The made-for-television western The Sacketts combines the plotlines from two seperate Louis L’Amour novels, The Daybreakers and The Sacketts. In this film, the three Tennessee-raised Sackett brothers migrate to the West following the conclusion of the Civil War. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Movie Guide.
Made ten years before Lonesome Dove, The Sacketts (1979) may well have been the first great Western Mini Series – and in looking at the cast, it’s easy to understand why some Western fans may hold it with similar esteem,with Western Greats like Glenn Ford, Sam Elliott, Tom Selleck, Slim Pickens, Jack Elam, Ben Johnson, L.Q. Jones, and some notable support players including John Vernon, Gilbert Roland, Buck Taylor… and on. Pretty impressive. So although The Sacketts does show itself to be a little shy in production values compared to modern fair, it still shines with notable Star Power.
Angelo: “How come you get into the sheep business, boss?”
Jason Sweet (Glenn Ford) : “Well, I’ll tell ya, Angelo. You see, it’s this way. I just got tired of kicking cows around. You know how dumb they are.”
Angelo: “And you think sheep are smarter?”
Jason Sweet: “Oh, no, no. They’re dumber. Only their easier kicking…and woollier.”
Now we come to another rather odd Glenn Ford film: The Sheepman – the last Western Glenn Ford made in the 50’s.
Yes, there are indeed some odd things about this film … but some wonderful things as well.
Let’s have a look.
“What’s in a name?” asked William Shakespeare.
Well … a lot.
The first odd thing is that I found this film referred to on the Net under no less than seven different names !! The Sheepman; Stranger with a Gun; Stranger In Town; Showdown In Powder Valley; and The Valley of the Powder, The Trail West, Too Big for Texas. ??? This adds a bit of a bizarre aura to the movie right off the top. And fact is, the film didn’t do well upon initial release as The Sheepman and some/all/much (??) of this was blamed on it’s name. I can understand that, and I also puzzled at the choice of such a title. Is that the kind of title that inspire you to go see a Western? Not me. Something like The Cattle Raiders from Death Valley or Showdown at Bushwacker Ridge … would have been better (in my opinion.) Glenn Ford was the Top box office draw in the movie business at the time, so maybe they just felt his Stardom – especially in a Western – would bring folks in. ?? But people just plain weren’t drawn to it – for whatever reasons.
So they wisely re-issued the movie under the title Stranger with a Gun (and 14 other names)and it did better.
But I really can’t figure why a film like this wouldn’t do well. Hell, it has Glenn Ford (and Shirley McLaine !!!) And did Glenn ever make anything bad ? NO !!! He was great from the ‘get go’ – till the end. A great and charismatic actor.
Shirley McLaine? Like Lemmon in Ford’s previous movie Cowboy,she was not greatly known yet. Shirley, however, was one of the last great actresses to come out of the old studio film system – which was fading fast from it’s former glory. One of the fraternity of immensely talented song and dance gals who could act and do it all: comedy, stage, drama … anything you want. And later Starred with Lemmon himself in Irma la Douce (1963).
OK … now where wuz I ?? O Yeah ! Glenn Ford Westerns …
After Delmer Daves directed 3:10 to Yuma he made Cowboy.
Not a classic, but still somewhat enjoyable due to it’s Star Power: Glenn Ford and Jack Lemmon.
Jack Lemmon – a truly wonderful actor was not yet at the peak of his
popularity and respect, had yet to show his stunning depth and versatility.
Thus, on the posters, he is very obviously second billed to the
well established – and well deserved Ford.
But frankly, some of these posters are real stinkers – and head scratchers.
When you’ve got two great actors like Ford and Lemmon shouldn’t
they at least be pictured on the posters ??? Yet some of them …
you would hardly know who was in the movie.
Most of them got it right though.
So, a bit of a different idea for a Western – based on a book by Frank Harris – a semi-autobiographical novel My Reminiscences as a Cowboy – written in 1930.
The supposed story of a greenhorn who goes on a cattle drive and other Wild West adventures –
later being exposed as several scenes were taken from movies – or completely fabricated. But who cares ??! it ain’t history and makes for a good yarn.
“What are you squeezin’ that watch for?
