Saturday, May 31, 2008

Warlock (1959), Edward Dmytryk

Fabulous! Strange mix of characters, all of whom had something unusual going on. Made me want to camp out in Warlock for a few nights. Great cast headed up by Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn (who plays a prosperous, co-dependent cripple). Fonda and Quinn are invited to unruly Warlock; Fonda's the highly paid hired gun and Quinn keeps him in "practice bullets" which apparently the $400 a month doesn't cover. The two set up shop until, as Fonda prophesized, the people will no longer want him around. The colour is gorgeous. Composition is magnificent. Dolores Michaels appears in china blue and pinks, looking innocent as a newly iced cake, despite her confession of having tasted whisky "never... once." Yeah, ok, whisky. This was never meant to be some kind of DeForest Kelley shrine site, but here he is in all his western duds, as a solid supporting character.

Cowboy names: Curley, Skinner, Bacon

Friday, May 30, 2008

Seven Men from Now (1956), Budd Boetticher

Lee Marvin is always highly watchable. Lee Marvin with a bright green trailing scarf is mesmerizing. I picked this one up because I had never seen anything with Randolph Scott in it, whose name I have only ever heard sung by a heavenly choir of homesteaders. Scott turns out to be older than I expect, just like Gary Cooper in High Noon: the west was civilized by old guys! OK, so maybe this is one of his later flicks. This is a straightforward but intriguing little movie, another tight one at 78 minutes. Scott accompanies a young couple as they make their way west - also keeping his eyes peeled for seven men he needs to mow down. I might need to get a few more directed by Budd Boetticher, to get a better sense of why he is still highly regarded in the genre.

Best cowboy insult: "gentle."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fear in the Night (1947), Maxwell Shane

Strange little postwar flick and first screen appearance of DeForest Kelley who appears almost as uncomfortable here as he did when asked many years later to kiss that Natira woman. Although his brother-in-law appears to be something like 20 years older than he is (possible, I suppose) I enjoyed the unrolling of the mystery as discussed between these two. This is essentially the entire movie, as the only other characters, two women, are not much more than props shuffled from one location to another (a waste of cutie Kay Scott). Likely pounded out pretty quickly by Cornell Woolrich, who wrote a number suspense stories for popular magazines. Not bad - I wasn't sure what was going on until the conclusion, though I suppose we shouldn't be handing out accolades for my own dimness.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Union Depot (1932), Alfred E. Green

Good ol' Scraps! If it wasn't for him, I'd for sure have the braces on me by now. What a great premise: a down-on-his luck hobo finds a wad of money in some guy's suit and has a great evening at the train station. Starring what looked to me to be Ralph Fiennes and an aptly named Joan Blondell. Again with the counterfeit money! So pleasant to see a tightly packed quick moving flick about 70 minutes in length - no time wasted here plus added bonus of a few saucy pre-Code jokes. The ridiculous 30s slang of these movies make my heart sing.

Hoosegow (noun): jail, from the Spanish juzgado, panel of judges, courtroom.