The Professionals …
Three 1966 Academy Award Nominations:
Best Director: Richard Brooks
Best Adapted Screenplay: Richard Brooks
Best Cinematography: Conrad Hall
The film won two Motion Picture Magazine Laurel Awards in 1967, for Best Action Drama and Best Action Performance for Lee Marvin.
In Germany, it was one of only four movies to receive a Golden Screen award (the others were Doctor Zhivago, Merveilleuse Angélique and You Only Live Twice) in 1967.
“Maybe there’s only one revolution, since the beginning, the good guys against the bad guys. Question is, who are the good guys?”
- Burt Lancaster / The Professionals
The Professionals …
Lee Marvin moves into full blown stardom – becoming a legitimate box office titan – in one of the greatest Westerns ever made (My Favorite) starring along side Western Film Greats Burt Lancaster, Jack Palance, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, Claudia Cardinale, Ralph Belamy … What a cast!
Following Cat Ballou (Oscar) this is one of 4 Westerns remaining in Marvin’s Western filmography: Monte Walsh / 1970 (with Jack Palance); Paint Your Wagon / 1969 (with Clint Eastwood); Emperor of the North / 1973 (with Charles Bronson).
A true Western Star.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Dead Man’s Burden
A western set on the New Mexico frontier a few years after the Civil War and centered on a struggling young family and the mining company who wants to buy their land.
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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
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It’s often interesting to read reviews from when the time the film was originally released – and see how they bear up as to how the film is presently regarded.
Several movies that are now regarded as Classics were savagely ripped by reviewers of the day. But time often tells a different story. However …
Wikipedia tells us (
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was an instant hit when released in April 1962, thanks to its classic story and popular stars John Wayne and James Stewart. Produced on a budget of $3.2 million, the film grossed $8,000,000 at the box office, making it the 16th highest grossing film of 1962. Edith Head‘s costumes for the film were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, one of the few westerns to ever be nominated for the award. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has continued its popularity through repeated television broadcasts and the rental market. It is also widely considered to be one of director John Ford‘s best westerns and generally ranks alongside Red River, The Searchers, The Big Trail, and Stagecoach as one of John Wayne‘s best films.”
The Critics liked – and the People liked it.
Below: A nice video presentation with a nice rendition of song The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance written by songsters Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis.
Warning: possible huge spoilers … if you’ve never seen the movie.
Music: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – Gene Pitney
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Directed by John Ford
Between The Comancheros and Cat Ballou (Oscar), Lee continued his meteoric climb to the Hollywood heights with perhaps his most famous role as Liberty Valence in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Many will agree that Lees viscous performance easily upstages Hollywood greats John Wayne and James Stewart – and perhaps establishing an iconic benchmark for Western villainy. YET, on the official poster (below) we still see Marvin billed a distant 4th behind Stewart (billed first over Wayne?), Wayne, and Vera Miles – with no notable image of Marvin – even though his character (Valance) is in the movies title !!! I’ll never figure out Hollywood marketing.
Look for another furure Western Badguy superstar (yet to emerge) Lee (Van Cleef) as one of Marvin’s henchmen.
(Above) That’s Lee at the bottom … I guess
Love him or hate him, you’d really have to search for a long time to find a lousy picture of John Wayne. This guy was charisma personified.
(Apology. Our photo library is a bit sketchy. I had not yet discovered that most of the photos
(I thought I was taking) were lost due to my ignorance in how to operate Rose’s camera properly.)
In Canada I had worked 7 years in road construction – paving. Mostly on hand crews, shoveling 450 degree asphalt.
It’s long hot days of hard, dirty work in the sun. But I was young and fit. And when the temperature hit 90 F, nobody worked.
And in past visits to Sedona, I’d only came in the Fall – to avoid the excessive heat.
Yet here we are in late May and it was hot already. Over 85 F in the morning sun – and climbing.
“1.1 miles” said the sign at trail head.
Not far, but …
Up the canyon we went. Our time is short and precious.
For a far better synopsis of Fay Canyon and it’s glories visit
Cindy Bruchman’s Blog
Staggering out of the canyon I wheeze to Rose: “I see a cold drink in my future.”
It was more of a promise than a premonition.
We chug over to nearby Enchantment Resort.
On the patio we enjoy a fine (and not too expensive) lunch – and several refreshments.
A Glimpse of the Garden -
When we were in Scottsdale, Rose had this idea to go to Scottsdale Botanical Garden (it wasn’t high on my list I have to admit – somewhere far below sleeping and watching TV). But off we went – like Canadians in the desert.
Well … I gotta tell ya, it was quite a treat.
There’s humming birds, lizards and other critters in there … somewhere.
Montezuma’s Castle – National Monument
A brief stop at Montezuma’s Castle
800 years ago the ”Sinagua people … inhabited this riparian “oasis” along Beaver Creek for over 400 years.”
On to Sedona …
American South West
Wow! We’re back.
Like most things, you can read about it and watch it from afar all you like … but until you actually go there and experience it …
Especially the heat. We’re tanned and tired. But it was great (except for the dental stuff).
I now have a mouth full of teeth. Sort of. No gaps anyway.
Modern dentristry has come a long way, but they still haven’t figured out how to completely remove the pain.
Maybe I shoulda thot about going to one of those guys who ‘puts you under’ – anesthesia. Or … I coulda just drank a bottle of whisky with John Wayne and had him knock me cold.
But where can you find a John Wayne when you need him? Well … right here!
We took lottsa pictures – over 400 (not including the ones I sadly lost)
Posting a few for your curiosity:
Below: the view from our 4th floor room in Sedona – partial. Not spectacular as many vistas in the area, but still nice.
