Thursday, April 2, 2020

When we think of Directors who helped and helped define the career and screen persona of John Wayne we first think of John Ford, rightly so, and Howard Hawks....and to some extent Raoul Walsh...but did you know how influential Henry Hathaway was to the Duke's career?
In his very enjoyable, very readable and highly informative book on Director Henry Hathaway, author Harold N. Pomainville points out that Hathaway "played a decisive role at critical times in Duke's career. With THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS, he helped consolidate Wayne's star status. NORTH TO ALASKA cushioned the failure of THE ALAMO, by providing Wayne with a much needed commercial success. With THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER, Hathaway resurrected Wayne's invincible image in the wake of the star's cancer surgery. Under Hathaway's sure hand, Wayne delivered an Oscar-winning performance in TRUE GRIT. After he completed ROOSTER COGBURN Wayne confided to Hathaway that he had hoped Henry would ride to the rescue once more."
Wayne wanted Henry to direct ROOSTER COGBURN but at the time Hathaway's relationship with Producer Hal Wallis was at an all time low and when Hathaway found out that Wallis' wife Martha Hyer had written the script under the aka of Martin Julien that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Alas and alack the Duke and Henry were never to work together again.

Friday, November 15, 2019


Wow, wow and more wow.”  Words can hardly describe my reaction to the long awaited and highly anticipated epic tome from the iconic director and renowned photographer Steve Carver…….WESTERN PORTRAITS: The Unsung Heroes & Villains of the Silver Screen and  believe you, me , it did not let me down….and…it exceeded all of my expectations.  This volume delivers more than magnificent photographs  and impressive images of Western greats, most of whom we already know.   It also provides interesting and informative anecdotes and bio material on all subjects…a lot of which we did not know…thanks to noted writer and film historian C. Courtney Joyner.  In addition, the book provides a listing of all Western or Western themed projects each individual appeared in or was involved with and best of all….their image….a moment in time brilliantly captured by Carver’s cameras.  And as a bonus, the book contains an illuminating and enlightening brief essay, by Joyner, “Carved on Film Western Movies and The Faces That Made Them.”  Title is self-explanatory. But most of all it’s the conceptualization ·that Carver captured that sets this book apart from all other photography books on Westerns and those beloved people associated with them.  This book is a must for, not only, all Western lovers, but also for photography buffs, movie buffs or history buffs.  The great legend Roger Corman wrote the Forward.  There is no index, but subjects are in alphabetical order.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Met up with amigo Tom Betts and had a great time at the screening of GET MEAN at the Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood last night. Such a pleasure meeting Tony Anthony and Lloyd Battista...both very very friendly and affable and each with a great sense of humor. Tony regaled us seriously and humorously with wonderful anecdotes about how he got started in movies and all the trials and tribulations he went through getting the "Stranger' movies made. Since the three "Dollar" movies with Clint were already in the can and were going to be released one after the other, MGM wanted more than one "Stranger" film so they could do the same, but when it came time to release SILENT STRANGER Tony's man at MGM was no longer there and the new regime totally buried it and put it on the shelf to die. GET MEAN took a long time to get made, mostly money problems and Tony said, at one point, he even had to borrow $50,00 from the director (Ferdinando Baldi) to keep the production going. They would get some money shoot a few scenes and then have to wait for more money to do some more filming. GET MEAN was the 4th in the "Stranger" series and he had hopes of taking the character and putting him into all kinds of different settings and locations....but sadly that never happened. The evening was made possible by William Lustig of Blue Underground which will be October.....GET MEAN on Blu-ray with commentary by Tony and Lloyd along with last night's Q&A moderated by Rob "WORD ON WESTERNS" Word. (Tony also said that COMIN' AT YA!" will be released on Blue-ray in November....but I'm not sure what company will be doing this.) Everybody in attendance...also there were fellow amigos Henry Parke and Chuck Cirino.....were given a poster of GET MEAN which Tony and Lloyd graciously signed. Tony is a fellow West Virginian and great to talk to. We exchanged a few mountaineer stories and he gladly signed my three "Stranger" posters as well as Lloyd did with my SILENT STRANGER one. (Interesting mentioned Tony is a fellow Mountaineer and.....Lloyd is from Ohio like Tom and went to college at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) in Pittsburg just up the river from Morgantown and WVU where I went to college.) Tony said there probably will never be an official release of BLINDMAN since there are so many boot-leg copies out there. He further said that he is probably the most boot-legged person out there. Again a wonderful and most memorable evening.
Like · Comment · 

