CIVIL WAR PLAYS RETURN ENGAGEMENT!
UPDATED MONDAY 6/14/2010 -- SEE TCM WESTERN STORY BELOW
UPDATED TUESDAY 6/15/2010 -- SEE 'REEL INJUN' AT MOMA - STORY BELOW
UPDATED FRIDAY 6/18/2010 -- SEE 'TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE' SCREENING BELOW
Lovers of the blue and/or grey can get a whiff of cordite this Saturday and Sunday, June 12th and 13th, at Pierce College's HERITAGE DAYS CIVIL WAR HISTORICAL REENACTMENT! Hundreds of re-enactors will recreate the epic conflict of the American Civil War on the broad fields of Pierce. There will be cavalry charges, artillery barrages, and infantry assaults, as well as Victorian dancing, military drill, music, and period arts and crafts. It is hinted that a certain bearded president will be attending and delivering his famed Gettysburg Address (for security reasons he cannot be named). It's fifteen dollars a day, and the program, which is the same for both days, can be seen HERE. You can also purchase tickets there, and if you do so today (Friday) and enter the code "DN20%" you will get 20% off (there is a $2 service fee, but you still save a few bucks). You can also buy tickets at the event. The Pierce Farm Center is located at 20800 Victory Boulevard, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
FILM TREASURE-TROVE FOUND IN NEW ZEALAND
75 'lost' early American films have been found in the New Zealand Film Archive. These nitrate-base rarities are in the process of being preserved in the United States by the National Film Preservation Board, a nonprofit affiliate of the Library of Congress. Among the films are one of John Ford's last silents, UPSTREAM, a comedy directed by Keystone star Mabel Normand, a Clara Bow period drama, and several early one-reel westerns.
Ironically, the New Zealand archive holds a substantial number of rare non-Kiwi movies because, by the time a film, being distributed around the world, reached far-away New Zealand, it was cheaper to just leave the film there than to pay to have it shipped back to the States. In N.Z. Archive manager Steve Russell's words, "It's one of the rare cases when the tyranny of distance has worked in our and the films' favor." Two of the westerns are THE GIRL STAGE DRIVER (1914), and Selig Polyscope picture, THE SERGEANT - TOLD IN THE YOSEMITE VALLEY (1910). To see a few minutes of SERGEANT , click HERE. David Wells of the N.F.P.F. further tantalized me by asking, "Have you heard about our upcoming DVD set, Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938?" I hadn't -- it's an up-coming 10-hour DVD set of early westerns being culled from archives like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, Museum of Modern art, the National Archives and UCLA Film & Television Archive. To learn more, CLICK HERE. I'll give you more details as I get them.
JONAH HEX OPENS FRIDAY JUNE 18TH
Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you know that screens all over the country will be showing the horror-western-comic-turned-movie starring Josh Brolin as the title face-scarred bounty hunter, Megan Fox as the ho, and John Malkovich as the crazed ex-Confederate officer who branded Hex's cheek. Some of the images coming out of the picture look spectacular. And a special THANK-YOU to whoever of my spies anonymously sent me the HEX script dated October 31, 2007! I don't know how close this is to the final shooting script, but I'm dying to see the movie and find out -- it's rated PG-13, but if shot as this draft was written, it would be a hard R for violence and language. Actually, I've never read a screenplay with so much profanity even in the description! "The main house is a two-story Victorian that looks like the war tore it a new *ssh*l*." Writers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor previously teamed on PATHOLOGY (2008), GAMER (2009), and the two CRANK movies. Director Jimmy Hayward comes from the animation side of the world, and previously directed HORTON HEARS A WHO! (2008).
BIG VALLEY FINALLY HAS A FULL SET OF BARKLEYS!
With the addition of Stephen Moyer and Lorraine Nicholson, the BIG VALLEY feature has a full compliment of Barkleys: Jessican Lange as Victoria (Barbara Stanwyck), Lee Majors as Tom (never seen in the series), Stephen Moyer as Jarrod (Richard Long), Lorraine Nicholson as Audra (Linda Evans), Jason Alan Smith as Nick (Peter Breck), and Travis Fimmel as Heath (Lee Majors -- complicated, isn't it?). Nicholson was the princess in PRINCESS DIARIES 2 (2004), appeared in WORLD'S GREATEST DAD (2009), and is the daughter of Jack Nicholson. Stephen Moyer is one of the stars of the TV series TRUE BLOOD.
