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The Wild Bunch cont. ……………… Casting Call Part 1

6 Jan

The Wild Bunch - The Walk reversed

A Wilder Bunch??

Casting Call Part 1 / Pike Bishop
The Wild Bunch 1973

The Wild Bunch - Holden

The Wild Bunch / Pike Bishop / William Holden

I always like to check who got a particular role/part/casting – and how – why? Who refused it – missed out? The casting story for The Wild Bunch reveals some very interesting candidates.

Who would you have picked? Why? A very tough decision.

Wikipedia says: “Director Sam Peckinpah considered many actors for the Pike Bishop role, before casting William Holden: Richard Boone, Sterling Hayden, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and James Stewart. Marvin actually accepted the role but pulled out after he was offered a larger pay deal to star in Paint Your Wagon (1969).”

Pretty well a Who’s Who of Western film Icons.

Who would you have Cast?:

Richard Boone

Richard Boone Western Filmography
Way of a Gaucho
– (1952) / Pony Soldier (uncredited) (1952)
City of Bad Men – (1953) / The Siege at Red River – (1954)
The Raid – (1954) / Ten Wanted Men – (1955)
Man Without a Star – (1955) / Robbers’ Roost – (1955)
Star in the Dust – (1956) / The Tall T – (1957)
The Alamo – (1960) / A Thunder of Drums – (1961)
Rio Conchos – (1964) / Hombre – (1967)
Big Jake  (1971) / Against a Crooked Sky – (1975)
Diamante Lobo – (1976) / The Shootist – (1976)

Richard Boone TV Westerns
Frontier – episode – The Salt War -1956)
Studio One in Hollywood – episode – Dead of Noon – (1957)
Have Gun – Will Travel – 225 episodes – (1957–1963)
Cimarron Strip – episode – The Roarer – (1967)
Hec Ramsey – 10 episodes – (1972-1974)

Sterling Hayden

Sterling Hayden Western Filmography
1949 El Paso / 1952 Flaming Feather
1952 Denver and Rio Grande / 1952 Hellgate
1953 Kansas Pacific / 1954 Arrow In the Dust
1954 Johnny Guitar / 1955 Timberjack
1955 Shotgun / 1955 Top Gun
1955 The Last Command / 1957 Gun Battle at Monterey
1957 The Iron Sheriff / 1958 Terror in a Texas Town
1975 Cipolla Colt

Sterling Hayden TV Westerns
1957 Zane Grey Theater / 1957 Wagon Train
1982 The Blue and the Gray

Charleton Heston

Charleton Heston Western Filmography
1952 The Savage / 1952 The President’s Lady
1953 Pony Express / 1953 Arrowhead
1955 The Far Horizons / 1957 Three Violent People
1958 The Big Country /  1965 Major Dundee
1968 Will Penny1972 The Call of the Wild
1980 The Mountain Men / 1993 Tombstone

Burt Lancaster 2

Burt Lancaster Western Filmography
1951 Vengeance Valley / 1951 Ten Tall Men
1954 Apache1954 Vera Cruz
The Kentuckian / 1956 The Rainmaker
1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral / 1960 The Unforgiven
1965 The Hallelujah Trail / 1966 The Professionals
1968 The Scalphunters / 1971 Lawman
1971 Valdez Is Coming1972 Ulzana’s Raid
1976 Buffalo Bill and the Indians 1981 Cattle Annie and Little Britches

Lee Marvin

Lee Marvin Western Filmography
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 … 

Robert Mitchum

Robert Mitchum Western Filmography
1943 Hoppy Serves a Writ / 1943 Border Patrol
1943 Leather Burners / 1943 Colt Comrades
1943 The Lone Star Trail / 1943 Beyond the Last Frontier
1943 Bar 20 / 1943 False Colors
1943 Riders of the Deadline / 1944 Nevada
1945 West of the Pecos / 1947 Pursued
1948 Blood on the Moon / 1949 The Red Pony
1952 The Lusty Men / 1954 River of No Return
1955 Man with the Gun / 1956 Bandido
1959 The Wonderful Country / 1967 El Dorado
1967 The Way West / 1968 Villa Rides
1968 5 Card Stud / 1969 Young Billy Young
1969 The Good Guys and the Bad Guys
1993 Tombstone Narrator / 1995 Dead Man