At poolside Rose and I call ourselves “The Tsunami Twins” – cuz when we jump in the pool the water level rises by several inches and unwary bathers are frequently washed ashore.
Whew !!! enough for today …
Coming Soon: completions for Western Movie Badguys: Lee Marvin.
Arrived back here this afternoon. 110 degrees F. You don’t see many folks walking around on the street. And this is just the start of their hot season.
Red Rock State Park
It was 95 yesterday when Rose and I went on a hour and a half hike in Red Rock State Park in Sedona (AZ). I gotta tell you that I felt it later. I’d like to just rest a day or so, but our time here is so limited that we are trying to squeeze as much out of the opportunity as we can. We may never get back here again. It’s just a misfortune that my dental work in Algodones (Mexico) became necessary at this time – as we would normally (wisely) come in cooler months.
Sedona Slide Rock Park
We also snuck (hiked) into Sedona Slide Rock Park earlier in the day. Several of the most popular places around Sedona are actually on private land – such as Red Rock Crossing below Cathedral Rock and it will cost you 20 bucks to get in there. It’s worth it if you never gone there before, but 20 bucks is still 20 bucks.
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Jerome Arizona … Western Wonder
TOO STRONG TO DIE
THE FIRST MINING CLAIMS WERE FILED IN 1876. WITHIN 20 YEARS JEROME WAS A BILLION DOLLAR COPPER MECCA AND ONE OF THE WILDEST, WICKEDEST MINING TOWNS IN THE WEST. DRINKING, GAMBLING, BRAWLS AND FROLICKING WITH LADIES OF THE NIGHT OCCURRED AROUND-THE-CLOCK IN TWO DOZEN MAGNIFICENT SALOONS. BY THE TIME MINING SHUT DOWN IN 1952, ENOUGH COPPER HAD BEEN PRODUCED TO PUT 13 POUNDS IN THE HANDS OF EVERY CITIZEN IN THE WORLD. GOLD AND SILVER PRODUCTION COVERED MINING EXPENSES. THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, JEROME BECAME ONE OF THE WEST’SMOST CELEBRATED ‘GHOST TOWNS’. ALTHOUGH THIS IMAGE PERSISTED INTO THE 1970’S, JEROME’S POPULATION GREWIN THE 1960’S. BUILDINGS BEGAN TO BE RESTORED TO THEIR GRACEFUL PRE=1953 CONDITIONS, AND IN 1970 JEROME WAS DESIGNATED A NATIONAL LANDMARK. TODAY, JEROME IS AN ARTS ORIENTED VILLAGE OF 500. A MILLION TOURIST A YEAR STROLL IT’S TWISTED STREETS AND GAPE AT THE 100-MILE VIEWS. WITH ITS RICH HISTORY AND TENACIOUS CITIZENS
JEROME IS A TOWN TO STRONG TO DIE.
DEDICATED APRIL 8, 1995
LOST DUTCHMAN CHAPTER 5917
E CLAMPUS VITUS
Jerome Grand Hotel
Former Hospital and Asylum – rumoured (by many) to be haunted.
Modern day Jerome is pleasant surprise. We spent the whole day there and didn’t see everything. Several excellent restaurants and art galleries among the usual tourist trappings.
Jerome has a lot of history and stories to tell. Wish I had more time and space.
Curiously, I had passed through Jerome back in the 70′s on my way to California. I had no time but to glance about before moving along. This was my infamous blunder of trying to cross the Mojave Desert in daytime without and air conditioning. Barely made it.
Anyway … a very interesting place. Recommended.
Can’t do much on the blog until I get back home and have access to my graphics programs and download the photos.
Over at the Chamber of Commerce (downtown) tourist Information, Ron was telling me about a chap who is trying get a Western Movie museum set up here. Over 70 Western movies have been shot in and around Sedona area over the years – so that’s quite a heritage.
Here is a list of some of them:
By admin • May 30, 2009
by Liz H. Kelly
Westerns Filmed in Sedona’s Red Rocks
1931 - Riders of the Purple Sage – George O’Brien
1932 – Robber’s Roost – George O’Brien, Maureen O”Sullivan
1937 – Texas Trail – William Boyd, George Hayes
1941 – Billy the Kid - Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy
1946 – Angel and the Badman – John Wayne, Gail Russell
1946 – California - Ray Milland, Barbara Stanwyck
1947 – Desert Fury - Lizbeth Scott, John Hodiak, Burt Lancaster
1947 – Cheyenne – Dennis Morgan, Jane Wyman
1947 – Last of the Duanes – George Montgomery, Lynn Roberts
1947 – Gunfighters – Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton
1948 – Albuquerque – Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton
1948 – The Fabulous Texan – William Elliott, Catherine McLeod
1948 – Corner Creek – Randolph Scott, Marguerite Chapman
1948 – Station West – Dick Powell, Jane Greer
1948 – Blood on the Moon - Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Gaddes
1949 – Tall in the Saddle – John Wayne, Ella Raines
1950 – Comanche Territory – McDonald Carey, Maureen O’Hara
1950 – Copper Canyon - Ray Milland, Hedy Lamarr
1950 – Eagle and the Hawk – John Payne, Rhonda Fleming
1950 – Broken Arrow – James Stewart, Debra Paget
1951 - The Red Head and the Cowboy – Glenn Ford, Rhonda Fleming
1951 - Indian Uprising – George Montgomery, Audrey Long
1952 – Half Breed – Robert Young, Janis Carter
1952 – Pony Soldier – Tyrone Power, Thomas Gomez, Penny Edwards
1952 – Flaming Feather – Sterling Hayden, Barbara Rush
1953 – Gun Fury – Rock Hudson, Donna Reed
1953 – Johnny Guitar – Sterling Hayden, Joan Crawford
1954 – Apache – Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters
1954 – The Outlaw’s Daughter – Bill Williams, Kelly Ryan, Jim Davis (star of Dallas)
1954 – The Strawberry Roan – Gene Autry, Gloria Henry
1954 – Drum Beat – Alan Ladd, Audrey Dalton
1955 – Stranger on Horseback - Joel McCrea, Miroslava and John McIntyre
1955 – Johnny’s Guitar
1956 – The Last Wagon - Richard Widmark, Felicia Farr
1957 – 3:10 to Yuma - Glenn Ford, Felicia Farr
1959 – Yellowstone Kelly – Clint Walker, Andrea Martin
1961 – The Legend of Lobo
1965 – The Rounders – Glenn Ford, Sue Ann Langdon and Hope Holiday
1967 – Stay Away Joe - Elvis Presley, Katy Jurado
1967 – Yellowstone Kelly
1972 – The Legend of the Boy and the Eagle
1972 – Fire Creek – Henry Fonda, James Stewart
1973 – The Wild Rovers – William Holden, Ryan O’Neal
1985 – The Quick and The Dead
Any Western Movie fan will recognize a few of those. So they’ve had some big names here over the years: John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Elvis … and many others.
