Westerns Movie Log Journal & Recommendations

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True Grit (1969)

Who would ever have thought that a movie that combined John Wayne, Kim Darby and country singer Glenn Campbell would be so good! A lot of this goodness falls to the impetuous performance by young Kim Darby. Darby was born for this role and make the perfect foil for John Wayne's crusty Rooster Cogburn. And Glen Campbell makes for a perfect Texan side kick to the trio. There's of course a story here, a good one too about Kim Darby seeking to find the man who killed her father...and she's hell bent on finding him! The on-location scenery shot in the mountainous terrain of Colorado is a thing of beauty. But mostly this is a fun movie!

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I finally watched True Grit for the first time last night (on TCM) despite my dislike of westerns. The one thing that caught my interest and held it was Kim Darby - you might say she stole the movie. I quite enjoyed it.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



I finally watched True Grit for the first time last night (on TCM) despite my dislike of westerns. The one thing that caught my interest and held it was Kim Darby - you might say she stole the movie. I quite enjoyed it.
I thought the same thing. Maybe that's why the director and John Wayne didn't like her performance...as she stole the show!



I thought the same thing. Maybe that's why the director and John Wayne didn't like her performance...as she stole the show!
A funny bit of trivia: at least 5 actors in the movie appeared on Star Trek (TOS)... that I spotted anyway, maybe more!



A funny bit of trivia: at least 5 actors in the movie appeared on Star Trek (TOS)... that I spotted anyway, maybe more!
I spotted those too and counted 5. Who did you see? Maybe it was different actors than who I saw.



The Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Super Bowl 55 Champs!
I really wasn't thinking about watching How the West was Won because it doesn't seem like the acclaim matches the runtime, but it is John Ford and that's an incredible cast.

Not watching Rooster because it's not supposed to be that good and I'm not a fan of Kate Hepburn.



I spotted those too and counted 5. Who did you see? Maybe it was different actors than who I saw.
Had to use IMDB for the real names.

Kim Darby of course! (Mattie Ross) - Miri
Jeff Corey (Tom Chaney) - The Cloud Minders
John Fiedler (Lawyer Daggett) - Wolf in the Fold (also from one of your favorite movies: 12 Angry Men!)
Ron Soble (Capt. "Boots" Finch) - Spectre of the Gun (Soble played Wyatt Earp!)
Alfred Ryder (Goudy) - The Man Trap

I have to admit, I thought Alfred Ryder (who I beleive played the cross examining attorney who questions Rooster Cogburn in court) was one of the guys from "Return of the Archons," but apparently he was from "The Man Trap."



Had to use IMDB for the real names.

Kim Darby of course! (Mattie Ross) - Miri
Jeff Corey (Tom Chaney) - The Cloud Minders
John Fiedler (Lawyer Daggett) - Wolf in the Fold (also from one of your favorite movies: 12 Angry Men!)
Ron Soble (Capt. "Boots" Finch) - Spectre of the Gun (Soble played Wyatt Earp!)
Alfred Ryder (Goudy) - The Man Trap

I have to admit, I thought Alfred Ryder (who I beleive played the cross examining attorney who questions Rooster Cogburn in court) was one of the guys from "Return of the Archons," but apparently he was from "The Man Trap."
Thanks, that's who I saw too, so I guess we're right in there being five from ST. It's funny/ironic that I also thought one of the older actors were from Return of the Archons. But in my case it was the prosecuting lawyer at the beginning of the film who I couldn't quit place....Jeff Corey.




Hondo (1953)

Better than Shane. Hondo is one of John Wayne's lesser known westerns and yet it was his personal favorite. He said the character of Hondo came closes to espousing his own views on honesty, loyalty and self reliance.

Yes in a way this is sort of like the famous western Shane. Only IMO, it's much better: first the kid is not annoying and the movie it's not cloying with stereo typical characters. The character of Hondo is a complex man who's neither good or bad, just loyal to his own personal code of honor.

One of the things that really makes this film stand out is a balanced combination of action & melodrama between Wayne and Geraldine Page...and mostly the humanistic way the Apache's are treated in the film. We actually see something we don't usually see...there's a brief scene with Hondo fighting an Apache and we see the viewpoint of the Chief and another Apache, they're watching the fight and joking in their own native language. I thought that was cool. Then again I liked the entire film.

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Haven't seen it, but better than Shane? Blasphemy!
ha, I think I'll bold that.
I didn’t like Hondo. Just couldn’t get into it.
Shane in the other hand was amazing.
I join Cricket in his accusations of blasphemy!



Thanks, that's who I saw too, so I guess we're right in there being five from ST. It's funny/ironic that I also thought one of the older actors were from Return of the Archons. But in my case it was the prosecuting lawyer at the beginning of the film who I couldn't quit place....Jeff Corey.
Hi Rules - Jeff Corey played Tom Chaney the villain who killed Mattie's father in True Grit (he was in The Cloud Minders on STTOS).


It was the prosecuting attorney (I think that was Alfred Ryder who was credited as playing "Goudy") who I also thought was one of the guys in Return of the Archons. But apparently he played Prof. Robert Crater in The Man Trap.




Rooster Cogburn (1975)

After watching the refreshingly different True Grit, this ill attempted sequel fell flat on it's cog-burn. If it wasn't for the historic paring of two huge stars: John Wayne & Katherine Hepburn, this movie would have long ago been forgotten. The plot is about as serious as an old made-for-TV movie and the actions that the various characters in this western take are laudable.

