Seven Men from Now: Lee Marvin steals the show in Bud Boetticher’s first and probably finest Western with Randolph Scott

Seven Men from Now (1956) is the first of the seven collaborations between Director Bud Boetticher and star Randolph Scott. This terrific Western, which set the template for the rest of the films in the series, features a scene-stealing performance by then up & coming Lee Marvin. "A man oughta be able to take care … Continue reading Seven Men from Now: Lee Marvin steals the show in Bud Boetticher’s first and probably finest Western with Randolph Scott

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Otto Preminger’s gritty, dark ‘rogue cop’ Noir reunites the ‘Laura’ duo of Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney

Where the Sidewalk Ends(1950) reunites director Otto Preminger with the stars of his iconic 1944 film 'Laura', Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. This is a more darker tale with Andrews playing a morally conflicted, hard-boiled, New York cop who's trying to stay one step ahead of the law as he obsessively hunts down a mob … Continue reading Where the Sidewalk Ends: Otto Preminger’s gritty, dark ‘rogue cop’ Noir reunites the ‘Laura’ duo of Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney

Escape from Fort Bravo: A Decade before ‘The Great Escape’, John Sturges crafted this thrilling, Civil war era POW Escape adventure featuring William Holden and Eleanor Parker

Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), directed by John Sturges and starring William Holden, Eleanor Parker and John Forsythe, is a Civil-war era Western which details an escape attempt by Confederate soldiers from the eponymous POW camp in Arizona. Made exactly a decade before his classic WWII POW escape drama, "The Great Escape (1963)", Director, John … Continue reading Escape from Fort Bravo: A Decade before ‘The Great Escape’, John Sturges crafted this thrilling, Civil war era POW Escape adventure featuring William Holden and Eleanor Parker

Friendly Persuasion: Gary Cooper is a non-violent hero in William Wyler’s big, warm, colorful and charming slice of Americana that takes a sensitive look at war and religion

Friendly Persuasion(1956), directed by William Wyler and starring Gary Cooper, Anthony Perkins and Dorothy McGuire is a wholesome family entertainer set during the American civil war and tells the story of a pacifist Quaker family, and how their religious beliefs are tested by the onset of war. Gary Cooper started out in the movies in … Continue reading Friendly Persuasion: Gary Cooper is a non-violent hero in William Wyler’s big, warm, colorful and charming slice of Americana that takes a sensitive look at war and religion

The Horse Soldiers: John Ford’s lone stab at a Civil War Western is consistently entertaining and features strong performances from John Wayne and William Holden

Though Director John Ford has been the pre-eminent chronicler of American history, he has never made a film set during the American civil war. The Horse Soldiers (1959), starring John Wayne and William Holden, which came pretty much at the end of his illustrious career was the only film set during that period. Though not … Continue reading The Horse Soldiers: John Ford’s lone stab at a Civil War Western is consistently entertaining and features strong performances from John Wayne and William Holden

The Bravados: A taut, brooding Revenge-Western that puts a dark spin on Gregory Peck’s heroic persona

The Bravados(1958), starring Gregory Peck and Directed by Henry King, is an intense, brooding Western that finds Peck taking revenge against the outlaws who killed his wife. When one thinks of the great actor-director combos from the golden age of Hollywood, the names that come immediately to mind would be John Wayne and John Ford, … Continue reading The Bravados: A taut, brooding Revenge-Western that puts a dark spin on Gregory Peck’s heroic persona

Rio Grande: John Ford brought John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara together for the first time in this final film in his ‘Cavalry’ trilogy

“Wayne’s greatest achievement may have been creating John Wayne. The character he played, the character he invented, was the American persona of the man who is hard and believes in doing right and will do it against all the odds.”Charlton Heston on John Wayne Rio Grande (1950), the third and final film in John Ford's … Continue reading Rio Grande: John Ford brought John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara together for the first time in this final film in his ‘Cavalry’ trilogy

The Big Heat: Fritz Lang inverts gender archetypes to create the first ‘Homme fatale’ in this great film noir

The Big Heat(1953), Directed by the legendary Fritz Lang and starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame in lead roles is a great film noir that both expands and inverts a lot of Noir tropes and archetypes. "In the city of "Kenport", a police sergeant, Tom Duncan. commits suicide. Investigating the incident, fellow detective Sgt. Dave … Continue reading The Big Heat: Fritz Lang inverts gender archetypes to create the first ‘Homme fatale’ in this great film noir

To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly epitomizes the glamor and sizzle of golden age Hollywood in Hitchcock’s witty, elegant, extravaganza

To Catch a Thief(1955), Hitchcock's glossy, lighthearted, caper film offers frothy, romantic entertainment, and Grant and Kelly's combustive star power sets off significant fireworks. Sex on the screen should be suspenseful, I feel. If sex is too blatant or obvious, there’s no suspense. You know why I favor sophisticated blondes in my films? We’re after … Continue reading To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly epitomizes the glamor and sizzle of golden age Hollywood in Hitchcock’s witty, elegant, extravaganza

The African Queen: John Huston brings together Bogart, Hepburn and the wild African landscape to create the ultimate romantic adventure