The chap who is trying to get the museum going is McNeil, who has a book out called Arizona’s Little Hollywood: Sedona and Northern Arizona’s Forgotten Film History 1923-1973
Looks like an interesting and informative read.
Sedona Trip Day 4
Travelling Day …
We’re on the road for 13 hours – Sedona to Algodones (for more dental work) and back again. It’s not really as scenic drive across all that desert either. OH well …
Absolutely nothing has gone as I hoped or expected regarding my dental work. EVERYTHING has required more work and more time. I’ve tried to be prepared for the ‘the worst case scenario’, but it’s even exceeded that at every turn. Today was no exception. I’d thought I might just get my implants approved and moulds made for the teeth - then they would put in before I left. No Sir. Lots of needles work … and stitches … and all I get is ‘temps’ – temporary implant – and one of the ‘posts’ needs to be replaced. It’s torture – plain and simple. If I’d known what I was in for before I started all this, I might well have reconsidered the whole thing. Yet I’m assured it will all be for the better … in the long run.
You know what … I’m normally a pretty cheerful guy. But this is really testing my resolve.
A lost day … as far as any Holiday is concerned.
But starting tomorrow we get 3 days to have some fun!
Sedona Trip Day 4
Woke up sick. Nauseous. Possibly due to sun, heat, old age, fatness, out of shapeness, injuns …
Had some breakfast anyway – headed out to Fay Canyon.
The weather Gods are being nice: coolish, mid 80′s, slight overcast.
A nice little hike. I had to rest a couple of times though … a few other people on the trail.
People start asking us how to get to the “Arch”. ?? Never knew about any Arch. There’s a special trail
to get there evidently … but we don’t know it.
The mysterious Fay Canyon Arch (Below)
Hike is 1.1 miles - takes about an hour and a bit – there and back.
I just discovered that I been operating Rose’s camera incorrectly. Every picture I took … didn’t take.
Lost a lot of good shots … can’t be recovered. Bummer.
On the way back we decide to treat ourselves .. head into Enchantment Resort – the abode of Movie Stars and other such celebrities … so we’re told.
On the patio we have a nice lunch. Don’t see Kevin Costner or Jane Fonda … or any such people.
Great view though.
There is a very large art colony / community in and around Sedona; painters, potters, sculptors, crafters … you name it. Consequently there are a ton of Art Galleries here.
Rose and I spend the whole afternoon browsing through them. If I was a milli0naire I could easily have spent a hundred thousand dollars on wonderful stuff.
But I’m not.
Still nice to see.
We’re tired … jump in the pool for a minute.
Time for bed.
My days are starting to run together, but I haven’t figured out whether that’s bad or not … yet.
Sedona Trip Day 3
Heading for Sedona
We left Scottsdale and headed for Sedona … but for only a couple of day before heading back to Algodones (MX) for more dental chores.
THEN we’re back to Sedona for a 4 days. Then … back to Algodones one more time … before heading home.
I’m starting to feel a little bouncy.
On the way into Sedona we stop to visit Monetzuma’s Castle – the ancient pueblo ruins/settlement. Despite my previous visits to Sedona I had never been Been here.
The night before I’d had a dream about these ancient denizens and the ruins high on the cliff face. On occasion, I’ve had dreams about past lives or other such insights/information. This happens to me. I don’t seek it our or ask for it. It just happens.
But it’s an enjoyable and enlightening visit. We pick up a few souenirs.
Everybody seems to be heading out of Sedona as we’re heading in. Memorial Day weekend is closing so folks heading back to Scottsdale and Phoenix.
We find our hotel: Arroyo Roble. Nice.
I hate to admit it, but Sedona has become somewhat of a tourist trap. Sadly.
Out for a walk downtown we know enough now to avoid all the phony Tourst Info places (and the like) which are really Time Share sales kiosks.
I’ve got a hankering for an ice cream cone – Rose wants a hot dog. We spot a place that claims to sell hot dogs and go in. They want 8 dollars for a hot dog. I ask them what makes their hot dogs so special that they would cost 8 dollars. The poor gal can’t answer my question. They also charge $5.50 for a scoop of ice cream. We leave.
That’s downtown Sedona.
Also … avoid the Mexican restaurant with the wierd Aztec name. It’s dirty and the food is awful.
Much has changed about Sedona and almost none of it is good. This will likely be my last trip.
