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Posted: February 3rd, 2009, 6:10 pm
by mrsl
Dakota: (1945)

During the night and early this morning, I started out with either Gene Autry or Roy Rogers and I should have stayed with them but I went on to Dakota with John Wayne and Vera Ralston. I've seen this one before but thought it would put me back to sleep - Wrong. The Duke always holds my interest. Actually with Ward Bond as the bad guy (which I hate), and Walter Brennan as the irascible riverboat captain, this is not such a bad movie. John is still learning how to be a star and loosen up, and Vera though now the type I really like, is o.k. in this one about land wars and husbands wrapped around the little woman's finger. In between the shooting, is opportunity for laughs, the experienced cast backs the Duke up well, and it's not that hard to watch.

Dallas: (1950)

Another good cast with Coop, Ruth Roman, Leif Erickson and Raymond Massey, but the best I can say for this one is Coop rode Randy Scott's horse through a lot of the film and that horse is always a pleasure to see. (Sorry Coop's girl, I just don't 'get' Coop as a cowboy.) I much prefer Coop in modern day stuff. In this he's taken over foppish Federal Marshall Leif Erickson's identity to basically get revenge over Massey and his brothers for a fire they started during the war, even though he (Coop) is a wanted criminal himself. Make sense? In the meantime Coop steals Leif's fiance' (Ruth Roman), and of course everything ends happily. What turned me off was the stupidity the director held his audience at. The trick shots in a couple of instances were highly unlikely, and at one point, Coop rides (at night) from town to Ruth's hacienda, and back to town again all at night and still early enough that women are still out on the streets of the town.

Last but not least:

War Drums: (1957)

Lex Barker as an Indian, Joan Taylor as a mexican seniorita, and Ben Johnson, playing Ben Johnson. Joan Taylor was in probably every TV cowboy show ever made, usually as the love interest to Wyatt Earp, Lucas, Bronco, Will, etc., etc., etc. Lex captures Joan, and after Ben offers to buy her (to save her from being treated as a slave), Lex decides to take her for his mate. She goes along as meek as a lamb until she's told what expected of her and she fights with his sister, that's when she tells him she won't be his normal mate, she want to be a warrior, so he teaches her how to be. Then they go on raids and fight mexicans and Americans both, until Ben catches up with them and warns them the troops are coming. So again, everything ends happily as they go off into the sunset. I can see what Lana Turner saw in Lex, he's good to look at, but he couldn't act his way out of the same paper bag that Eddie Fisher worked with, and Lex had to be as embarrassing to Lana as Eddie was to Debbie.

Call me an idiot, but I do love these silly westerns. Their saving grace is that they were and still are purely fictional. Today's westerns are more realistic in clothing, indoor scenery and decor' (ha-ha), and even in story telling, but the old ones are strictly for entertainment. You can laugh at them knowing nobody took them seriously - I'm talking about these hundreds of B and C westerns - Not the A - Westerns like Ford made or any of the other great Western directors. Just these little 90 minute things where actors were learning their craft.



Posted: April 30th, 2009, 4:22 pm
by JackFavell

I don't know about Dakota and Dallas, but I just watched War Drums about a week ago on my computer.

I watched it initially to see Ben Johnson, whom I just discovered. At the beginning, I was smirking at poor Joan's plight, and at Lex, stripped to the waist, being whipped. (I must say, you are right- he is great to look at.) But by the middle of the picture, I was really enjoying myself, and thought that it was nice to see a woman as a warrior.

I loved the entertainment value this western gave for it's small stature. It was fun and moved pretty quick, and I got to listen to Ben Johnson drawl. It could have used more riding and stunts, because there is nothing more beautiful in this world than Ben Johnson riding a horse, but it was altogether a pleasant experience.


Posted: April 30th, 2009, 4:26 pm
by movieman1957
I haven't seen "War Drums" but "Dakota" and "Dallas" are pleasant if uninspired viewing. Cooper looks a bit silly in that hat at the beginning but he settles in. If I remember right Ruth Roman is the lead lady and that first kiss Cooper pops on her to fool some people that he is who he claims to be is a great nonreaction on her part.

The question is do lower grade westerns hold up better than low grade anything else?


Posted: April 30th, 2009, 5:40 pm
by mrsl
Hi Movieman:

Actually, I can easily watch a 1935 western more than I can watch a lot of contemporary 1935 mysteries, dramas, comedies, etc., etc., etc. A 1935 movie about the Old West is totally illusion since nobody really knows what went on during a cattle drive, or an attack by Indians to a wagon train, although probably all they really had to do was ask their extras for information, since many of them probably lived through both types of events. As for contemporary stories, everyone seems so glib with the smart talk, and action, but very few characters have much depth until about the mid 30's when the slew of writers came along who wrote the great screenplays for the 1939 offerings. Stagecoach: Suddenly a gunslinger had a past which created the reason for his way of life. A woman with no schooling or education had to rely on her looks in order to survive. People could condemn her, but nobody held out a helping hand. Casablanca: Two people who obviously had a past together, have a chance to renew it while living the most climactic event of their lives commence. Those late 30's, early 40's movies were a wake up call that people wanted more than fluff and bare boobs in their movies, they wanted films they could sink their teeth into, or that made them think. Westerns were for fun, they didn't have to be highly intelligent, one guy could fight off 20 with one six shooter, just like today one guy can take care of 20 as long as he knows his kick fighting.

Today, you often run into an Arnold, Sly, Lethal Weapon, or Die Hard movie on the premium movie channels, because they are still strictly for fun, as are the old westerns. Old movies hang around as long as they're still entertainment, whether class A, B, or C, and some become either Classics, or cult movies.

At least that's my interpretation.



Posted: April 30th, 2009, 7:26 pm
by klondike
mrsl wrote:
I can see what Lana Turner saw in Lex, he's good to look at, but he couldn't act his way out of the same paper bag that Eddie Fisher worked with, and Lex had to be as embarrassing to Lana as Eddie was to Debbie.


I doubt that Lana considered Lex's acting abilities to be much inferior to her own limited dramatic potential; and any social embarrassment she might have felt about his tennis-boy beefcake personna would have been grossly overshadowed by his alleged abuse of her daughter.