The African Queen(1951), starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, was director John Huston's adaption of C.S.Forester's 1935 novel of the same name. The film had one of the most difficult shoots in movie history, but it resulted in one of the most endearing romantic adventure films of all time, with Bogart winning an Oscar for … Continue reading The African Queen: John Huston brings together Bogart, Hepburn and the wild African landscape to create the ultimate romantic adventure

Giant: James Dean casts a giant shadow on this sprawling Texan epic

Giant(1956), directed by George Stevens and starring Rock Hudson, James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor was Dean's last film, and it was released after his death. "Everybody thought I had a duster. Y'all thought ol' Spindletop Burke and Burnett was all the oil there was, didn't ya? Well, I'm here to tell you that it ain't, … Continue reading Giant: James Dean casts a giant shadow on this sprawling Texan epic

High Noon: Gary Cooper’s Oscar winning performance towers over this seminal Western classic

High Noon(1952), written by Carl Foreman, produced by Stanley Kramer and directed by Fred Zinnemann is the first of the McCarthy era Westerns, that probed the divisions existing within the American society at the height of the red scare. The film won 4 academy Awards, including a richly deserved best actor trophy for Gary Cooper … Continue reading High Noon: Gary Cooper’s Oscar winning performance towers over this seminal Western classic

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday in this slick, star-driven, Horse opera

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral(1957), directed by John Sturges and starring Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday, is perhaps the most popular and flamboyant version of the events leading up to (and occurred during) the legendary Gunfight On October 26, 1881, Dr. John “Doc” Holliday, allied with the Earp brothers … Continue reading Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday in this slick, star-driven, Horse opera

The Big Country: Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston square off in William Wyler’s epic Western that’s intended to be an allegory for the cold war

The Big Country(1958), with Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston heading an all-star cast, is a visually sumptuous Western drama from the great director, William Wyler. Apart from subverting a lot of the Western myths and genre tropes ,the director intended the film to be an allegory of Cold war, which was at its peak at … Continue reading The Big Country: Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston square off in William Wyler’s epic Western that’s intended to be an allegory for the cold war

Jubal: Glenn Ford and Rod Steiger play rival cowboys in this taut, psychological Western

Director Delmer Daves' overlooked masterpiece Jubal(1956), starring Glenn Ford, Earnest Borgnine and Rod Steiger, is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare's immortal tragedy Othello transported to the old West Director Delmer Daves is most famous for his 1957 western 3:10 to Yuma. But for me, his masterwork is the 1956 film Jubal ; which transported … Continue reading Jubal: Glenn Ford and Rod Steiger play rival cowboys in this taut, psychological Western

Vera Cruz: Burt Lancaster gives a scene-stealing performance opposite Gary Cooper in this colorful Mexican adventure that anticipates & influenced Spaghetti Westerns

Director Robert Aldrich teamed up Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster in his highly entertaining 1954 western, Vera Cruz. Apart from being the first of the the 'grey' westerns, it also happens to be the chief inspiration for the ultra-violent Euro-westerns of the Sixties. It's too bad that Burt Lancaster never did a toothpaste ad. With … Continue reading Vera Cruz: Burt Lancaster gives a scene-stealing performance opposite Gary Cooper in this colorful Mexican adventure that anticipates & influenced Spaghetti Westerns

The Searchers: John Wayne’s greatest performance powers John Ford’s seminal Western magnum opus

May 26th marks John Wayne's birth anniversary. To commemorate this moment, here is a look back on his greatest performance in his greatest film. John Ford's Magnum opus, The Searchers(1956), is universally considered the greatest, and the most influential, Western of all times, and often makes it to the top ten list of the greatest … Continue reading The Searchers: John Wayne’s greatest performance powers John Ford’s seminal Western magnum opus

Touch of Evil: A Baroque and wildly innovative Orson Welles Masterpiece that book-ended the golden era of film Noir

Touch of Evil(1958) is one of  Orson Welles' greatest films and it's perhaps the last great film Noir from the classic period. The Film  was butchered by the studio at the time of its release, but has since been restored to its intended form.   Everything about me is a contradiction, and so is everything … Continue reading Touch of Evil: A Baroque and wildly innovative Orson Welles Masterpiece that book-ended the golden era of film Noir

Hondo: John Wayne stars in an exciting 3D Western that emphasizes romance, courtship and father/son bonds

Hondo(1953), starring John Wayne and Geraldine Page, shows some  new dimensions of Duke as a star and actor, but still remains a quintessential John Wayne Western "Women always figure every man who comes along wants 'em." A typical John Wayne line delivered in the typical John Wayne style by John 'Duke' Wayne. The film is … Continue reading Hondo: John Wayne stars in an exciting 3D Western that emphasizes romance, courtship and father/son bonds

Ben-Hur: Charlton Heston’s career-defining performance powers William Wyler’s magnificent epic

William Wyler's spectacular epic, Ben-Hur(1959), is famed for its grand sets and great action sequences, like the famous chariot race and sea battle. In actuality, it is a classy, intimate human drama that puts its emphasis on great themes and ideas above all else. I like portraying heroes of antiquity whose values were grander and … Continue reading Ben-Hur: Charlton Heston’s career-defining performance powers William Wyler’s magnificent epic