But I’m still looking forward to some hikes and getting out in in the area.
That can’t have screwed that up. Right?
… Go out in the Arizona sun
Sedona Trip Day 2
My dentistry misadventures in Algodones are on hold till Wednesday. Then they will scrutinize whether I’ve healed enough to proceed with my implants.
In the meantime my pardner (Rose) figured a trip to Scottsdale (AZ) for a couple of days was a nice idea. So … off we went, scampering across the desert, for a 6 hour drive from Yuma to Scottsdale.
Made a pit stop in Dateland … kind of an oasis gas station/restaurant/shop. Bought some sunglasses and a chocolate date milkshake. Pretty good.
Got lost in Scottsdale … couldn’t find our hotel: The Zona.
Finally found it after driving around for a hour or so. (Scottsdale is big … and confusing.)
The Zona is a nice place – 4 swimming pools. And modestly priced.
Scottsdale Botanical Gardens
After we got settled in Rose wants to go for a drive around and see if we can find a place called Scottsdale Botanical Gardens. Doesn’t sound like my cup of whisky but …
… what a wonderful place !! Far exceeding my expectations. It’s very large and has an excellent restaurant. Saw lots of wild life there too: hummingbirds, rabbits, quail, lizards, several other species of birds – and plenty of interesting plants, cactus, flowers … Recommended.
Alright … back to the pool and hot tub to close out the day.
Sedona Trip 2013 – Day 1
We flew into Phoenix from Calgary … was an uncomfortable flight. Felt cramped in that seat and had no leg room.
Rented a car … drove to Yuma. Slept for about 10 hours.
I’m now in the process of switching over to a day shift routine after working 12 hour night shifts for 4 years. I’ve arrived at the conclusion that night shift work is completely unnatural for human beings – who have been doing the exact opposite for thousands of years. I’ve read research that states that night shift workers have 70% more health issues than people doing the exact same work in day shift. I believe it. My health deteriorated immediately after I started night shift and I could never adjust to it. I could neve get enough rest and my fitness declined radically. Gradually this effected me emotionally and psychologically – making me depressed and angry. Ultimately I had no choice but to quit. So now I’m in a recovery period. I don’t know how long it will take to lose the 60 pounds I gained. Worse yet, the company I worked for offered no pay adjustment or compensation for night work – as many companies do. They don’t care about their people.
I’m just glad to be the hell outta there.
Worse yet …
So … today (Friday May 24) I went to the dentist across the border in Algodones, Mexico. I had tried to prepare myself for the ‘worse case scenario” – that more work would need to be done and it would take longer that I hoped.
Worse yet …
The treatment was very painful … 2 hours of drilling around the bone where the implants go. I needed extra needles of painkiller. Then I was told that it will require extra work and more time and it still won’t be completed. We will have to stay here 3 days instead of 2 and cut our Sedona trip short by another day in order come back here again before we leave. Very disappointing … and more expensive.
There is little joy.
Yet when I see the tornado disaster on TV, I count my blessings. Sometimes I am just happy to be alive.
Tonight we’ll take my swollen and bruised face over to the local theatre and watch the new Star Trek movie.
Make it so.
“This won’t hurt a bit …”
Hey Folks …
I’m off to Algodones, Mexico tomorrow for more excruciating dental work – have 4 implants to put in – among other things.
Then I get to go to Sedona, Arizona for a few days … and drink milkshakes.
So my blog will be slower than normal. Sorry.
But I have quit my awful 12 hour night shift job … as it was killing me. Literally. Will be looking for something sane to replace it.
Hopefully then, I can blog more consistently than before.
Anyway … it’s beautiful Spring and I’m off for a little adventure … and R&R.
See you soon.
Where I buy my milkshakes:
No plain Jane
“Well, if people didn’t try something new,
there wouldn’t be hardly any progress at all.”
- Jane Fonda / Cat Ballou
For over a decade of Saturdays, AMC has celebrated the American Western genre through a mix of series and movies. Today, AMC adds to its inventory a selection of classic films from Paramount Pictures to super-serve the Western fan including El Dorado (1967), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), The Shootist (1976) and The Sons of Katie Elder (1965). The network will also celebrate the anniversaries of several renowned Westerns including the 60th anniversary of Hondo (1953) and the 50th anniversary of McLintock! (1963), both starring John Wayne, as well as the 45th anniversary of Hang ‘em High (1968) and the 40th anniversary of High Plains Drifter (1973), both starring Clint Eastwood. These films will join the classics includingChisum (1970), The Cowboys (1972), Rio Bravo (1959), The Alamo (1960), The Undefeated(1969), Joe Kidd (1972), A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966), which are already licensed by AMC. Moreover, the network has also acquired the television series, Rawhide, starring Clint Eastwood, which joins Riflemanbeginning Sat., Apr. 20. Additionally the network will air the miniseries Lonesome Dove and, for the very first time on AMC, its sequel, Return to Lonesome Dove.
“A new episode of Hell on Wheels on Saturday night after a full day of western fan favorites is going to be like the saddle on top of the horse,” said Charlie Collier, President and General Manager, AMC. “This is a programmer’s dream – to have a genre specific, 14-hour lead-in to one of your highest rated originals. We are so excited about this opportunity to entertain AMC’s audience in a new way.”
Hell on Wheels showrunner John Wirth says the new season “will be a Western about work — the building of the railroad, the binding of the nation after the Civil War, and the rehabilitation of the men who lived and fought their way through those exploits. This season we’re placing Cullen Bohannon at the center of the show, and taking him away from the revenge motive which propelled him into the series.” He continues, “AMC has raised the bar for television dramas, they’ve set the gold standard. There’s nothing else like this on television.”