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Here's what Andre de Toth says about Randolph Scott in the book DE TOTH ON DE TOTH edited by Anthony Slide......"I believe Randolph Scott could have gone further as an performer. But he did not have the ambition to step up,to be better in anything except golf. Golf was all that counted. He was a handsome man; took showers twice a day, I believe. He was a man whose shoes shined. But he had a tremendous inferiority complex about his acting ability and that made him so stiff. You had the feeling that if Scott picked up a feather from down on the floor, he was going to crumble. He creaked. In cases like his don't try to bend the actors because they will crack And that's a mess. Good actor he wasn't. He was Randy Scott. Which had advantages, but no surprises." Randy appeared in 6 features directed by de Toth...MAN IN THE SADDLE (51), CARSON CITY (52), THE STRANGER WORE A GUN (53), THUNDER OVER THE PLAINS (54), RIDING SHOTGUN (54) and THE BOUNTY HUNTER (54). On Harry Joe Brown Randy's producing partner and Randy...."He (Brown) made a lot of films and drank a lot, even for those times. Scott drank a lot too...sasparilla...and they understood each other because instead of reading scripts they read "The Wall Street journal". They had financial interest together. Neither of them knew much about stories. It was a good combination. They didn't fight about story points. They were both gentlemen, nice people. Oh, they cared about money all right, but unfortunately they didn't care enough about films. Ours was a strange relationship....I cared so much for something they cared so little about at that time. Later they discovered they should have been more concerned about stories." Caption under a pic of ol' Randy hisself...."Randolph Scott, who could beat a man with "The Wall Street Journal" in his back pocket a Cold .45 strapped on his hip...and who knew how to use both. What do you want, acting too?"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the 70s

Here is my review of this outstanding documentary that I posted on Amazon.
5.0 out of 5 stars
I had the pleasure of seeing this great and amazingly well done documentary in a special showing at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I don't say this lightly, but this is probably the best documentary I have ever seen on a particular genre and "Eurocrime" was and is one hell of a genre. A lot of love, as well as time and extensive research, went into the making of this movie and you can tell by what you see and hear on the screen. And to top it off you get to hear from the horse's mouth, so to speak, anecdote after anecdote about the trials and tribulations and fun....oh what fun these actors must have had.....while making these classic films. Well worth the price of admission and more. A must have for fans of all genres and especially fans of all those "Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the 70's). Hats off to writer/director Mike Malloy for archiving this period of movie making history. What a monumental achievement! PS: After seeing this doc you want to go out and find copies of every film mentioned so you can see, first hand, how terrific and exciting most of them are. (Would love for someone to make a comprehensive doc like this one on spaghetti westerns.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Really enjoyed seeing and hearing Robert Wagner at Vroman's last night. He truly might be the last link to the old Hollywood....and that's why he wrote his new book You MUST REMEMBER reminisce about the "good old" days and to talk about places and people who aren't around anymore. Kind of a bitter sweet journey for him. He looked great.

He talked a bit about the book but mostly fielded questions from the audience. One surprise member of the audience was actor Bill Wellman (William Wellman Jr, Director "Wild" Bill Wellman's son) Bill Sr directed some of Hollywood's greatest movies....PUBLIC ENEMY, THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, YELLOW SKY, BATTLEGROUND, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY, and TRACK OF THE CAT to name just a few.

I asked RJ why he never made any westerns after 1957's THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES (his 4th) and he said he never stopped making them....they stopped coming to him. I told him about how I was amazed at how he was able to jump onto a bareback horse with one hand while holding a rifle in the other (something I've seen no other person do). He said the trick was taught to him by a stuntman. Speaking of stuntmen... Jack Young! I told him that Black Jack Young said to say hello and he said..."Be sure to say hello to him for me."

He was asked if there were any roles that he regretted turning down and he said none that he could think of.....and that the only movie he would have liked to have been a part of and didn't make it was BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Grindhouse Releasing's THE BIG GUNDOWN Blue-ray 3 disc set


Just finished watching the 95 minute "Expanded US Cut" Blu-ray version of THE BIG GUNDOWN with commentary by C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke. I enjoyed their commentary, and even though I personally didn't hear or find out anything new, I thought they kept it interesting and informative all the way through and that they worked well with each other. However, for the uninitiated and novice spaghetti fan or someone not familiar with this Lee Van Cleef classic their commentary was spot on. Highly recommended.

As for the longer version in Italian with English subtitles, I still prefer the Franco Cleef fan based reconstruction version. Missing scenes were added to the version originally released in the US and where scenes in English were unavailable they were subtitled. I know, I know...the newly released extended version is a pristine Blu-ray copy and has never looked better on tv while the Franco Cleef version is only available on regular dvd......but.....I, personally, like having most of the movie in English instead of having the whole thing in Italian and subtitled. You just gotta hear Lee's voice. Everybody else can be dubbed, but not Lee.
(See GOD'S GUN.) It's not right.

Lottsa interesting bonus stuff, too!

All in all cheers to Grindhouse Releasing for giving us this 3 disc set that belongs in everyone's collection.