Squeezin’ that watch ain’t gonna stop time.” Glenn Ford as Ben Wade / 3:10 to Yuma
Quiet on the set! Master at Work …
One critic has noted the likely influences of German Expressionist film makers in 3:10 to Yuma. Such insight is beyond my ken – so it’s much appreciated. Other, closer to home influences, are more obvious, as from Fred Zinnemann’sHigh Noon and John Ford’s Classics Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine … others.
No color? No Computer Generated Effects?
All the unique virtues of Black and Film making are in evidence. Plus more:
high angle … low angle … wide angle … echo shots … close ups … lighting … shot framing … scene composition … dramatic use of Light/Dark/Shadow … Direction …
Nearly every shot in 310 to Yuma is crafted … seamlessly and unpretentiously integrated.
“While studying civil engineering and law at Stanford University, Delmer Daves secured work as a prop boy for director James Cruze’s The Covered Wagon (1923). So fascinated was Daves by the Native Americans working on this film that he forsook a law career to live in Arizona among the Hopi and Navajo. He studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse, appearing in a few early talkies before turning to screenwriting. In 1944 he directed his first film, the low-key combat drama Destination Tokyo. In this and his other war-related films Pride of the Marines (1945) and Task Force (1949), writer/director Daves emphasized the anxieties and tribulations of the individual soldier, rather than resorting to gaudy Hollywood heroics. In 1951, Daves formed his own production company, Double-D productions. Most of his best 1950s films were westerns, which like his war pictures favored slowly escalating personal tensions over wanton gunplay …” ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Nominated for 1959 by Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Cowboy (1958).
Laurel Award Nominations
1959 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Director
1960 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Director
1961 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
1962 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
1963 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
1964 Nominated Golden Laurel Top Producer/Director
“The success of High Noon spawned numerous psychological Westerns, and one of the best of this crop was 3:10 to Yuma. Van Heflin as rancher Dan Evans and Glenn Ford as outlaw Ben Wade both give exceptional, multi-layered performances, among the best of their careers, with Ford going particularly against type and displaying that he was one of the more underrated actors of his generation. The script by Halsted Welles, based on a story by Elmore Leonard, is taut and insightful, … Equally important is the superb direction of Delmer Daves, … There are also strong supporting parts for Leora Dana as Heflin’s wife and a collection of scene-stealing character actors, including Richard Jaeckel, Henry Jones, and Robert Emhardt … “
“I don’t say stuff like this very often, but 3:10 to Yuma is basically a perfect film. Unpretentious, deeply psychological, and gorgeously produced, it works on every level, making it one of the very best examples in the history of the genre. Smart and powerful while remaining completely unassuming, I can’t imagine how it could be any better than it is. If you’ve never seen it, or have only seen the modern remake, Criterion’s Blu-ray reaffirms just how brilliantly it still shines after all these decades.”
Complex Western a Cut Above the Competition: 3:10 to Yuma
“The little-known 3:10 to Yuma contains similar elements to the renowned High Noon, but is a better film. Clocks play a big role in each film. But instead of focusing on the faceless evil of the coming bandits, as High Noon did, 3:10 has a continuous byplay between the ingratiating bandit and the upright cattleman. Both Glenn Ford and Van Heflin shine in their parts and the psychological maneuvering between the two is remarkable. The supporting cast is well chosen and professional.
The story is by Elmore Leonard. Delmar Daves (The Petrified Forest, Destination Tokyo) directed the film and used German Expressionist camera techiques like the fabled films noir of the 40s and 50s. Many interesting angles not usually seen in westerns, here. The photography and lighting, by Charles Lawton, Jr. (Lady From Shanghai), is dramatic and wonderfully preserved in the new Columbia DVD. The music, by George Dunning, is well matched to the visuals and contains a theme song sung by Frankie Laine, as was the custom in those days.
3:10 to Yuma is head and shoulders above the typical white hat/black hat western ground out during the era, and better than High Noon, demonstrating psychological depth and different layers of meaning.”
“Let`s never forget that to remain free we must always be strong. “
– Glenn Ford
In The Fastest Gun Alive Ford plays a reluctant gunfighter (a theme that occurs in several of Ford’s Western roles) who is reluctantly forced into taking up arms against the badguys. We may well be seeing Ford’s personal philosophy at play here, whereby he expresses the need for a vigilant defence in our troubled world.
Wikipedia: Ford’s World War II decorations are as follows: American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Rifle Marksman Badge, and the US Marine Corps Reserve Medal. He retired from the Naval Reserve in the 1970s at the rank of captain.