Hell on Wheels was the second highest series launch in AMC history and was also a top 20 program for engagement among age 25-54 (IAG) for the broadcast season for 2011-2012. The series’ second season wrapped in October 2012 with an average of 2.4 million total viewers and 3.2 million viewers with Live plus 7. Hell on Wheels was developed by Endemol USA. The series is produced by leading independent studio, Entertainment One (eOne) and Nomadic Pictures. eOne’s Television CEO John Morayniss and EVP US scripted television Michael Rosenberg oversee production in partnership with co-producers Mike Frislev and Chad Oakes from Nomadic Pictures.
Through an international distribution partnership, Endemol USA held television distribution rights for the series across Europe and Entertainment One handled rights in all remaining territories as well as worldwide rights for DVD/Blu-ray, VOD and Digital distribution.
For more information, visit AMC’s press website: www.press.amctv.com.
Discovery Channel looking for TV gold with Alberta-shot miniseries Klondike
A muddy Dawson City built west of Calgary
The set of Discovery Channel´s Klondike in Alberta.
Photograph by: Courtesy, Dan Power , Handout
It’s an alarming spectacle to take in. Dozens of extras trudge slowly to a tent in between takes on the sprawling Alberta set of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries Klondike, all having an appropriate air of misery about them. The cameras may not be rolling, but they still appear fairly tuned into the despair of characters who have arrived in the Yukon just before the onset of winter. It’s actually a beautiful day in Alberta. Sweltering even. Unfortunately, for now, this is not particularly helpful when filming on the CL Ranch, a location west of Calgary where a booming Dawson City has been recreated.
Mother Nature often does her part to add authenticity to Alberta-shot period pieces, especially those epics with a man-versus-nature theme.
Today, however, it’s hot. Yet the extras who are working are supposed to look cold. They are bundled up. They wear scarves and hats. The women wear long dresses and coats. Many of the men sport long, unruly beards. They feverishly rub their hands together and huddle on what is supposed to be the less-then-welcoming docks on the Yukon River in Dawson City circa the late 1890s.
“It’s cold, remember,” Assistant Director Dave McLennan reminds the extras. “Brrrrrrrrr. Your hands and feet are cold.”
It’s not just the extras who are feeling the heat.
“We’re trying to pretend it’s winter,” says lead actor Richard Madden, attempting to cool off on the set in between takes. “I’ve got like 19 layers here and a dry suit. I’m so hot.”
The irony of enduring a day of uncomfortable heat is not lost on Madden. In a fairly short period of time, he has experienced some wildly divergent weather in Alberta. To Game of Thrones fans, Madden is the action-ready Robb Stark, a sword-wielding leader of men who has travelled all sorts of terrain during his battles.
But the frigid conditions the 26-year-old Scottish actor and fellow cast and crew endured on Fortress Mountain in Kananaskis Country just over a month ago was a whole different battle.
“The hardest bits I suppose were the first couple of weeks, which were probably the hardest couple weeks of shooting I’ve ever had,” he says. “That’s because there was the altitude and the cold. You’ve got four wind machines on you that are the size of a back of a car, or bigger. You’ve got guys shovelling snow at each wind machine. And it’s really cold. And you’ve got the mountain. So that was really challenging. You’re trying to do your job and act as well as dealing with really intense conditions.”
Madden, who plays real-life adventurer Bill Haskell in the miniseries, is not complaining. The adverse conditions certainly helped him find his character in the early goings. And it will no doubt help with the epic feel of the six-hour miniseries, Discovery Channel’s first scripted TV project scheduled to air sometime in 2014. Based on Ottawa writer Charlotte Gray’s book Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich In The Klondike, the series mixes real-life events and historical characters such as Haskell, Belinda Mulrooney and Jack London with a tale of murder, greed and the dashed hopes of those who arrived in Dawson City consumed by gold-rush fever but usually ill-prepared and doomed to fail spectacularly.
Discovery has partnered with iconic British director Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions and Calgary-based Nomadic Pictures, which also produces the Alberta-shot AMC series Hell on Wheels.
Having had much success with reality shows such as Gold Rush, Jungle Gold and Bering Sea Gold, Discovery was after a scripted project that explored similar themes.
“Our audience loves the idea of the frontier spirit,” says Discovery’s Dolores Gavin, an executive producer on Klondike. “That whole thing about man versus nature, man versus man, man versus self — those are themes we talk about everyday on Discovery. There was really no difference when we started talking about this project because there were those similarities.”
Epic themes require an epic look. Standing on the sprawling Alberta set on the CL Ranch, it’s clear that Discovery has jumped in with both feet when it came its first scripted series. British director Simon Cellan Jones, a veteran of top-tier television such a Boardwalk Empire, Treme and The Borgias, is at the helm. He oversees an impressive cast that includes Sam Shepard as a haunted man of God named Father Judge and British actor Tim Roth as a villain named The Count. Meanwhile, the production seems to have caught its two leads just as their stars were on the rise. Madden has won fame on Game of Thrones and was recently cast as Prince Charming in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Cinderella. Versatile Australian actress Abbie Cornish, who plays the entrepreneurial Belinda Mulrooney in Klondike, is perhaps best know for playing Fanny Brawne in Jane Campion’s Bright Star and just wrapped up a role in next year’s big-budget reboot of RoboCop after lead roles in films such as Limitless, Sucker Punch and Seven Psycopaths.
And while some of the events in Klondike are fictionalized, both Madden and Cornish did a good deal of research on their respective characters, digging up books and biographies to help get into the headspace of those who sought riches and adventure in the unforgiving Klondike during the gold-rush years.