Also in the cast are Richard Dreyfus and Bruce Dern, both of whom guested on the TV series, and both of whom have worked before with writer-director Daniel Adams. The movie is aiming for a 2011 release. If all of this whets your appetite for the old series, CLICH HERE and watch the original pilot episode.
DICK FORAN CENTENNIAL
Actor Dick Foran was born one hundred years ago, on June 18th, 1910, in Flemington, New Jersey, the son of a Senator. Excelling at athletics and singing at Princeton, he worked first on a freighter, then as a railroad investigator before heading to Hollywood. Under contract to Warner Brothers, Foran, who projected a solid, likable, easy-going personality, played many supporting roles in a wide range of genres, and made strong impressions in a pair of Humphrey Bogart starrers, PETRIFIED FOREST (1936) and THE BLACK LEGION (1937). In 1935 Warners, which had gotten out of the B-western biz when they let John Wayne go, decided to try again, and perhaps responding to Gene Autry’s success at Republic, starred Foran, billing him as “Dick Foran The Singing Cowboy.” He made a dozen films in the series, and though rarely seen today, they were popular, well produced, and hold up well if you can track them down – I found some at Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee. As with the Warner John Waynes, they make use of footage of Ken Maynard from his later silents at that studio. Foran had an excellent voice, but although he was a cowboy who sang, he was not a ‘singing cowboy’ in the Gene and Tex and Roy sense. Rather than campfire songs, his songs and style were more operatic, and looking back, I understand why, as a kid, I was always confusing Foran with Nelson Eddy (though in retrospect, I can’t imagine why, as a kid, I knew who Nelson Eddy was!). His best-remembered film of the era was CHEROKEE STRIP (1937), where he sang “My Little Buckaroo,” to Tommy Bupp. In 1938 he played a Mountie in HEART OF THE NORTH, one of his rare Technicolor outings, which writer Tony Thomas describes as, “the best produced of all programmers about the Mounties.”
When he finished up his contract at Warners Foran went to Universal, where he starred in a pair of fine western serials, WINNERS OF THE WEST and RIDERS OF DEATH VALLEY. And in 1942 he made one of his most popular films, RIDE ‘EM COWBOY, with Abbott and Costello and Johnny Mack Brown, a comedy that still holds up today – I know because I watched it today. He made several other films with Bud and Lou, and a neat pair of horror pics, THE MUMMY’S HAND and THE MUMMY’S TOMB. He had a good supporting role in one great western, John Ford’s FORT APACHE (1948), and followed with a few more second leads in independent films like EL PASO (1949), DEPUTY MARSHAL (1949), and AL JENNINGS OF OKLAHOMA (1951) for Columbia. In television, Foran played in just about every western series you can think of. He died in 1979. If you want to celebrate Dick Foran's 100th birthday by renewing your acquaintance with his work, nearly every movie mentioned can be found at Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee. CLICK HERE to visit their website.
'REEL INJUN' AT NEW YORK'S MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Monday, June 14 through Sunday, June 20th, Cree Indian Neil Diamond's terrific documentary about Indians in westerns, and their counterparts in real life -- to read my review go to May 15th HERE -- will be shown at MoMa. My wife and I both consider it the best documentary we've seen in years. Here are the showings:
Monday, June 14, 2010, 8:00 p.m. , Theater 2, T2
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 4:30 p.m. , Theater 2, T2
Thursday, June 17, 2010, 4:30 p.m. , Theater 2, T2
Friday, June 18, 2010, 4:30 p.m. , Theater 1, T1
Saturday, June 19, 2010, 8:00 p.m. , Theater 1, T1
Sunday, June 20, 2010, 2:30 p.m. , Theater 1, T1
SHANE AND THE KENTUCKIAN AT THE NEW BEVERLY
Sunday June 13th and Monday June 14th. SHANE (1953) - Director George Stevens' masterpiece, from the Jack Schaeffer novel, screenplay by A.B. Guthrie Jr. Although all the leads -- Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin and Brandon de Wilde -- are excellent, to me it's the performances by Jack Palance and Elisha Cook Jr. that are unforgettable. SHANE screens on Sunday at 3:05 and 7:30, Monday at 7:30.
