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Gene Autry recommendations?

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Richard--W
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Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby Richard--W » November 28th, 2013, 2:52 pm

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A few years ago I started picking up Gene Autry films on DVD. I wanted the restorations done by Image and the Autry Musuem. There were several box sets consisting of four films each plus a couple of dozen individual titles in the series. Then I caught Autry's TV show on the Westerns Channel, and the color episodes were startling. I decided to get the color films first. So I did a little looking up and found out that Gene Autry made only two feature films in color, and they were both out of print on DVD. His second, THE BIG SOMBRERO (1949) was easy to find and still cheap, but STRAWBERRY ROAN (1948) had been selling for hundreds of dollars -- at one time for $975 -- on amazon marketplace ever since it went out of print in 2008. A year and a half went by with my checking amazon and ebay regularly for an affordable copy. Then last Monday an amazon marketplace seller posted a used copy for $30. Normally I don’t buy DVD’s priced that high, but under the circumstances, I made an exception and clicked Buy It Now. The seller told me he had only posted the DVD a few minutes before I bought it.

Columbia and the Autry Museum did the best they could to restore STRAWBERRY ROAN, but the elements are problematic. The primitive Cinecolor process constantly breaks up and splits into multiple images. Hi-def scanning exposes the special “orange” makeup under the actor’s pancake to correct color anomalies in the photography. But for all its flaws, the film is entertaining. My only real complaint is that Gene Autry seems totally uninvolved in what he's doing. I think he was busy busy busy, and just going through the motions as an actor. The horse stunts are quite sophisticated and a lot of fun.

THE BIG SOMBRERO is the better of the two films in terms of writing and directing. Autry is more engaged by the material, which makes all the difference. Columbia seems to have worked out the problems with Cinecolor during principle photography. The color is correct and lovely in an antique kinda way. The film is partially shot in the Saguaro cactus park that would soon become Old Tucson Studio. STRAWBERRY ROAN, on the other hand, makes extensive use of Sedona, Arizona’s red rock country (I collect films shot in Sedona). Red, incidentally, is the most unstable part of the spectrum in the Cinecolor process. Both films gain enormously in terms of atmosphere, style and production value from these locations.

Now that I have the rare color films I want to resume gathering more of Autry’s classic musicals. I saw many on TV when I was little but except for PHANTOM EMPIRE (which is a hoot) I don’t know which is what. What would you folks say are some of Autry’s best films? or his most interesting? Which DVD’s should I buy? any recommendations?
Last edited by Richard--W on November 28th, 2013, 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MissGoddess
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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby MissGoddess » November 28th, 2013, 5:16 pm

I'd be interested in suggestions myself. I wish I knew his movies better...I came to like and enjoy Gene very much when I had the Encore Western channel to watch, which featured him every Sunday afternoon. I probably enjoyed the earlier ones a little better if only because Gene's energy is high and it's fun to see trappings of the era.

I am fairly certain Encore Westerns aired The Strawberry Roan, at least I think that's where I saw it. I wish more of Gene's movies had been in color.
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rerun
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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby rerun » December 29th, 2013, 1:47 pm

So glad to hear. I was thrilled when ask in May of this year to do an hour long audio for the Autry Museum.
I took it as quite an honor. Working directly with Mrs. Autry's assistant could not have been more fun.
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.

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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby mrsl » December 29th, 2013, 11:05 pm

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After nearly three years I think I finally found someone who can help me copy movies from the TV and/or video tapes to DVD's. After playing with it for a while Ms. Goddess, I will contact you and maybe we can work out some copies since I still have the Western channel and they run Gene's movies almost every morning between 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
.
Anne


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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby MissGoddess » December 30th, 2013, 8:26 am

Thank, Anne!
Rerun, how super for you...I bet they were the nicest people at the Autry. I mean, were there two nicer people in Hollywood than Will Rogers and Gene Autry? Maybe so, but not too many to count!
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
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mrsl
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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby mrsl » January 15th, 2014, 2:53 am

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Still waiting for my grand daughter to come out (she lives way, way far away), but if any of Gene's movies are on Netflix, or if you see specials at the Walmart or somewhere, I definitely recommend:

Down Mexico Way, 1941 - takes Gene down into Mexico, but a pretty good one.

Riders in the Sky: 1941 - Although I prefer Vaughn Monroe's version, Gene's version of Ghost Riders in the Sky is pretty good too, and it is sung and played about 4 times during the course of this movie.

Big Sombrero: 1949 - this one is a big color spectacular, extravaganza. Most of Gene's movies were B&W so this one is special.

Sierra Sue: Since you've seen some of his movies, you know there is usually a lady that hates him in the beginning, but he wins her over by the end. This is a little different from the others, but again a lot of fun.
.
Anne


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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby MissGoddess » January 15th, 2014, 8:54 am

"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

RedRiver
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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby RedRiver » January 15th, 2014, 1:43 pm

My mom had some Gene Autry records on 78 RPM! "Back in the Saddle Again," "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds." Lest we think the term "album" originated with the long playing format, these records were kept in a scrapbook type of folder, inserted into sleeves. Just like a photo album!