This attention to detail is a hallmark of the production as a whole, particularly amid the meticulously recreated Dawson City. The impressive set was built up on an already existing town on the CL Ranch that has been a location for a number of Alberta-shot projects. With mud-caked roads, newly built businesses, piles of fresh lumber and dubious-looking meat sold off of carts, this Dawson City is an alluring mix of filth and boom-town commerce.
Massive dogs — Newfoundlanders, Irish Wolfhounds, Great Pyrenees crosses, among others — roam the streets with their owners, a realistic touch given that few horses survived the trek to the Klondike during this period.
“Discovery now knows how to build a town,” says Gavin with a laugh. “With our audience, we’ve got to ring true to the historical record. The action that is happening in Klondike was so immense in Dawson City. You can’t do that with eight or nine buildings, you need 30 buildings. So we have 30 buildings. If you really go back and look at the research, Dawson City was like Vegas. It was going 24-seven and you never knew what was going to happen.”
But while this miniseries may be aiming for feature-film production values, it is still television. Six hours worth of action has to be shot over 54 days, which requires long hours of perpetual motion in all sorts of conditions.
“I’ve really enjoyed the momentum of it, the impulsive nature of it,” says Cornish. “A lot of times, because Richard and I are the leads, if we get it in two takes then that’s it. We’re moving on.”
While Cornish did not shoot scenes on blustery Fortress Mountain, her first week shooting near Canmore involved learning how to become an expert dog sledder to believably play the resourceful Mulrooney.
“It was a very full-on week and very elemental and really set the tone for that landscape,” she said. “If we had just gone straight into Dawson City we would have no idea about what the outside of that landscape is. We just would have known the mud and the city and the rain.”
For Madden, the epic feel of Klondike is not only due to the massive sets and scenic vistas, but the intimate human drama of the stories being told.
“There is a huge part of the stories that can be epic visually because of what we see,” he says. “And there’s huge parts that are epic when its just a scene between me and Abbie Cornish and it’s just the two of us standing and talking. That’s more epic than any mountains in the background just because of the intensity of the scene.”
Lee Marvin / John Wayne
Lee makes it to the Top of the Mountain – A Western with John Wayne
… But he’s still 5th on the Bill
The Comancheros Trailer
Lee Marvin and Randolph Scott
DVD Talk – Partial Review / Review by Stuart Galbraith IV | posted August 24, 2005
The Stranger Wore a Gun is a muddled mess made palatable by Scott’s likeable hero, a strong supporting cast, and the novelty of 3-D at its most nakedly exploitive.
Lee Marvin and Randolph Scott
Lee moves up to 3rd on the Bill …
Warning: Huge Spoiler below …
… Lee gets killed …
Lee Marvin and Van Heflin
Lee moves up to 4th on the Bill
… a change of plans …
One Line Reviews: Iain Stott
The Raid (1954)
USA Feature Film
Director: Hugo Fregonese
Writers: Sydney Boehm, Francis Cockrell, Herbert Ravenal Sass
Cinematographer: Lucien Ballard
Composer: Roy Webb
Cast: Van Heflin, Anne Bancroft, Richard Boone, Lee Marvin,
Tommy Rettig, Peter Graves
Fregonese’s fact based US Civil War film, chronicling a confederate soldier’s infiltration of a small town in Vermont as he prepares to sack it, complicated by his meeting of an attractive young widow, is, with its excellent performances and uncompromising scripting, a thrilling yet intelligent examination of the ambiguities of war and human relationships.
Pretty lousy posters …
Marvin molesting … what? again?
MFW: about the only thing I liked about Gun Fury was that is was filmed around Sedona, Arizona - one of my favorite places on the planet.
Lee is 5th on the Bill
Monte-Walsh Theme – Mama Cass / John Barry
“Nobody gets to be a cowboy forever.”
- Jack Palance
Monte Walsh … a real maverick
MFW: Monte Walsh seemed to get decent promotion – lots of excellent posters – and boasts a stellar cast … yet somehow seemed to slip under the fence.
But I believe this is one Western that will age well and eventually earn it’s rightful place at the bar.
MFW: “100%” from critcs and “57%” from viewers ??
That’s a pretty large canyon.
But I liked it.
“When we get through… you’re gonna want to take a nap, sit on the porch and wait for the mares to come callin’.”
Lee Marvin … Wandering Star
Bad Guys of Western Film … cont’d …
“I’ve had the simple pleasure of being present when the sun was shining and the rain was falling.
I’ve had mine, and nobody can take it away from me.”
(The Man who Shot) Liberty Valance – Gene Pitney
“This time, right between the eyes.”
Gun Fury (1953) / The Raid (1954) / The Comancheros (1961) / The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) / Cat Ballou (1965) / The Professionals (1966) / Paint Your Wagon (1969) / Monte Walsh (1970) / The Spikes Gang (1974) …
TV Westerns: Wagon Train, Bonanza, and The Virginian …
Allegiance – United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Private First Class
Unit 24th Marine Regiment
World War II
Battle of Saipan
Awards Purple Heart
Not so bad after all …
Folks / Friends / Western Fans !
I was given yet another Award by kind Blogging pals and gals.
Here is the esteemed:
Dragons Loyalty Award !
The Dragons Loyalty Award is a combination of The Versatile Blogger Award and the Very Inspiring Blogger award.
This award has been given to me by the Serendipity:
Rules for The Dragons Loyalty Award:
Display the Award Certificate on your website
Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award
Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers
Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post
Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
I have not complied with some conditions.
Well … it’s a major event for me just to figure out how to get these award images onto my sidebar widget …
And I still don’t know how I finally succeeded.