I can’t tell if my screw up on this post was due to my legendary incompetence in operating a blog – or whether it’s due to WordPress changing things on their interface. Possibly both. I hope things are fixed now. I better play it safe and accept the responsibility. I’m surely capable of such feats. LOL! Onward. Thanks for watching.
The Violent Men / 1955
With The Violent Men we arrive at one of Glenn Ford’s better known and more popular Westerns.
Wikipedia says: “The Violent Men is a CinemaScope Western film drama from 1955. It was directed by Rudolph Maté, and starred Glenn Ford along with Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson as a bickering married couple at odds with cattlemen in their small town. Brian Keith and Dianne Foster co-starred. Based on the novel Smoky Valley by Donald Hamilton.”
Richard Jaekel also appears.
People seemed to have problems with the title … so they changed it.
I wondered about it myself.
Not a great Western … but a great cast keeps it interesting.
Next on Glenn Ford Westerns – the 50’s:
The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)
We’ve already had a look at Jubal (1956).
so moving on …
A sensitive treatment of an Iconic American event.
IMDB: “Very good story,about the individual standing up against a collective prejudice, co-written by Niven Busch (Duel in the Sun, Pursued, The Westerner) and directed by Budd Boetticher, who in later years directed many westerns with Randolph Scott. This film is full of action, very good music and scenery. Boetticher shows his special touch when there is a shootout with plenty of strategy involved.”
Glenn Ford as a slandered, silent Boetticher protagonist
The Boetticher masterpiece’s IMO are “Seven Men from Now” (1956), “The Tall T” (1957), “Decision at Sundown” (1957), and “Ride Lonesome” (1959), (I have yet to see the 1958 “Buchan Rides Alone”),but for action, these earlier westerns are superior and they still have complex, conflicted protagonists (indeed, less stiff ones than Randolph Scott, though Scott’s parts were tailored to his stiffness). I don’t know why he only made one feature film after 1960 (the 1969 “A Time for Dying” which was also Audie Murphy’s last movie, in which he played another outlaw, Jesse James, having played the title role of “The Cinammon Kid” in Boetticher’s first western in 1952). http://www.epinions.com/review/Man_From_the_Alamo_Budd_Boetticher/content_583724011140?sb=1
“Not the most memorable of westerns, The Redhead and the Cowboy (1951) … Easily seen today as a metaphor for the spreading of communism, using confused and easily led people to spread the word of communism, without truly understanding it’s perceived power amongst the public … A routine Western that goes from place to place before the guy gets his girl, and enough for Glenn Ford to flex his muscles in the west once more.”
Reasonable ratings … a passable way to spend a couple of hours.
Excerpt: ” … The acting is first-rate. Ford and Holden were Columbia contract players at the time The Man From Coloradowas made. Both were among the major stars of the period and turn in stunning performances. Ford is all the more impressive because he mainly played standard heroes. However, Gilda (his character) suggested a darker side of Ford’s acting ability that had been unseen, and this film showcases that quality. Ford’s acting is realistic and true in every scene. We do sympathize with his character even as he does reprehensible things. Holden’s work here anticipates his turn in The Wild Bunch by about twenty years: the dirty hero. We understand why he takes the route he has chosen, and his performance imbues his character with real human qualities. Both men deserved Oscar nominations … “
“… a rip-roaring western melodrama … Most of the film is told in flashback, relating the exploits of Jacob Walz (Glenn Ford), the greedy, homicidal owner of the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine. After conniving and killing his way to success, Walz is destroyed when he falls in love with equally mercenary Julia Thomas (Ida Lupino at her nasty best) … “
“An engagingly offbeat Western, Lust for Gold (1949) is an oddly structured and luridly scripted yarn about hidden treasure, some $20 million in gold stashed away in Arizona’s “Lost Dutchman Mine,” a real-life mystery. http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/15049/lust-for-gold/
Turner Classic Movies says:
” … The story is based on an actual legend; that of the Lost Dutchman Mine, believed to be located somewhere near the aptly named Superstition Mountain east of Phoenix, Arizona. According to lore, the rich vein of gold was known to the Apache for many years, who refused to touch it for fear of the gods who guarded it. The first person to allegedly work the mine was a wealthy rancher named Peralta who, along with his workers, was massacred by the Indians…” http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article.html?id=159651%7C159659
Also appearing in Lust for Gold: Gig Young, Jay Silverheels, Edgar Buchanan, Will Geer, and Paul Ford …
Jubal/ 1956: GlennFord is now 40 years old and a full blown Western Movie Star in the Golden Era of Western Film – the 50’s. The notable cast of Jubalincludes 4 other fellers: Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, Charles Bronson, and Jack Elam. Borgnine, Bronson and Elam have all been moving steadily up the ladder from being movie Extras – to Badguys – to supporting actor roles and now enjoy Star billing. Rod Steiger (the main badguy in Jubal) is already a well established actor for his roles in On the Waterfront (1954) (with Marlon Brando), and as that “low down dirty pig stealer” Jud Fry from Oklahoma(1955) (“where the wind keeps sweepin’ down the plain, and the waving wheat” …. well … you know what I’m talking about).