Robert Mitchum TV Work
1985 North and South

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck Western Filmography
1946 Duel in the Sun / 1946 Yellow Sky
1950 The Gunfighter / 1950 Only the Valiant
1958 The Bravados / 1958 The Big Country
1962 How the West Was Won / 1967 The Stalking Moon
1967 Mackenna’s Gold / 1982 The Blue and the Gray
1989 Old Gringo

James Stewart 2

James Stewart Western Filmography
1939 Destry Rides Again / 1950 Winchester ’73
1950 Broken Arrow / 1952 Bend of the River
1953 The Naked Spur / 1954 The Far Country
1955 The Man from Laramie / 1961 Two Rode Together
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962 How the West Was Won / 1964 Cheyenne Autumn
1965 Shenandoah / 1966 The Rare Breed
1968 Firecreek / 1968 Bandolero!
1970 The Cheyenne Social Club
1976 The Shootist

Amazing … stunning. You can’t lose. Put all the names in a hat and pull one out … any one of them would have done a great job.

Next let’s have a look at Ernest Borgnine’s role of Dutch Engstrom …

Ernest Borgnine

Dennis Hopper Western Filmography …

15 Feb

Dennis Hopper Western Filmography

I count Dennis Hopper’s appearances in at least two Western Classics: Gunfight at OK Corral with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas (1957); and True Grit (1969) with John Wayne. Even if Western movie fans didn’t count these movies as Classic, it would be recognized that Hopper had appeared with three of the Greatest Western Movie Stars of all time: Wayne, Lancaster and Douglas.

Some Western fans may also include Hang ’em High (1968) with another of the Greatest Western Actors of all time: Clint Eastwood; and The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) with John Wayne (again), Dean Martin and Earl Holliman.

Among Western TV Shows. Gunsmoke and Bonanza would well be considered Classics. Cheyenne ? (Note: Hoppers roles in the TV Westerns were as a Guest Star – not a regular.)

Even so, not a bad legacy for one the legendary bad boys of the Entertainment industry.

hopper cheyenne

hopper sugarfoot

gunfight at ok corral dennis hopper

hopper from hell to texas

hopper zane grey

hopper rifleman

hopper the young land

hopper wagon train

hopper the dakotas

hopper bonanza

hopper gunsmoke

hopper sons of katie elder

hopper jesse james

hopper will sonnett

hopper the big valley

hopper hang em high

hopper true grit

hopper kid blue

hopper mad dog morgan


the professionals … the cast … 1

23 Jun

lancaster and marvin … 

The Professionals lancaster 3

The Professionals lancaster

… men with swagger

The Professionals marvin 2 

The Professionals marvin

The Professionals / 1966 cont’d …

18 Jun

The Professionals …

The Professionals / Laurel Award

The Professionals / Laurel Award

The Professionals Banner

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 ZhivagoMerveilleuse Angélique and You Only Live Twice) in 1967.

The Professionals Banner

The Professionals Lee Marvin

The Professionals / Lee Marvin

The Professionals … 1966

18 Jun

“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 Professionals posters

The Professionals posters

Vera Cruz … Burt pitches … Coop catches

12 Nov

The Power of Projection

‘Projection’ they call it. Some actors have it. Most never will. It’s the ability to take a simple line of dialogue and make it sing; have impact; the knack of making a whisper into a shout. All the great Shakespearean actors have it: Olivier, Burton, Dench, Jacobi, O’Toole …

YET … out of the unwashed West emerged several notable thespians who entered the stage via a different door: Hollywood.

Among them was Burt Lancaster

Watch Burt in this famous clip from The Unforgiven: (1961) 4:59

Sign language scene – The Unforgiven

How many actors could pull that off?

Vera Cruz: Burt Pitches – Coop Catches

Vera Cruz also has some inspired dialogue: ‘one-liners’, verbal sparring, quotes – delivered by two masters: Cooper and Lancaster.

Coop meets Burt:

Coop meets Burt


Coop meets Burt’s Gang: “Follow him boys. We was leaving anyways”

Burt straightens things out: “Anybody else string with Charlie?”

Tell me I’m wrong, but damned if that doesn’t look like a very young George Kennedy (uncredited) standing just to Charlie’s right.

Burt sums things up: “Looks like we tied up with the wrong outfit.”

Vera Cruz …

9 Nov

Poster? what poster?




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