It’s all basically trial and error for rookie Blogger like me …
The Lone Ranger Theme / William Tell Overture / Gioachino Rossini
The Lone Ranger: “Only you, Tonto, know I’m alive. To the world, I’ll be buried here beside my brother and my friends… forever.”
Tonto: “You are alone now. Last man. You are lone ranger.”
Dear Friends / Folks / Western Fans !
Time to toot my horn a bit.
I am the proud recipient of the:
Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness
But as I said, with exceptional subject matter like The Lone Ranger and Tonto, how could I fail?
In truth, this is about the 5th Award that kind Bloggers have sent my way, but I’ve been callously negligent in posting and responding to these expressions of valued appreciation. I hope to rectify this in the near future and post all these kind awards I’ve received.
In compliance with one condition of the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness I am to post 10 epic and/or awesome facts about myself.
I will therefore just re-post my comment from Serendipity Blog.
“10 epic and/or awesome facts about myself ???
Ah shucks … I can only think of none.
I’ll have a couple of jiggers and make some stuff up.
1. i didn’t graduate from high school. True.
i don’t figure I wuz stoopid. just disinterested.
2. My Dad, myself and my 3 older brothers were all in the Calgary Highlanders.
My Dad fought in the war. The rest of us just fought each other.
3. I have been ‘out of the body’ on several occasions.
Mostly on purpose.
4. I held a broad jump record that lasted 14 years.
5. As a 15-year-old grocery clerk I once gave a customer (who said he was looking for “butterfly nuts”), a box of mothballs. (Hes’ still laughing)
6. I don’t own any guns.
Or a horse.
7. I was once saved from getting hit by a car by an invisible hand that pushed me back onto the curb. I believe in spiritual guardians.
8. i was never sure I was on the right planet. Is this Naboo?
9. I quit drinking, smoking, and drugs.
God I’m bored. (Just kidding … about being bored)
10. I’ve had seven partners.
This last one – Rose – is a keeper.
OK .. Part One of my Duties of Compliance have been completed.
Part Two is Give it to 10 bloggers you think are awesome and/or epic – or both.
Well … being a reclusive Cowboy, I can’t rightly think of 10 offhand, but I’ll just start sending them out till the dust settles.
Have a good one.
Jay Silverheels / Canadian Mohawk
Jay Silverheels achieved his greatest fame as the The Lone Ranger’s friend, Tonto. Being irreplaceable as the Lone Ranger’s best friend he subsequently also appeared in films, The Lone Ranger (1956) as well as in The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958). – Wikipedia
Silverheels began working in motion pictures as an extra and stunt man in 1937. During the early years of his screen career, he was billed variously as Harold Smith or Harry Smith, and appeared in low-budget features, westerns, and serials. He adopted his screen name from the nickname he had had as a speedy lacrosse player. From the late 1940s he played in more prestigious pictures, including Captain from Castile starring Tyrone Power, I Am an American (1944), Key Largo with Humphrey Bogart (1948), Lust for Gold with Glenn Ford (1949), Broken Arrow (1950) with James Stewart, War Arrow (1953) with Maureen O’Hara, Jeff Chandler and Noah Beery, Jr., Drums Across the River (1954), Walk the Proud Land (1956) with Audie Murphy and Anne Bancroft, Alias Jesse James (1959) with Bob Hope, and Indian Paint (1964) with Johnny Crawford. He made a brief appearance in True Grit (1969) as a condemned criminal about to be executed. He played a substantial role as John Crow in Santee (1973), starring Glenn Ford. One of his last roles was a wise white-haired chief in The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973). – Wikepedia
The Lone Ranger
A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi Yo Silver!” The Lone Ranger. “Hi Yo Silver, away!” With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!
From the Website:
CLAYTON MOORE, THE LONE RANGER
The Lone Ranger Creed!
By: Fran Striker
“I believe that to have a friend,
a man must be one.
That all men are created equal
and that everyone has within himself
the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there
but that every man
must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared
physically, mentally, and morally
to fight when necessary
for that which is right.
That a man should make the most
of what equipment he has.
That ‘This government,
of the people, by the people
and for the people’
shall live always.
That men should live by
the rule of what is best
for the greatest number.
That sooner or later…
we must settle with the world
and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever. In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”
The Lone Ranger 2013
Some of us long time fans of the Lone Ranger have some reservations about this upcoming movie …
But right now – for what it’s worth – it looks to be the biggest block buster of the coming summer.
Here’s a recent trailer:
Tarantino imitators? Phew … what’s that smell?
As I said, some Westerns go directly to video. Some should probably just go directly to the garbage.
Here’s 2 strange critters soon to be crawling toward your screen:
Wesley Snipes slips from a Daywalker killing vampires in Blade to a Gallowwalker (?) killing zombies in Gallowwalkers.
What the hell is it with zombies these days anyway? Every second show seems to be about zombies. Have they made it to the Simpsons yet?
IMDB (Internet Movie Database) can’t decide if this movie is an Action film, a Fantasy or a Horror movie. But it’s not listed as a Western. Take your pick.
View this trailer at your own risk:
Dead in Tombstone
Dead in Tombstone stars Danny Trejo, as an outlaw who sells his soul to the devil (Mickey Rourke) so that can get revenge on his old gang.
I notice that a recurring theme in all 3 movies is a hero coming back from the dead.
Maybe … in some instance people should just stay dead. ?
Sam Shepard replaces Chris Cooper in Alberta-shot miniseries Klondike
One week after Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper departed the Alberta-shot miniseries Klondike, actor Sam Shepard has stepped in to fill his boots.
