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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Darn Good" movies and price!
VCI Entertainment has a history of releasing excellent material that somehow has escaped notice of the major releasing companies. This present release (of six movies and several bonus features) brings to the viewer two very good, classic larger-budgeted Westerns (HELLGATE and PANHANDLE) and four "B" features. All films come from the Kit Parker Collection (mostly Lippert...
Published on April 27, 2009 by B. Cathey

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasnt what I expected
Not what I expected.I thought it was all Westerns but it was not.I thought Randolph Scott was in more but he was only in one which was the only one I enjoyed.Panhandler was excellant.I turned all the others off.It gets a 2 rating because Panhandler was my Uncles fav
Published 12 days ago by Patricia Speiser


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Darn Good" movies and price!, April 27, 2009
By 
B. Cathey "ParsifalCSA" (Wendell, NC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
VCI Entertainment has a history of releasing excellent material that somehow has escaped notice of the major releasing companies. This present release (of six movies and several bonus features) brings to the viewer two very good, classic larger-budgeted Westerns (HELLGATE and PANHANDLE) and four "B" features. All films come from the Kit Parker Collection (mostly Lippert Productions, but some from other studios as well).

PANHANDLE was one of the first major productions by Monogram Picture's bigger budget releasing company, Allied Artists, and it may well be Rod Cameron's best outing in a Western. Done is Sepia tone, the film also stars the cavern-voiced Reed Hadley (as the 'baddie'). The VCI print is fine, in fact, the best I've seen for this film (which is given to us in its original sepia tone). It's an entirely enjoyable Western, with all sorts of nice touches that make it well-worth replaying. Watch for Cameron singing a little song...

HELLGATE may have been Lippert's best production during its short existence, and in fact, it far outclasses many higher budget oaters of the period. Starring Sterling Hayden and Ward Bond, it's a replay of sorts of the classic "Prisoner of Shark Island" (the ordeal of Dr. Mudd) out West. Hayden, a veterinary doctor, tends to the wounds of a Confederate raider, and for his trouble, gets sent to a dreary prison in the middle of the desert. How he redeems himself and deals with commandant Bond make for a tense and exciting drama. Both Hayden and Bond excel in their roles. Dialogue is terse and sharp all round. The print is excellent, sharp and clear.

TRAIN TO TOMBSTONE stars Don "Red" Barry and, albeit a "B" Western, is superior to most B's being released in the early 1950s. Robert Lowery co-stars. Excellent print, good dialogue, and believable action and story line make this very entertaining.

WILDFIRE offers us early Eddie Dean (before he began his stint at PRC studios) and Bob Steele, co-starring. It's in Cinecolor, and believe it or not, the color holds up in this 1945 Western. Fine print and very entertaining, if a bit more intended for the (then) younger set....

OPERATION HAYLIFT and FANGS OF THE WILD are equally entertaining, with similar fine quality prints.

The Bonus material includes several "shorts" and some trailers, all well done and in great quality.

VCI calls this volume I; let's hope that volume II (and III?) are equally as good as this. Highly recommended!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Darn Good Westerns Vol. 1 ... (1945-1954) ... VCI Ent (2009)", March 31, 2009
This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films presents "DARN GOOD WESTERNS VOL.1" (1945-1954) --- (Dolby digitally remastered) --- Check out the first of a new line of Westerns called "Darn Good Westerns", containing triple features, inclusive two disc set will have on its lineup an A-Western along with two B-Westerns --- Some of the stars include James Arness, Don 'Red' Barry, Ward Bond, Rod Cameron, Charles Chaplin Jr., Raymond Hatton, Sterling Hayden, Sterling Holloway, Joan Leslie, Robert Lowery, Tom Neal, Ann Rutherford, Joe Sawyer, Bob Steele, Onslow Stevens & Bill Williams --- All the oaters hitting the trail making this their debut on DVD compliments of VCI.