THE KENTUCKIAN (1955), directed by its star, Burt Lancaster, from the novel by Felix Holt and the screenplay by A.B. Guthrie Jr. It also stars Diane Foster, Diana Lynn, John Litel and John Carradine. A Kentucky widower bound for 1820's Texas with his young son is thwarted in his efforts by a corrupt constable, a long-standing family feud, and a beautiful indentured servant. It screen on Sunday at 5:25 and 9:50, and on Sunday at 9:50.
The New Beverly Cinema is at 7165 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Tickets are only seven buck, six for students and five for seniors and kids, and they always show 35MM prints.
EDGAR G. ULMER DOUBLE BILL AT NY'S ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVE
Monday June 14th and Tuesday June 15th. Experimental filmmaker Jonas Mekas chose this pairing -- THE NAKED DAWN (1955), and DETOUR (1945). DAWN is a western starring Arthur Kennedy as a bandit, and Betta St. John and Eugene Iglesias as the couple whose home he happens upon, making an escape. DETOUR is a film noir, and in spite of Ulmer's direction and Ben Cline's moody camerawork, is one of the most laughably awful dramas ever made -- you just can't triumph over that parade of contrivances.
'TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE' AT OLD TOWN MUSIC HALL FRIDAY THRU SUNDAY
Henry Hathaway's TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE (1936), a story of feudin' and fightin', starring Henry Fonda, Silvia Sydney, Fred MacMurray, Fuzzy Knight, Nigel Bruce and Spanky MacFarland, is the first full-Technicolor outdoor picture. It's showing at the Old Town Music Hall at 140 Richmond Street, El Segundo, CA 90245. It screen Friday at 8:15 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 8:15 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30. p.m., and admission is $8.
AROUND LOS ANGELES
THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER
Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. Currently they have HOMELANDS: HOW WOMEN MADE THE WEST through August 22nd, and THE ART OF NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETRY: A LIVING TRADITION, through November 7th. I've seen the basketry show three times, and am continually astonished at the beauty and variety of the work of the various tribes. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.
HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM
Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.
WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM
This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.
RANDOLPH SCOTT AND OTHER WESTERNS ON TCM TUESDAY!
If you, like me, have lately bemoaned the fact that Randolph Scott westerns have disappeared from the airwaves, you'll be glad to know the drought is broken! TCM is showing eleven western on Tuesday, and four are with Randy. And there are some with John Wayne, James Stewart, Lee Marvin and Joel McCrea. The line-up starts just after midnight (all times given are Pacific): 12:45 a.m. THE BURNING HILLS (1956), 2:30 a.m. THE`SEARCHERS (1956), 10:15 a.m., SILVER RIVER (1848), 12:15 p.m. FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS with Randy(1949) , 2:00 p.m. TRAIL STREET with Randy (1947), 3:30 p.m. DECISION AT SUNDOWN with Randy (1957), 5:00 p.m. WILL PENNY (1968), 7:00 p.m. MONTE WALSH (1970), 9:00 p.m. RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY with Randy and Joel(1962), THE SHOOTIST (1976) ans 1:00 a.m. THE MAN FROM LARAMIE with Randy.
TV LAND - BONANZA and GUNSMOKE
Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.
NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?
Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run THE LONE RANGER at 1:30 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.
THAT'S ABOUT ALL FOR THIS WEEK, but I want to say a special thank-you to A Man Called Valance, and all the other folks who take time to leave a comment. Please take a minute to do so, and keep me informed -- the only way I find the events I cover is by stumbling upon them, or tip-offs from readers like yourself.
Contents Copyright June 2010 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved