The Sons of Katie Elder / Part 4
Henry Hathaway / Director
Next, Hathaway was Assistant Director under another Fleming film The Rough Riders (1927) – Widipedia says: ” A fictional account of Theodore Roosevelt’s military unit in Cuba – a worthy Western setting, but the film was evidently not very good.
Wikipedia: “Incomplete or fragment prints of this movie are extant at the Museum of Modern Art and the Library of Congress.” In other words, this is essentially a lost film.
On the poster Noah Beery Sr. gets top Bill – but no image?
It seems his role was mainly comic relief.
Charles Farrell and Mary Astor
Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor
You may recall Mary from her role in the Maltese Falcon (1941)
Just for fun:
Father of Noah Beery Jr.
Brother of actor Noah Beery Sr.
Possibly most well known for his role in the Rockford Files TV show.
The Sons of Katie Elder / Part 3
Henry Hathaway / Director
“To be a good director you’ve got to be a bastard.
I’m a bastard and I know it.”
– Henry Hathaway
Thought I’d do a little profile on Henry Hathaway, the Director of Sons of Katie Elder. Initially John Sturges ( Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963) ) was supposed to Direct and Alan Ladd was to Star. Ladd bought out his contract with Paramount and left. Film rights were picked up by Producer Hal Wallis and it was announced Dean Martin would Star. But somewhere along the line John Wayne and Hathaway stepped in.
Hathaway directed about 24 Westerns in his career – 67 movies in total between 1929 to 1974 – including John Wayne’s: North to Alaska (1960) and True Grit (1969) – for which John Wayne (1969) won an Oscar. Quite a career. Yet Hathaway’s Directing style seems to have been purely business like – straight forward, bread and butter, and no frills – and he received little recognition and no awards for his work. Not that he seemed to care.
“There’s lots of nice guys walking around Hollywood but they’re not eating.” – Henry Hathaway
According to one source, Hathaway was an assistant Director under a guy called Victor Fleming on a movie called The Wolf Song(1929). Fleming went on to Direct The Wizard of OZ (1939)and Gone with the Wind (1939) – among several other classics. If your going to understudy with somebody, it might as well be a Master.
Wolf Song has a number of rather wonderful and incredible images.
My first impression when I looked at these images was that
popular modern cinema has lost something.
And I’d say that something is Art.
John Wayne was 55 years old in 1965 and not feeling good about himself.
Years of excessive smoking (6 packs a day) and drinking were calling in their dues.
Wikipedia says: “Filming was due to begin in September 1964, but had to be delayed until January 1965, after Wayne was diagnosed with lung cancer. Following Wayne’s surgery to remove a cancerous lung and two ribs, the star insisted on doing his own stunts, and nearly contracted pneumonia after being dragged into a river.”
John still insisted upon doing stunts. It must have been a hell of a shoot.
Despite all, John’s incredible and enduring Star Power still makes this a favorite among fans.
12 worthy Posters
John’s international popularity guaranteed Box office success.
Johnny Cash sings “The Sons of Katie Elder“;
a rather awful song written by Elmer Bernstein and Ernie Sheldon.
The film’s background music was also composed by Elmer Bernstein.
The Sons of Katie Elder / 1965
Dean’s second Western with John Wayne.
A follow-up to immensely popular Rio Bravo (1959)
Katie Elder was a real person and the events surrounding the Sons is also loosely based on historical events.
More on that later.
From the Four Winds they came.
the four brothers. their eyes smoking
and their fingers itching…
A Review or two.
100%!!??? Definitely not.
I really gotta say that I’m mystified by the high ratings? To me this is nothing more that a second level John WayneWestern – almost a formula flick.
These ratings would make it almost a Classic – which it is not.
But obviously a lot of people like it.
When I’m researching a movie I love to read the Trivia on IMDB
(Internet Movie DataBase) It can tell you a lot:
Opening credits say: “The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or events is purely coincidental.”
MFW: I’m mystified why this would need to be posted? Maybe somebody will confuse some politicians for the 3 Stooges.
Director Robert Aldrich intensely disliked Frank Sinatra’s non-professional attitude and tried unsuccessfully to have him dismissed from the film.
MFW: Not very hard to believe.
Before Frank Sinatra was in the picture, James Stewart and Robert Mitchum were pursued for the lead. MFW: Always interesting to see who else MIGHT have been in a film – but this just doesn’t make sense? I thought it was a Rat Pack movie?
Sophia Loren turned down a paycheck of $1m for four weeks work.
MFW: Sofia was smart. She had previously worked with Sinatra in The Pride and the Passion(1957)
She was also an anomaly – a beauty who turned out to be a good Actress.
Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress both did nude screen tests, Hollywood’s first. However, the censors removed all nudity from the finished film.
MFW: Wonder if the Europeans got a uncut version?
The role of Maxine Richter (Ursula Andress) was originally intended for Gina Lollobrigida.
MFW: I probably would have gone with Gina. But they never asked me.
The riverboat “Sultana” shares the same name with an overloaded Mississippi riverboat side-wheeler that exploded and sank on April 27, 1865, whilst transporting Union troops returning from Confederate prison camps during the closing days of the Civil War.
MFW: Overloading Riverboats was possibly a common practice in those days, and was likely deemed a necessity during the American Civil War.
Wikipedia: “On April 27, 1865, the boat exploded in the worst maritime disaster in United States history. Although designed with a capacity for only 376 passengers, she was carrying 2,427 when three of the boat’s four boilers exploded and she burned to the waterline and sank near Memphis, Tennessee, killing an estimated 1,700 passengers. This disaster was overshadowed in the contemporary press by other events, most particularly the killing on the previous day of President Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
The Universal Studios prop steamboat was called the ENTERPRISE, since it was most remembered for its role by that name in the RIVERBOAT television series (1959-1961). Universal built the replica boat for the MISSISSIPPI GAMBLER (1953) staring Tyrone Power. It sat on a lake on the back lots of Universal Studios. Ultimately the ENTERPRISE was lost to fire on the Universal lot.
Bette Davis declined a role in this film to do Dead Ringer (1964).
MFW: Bette was 55 at the time. I’m unsure what role that might have been?
But Hell! we’re talking about Bette Davis.
They’re Busting Up The West Like It’s Never Been Busted Up Before!
It’s a daisy!
4 for Texas
4 for Texas was Dean’s 4th Western (of 10) and is straight out of what I call the 60’sHollywood Pulp Era – also possible called the Bimbo Era. LoL! It’s a shameless bit of fluff for sure, but is smart enough to not take itself seriously. Hell! it has the 3 Stooges in it!! I almost want to skip past it Western-wise, but it still has so many unique features and people (Stars) from that era (mainly Frank and Dean) that I’m still give it a look. Let’s consider it a ‘Sociological Study’.
I think it’s better in Italian.
Yet another puzzler: just as I was surprised to see John Sturges Direct Sergeants 3, I was equally stunned to see Robert Aldrich Directing 4 for Texas! Why? because Aldrich has also previously Directed Film Classics:Apache (1954) with Burt Lancaster, Vera Cruz (1954) with Lancaster and Gary Cooper, The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), Ulzana’s Raid (1972) with Lancaster again – and a several other notable films. Yet also Directed some pretty cheesy stuff like the Dirty Dozen (1967) and The Longest Yard (1974). But, for me, it just doesn’t seem to fit? Anyway …
To get us started, how about some other opinions / Reviews?
“11%”??? Wow! Pass the popcorn.
IMDB is more generous. Maybe it thought this was a documentary?
Here’s some other IMDB Viewer Review snippets:
“Testosterone Driven Men… a much reduced Rat Pack film …” “Bloated star vehicle … With the exception of the opening 15 minutes, the film is almost totally devoid of fun … lifeless, self indulgent and lacking in fun or wit …”
“… it is singularly unmemorable … a comedy-western that’s not particularly funny or all that exciting …”
“A 60’s comedy-western very much of its era”
“… unlikely that anyone but hard core fans of the stars will want to revisit.”
“Two for Texas, Two Against Texas Equals Zero” “Unless you’re a Rat Packer, skip “Four For Texas.”
Wooooo ! My ears are ringing.
So if you think you’s like to watch this, consider yourself warned.
But Hey ! this thing made money. 3 years later Dean made Texas Across the River with Rat PackerJoey Bishop.
Is there anything more beautiful than a Riverboat?
Was there any Actress worse than Ursula Andress?
Wikipedia says: “Sergeants 3is a 1962 remake of Gunga Din (1939) set in the American West, directed by John Sturges and featuring Rat Pack icons Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. It was the last film to all five members of the Rat Pack …”
The 4 Rat Pack movies were: Ocean’s Eleven (1960), Sergeants 3(1962), 4 for Texas (1963), and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964).
Tags / Sergeants 3
It was the fashion in the 60’s to often massively hype movies and often completely misrepresent their true flavor. Thus we see these Tags assigned toSergeants 3 with make it look like some zany slapstick send up:
They’re the Wildest Characters in All the West! You’ve gotta see it to know how wild the west can be! They’re Gamblers… They’re Lovers… They’re The Wildest Characters In All The West! (British poster) They take the West… Like it’s never been taken before! are you READY? MAN! This one’s THE WILDEST! Even the Indians are funny in … SERGEANTS 3
Shameless exaggerations. Yes, Sergeants 3 had humor, but it also had some fairly serious undertones.
