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Monday, 28 July 2008


I love movies. I'm of that age when going to the cinema was the highlight of the week. I grew up in the seventies and was twelve when Star Wars came out so I suppose I'm of that generation - the sci-fi kids, the blockbuster bunch. And yet my favourite movies have always been westerns.

I have an extensive DVD collection and most of my films are stored by genre - pictured left is my western collection. Click on image for a bigger view.

There are some classic westerns in my collection - from the acknowledged classics to curious B-westerns that are often far better than they have the right to be.

Look at the top shelf and there is a box set called 50 great westerns and there really are 50 films there - from early Roy Rogers to Italian Westerns. I got this off Ebay a few years back and I've watched every film even if the transfer is not of the finest quality with none of the films remastered. But it contains the unusual White Comanche which features a very young Captain Kirk as a half breed Comanche. This is actually a very strong B WESTERN. Anyone know of any other westerns to feature William Shatner - did he do any others? I know Doctor McCoy featured in a number of westerns classics but not too sure about Kirky and just can't be bothered to Google it. I have got the feeling that I may have seen him in an episode of Rawhide once but am not sure.

There are several Wyatt Earp movies in my collection - Tombstone, My Darling Clementine, Gunfight at the Ok Corral, Hour of the Gun and Wyatt Earp - I'll have to be contrary on this but Wyatt Earp is my favourite simply because it covers so much of Earp's life when most others concentrate on the infamous gunfight . Probably Tombstone features the best filmed version of the gunfight, though but the best film for a cinematic experience is John Ford's Clementine which features a brilliant performance by Henry Fonda even if it does play loose and fast with historical fact.

I've actually got an original wanted poster for Wyatt Earp framed above my desk - this is one of my proudest possessions.

There are both 3:10's to Yuma - and the original is my favourite. And there's a large selection of JoHN Wayne westerns - I've even got his debut as Singing Sandy - yep, the Duke was the first singing cowboy. My favourite Wayne would be The Searchers, Red River or the elegiac The Shootist. I'm not one of those who thinks Wayne couldn't act and everytime someone says he always played himself I point them to Red River, The Searchers, True Grit,The Shootist- all very different performances, all technically brilliant. Wayne was an excellent actor.

I've got the full three seasons of Deadwood - I'm still furious this was cancelled and left so open ended. This really was a brilliant series.

On a lower shelf - not visible in the pic - is Ken Burn's eleven and a half hour documentary masterpiece , The West. This covers the West from 1500 - 1914 and was hailed by The New York Times upon its first release. This may be the definitive documentary on The West and I plan to cover each part in separate postings on this blog. I paid £80 for this set which is the most I've ever spent on a DVD but it's well worth it. I've watched it several times and as someone who writes, Western novels, I tend to dip into it from time to time

Sheriff Cole Masters is up against it.
At war with a town boss who wants nothing more than to see Masters dead.



August West said...

Agree, The Glenn Ford "3:10 to Yuma" is ten times better then the recent version. Glad to see my favorites on the shelves. Did I miss the Lee Marvin/Burt Lancaster film "The Professionals" from the Frank O'Rourke novel? It's on my top ten personal list of western films.


Yeah I've got The Professionals. It's on a lower shelf. It's a damn good movie and whilst I'm not sure it would be in my top ten, it would most certainly be in a top 20.

I'm so fickle though I'm always changing my top ten list. Maybe I'll force myself to do a top ten on my blog.

David Cranmer said...

I enjoyed your trailer... great job. I'm looking forward to Tarnished Star. If you haven't read Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends by Allen Barra, it's a really good bio.

Chris said...

Nice DVD collection. Interesting to hear your thoughts on the Earp movies. My friend and I used to get into such arguments over which was "better": Tombstone or Wyatt Earp. And then, because they came out around the same time, Tombstone and Unforgiven.

Have you seen an old John Wayne one called Blue Steel?

Fun trailer, by the way! Nice work.


Blue steel - that's one of the old Lone star short B's isn't it.

Steve M said...

Great video for your book, terrific job.

Your DVD collection shames mine - I've only got about 10.

Chris said...

Yeah, Blue Steel is definitely an old B. I had never seen one before. Fast-paced, audio was difficult to hear at times, but enjoyable. Interesting to see Wayne in that role--some of the stuff gets played for laughs, actually.


I've got a mania for DVD's - I've got over a thousand and I would say over 90% of them are films made prior to 1980. I tend to favour old movies...I'm one of the few that think Star Wars is boring and did more than any other film to make the cinema juvenile.