Deadline Hollywood reported today that the Oscar-nominated Shepard, who is also a renowned playwright, will take over the role of Father Judge for the series, which is the Discovery Channel’s first scripted project. Production started last week in various locations west of Calgary, including an area near Spray Lakes.
Cooper announced last week that he could not play the role due to a personal matter. Klondike is based on Charlotte Gray’s novel Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike and tells the tale of six strangers in a small frontier town of Klondike in the 1890s. The cast also includes Abbie Cornish, Tim Roth and Game of Thrones Richard Madden.
Shepard earned an Oscar nomination for playing pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film The Right Stuff. He is perhaps best known as a playwright, having penned classics such as True West, Fool for Love, Curse of the Starving Class and Buried Child. This is not the first time he has filmed in Alberta. He starred in Terrence Malick’s 1978 film Days of Heaven and 2007′s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Periodically we hear the phrase ‘The Western is dead”.
How could it be with all us Western fans out here?
Fact is, there are Westerns being made all the time. But most of them are minor in nature – not boasting major Stars – and often go directly to video. Many are still worthy of a look and some are actually very good. They just don’t get mainstream exposure and distribution. Yet every year there are several we can look out for.
In Theatre’s on May 3 comes
Dead Man’s Burden
“You have to dream, you have to have a vision, and you have to set a goal for yourself that might even scare you a little because sometimes that seems far beyond your reach.”
Gregory Peck Awards
Peck was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird.
In 1968 he received the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Peck also received many Golden Globe awards. He won in 1947 for The Yearling, in 1963 for To Kill a Mockingbird, and in 1999 for the TV mini series Moby Dick.
He was nominated in 1978 for The Boys from Brazil.
He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1969, and was given the Henrietta Award in 1951 and 1955 for World Film Favorite – Male.
In 1969 US President Lyndon Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
In 1971 the Screen Actors Guild presented Peck with the SAG Life Achievement Award.
In 1989 the American Film Institute gave Peck the AFI Life Achievement Award.
He received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema in 1996.
In 1986 Peck was honored alongside actress Gene Tierney with the first Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival Spain for their body of work.
In 1987, Peck was awarded the George Eastman Award, given by George Eastman House for distinguished contribution to the art of film.
In 1993, Peck was awarded with an Honorary Golden Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.
In 1998 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
In 2000 Peck was made a Doctor of Letters by the National University of Ireland.
He was a founding patron of the University College Dublin School of Film, where he persuaded Martin Scorsese to become an honorary patron.
Peck was also chairman of the American Cancer Society for a short time.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Gregory Peck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6100 Hollywood Blvd.
On April 28, 2011, a ceremony was held in Beverly Hills, California celebrating the first day of issue of a U.S. postage stamp commemorating Peck. The stamp is the 17th commemorative stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series.
“There’s some things a man has to prove to himself alone… not to anyone else.”
Gregory Peck / The Big Country
Sorry I haven’t posted much lately … my plate is a bit full right now.
But I am working on a Bio for Gregory Peck … trying to round up a few good images.
… some screenshots.
Hope to have something up in a couple of days.
Have a great Spring !
“It seems as if only now I really know who I am. My strengths, my weaknesses, my jealousies – it’s as if all of it has been boiling in a pot for all these years, and as it boils, it evaporates into steam, and all that’s left in the pot in the end is your essence, the stuff you started out with in the very beginning.”
AWARDS / ACHIEVEMENTS
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1984.
Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Jimmy Carter on 17th January 1981. This is the highest US honor a civilian can receive.
Received a UCLA Medal of honor 14 June 2002 from the University of California, Los Angeles, during school’s graduation ceremony for theater, film and television students.
Previous recipients include former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and actors Laurence Olivier and Carol Burnett.
AFI Life Achievement Award:
1991 Accepted AFI Life Achievement Award
1996 Honorary Award for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community
1995 nominated for Honorary Awards
1956 Lust for Life nominated for Best Actor
1952 Bad & the Beautiful nominated for Best Actor
1949 Champion nominated for Best Actor
Berlin International Film Festival:
1975 Posse nominated for Competing Film
New York Film Critics Circle Award:
1956 Lust for Life won for Best Actor
1951 Detective Story nominated for Best Actor
President of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980.
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1970.
He was awarded the American National Medal of Arts in 2001 from the National Endowment of the Arts.
“Unknown to many, Kirk has long been involved in humanitarian causes and has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the US State Department since 1963. His efforts were rewarded in 1981 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 1983 with the Jefferson Award. Furthermore, the French honored him with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. More recognition followed for his work with the American Cinema Award (1987), the German Golden Kamera Award (1987), The National Board of Reviews Career Achievement Award (1989), an honorary Academy Award(1995), Recipient of the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1999) and the UCLA Medal of Honor (2002).”
Helped break the Hollywood blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo, a member of the “Hollywood Ten”, to write the screenplay.
Despite widespread criticism from many in the industry, including John Wayne and Hedda Hopper, Douglas refused to back down and Trumbo received a screen credit under his own name.
When presenting Douglas with an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement at The 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996) (TV), Steven Spielberg thanked Douglas for his courage.
His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6263 Hollywood Blvd.
Has a street named after him near Palm Springs International Airport: Kirk Douglas Way. (2004)
Kirk Douglas / Author of books:
The Ragman’s Son: An Autobiography (1988, memoir)
Dance with the Devil (1990, novel)
The Gift (1992, novel)
Last Tango in Brooklyn (1994, novel)
Climbing the Mountain: My Search for Meaning (1997, memoir)
My Stroke of Luck (2002, memoir)
Let’s Face It: 90 Years of Living, Loving, and Learning (2007, memoir)