Most of the humor was rather on the clever side though – such as this clip of Dean playing poker with the Blacksmith:
In 1962 Dean Martinmakes his 3rd Western: Sergeants 3. No Classic, but interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s Produced by Frank Sinatra – and Directed (believe it or not) by the great Director John Sturges, Director of the Great Western Classics: The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Gunfight at OK Corral (1957) – plus The Great Escape (1963) – among others. Amazing! So why would Sturgeswant to Direct such an offbeat project? Well why not! You get to work with some of the Greatest names in Las Vegas/Hollywood entertainment history: Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis Jr!! The real trick would be to keep this set from turning into an outright party – though it’s said that the Pack usually behaved like the Pros they were.
4 years after his split with Jerry Lewis, Dean made his secondWestern: Rio Bravo –Western Classic.
I’ve covered Rio Bravo somewhat, so I’m just gonna show a couple of images and move on. Good images though.
In 1958 DeanMartin was 41 years old.
James Cagney, John Cassavetes, Edmond O’Brien, Rod Steiger, Richard Widmark, John Ireland, Tony Curtis, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, William Holden, VanJohnson, Burt Lancaster, Ray Milland, Spencer Tracy and Robert Mitchum were considered for Dude. Howard Hawks also supposedly negotiated for Frank Sinatra for the role.
(MFW: Good grief !!! I woulda hired most any of these guys on the spot.
But Dean was great.)
Montgomery Clift, who was bisexual and a liberal Democrat, turned down the role of Dude, because he didn’t want to work again with John Wayne and Walter Brennan who were both strongly conservative Republicans. They had previously worked together in Red River (1948). Clift suggested his The Young Lions (1958) co-star Dean Martin for the role of Dude, and so Martin’s agent immediately approached Howard Hawks with the idea.
Hawks agreed to meet with Martin at 9:30 the next morning. When Hawks learned that Martin had done a show in Las Vegas until midnight, and hired a plane to fly him to the meeting, Hawks was so impressed that he simply sent Martin to get a costume and told him he had the part.
Cast as an alcoholic battling inner demons, Dean turned to his friend Marlon Brando for advice about playing the role.
Mostly due to Dean’s Italian background, the film was a huge success in Italy, laying the groundwork for the following decade’s Spaghetti Western boom.
Dean later admitted that he found the part of Dude very difficult to play.
(MFW: It doesn’t show. Nice job Dean.)
The movie was filmed at the famous Old Tucson Studios. Many Westerns Films and TV Westerns have been shot here – including the great Western ClassicGunfight at OK Corral (1957). Filming outdoors was often a chore due to the 120-degree heat and an invasion of grasshoppers that fried on the hot lights and littered the sets.
In 2014, Rio Bravo was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Obviously there was a tremendous bond between Dean and Jerry. They loved each other like brothers (are supposed to). Yet, after they broke up, they were estranged for 20 years. It took a surprise meeting set up by Frank Sinatra to break the ice and they finally renewed their friendship.
Some of these photos are rather amazing – a different era for sure. But not that long ago.
Dean, Lori Nelson, Jerry, Jackie Loughery on a pile of badguys.
Dean and Jerry get the drop on 2 known and 4 unknown owlhoots.
Dean Martin made about 10 Westerns between 1956 and 1973.Theyfall into a few categories: Comedy, Classic, Spaghetti, Pulp, and Head Scratcher?
Let’s start with Martin and Lewis (Jerry). Dean and Jerry made several movies in their 10 year comedy collaboration. One of them was a Western Musical Comedy called Pardners (1956).
It’s not what I would call a Western Classic. But fun.
Rumors were abounding in 1956 that Dean and Jerry were going to break up. Hence they were put up to this ending:
Dean and Jerry’s gun handling is impressive. I heard (somewhere) that the guy to taught Actors to handle guns said Dean and Jerry were among the best students he ever taught. They had the knack.
That might just be Publicity talk. But it might also be true.
The Supporting Cast of Pardnersis pretty amazing: Agnes Moorehead, Lori Nelson, Jeff Morrow, Lon Chaney, Jr., Jack Elam, Lee Van Cleef, Bob Steele.
Though Elam, Van Cleef, and Steele got no Billing, they all became very successful Western film Stars.
“Wackiest’???!!! Wow, you sure don’t hear that expression much anymore.
That’s right outta the 50’s. Along with ‘Zany’.