Robert Ryan was already a grizzled veteran of the screen when I was a kid – and I missed most of his earlier work of the 40′s and 50′s. And to me he always seemed to be one of those actors that somehow were never young – even in his early movies – with a presence, stature and persona that moved past his years and youth.
Rugged and somewhat gruff in his portrayals – even his smile was often more like a sardonic smirk – he often played the heavy – a villain. Yet he surely played strong and well along side the likes of:
Gary Cooper (North West Mounted Police / 1940
Rock Hudson (Horizons West / 1952
James Stewart and Janet Leigh (The Naked Spur / 1953
Clark Gable and Jane Russell (The Tall Men / 1955
Burl Ives and Tina Louise (Day of the Outlaw /1959
John Dehner and Torin Thatcher (The Canadians / 1961,
Lancaster, Marvin, Palance, Strode, Bellamy and Cardinale (The Professionals / 1966
James Garner and Jason Robards (Hour of the Gun / 1967
Robert Shaw (Custer of the West /1968
Arthur Kennedy (A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die / 1968
William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson … (The Wild Bunch / 1969
Burt Lancaster, Lee J. Cobb (Lawman / 1971 …
and more …
A heck of an actor. And these are just his Westerns !
But what Westerns they were ! At least 3 easily rising into the heights of Western Classics: The Wild Bunch, The Professionals, Naked Spur, Hour of the Gun … plus others of worthy note.
A true Western Star.
Robert Ryan / The Wild Bunch
Robert Ryan / The Professionals
Ryan slappin’ leather in The Hour of the Gun
Ryan (Center Back) with mostly unidentified cast cohorts of The Wild Bunch
- except Strother Martin (Back left)
Ryan – The Naked Gun
Ride on Robert …
To be included in My Favorite Westerns: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid; The Wild Bunch; and MFW Great Western Directors
“I loved Westerns as a kid,
and I wanted to see if they held up”.
- Sam Pekinpah
They’re holding up pretty good Sam.
In researching Westerns … I’m finding I have some ‘dues’ to pay. I’ve discovered my education in Western movies is sadly lacking and there are a ton of Westerns out there that I have never seen that I need to ‘catch up on’ – even at this late date.
In doing so I’ve also found that I sometimes have to subject myself to a few Westerns that are less than excellent. Like tonight, when I decided to watch The Shadow Riders with Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck is a favorite actor of mine and, in fact, is in one of My Favorite Westerns: Quigley Down Under. But The Shadow Riders is (sadly) not of the same calibre. It’s a TV Movie – a B Movie. Not that all TV Movies or B Movies are poor – some are pretty good and a lot of fun to watch – they just aren’t normally ‘top of the line’ in production qualities.
The Shadow Riders actually has some pretty fine talent in – besides Selleck: Sam Eliott, Ben Johnson; Catherine Ross … plus a sampling of trusty support actors. But it’s not a good movie.
Selleck and Elliot appeared together several times in Westerns:
With regard to Ben Johnson: a fine Western actor who has appeared in MANY Westerns - and is also in another of my My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch. He’s one of the four (anti) heroes who march to the final showdown – along with William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warren Oates.
Ben Johnson definitely has a place in the MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame …
Ride on Ben …
The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine
Epic! The famous ‘Walk’ to the climactic gunfight at OK Corral
Gunfight at the OK Corral - Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Hudson, DeForest Kelley
Hour of the Gun Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner
Tombstone Val Kilmer, Sam Shapard, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton
Wyatt Earp Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby
‘The Wild Bunch’ … doing ‘the Walk’? You betcha!
The Wild Bunch Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine
Intentional – or not (and I surely believe it was)
Pekinpah’s Wild Bunch do ‘The Walk’
By Frank Prassel, University of Oklahoma Press 1972
Are We Safer than the Citizens of Dodge City? By Jim Higginbotham
Sometimes the answers to seemingly complex social problems are hidden in plain sight. Social engineers, lawmakers and “experts” from all around spout off an endless stream of statistics to support or rationalize their position one side or the other of the “gun control” issue. Now I don’t like the term “gun control” for it is ambiguous and usually used to mask the real intent of those advocating it so for the purpose of this discussion let us just say “more restrictive guns laws”. One might think that this is a relatively new idea, it is not! You can go back to the Roman Empire and find the existence of cross bow control, you can look to England and find attempts to disarm the various colonists under their imperial thumb – the American colonists come to mind as an unsuccessful attempt to debar the use of arms to an indigent population. There are many examples of the failure of laws which attempt to disarm the violent in our society but none are more graphic as examples or easier to measure in effect than those in the “wild west” of America circa 1870-1900.
read more … http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/rkba/check_gun.htm
“Talk about cowboys. That’s my passion. I think it’s just wonderful when the studios revert back to doing westerns again.” – Ernest Borgnine.
Ernest Borgnine (born Ermes Effron Borgnino) appeared in many Westerns (The Revengers; The Trackers; Hannie Caldur; Chuka; Manhunt; Badlanders; Vera Cruz; Johnny Guitar; The Stranger Wore a Gun …) and Television Westerns (Wagon Train; Laramie; Zane Grey Theatre …) in an entertainment career that spanned 61 years.
Vera Cruz – Gary Cooper, Jack Elam, Ernest Borgnine (middle), Charles Bronson and Burt Lancaster …
Try to find another screencap with this many heavyweights in it!
Why are these men smiling? Cuz they gets to play ‘Cowboy’ and gets paid fer it!
Ernest Borgnine, Jack Elam and Strother Martin in Hannie Caulder
Ernest appears in two of My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch and Vera Cruz.
And earns a place in my Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Ride on Ernie.