Marla English is the reason O'Brien's detective kills for cash, and then keeps killing to stay ahead of his colleagues. And all to buy a crummy house in the suburbs -- this man needs career counseling. Shield for Murder Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1954 / B&W / 1:75 widescreen / 82 min. / Street Date June 21, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Edmond O'Brien, Marla English, John Agar, Emile Meyer, Carolyn Jones, Claude Akins, Herbert Butterfield, Hugh Sanders, William Schallert, Robert Bray, Richard Deacon, David Hughes, Gregg Martell, Stafford Repp, Vito Scotti. Cinematography Gordon Avil Film Editor John F. Schreyer Original Music Paul Dunlap Written by Richard Alan Simmons, John C. Higgins from the novel by William P. McGivern <Produced by Aubrey Schenck, (Howard W. Koch) Directed by Edmond O'Brien, Howard W. Koch

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Here's the kind of '50s movie we love, an ambitious, modest crime picture that for its time had an edge. In the 1950s our country was as blind to the true extent of police corruption as it was to organized crime. Movies about bad cops adhered to the 'bad apple' concept: it's only crooked individuals that we need to watch out for, never the institutions around them. Thanks to films noir, crooked cops were no longer a film rarity, even though the Production Code made movies like The Asphalt Jungle insert compensatory scenes paying lip service to the status quo: an imperfect police force is better than none. United Artists in the 1950s helped star talent make the jump to independent production, with the prime success stories being Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. But the distribution company also funded proven producers capable of putting out smaller bread 'n' butter movies that could prosper if costs were kept down. Edward Small, Victor Saville, Levy-Gardner-Laven. Aubrey Schenck and Howard C. Koch produced as a team, and for 1954's Shield for Murder Koch co-directed, sharing credit with the film's star, Edmond O'Brien. The show is a smart production all the way, a modestly budgeted 'B' with 'A' ambitions. O'Brien was an industry go-getter trying to channel his considerable talent in new directions. His leading man days were fading but he was in demand for parts in major films like The Barefoot Contessa. The producers took care with their story too. Writers Richard Alan Simmons and John C. Higgins had solid crime movie credits. Author William P. McGivern wrote the novel behind Fritz Lang's The Big Heat as well as Rogue Cop and Odds Against Tomorrow. All of McGivern's stories involve crooked policemen or police corruption. Shield for Murder doesn't tiptoe around its subject matter. Dirty cop Detective Lt. Barney Nolan (O'Brien) kills a hoodlum in an alley to steal $25,000 of mob money. His precinct boss Captain Gunnarson (Emile Meyer) accepts Barney's version of events and the Asst. D.A. (William Schallert) takes the shooting as an open and shut case. Crime reporter Cabot (Herbert Butterfield) has his doubts, and lectures the squad room about the abuse of police power. Barney manages to placate mob boss Packy Reed (Hugh Sanders), but two hoods continue to shadow him. Barney's plan for the money was to buy a new house and escape the rat race with his girlfriend, nightclub cashier Patty Winters (Marla English). But a problem surfaces in the elderly deaf mute Ernst Sternmueller (David Hughes), a witness to the shooting. Barney realizes that his only way forward is to kill the old man before he can tell all to Det. Mark Brewster (John Agar), Barney's closest friend. Once again one of society's Good Guys takes a bite of the forbidden apple and tries to buck the system. Shield for Murder posits an logical but twisted course of action for a weary defender of the law who wants out. Barney long ago gave up trying to do anything about the crooks he can't touch. The fat cat Packy Reed makes the big money, and all Barney wants is his share. Barney's vision of The American Dream is just the middle-class ideal, the desirable Patty Winters and a modest tract home. He's picked it out - it sits partway up a hill in a new Los Angeles development, just finished and already furnished. Then the unexpected witness shows up and everything begins to unravel; Barney loses control one step at a time. He beats a mob thug (Claude Akins) half to death in front of witnesses. When his pal Mark Brewster figures out the truth, Barney has to use a lot of his money to arrange a getaway. More mob trouble leads to a shoot-out in a high school gym. The idea may have been for the star O'Brien to coach actors John Agar and Marla English to better performances. Agar is slightly more natural than usual, but still not very good. The gorgeous Ms. English remains sweet and inexpressive. After several unbilled bits, the woman often compared to Elizabeth Taylor was given "introducing" billing on the Shield for Murder billing block. Her best-known role would be as The She-Creature two years later, after which she dropped out to get married. Co-director O'Brien also allows Emile