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mrsl
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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby mrsl » January 22nd, 2014, 3:36 am

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Miss Goddess:

Have you ever felt completely frustrated? I am with this *(&%() recorder. My grand daughter has been here but as usual in a hurry and didn't have time to check it out for me, so I'm going to do my best. I have a tone of movies that I want to transfer and I'm tired of having these videos around. By the way, since you mentioned Autry movies, Encore Western is showing them very liberally at all times of the day and night. It makes me want to scream.\!!! :evil: :evil: :evil:
Anne


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mrsl
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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby mrsl » June 6th, 2014, 9:20 pm

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For anyone who is interested, if you google Gene Autry, the first item listed is his "complete info on Gene Autry". If you click on that, then on any movie, you get a line that invites you to click on the Museum of the American West. This will bring you to all of Gene's movies. Halfway down on the page you will find the Collections where you can get a 2 disc DVD of four movies for $16.97, which is pretty good. The movies are all updated by Gene's own lab and many of them are in better condition than some big MGM movies you've seen. These are clear and bright.

Some of my favorites are:

The Cowboy and the Indians: This is a modern times story whereby the Indians are screwed by crooked government agents who are reselling the food and seed to locals instead of giving it to the Indians. It also involves a necklace, a blanket, and starving Indians. e.g. it holds three stories in one movie. It was made in 1948 and ends at Christmas time where Gene is singing Here Comes Santa Claus, and a childs (I think Indians), choir sings Silent Night, I wondered why he didnt do Rudolph.

Cow Town: (1950) - Gene has to prove to Gail Davis that barbed wire will stop cattle without hurting them. Gail was his love interest quite a few times, bu they never had a kissing scene as I can recall.

The Last Roundup (1947): Here one rancher is cheating his neighbors and the Indians on water rights. Many of Gene's movies are set in modern times with cars doing a lot of the ranch work, and airplanes involved in dropping winter feed, and salt licks, etc. Not all of them are 1800's shoot 'em ups, although there is plenty of that in all of his movies, but that is what the kids loved about him. He always followed his code of the West and never killed a man if there was any way to avoid it. He had a list of 10 do's and don't's that kids were supposed to live by and I guess a lot of the little boys actually followed his plan. Any body here?
.
Anne


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mrsl
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Re: Gene Autry recommendations?

Postby mrsl » July 10th, 2014, 4:32 am

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THE STRAWBERRY ROAN: 1948:


Basically this is the story of how Gene acquires Champion; but in the space of one hour and 13 minutes, this movie packs more information than most of today's 2 hour epics. In the first 10 minutes or so, we meet Jack Holt, father of favored son Tim who is an up and coming bronc breaker, his older sister, and Gene Autry, foreman of Holt's ranch who wandered onto the ranch 10 years earlier, broke and penniless yet grew to become Holt's right hand man. The strawberry roan (Champion), is a wild stallion with his own herd of mares that everyone wants to capture but Gene finally manages to do the deed and brings him home, where the roan falls in horsey love with Sister's mare, Sweetheart. With Dad's full permission, Tim decides to break the roan and takes two tries, before getting badly thrown, and the horse, from fright almost stomps on him then jumps the fence. In the fall however, Tim is paralyzed so Holt decides the horse is a killer and must be put down. During the search for him he is shot in a minor way and hurts his leg but nothing serious so Gene pretends to put him down, but instead tends his wounds and tames him. After a while Champ (now named), comes back to visit with Sweetheart and Holt fires Gene for lying to him but Gene keeps the horse in a secret cove and continues to train him with the intent of giving him to Tim as therapy to help him walk again. Also during this time sis gives her horse Sweetheart, to Gene to keep as his own. Spaced in between all of this are a few songs by Gene alone and with his backup band and the sister finds him and helps the birth of Champ and Sweetheart's foal. This has gotten up just about into 50 minutes with about 20 minutes for the big finale and happy ending. (No spoilers from me).

The movie is in color (one of the few of Gene's) but the color is that one that is based on the three prime colors - red, blue, and yellow, which is not as smooth looking as Technicolor, and seems to have a kind of haze surrounding the figures on screen.

The reason I chose to write about it is the writing is so compact and succinct. Facts are given in common friendly dialog, and/or arguments or whatever but the writer doesn't need to go into great detail because he gets his points across quickly. This was a factor of most of the writing of many of the old western TV shows of both half hour and whole hour. When The Virginian and Wagon Train went to 90 minutes, often there were lags in the story that were filled in with shots of riders going back and forth to town, and the wagon train traveling along just to show off scenery and use up minutes I guess.

Many of Gene's movies are pretty laughable by today's standards such as a guy gets shot in the chest and there is no blood even on his shirt, the hopping onto a horse from behind (ouch :oops: :cry: !!!), and so on, but in every case a story is always told whether it's about the Texas Rangers, the Canadian Mounted Police, or just a town sheriff. The point is Gene follows his 10 rules of how to behave like a good human being. Sounds funny but little boys really believed in his 'code of the West' (my brother being one).

All I'm saying is, if you do like Westerns, don't be afraid to check out a Gene Autry movie. His family has had many of them updated and cleared up and they look pretty good. What have you got to lose?
.
Anne


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