This is a 1933 pre-code film about the daring adventures of newspaper reporter “Speed” Morgan and his run-in with gangster boss “Flash” Barrett.
Here is the full synopsis from IMDB: Reporter “Speed’ Morgan helps gangster “Flash” Barrett escape an ambush by rival gangster Mullin’s henchmen, and then escape the pursuing police. Posing as a wanted gangster named “Frisco” Eddie, Morgan is made a member of the gang and goes West with them as Barrett is looking for rancher Bill Miller, who was his in-between man on stolen diamonds until Miller dropped a package, found out it contained diamonds and hid and kept them. Miller’s sister, Lois, is unaware of her brother’s connection to the eastern gangsters.
This is very simple story telling, and also made very simply. It is all-round simple.
It is also quite genre bending. The film starts off as a 1933 modern day style film, with the moider of a rival gang member by “Flash” barret, which “Speed” Morgan witnesses. Sensing a scoop he helps “Flash” flee the scene of the crime in the hope that he can infiltrate the gang, which he does. We are then introduced to the main plot of the story which takes place in the Wild and Woolly West. The gang members actually drive into a Western town like the one in Gunsmoke or Rawhide in a gangster-style convertible jalopy. The town’s folk are all dressed in cowboy garb of course, and all ride horses instead of driving cars, although there is a car in the town that they can rent if they need it.
It is as though the film producers thought it would be a great idea to mix a gangster land story with a western. Perhaps 1930’s America was actually like that…no idea.
Something I really liked is that everyone was wearing a hat of some sorts… those were the days!
Kirk Douglas was 17 years old when this film was made.
Silly entertainment, but entertaining it was, and thought-provoking on many existential levels.
Date watched: February 24th
Film count 2019: 4
This is a film that I chanced upon at my fave DVD rental place, and I decided I had to see because it is a well-known film, and it has The Kirkster.
It is based on an actual event that took place in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, and is considered to be the most famous gun fight of the American Wild West.
Burt Lancaster plated Wyatt Earp with The Kirkster as Doc Holliday, and also featured Lee Van Cleef, John Ireland, DeForest Kelley, and a very young Dennis Hopper.
The story mostly focussed on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and the simmering feud between them and the cowboy cattle-smuggling gangsters, and of course culminated in a shootout.
According to Wikipedia there were quite a lot of historical inaccuracies, including the gunfight itself which in the film was fought at medium range, but in reality was face-to-face. The actual fight lasted only thirty seconds, but in the film it was of course longer. There was also a love story between Wyatt and a lady gambler which was completely fabricated, probably to attract the female audience.
The highlight of this film was the story between Wyatt and Doc Holliday, both Burt and The Kirkster were fabs in their parts. Dennis Hopper too was great, even though his part was quite small. The rest of the cast held their own.
It is a two-hour film, which was perhaps a bit too long, but overall it was a standard but decent watch.
Date watched: December 2nd
Film count 2017: 137
I felt it was time for a western again after reading Paul’s latest post. So I chose this 1959 film starring Heny Fonda, Anthony Quinn, and Richard Widmark.
The story was set in the small Utah town of Warlock, and involved a gang of trouble-making and sometimes murderous cowboys. Trouble starts when a bunch of them ride into town from their cowboy base and chase the sheriff out of town, then get drunk, and kill the barber. The townsfolk have a metting and decide that they must hire Clay Blaisedell (Henry Fonda), a gunslinger, along with his partner (Anthony Quinn). So Clay accepts and takes over as sherrif of the town and sorts out the criminal element.
There is a lot more to the story which also involves a couple of romances, one of the cowboys who decides he does not want to be involved in the gang no more (Richard Widmark), and a revenge sub-plot. It all intertwines together well, and has a few twists and turns.
The acting by all is good, especially Fonda, Quinn, and Widmark. The cinematography was fine, but spaghetti westerns do it a whole lot better. As there were no Italians involved, the soundtrack was standard American western stuff, lots of fiddles, trumpets and those big drums.
But, I thought it was a good watch.
Date watched: August 10th
Film count 2017: 88