Meyer to go over the top in a scene or two. But the young Carolyn Jones is a standout as a blonde bargirl, more or less expanding on her small part as a human ashtray in the previous year's The Big Heat. Edmond O'Brien is occasionally a little to hyper, but he's excellent at showing stress as the trap closes around the overreaching Barney Nolan. Other United Artists budget crime pictures seem a little tight with the outdoors action -- Vice Squad, Witness to Murder, Without Warning -- but O'Brien and Koch's camera luxuriates in night shoots on the Los Angeles streets. This is one of those Blu-rays that Los Angelenos will want to freeze frame, to try to read the street signs. There is also little downtime wasted in sidebar plot detours. The gunfight in the school gym, next to an Olympic swimming pool, is an action highlight. The show has one enduring sequence. With the force closing in, Barney rushes back to the unfinished house he plans to buy, to recover the loot he's buried next to its foundation. Anybody who lived in Southern California in the '50s and '60s was aware of the massive suburban sprawl underway, a building boom that went on for decades. In 1953 the La Puente hills were so rural they barely served by roads; the movie The War of the Worlds considered it a good place to use a nuclear bomb against invading Martians. By 1975 the unending suburbs had spread from Los Angeles, almost all the way to Pomona. Barney dashes through a new housing development on terraced plots, boxy little houses separated from each other by only a few feet of dirt. There's no landscaping yet. Even in 1954 $25,000 wasn't that much money, so Barney Nolan has sold himself pretty cheaply. Two more latter-day crime pictures would end with ominous metaphors about the oblivion of The American Dream. In 1964's remake of The Killers the cash Lee Marvin kills for only buys him a patch of green lawn in a choice Hollywood Hills neighborhood. The L.A.P.D. puts Marvin out of his misery, and then closes in on another crooked detective in the aptly titled 1965 thriller The Money Trap. The final scene in that movie is priceless: his dreams smashed, crooked cop Glenn Ford sits by his designer swimming pool and waits to be arrested. Considering how well things worked out for Los Angeles police officers, Edmond O'Brien's Barney Nolan seems especially foolish. If Barney had stuck it out for a couple of years, the new deal for the L.A.P.D. would have been much better than a measly 25 grand. By 1958 he'd have his twenty years in. After a retirement beer bash he'd be out on the road pulling a shiny new boat to the Colorado River, like all the other hardworking cops and firemen enjoying their generous pensions. Policemen also had little trouble getting house loans. The joke was that an L.A.P.D. cop might go bad, but none of them could be bribed. O'Brien directed one more feature, took more TV work and settled into character parts for Jack Webb, Frank Tashlin, John Ford, John Frankenheimer and finally Sam Peckinpah in The Wild Bunch, where he was almost unrecognizable. Howard W. Koch slowed down as a director but became a busy producer, working with Frank Sinatra for several years. He eventually co-produced Airplane! The Kl Studio Classics Blu-ray of Shield for Murder is a good-looking B&W scan, framed at a confirmed-as-correct 1:75 aspect ratio. The picture is sharp and detailed, and the sound is in fine shape. The package art duplicates the film's original no-class sell: "Dame-Hungry Killer-Cop Runs Berserk! The first scene also contains one of the more frequently noticed camera flubs in film noir -- a really big boom shadow on a nighttime alley wall. Kino's presentation comes with trailers for this movie, Hidden Fear and He Ran All the Way. On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, Shield for Murder Blu-ray rates: Movie: Good Video: Very Good Sound: Excellent Supplements: Trailers for Shield for Murder, Hidden Fear, He Ran All the Way Deaf and Hearing Impaired Friendly? N0; Subtitles: None Packaging: Keep case Reviewed: June 7, 2016 (5115murd)

Visit DVD Savant's Main Column Page Glenn Erickson answers most reader mail: dvdsavant@mindspring.com

Text © Copyright 2016 Glenn Erickson
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Scott Reviews George Stevens’ Shane [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Review]

A tyrant is trying to force decent people off their land to take it all for himself. The decent people are willing to stand their ground, but are looking for ways to avoid violence. They’re trying to teach their children not to solve matters with guns, and if something should happen to the men in battling this tyrant, their families would be left with nothing. Yet it becomes increasingly clear the tyrant must be stopped. Along comes a young man with the skills and resolve to do their killing for them, and with no apparently attachments to anyone else to leave behind. He’s their hero, their greatest hope; they can honor him, thank him, even give him work; but we can never truly repay the way he put his life on the line so that we might enjoy our freedom.

This is the plot of Shane, George Stevens’ 1953 western.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Three Classic War Films Screening at The Tivoli December 8-10

“The man you stabbed in the back is a soldier!”

Two anti-war Wwi films and one wild British propaganda piece made while WWII was still raging constitute the three-film series sponsored by The Mildred Kemper Art Museum next week at The Tivoli Theater (6350 Delmar in the University City Loop). This ties into the museum’s current exhibit World War I: War of Images, Images of War, which is on display through January (details on the exhibit can be found Here) http://www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/Wwi

All three films start at 7pm and admission is Free!

All Quiet On The Western Front screens at 7pm Tuesday December 8th

The film series kicks off Tuesday December 8th with All Quiet On The Western Front (1930) — the first major anti-war film of the sound era, faithfully based upon the timeless, best-selling 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque, who had experienced the war first-hand as a young German soldier.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

‘Riot in Cell Block 11’ is ferociously presented and politically salient

Riot in Cell Block 11

Written by Richard Collins

Directed by Don Siegel

U.S.A., 1954

It is the dawn of great social change in the United States, a time when the public consciousness is about to reckon with real, humanity-based issues that plague the country underneath the veneer of perfection. A wave of riots have exploded in prisons across the country, alerting the media, politicians and ordinary citizens that the penitentiary system is deeply flawed. The prisoners are guilty of crimes, yes, but their confinement conditions go beyond the sort of punishment they should serve. Filmed on location at Folsom State Prison in California, Riot in Cell Block 11 concerns the inmate uprising led by James Dunn (Neville Brand), supported closely by a man nicknamed The Colonel (Robert Osterloh) and dangerous felon Mike Carnie (Leo Gordon) among others. The Warden, Reynolds (Emile Meyer), and Commissioner Haskell (Frank Faylen) have
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Man with the Gun

First-time director Richard Wilson's B&W '50s western is different. Robert Mitchum is on-task as a town tamer with believable problems, both in exterminating gunslingers Claude Akins and Leo Gordon, and with making peace with his estranged wife, Jan Sterling. That's not to mention Mitchum's attraction for pacifist Karen Sharpe, and ditzy showgirl Barbara Lawrence. And don't forget an incredibly young Angie Dickinson. Man with the Gun Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1955 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 83 min. / Deadly Peacemaker / Street Date September 25, 2015 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Robert Mitchum, Jan Sterling, Karen Sharpe, Henry Hull, Emile Meyer, John Lupton, Barbara Lawrence, Ted de Corsia, Leo Gordon, James Westerfield, Jay Adler, Claude Akins, Joe Barry, Norma Calderón, Angie Dickinson, Mara McAfee, Maidie Norman, Robert Osterloh, Maudie Prickett, Stafford Repp. Cinematography Lee Garmes Film Editor Gene Milford Original Music Alex North Written by N.B. Stone Jr., Richard Wilson Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

‘Sweet Smell of Success’ Blu-ray Review

  • Nerdly
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Martin Milner, Jeff Donnell, Sam Levene, Joe Frisco, Barbara Nichols, Emile Meyer, Edith Atwater | Written by Clifford Odets, Ernest Lehman | Directed by Alexander Mackendrick

When it comes to Arrow and the releases they output I’ll always be a fan of the Arrow Video line because of my love of everything cult and horror. A close second though has to be their Arrow Academy range, whereas the name suggest they give more of an education based on films from the past which deserve our attention just as much as any modern movie does. Sweet Smell of Success is the latest release and gives an insight into one of the more unique Hollywood movies not only of its times in the fifties, but still remains just as good today.

When J.J. Hensecker (Burt Lancaster) a powerful New York newspaper columnist decides to come
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Follow My Lead: Top Ten Mentors in the Movies

We all would like to believe that we have that someone special to look up to for guidance and direction. From time to time we practice the art of worship for the mentor that appears larger than life to us. Whether our designated mentors that we choose to follow are inspirational or insidious it does not matter because that yearning to follow in their footsteps are so great that we blindly give anything to replicate that original blueprint.

Maybe if one dreams of being a famous astronaut you designate Neii Armstrong or John Glenn as your mentoring heroes? Perhaps your foray into film criticism was ignited by Judith Crist, Vincent Canby or Siskel & Ebert? How about emulating your favorite actor or singer and following their paths to success?

In Follow My Lead: Top Ten Mentors in the Movies we will look at some movie characters that served as mentors to
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Blu-ray Review: Dated ‘Riot in Cell Block 11’ is Beautifully Filmed

Chicago – The Criterion Collection has added “Riot in Cell Block 11” (1954) to their stellar Blu-ray family, and the transfer is absolutely gorgeous, especially if you’re an admirer of the stark cinematography of the late black & white film era. Although dated, it still packs a gritty wallop.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Directed by Don Siegel – best known for “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956) and “Dirty Harry” (1971) – this prison riot film is framed as a cautionary tale regarding the conditions of prisons in the mid-1950s. Packed with noir beauty, the tick-tick-tick of the tensions in the film underscore the use of shadow and light. Shot in Folsom Prison in California, Siegel makes great use of the weird perspectives of long hallways and old timey prison walls. Some of the corny dialogue and hey-you-mugs interplay is silly in the modern era, but I’m sure the adventurous folks who saw this at the time were transfixed.
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Criterion Collection: Riot on Cell Block 11 | DVD Review

The inspiration behind the making of Riot in Cell Block 11 is as equally fascinating as the end product. Producer Walter Wanger (who famously produced Hitchcock’s 1941 film, Foreign Correspondent, among others) was sentenced to a brief stint in prison after shooting a man he believed was having an affair with his then wife, actress Joan Bennett. The dramatic scandal would force Wanger into an experience that apparently changed his life, as leaving prison immediately saw his intense interest in getting this project off the ground, basing it on an actual event that happened in Michigan. Undeniably a semi-documentary message film, it’s an arresting prison drama that features believable performances and striking cinematography. Serving as director Don Siegel’s first major hit at the box office despite lack of female stars and subject matter, it’s his first definitive example of the themes that would mark him as Clint Eastwood
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Reviews: Criterion's "Riot In Cell Block 11" (1954) And "The 400 Blows" (1959)

  • CinemaRetro
Blu-ray/DVD Review

Riot In Cell Block 11” (Don Siegel)

The 400 Blows” (Francois Truffaut)

(The Criterion Collection)

Two Gems From The 50s

By Raymond Benson

Two new releases from The Criterion Collection spotlight low-budget filmmaking in the 1950s—American and European—and couldn’t be more stylistically and thematically diverse. And yet, there is a personal stamp on the pictures that is very similar. Both films also tackle social problems with brutal frankness and feature anti-heroes as protagonists.

Riot in Cell Block 11 was produced by longtime Hollywood independent producer Walter Wanger (he was also responsible for two earlier Criterion releases, Stagecoach and Foreign Correspondent) as a hard-hitting, gritty, realistic picture depicting the inequities and maltreatment prisoners receive in American prisons. Wanger had a personal reason to make a film like that. He had barely missed spending some time in one. He’d caught his wife with another man,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Classic, 'Subversive' 1953 Western Gets Special 60th Anniversary Screening at the Academy

Shane’: Alan Ladd stars in classic Western to be screened at the Academy The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a 60th anniversary screening of George Stevens’ classic Western Shane, starring Alan Ladd as a lone and mysterious gunslinger, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 7, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Besides Ladd, Shane, a 1953 Paramount release, also stars Jean Arthur in her last movie role, in addition to Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, and Jack Palance. (Photo: Alan Ladd in Shane.) "A gun is a tool, Marian, no better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything," Alan Ladd’s Shane tells Jean Arthur’s homesteader wife and mother. "A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that." That may sound like your usual National Rifle Association bullshit, but in the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

On TCM: Larger Than Life Douglas Turns 97 Next December

Kirk Douglas movies: The Theater of Larger Than Life Performances Kirk Douglas, a three-time Best Actor Academy Award nominee and one of the top Hollywood stars of the ’50s, is Turner Classic Movies’ "Summer Under the Stars" featured star today, August 30, 2013. Although an undeniably strong screen presence, no one could ever accuse Douglas of having been a subtle, believable actor. In fact, even if you were to place side by side all of the widescreen formats ever created, they couldn’t possibly be wide enough to contain his larger-than-life theatrical emoting. (Photo: Kirk Douglas ca. 1950.) Right now, TCM is showing Andrew V. McLaglen’s 1967 Western The Way West, a routine tale about settlers in the Old American Northwest that remains of interest solely due to its name cast. Besides Douglas, The Way West features Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark, Lola Albright, and 21-year-old Sally Field in her The Flying Nun days.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

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