Character actor Richard Jordan plays a bad guy that's so over the top that one wishes this had been a comedy western. But despite it's sojourn into silliness, Rooster Cogburn the movie, isn't meant to be a slapstick comedy. Now Rooster Cogburn the character was meant to be humorous with his old cantankerous, boozing grouching ways. John Wayne is good as Rooster Cogburn and he pairs well with equally cantankerous Katherine Hepburn...but the script stinks.


Now that I look back on it, the relationship between Wayne's and Hepburn's characters is not all that dissimilar to the relationship between the Bogart and Hepburn characters in The African Queen (1951): the cantankerous old boozer pairs with the prim upright female. Of course "Queen" was a far better film.




Now that I look back on it, the relationship between Wayne's and Hepburn's characters is not all that dissimilar to the relationship between the Bogart and Hepburn characters in The African Queen (1951): the cantankerous old boozer pairs with the prim upright female. Of course "Queen" was a far better film.
Yeah, that's the best part of Rooster Cogburn, Duke & Kate in an ode to the The Africa Queen. And 'Queen' was way better.



Yeah, that's the best part of Rooster Cogburn, Duke & Kate in an ode to the The Africa Queen. And 'Queen' was way better.
Is that Dan Duryea in your new avatar? You're going to have to change your screen name, my man. Maybe "Scarlet Street Rules"...




McLintock! (1963)

Yes, it's an old fashioned, slap stick mud fight in that photo. This is John Wayne doing his version of a comedy western. The comedy is broad and slapstick, think of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World and you'll know what I mean. Surprisingly John Wayne is really good in this. Who knew the Duke could do comedy? McLintock! is a western but no one gets killed, and all of the fights are good natured brawls where no one gets hurt either. There's an off-on romance story with John Wayne and his feisty estranged wife, Maureen O'Hara...and another would-be romance between the young hired hand (played by The Duke's son Patrick Wayne) and Stephanie Powers who's a raven haired girl in this. Which is odd as she's the movie daughter of red headed O'Hara.




While the men get hit with bar chairs and bottles in the big bar room fight, the women get their behinds paddled, all in a comic way.


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Is that Dan Duryea in your new avatar? You're going to have to change your screen name, my man. Maybe "Scarlet Street Rules"...
Yup it's Dan the man! We can't change our screen names. But my name doesn't actually mean: Citizen Kane rules. 'Rules' is my old nick name from another board, so my name is akin to someone nicknamed Doc, being named Citizen Doc. Though just to make this confusing Citizen Kane does rule!




Along the Great Divide
(Raoul Walsh, 1951)

This was a damn good character study movie, that focuses on a hell bent for justice U.S. Marshall, played with grit by Kirk Douglas. The Marshall is willing to cross a vast desert to escape a lynching mob that wants to hang his prisoner (Walter Brennan). Kirk Douglas is so bent on doing his duty that he reminds me of Captain Ahab of Moby Dick. The old man (Walter Brennan) who's accused of cattle wrestling is indeed a shady character. Brennan is at his best here and playing against type. He finds every way possible to torment the Marshall by taunting him over the Marshall's past. His tomboy daughter (Virginia Mayo) is also at her best and really gets to sink her teeth into her character. She's not the pretty girl here, but a well written character that adds much to the story. She's as feisty as Brennan. This is a very focused and tight story about the physiological effects of these people on a near impossible track across the desert.

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Bend of the River (1952)

One of my favorite 50s westerns and in large part due to it's unique filming location near the summit of Mt Hood, also filmed on the Columbia river in Oregon and Washington...Thanks to a wonderful script and great actors and an epic journey the movie kept me interested.

I've never seen a wagon train on top of a mountain traveling over a glacier! This is the story of pioneers on their way to settle along the Columbia river in the Pacific Northwest. Along the way they get ripped off, chased and their lives are threatened by miners who desperately need their supplies as much as the pioneers do.

James Stewart is awesome in this and so is the protagonist Arthur Kennedy. My only complaint is I wish it was longer! It's only 90 minutes and packed with enough adventure for a two hour movie.


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There's 85 days left until the Western Countdown voting deadline is up...I'm attempting to watch 50 westerns before sending in my voting list.

Day 85

Winchester '73 (1950)

Kicking off the decade of the 1950s and ushering in a more complex style of western story telling is Winchester '73. A western that helped revitalized James Stewart's sagging film career, while taking the lanky Stewart from his usual likeable, down-home character to a hardened, man on the edge, who's looking to kill for revenge. And James Stewart pulls off this much more complex character in a powerful and believable way. The movie itself has an unusual structure and pacing. The focus is on a very special gun, the Winchester '73 'One in a Thousand' model. The movie follows the story of the people who come into contact with this highly sought after firearm.



James Stewart is solid in his performance and pairs well with Millard Mitchell who I couldn't help thinking of as an older Arthur Kennedy.

For me the highlight of the movie was the dynamic pairing of two of Hollywood's most colorful stars, Dan Duryea and Shelley Winters. Duryea is Waco Johnny Dean, a man who would shoot someone just because he was bored. He abducts Shelley Winters who despite being in danger still doesn't hesitate to tell Waco just what she thinks of him...and it ain't pretty! When Duryea and Winters are together their chemistry flies and so does the time as Winchester '73 is only 90 minutes long.




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