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Review: "The Valley Of Gwangi" (1969) Starring James Franciscus And Gila Golan; Warner Archive Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Hank Reineke

The blending of two disparate but popular film genres – in this case, the horror/sci-fi film with the saddle opera - was hardly new when The Valley of Gwangi hit the big screen in 1969. This film’s most identifiable predecessor, one pitting cowboys against a prehistoric monster, might be The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956), but truth be told Hollywood had been combining these two genres almost from the very beginning. In the 1930s and ‘40s, audiences thrilled to the ghostly monochrome exploits of such western serial heroes as Ken Maynard, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Buster Crabbe with such films as Tombstone Canyon (1932), The Vanishing Riders (1935), and Wild Horse Phantom (1944). Universal’s Curse of the Undead (1959) was a later but no less interesting experiment for Hollywood’s preeminent fright factory. The studio removed the vampire from the usual atmospheric Gothic trappings of old Europe and dropped him onto the sagebrush plain.
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Slow West review – a lyrical ode to love on the wild frontier

Musician-turned-director John Maclean strikes gold with this haunting mix of genres in the old west

Musicians have long been drawn to the cinematic myths of the old west. From the singing cowboys of early sound cinema (Ken Maynard, Gene Autry et al) through such big-screen Elvis vehicles as Flaming Star (1960) and Charro! (1969), to Glen Campbell in True Grit (1969) and Bob Dylan in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), the western has proved the natural home of the troubadour.

More recently, Australian rocker Nick Cave has done some of his very best work writing and co-scoring The Proposition (2005) and even having a cameo as a storytelling saloon singer in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), on which he collaborated once again with long-term musical compadre Warren Ellis. Little surprise, then, that this first feature from former Beta Band musician John Maclean should be a western, albeit one
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Roy Rogers rides again at the BFI London film festival

He's been all but forgotten, but the Lff's restrospective should spur new interest in the singing cowboy and his palomino, Trigger

It's as if Roy Rogers never existed. The "singing cowboy" has almost entirely disappeared from our screens. The only time you're likely to catch a glimpse of him is when Bob Hope movie Son of Paleface turns up on television – it features Rogers gently sending himself up, as well as his beautiful palomino Trigger, surely the most good-looking horse in the history of westerns, performing a dance.

Rogers (whose real name was Leonard Slye) made more than 80 films. Early in his career, he was one of the original Sons of the Pioneers, the cowboy singing group whose songs included Tumbling Tumbleweeds (featured in The Big Lebowski) and Cool Water. He had his own radio show, his own TV show and there was even a restaurant chain bearing his name.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Thelma Todd: Packard Campus Sept. ’10

Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn in George Cukor‘s Adam’s Rib (top) Home movies of scary folk such as Alfred Hitchcock and Richard Nixon (and of some non-scary celebrities and non-celebrities as well), in addition to film classics and/or rarities starring Marilyn Monroe, Thelma Todd, Ken Maynard, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Dustin Farnum, Diane Lane, Judy Holliday, Michael Paré, Olivia de Havilland, and Errol Flynn will be screened at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., in September. [Packard Campus Sept. 2010 Schedule.] Packard Campus highlights include both the obvious — Michael Curtiz and William Keighley‘s masterful The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), George Cukor‘s delightful comedy Adam’s Rib (1949), Billy Wilder‘s entertaining, gender-bending Some Like It Hot (1959) — and the obscure: two Thelma Todd features, two Ken Maynard oaters, and one silent featuring Dustin Farnum (no relation to Dustin Hoffman, but close [...]
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Not Available on DVD: Bigfoot

Bigfoot (aka: Sasquatch), the elusive North American apeman whose alleged sightings sparked a craze that swept the nation in the 1970’s, inspired a string of cheap movies that were rushed into theatres then to cash in on the fad. The Legend Of Boggy Creek (1972), Shriek Of The Mutilated (1974), Curse Of Bigfoot (1976) Sasquatch, The Legend Of Bigfoot (1977) all made a quick buck and who can forget the ‘Bigfoot and Wildboy’ TV series and the Bigfoot episode of ‘The Six Million Dolar Man’ (and c’mon, tell me Chewbacca wasn’t inspired by the big hairy guy as well) but none were as gloriously goofy as the low-rent 1970 campfest Bigfoot. A low-budget quickie loaded with Indians, biker gangs, redneck cops, and a whole family of clumsy bigfeet, Bigfoot is about ten times more entertaining than it has any right to be, but it is Not available on DVD.

Bigfoot opens with Joi Lansing
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Talkin' Westerns with A.C. Lyles

(A.C. Lyles, below)

by Jon Zelazny

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at EightMillionStories.com on February 27, 2009

There’s an A.C. Lyles Building at the Paramount Pictures main lot, but you won’t find A.C. Lyles there; his office is on the fourth floor of the William S. Hart Building.

When I arrived for our interview, Mr. Lyles was chatting with some visitors in his outer office. He bid me into his main office, and asked his assistant Pam to put in a video… a short promo reel that opens with a six minute tribute by then-President Ronald Reagan, who warmly recalls his and Nancy’s many years of friendship with A.C. and his wife Martha, and congratulates A.C. on his fifty years at the studio. The President’s intro is followed by taped congratulations from President Carter, President Ford, and Vice President Bush, then assorted clips celebrating Mr.
See full article at The Hollywood Interview »

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