Film Review – THE SPOILERS (1942)

Image result for the spoilers 1942Spoilers, The (1942; USA; B&W; 87m) ***  d. Ray Enright; w. Rex Beach, Lawrence Hazard; ph. Milton R. Krasner; m. Hans J. Salter, Frederick Hollander, Frank Loesser.  Cast: Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, Margaret Lindsay, Harry Carey, Richard Barthelmess, George Cleveland, Samuel S. Hinds, Russell Simpson, William Farnum, Marietta Canty, Jack Norton, Ray Bennett, Forrest Taylor, Art Miles. An Alaskan miner and his partner financed by a saloon entertainer, fight to save their gold claim from a crooked commissioner. Rousing, if simplistic, entertainment benefits from star power of its three leads and strong production values. Enright directs efficiently and Wayne and Scott spar well for the attentions of Dietrich. Filmed three times previously (in 1914, 1923 and 1930) and remade again in 1955. [PG]

Film Review – SEVEN MEN FROM NOW (1956)

Image result for seven men from nowSeven Men from Now (1956; USA; Colour; 78m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Budd Boetticher; w. Burt Kennedy; ph. William H. Clothier; m. Henry Vars.  Cast: Randolph Scott, Gail Russell, Lee Marvin, Walter Reed, John Larch, Don ‘Red’ Barry, Fred Graham, John Beradino, John Phillips, Chuck Roberson, Stuart Whitman, Pamela Duncan. Ex-sheriff Ben Stride tracks the seven men who held up a Wells Fargo office and killed his wife. Tightly directed Western with Scott in fine form as the brooding ex-sheriff and Marvin also excellent as a chancer looking to profit. Scenic photography and the smitten Russell add to the ingredients, making this one of the finest of the star and directors’ collaborations. [PG]

Film Review – SANTA FE (1951)

Santa Fe (1951; USA; Technicolor; 87m) ∗∗½  d. Irving Pichel; w. Kenneth Gamet, Louis Stevens; ph. Charles Lawton Jr.; m. Paul Sawtell.  Cast: Randolph Scott, Janis Carter, Jerome Courtland, Peter M. Thompson, John Archer, Warner Anderson, Roy Roberts, Billy House, Olin Howland, Allene Roberts, Jock Mahoney. After the Civil War four brothers who fought for the South head west. Yanks are building the Santa Fe Railroad and one of the brothers joins them. The other three still hold their hatred of the North and join up with those trying to stop the railroad’s completion.  Disjointed and unevenly directed western still has its moments, but it uneasily blends melodrama with comic relief. Whilst Scott is as capable as ever in the lead the film is not one of his best. Based on the novel by James Vance Marshall. [U]

Film Review Round-up – A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (2014); CROSSFIRE (1947); CROSSFIRE TRAIL (2001) and DECISION AT SUNDOWN (1957).

51Z-D5DDmkL._SY300_Walk Among the Tombstones, A (2014; USA; Technicolor; 113m) ∗∗∗½  d. Scott Frank; w. Scott Frank; ph. Mihai Malaimare Jr.; m. Carlos Rafael Rivera; ed. Jill Savitt.  Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Marina Squerciati, Sebastian Roché, Boyd Holbrook, Stephanie Andujar, David Harbour, Briana Marin, Toshiko Onizawa, Purva Bedi, Maurice Compte, Patrick McDade, Luciano Acuna Jr., Hans Marrero, Laura Birn. Matt Scudder (Neeson), an unlicensed private investigator, reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife. Neeson is on fine form and although it never strays too far from genre conventions this is a professionally packaged dark thriller. Based on the novel by Lawrence Block. [15]

220px-Crossfire213Crossfire (1947; USA; B&W; 85m) ∗∗∗½  d. Edward Dmytryk; w. John Paxton; ph. J. Roy Hunt; m. Roy Webb; ed. Harry W. Gerstad.  Cast: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame, Sam Levene, Paul Kelly, Jacqueline White, Steve Brodie, Lex Barker. This unusual and worthwhile black-and-white film noir was one of the first movies to deal with issues of anti-Semitism. A weary Washington detective must get to the bottom of a seemingly motive-lacking murder, with the prime suspect a boozy soldier who can only vaguely recall the events of the night. Dmytryk (also responsible for MURDER MY SWEET in 1944) directs with a sure and efficient hand giving the story sufficient room to breathe whilst keeping the plot moving along. Whilst this is not a classic, the film is one of the better examples of the atmosphere and tension the genre could create with a gifted director at the helm. Based on the novel “The Brick Foxhole” by Richard Brooks. Also available in a computer colourised version. [PG]

Crossfire_Trail_CoverCrossfire Trail (TV) (2001; USA; Colour; 92m) ∗∗∗  d. Simon Wincer; w. Charles Robert Carner; ph. David Eggby; m. Eric Colvin; ed. Terry Blythe.  Cast: Tom Selleck, Virginia Madsen, Wilford Brimley, David O’Hara, Christian Kane, Barry Corbin, Joanna Miles, Ken Pogue, Patrick Kilpatrick, Rex Linn, William Sanderson, Daniel Parker, Marshall R. Teague, Brad Johnson, Mark Harmon. Rafe Covington promises a dying friend that he’ll watch over the man’s wife and ranch after he’s gone. Well-made western with a strong central performance from Selleck, but an overly melodramatic villain in Harmon. Good support cast headed by Brimley as wisened cow hand. Based on the novel by Louis L’Amour [15]

Decision_at_Sundown_FilmPosterDecision at Sundown (1957; USA; Technicolor; 77m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Budd Boetticher; w. Charles Lang; ph. Burnett Guffey; m. Heinz Roemheld; ed. Al Clark.  Cast: Randolph Scott, John Carroll, Karen Steele, Valerie French, Noah Beery Jr., John Archer, Andrew Duggan, James Westerfield, John Litel, Ray Teal, Vaughn Taylor, Richard Deacon, H.M. Wynant. Scott and his sidekick arrive in the town of Sundown on the wedding day of the town boss, whom the Scott blames for his wife’s death years earlier. Well-made Western where all the characters are shades of grey. Scott delivers one of his best performances as an angst ridden ex-civil war vet out for revenge. Based on a story by Vernon L. Fluharty. [PG]