View Full Version : Sony Westerns in Sept
06-23-2005, 09:21 PM
06-23-2005, 09:56 PM
When I was a kid, I always enjoyed the Randolph Scott westerns when they ran on TV. I can't remember the name of the film, but Scott was in a gun battle and the editing or the synching was off. So, when he shot his gun, the smoke would come out of the barrel but there was no gunshot sound. All of a sudden, as he's cocking the pistol for another shot, boom! The gunshot sound came. It was pretty funny.
06-24-2005, 01:42 AM
I've seen all the titles listed recently. Encore's Westerns Channel has been airing beautifully restored prints of Randolph Scott's B westerns regularly in the two years that I've been a subscriber. These are B westerns shot mostly on the Columbia backlot, recycling the same town set (an impressive set), with a few pick-up shots on some location in inland California. The script writing is nothing special. I liken them to Hammer horror films -- a few gems in tepid water. The rich technicolor has held up remarkably well.
After WW2 Scott's oil wells in Texas "came in" and he became the richest man in Hollywood. He didn't have to work. He could do anything he wanted. He decided that from now on he would make only westerns, formed his own company with producer Brown, signed a distribution deal with Columbia, and delivered two or three B westerns a year until his retirement in 1960. The later films are the most interesting, and the most serious, making extensive use of locations, those written by Burt Kennedy and directed by Budd Boeticher.
Joel McCrea tried to do the same thing -- star only in westerns after WW2 -- but he didn't have Scott's money. His westerns weren't as well produced, but a few of them, like Wichita, are quite interesting.
Both Scott and McCrea came out of retirement in 1962 to work for Sam Peckinpah in Ride the High Country. By this time they were western icons, and that film offered them a memorable way to bow out.
The rarest and most in-demand Scott-Brown-Boetticher collaboration is Seven Men From Now. Hopefully Columbia will release that among the Scott oaters.
I saw Stranger Wore A Gun and several other Columbia films projected in authentic 3-D at the American Cinematheque's 3-D festival in 2002. Columbia struck new prints for the occasion. Columbia's rep was there to brag about them, and they were beautiful prints indeed. The color alone was an experience. Everybody was impressed. Raoul Walsh's Gun Fury was the best of the westerns and the most authentic. Dramatic use of Sedona, Arizona's red rock locations. The newly released DVD looks like mud in comparison to the print that I saw projected. Hopefuly they'll do better on this next batch of DVD westerns.
06-24-2005, 11:12 AM
Actually, SEVEN MEN FROM NOW was produced by John Wayne's "Batjac" company, along with such films as HONDO, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY, ISLAND IN THE SKY, TRACK OF THE CAT, MAN IN THE VAULT, MCLINTOCK!, etc (most/all of these were originally distributed to theaters by Warner Bros).
A deal was signed last year between the Wayne estate and Paramount, to bring these to legit DVD under the Paramount banner, starting with THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and ISLAND IN THE SKY this August. So it probably won't be that much more of a wait before SEVEN MEN FROM NOW is finally released on DVD.
It is baffling, though, that Columbia decided to release a slew of Randolph Scott westerns, and yet didn't include the best (and likely the most wanted) of these, THE TALL T and RIDE LONESOME, among them. Maybe they'll do those next time.
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