Meanwhile two gals, Valerie French and Felicia Farrhave principal roles.
Jubal Sackett is a novel by great Western writer Louis L’Amour which developed into a worthy TV mini-series: The Sacketts (1979) starring Glenn Ford – among an All Star Western cast of: Sam Elliot, Tom Selleck, Jack Elam, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones, John Vernon, and Louis L’Amour himself.
Go West Young Lady is a Western in the broadest sense … mostly cuz it has two great broads in it: Penny Singleton and Anne Miller.
33-year-old Singleton was the Young Lady going West – and the top billed Star, but … we can see by at least 2 posters that an 18-year-old Anne Miller had easily muscled her way to the front – smiling all the way.
“The Musical Western with OOMPH!”
Anything with Anne Miller was bound to have plenty of “OOMPH” !
Singleton and Miller vs Ford
In 1941 Penny Singleton was an established ‘box office’ Star with over 20 films, plus assorted stage work. Meanwhile Anne Miller had 15 movies under her 18-year-old heels and had been melting the scenery for quite a while. Young Glenn Ford, (25-years-old), sandwiched between Miller and Singleton would appear to be ‘in tough’. Yet he’s completely at ease and up to the task. Good job Glenn!
In for a Penny … in for a pound.
Anne Miller / Unstoppable!
The don’t make ’em like this any more. They don’t know how.
Anne Miller could crowd a rhino out of playpen – and had the kicks to back it.
She was brazen … she was blazing … she was brilliant. And she knew it.
She was a blistering bar top dancer … who loved what she was doing. And so did we.
Turner Classic Movies says:
“The chemistry between Singleton and Ford brings charm to this delightful “B” picture, while plenty of action keeps the plot moving at the pace of a speeding bullet. Numbers from Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Penny Singleton and Ann Miller (who shines in an early role as saloon girl Lola) provide plenty of good music throughout. Some of the tunes include “Somewhere Along the Trail,” “I Wish I Could Be a Singing Cowboy”, and “Gentlemen Don’t Prefer a Lady”. http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/161277%7C0/Go-West-Young-Lady.html
In 1941 Glenn Ford was 25 years old. William Holden was 23.
“William Holden and I weren’t just good friends.
He was my very best friend.” – Glenn Ford
George Marshall Westerns
American actor, screenwriter, producer, film and television director,
through the first six decades of movie history
Across the Rio Grande (1916) / Love’s Lariat (1916) / Ruth of the Rockies (1920) / Destry Rides Again (1939) / When the Daltons Rode (1940) / Texas(1941) / The Savage (1952) / Destry (1954) / The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957) / The Sheepman (1958) (Glenn Ford again) / How the West Was Won (1962) (the railroad scenes) (won Western Heritage Award)
Well … it’s 3:10 … and I’m in Yuma. And it’s dang hot here. My Canadian skin ain’t used to this heat.
I’m also tantalizingly close to Tombstone and Deadwood … but I won’t be able to get there on this trip. Next time.
My real purpose for being here is to take advantage of the cheap dental services across the border – in Mexico. Where’s Doc Holliday when you need him?
Only here for 4 days … then I’m off to Sedona for 3 days. Never as much as I like, but better than nothin’.
The original (above) and the latest (below)
The original 3:10 to Yuma (1957) with Glenn Ford and Van Heflinwas a Western Classic. Ford and Heflin both made several excellent Westerns.
The Russel Crowe and Christian Bales (2007) version of 3:10 to Yumais pretty good too.
But only the original (at this moment) will make make it to MyFavorites list.