DISC ONE (1)

1. Hellgate (5 September 1952) (87 min/B&W.) - Charles Marquis Warren (Director)
A man is accused of spying for the confederacy, and sentenced to the notorious Hellgate Prison --- After he unsuccessfully attempts to breakout, and is sentenced to solitary confinement, he redeems himself when the prison is taken down by a plague - featuring Sterling Hayden

2. Fangs of the Wild (2 April 1954) (71 min/B&W) - William F. Claxton (Director)
When a boy who has frequently cried "Wolf!" now cries "Murder!"-- people should listen this time he's telling the truth --- He claims to have seen hunter Charles Chaplin Jr. shoot and kill a fellow hunter, no one will believe the lad. No one, that is...except Chaplin --- But alas he has a fib-filled history, what a shame --- Beautiful Big Bear scenery co-stars in this suspenseful drama.- featuring Charles Chaplin Jr.

3. Train to Tombstone (16 September 1950) (56 mins/B&W) - William Berke (Director)
Len Howard has been sent to protect a large gold shipment that is on a train traveling from Albuquerque to Tombstone --- First he passes out guns so the passengers can fight off an Indian attack --- Then when a gang dressed as Indians attack, he helps fight them off and identifies their leader who is one of the passengers.- featuring Don 'Red' Barry

BONUS FEATURES:
1. Original Theatrical Trailers
2. Video Short: "Hold 'Em Cowboy" - Ford Bond (narrator)

DISC TWO (2)

Panhandle (22 February 1948) (85 min/Sepia) - Lesley Selander (Director)
John Sands is a famed ex lawman ,most celebrated for having faced down Billy the Kid --- He is now living in Mexico, having fallen foul of the law in the States,and is working as a storekeeper when news reaches him that his brother has been murdered .He vows to return to America to avenge his brother despite knowing full well this places him at risk of arrest . He is drawn into enmity with the ruthless Matt Garson who is also his rival for he hand of Garson's secretary (Joan O'Carroll)and to complicate matters he law is on his tail - featuring Rod Cameron

Operation Haylift (5 May 1950) (74 min/B&W) - William Berke (Director)
In years past, severe winters across the plains and mountain states often devastated cattle herds that perished from starvation. Trucking hay to the stranded herds often proved impossible, leaving farmers no choice but to absorb the loss.Their plight is dramatized here as a farm family headed by ex-flier Bill Williams faces just such a winter. But then he runs into old air force pal Tom Brown and one of them gets the grand idea of organizing discharged WWII fliers into a haylift operation. Where trucks can't go, airplanes can - featuring Bill Williams

Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (18 July 1945) (58 min/Color/Cinecolor) - Robert Emmett Tansey - (Director)
Fanning has his men rustle horses and then blame it on a wild horse named Wildfire. Happy (Bob Steele) and Alkali arrive and immediately get into trouble with Fanning and his men. When Alkali is shot, Happy catches the outlaws but the Judge not only releases them, he discharges the Sheriff and tries to arrest Happy for rustling. Happy escapes and he and the Sheriff then set out to prove who the real rustlers are - featuring Bob Steele

BONUS FEATURES:
1. Rare Photos of the Actual "Operation Haylift"
2. Video Feature: "Born in Freedom:: The Story of Colonel Drake" - featuring Vincent Price

Hats off and thanks to Robert Blair and his staff at VCI Entertainment --- VCI was named in Variety and Hollywood Reporter as the first company to produce and release motion pictures directly to the home marketplace --- order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch releases --- VCI are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector -- looking forward to more Nostalgic Collections.

Total Time: 435 mins on DVD ~ VCI Home Video KPF-602 ~ (03/31/2009)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars panhandle, June 26, 2009
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
I was amazed about the multitude of titles that goes with this disc.
"Panhandle" is one of my old favorite classic western movies from long ago.The story is clear-cut and has no unnecessary "fillers".
One wishes that all "badies" are dealt with likewise, now and then.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Darn ood western., July 13, 2013
By 
Clifford Richie (Gallipolis, Ohio, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
Product was as expected, delivered before the promised date. I would recommend this to anybody. Nobody should miss seeing "Panhandle." Probably the first adult western Movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars SOME Darn Good Westerns, May 30, 2013
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This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
There are two good titles in this collection that make the package worthwhile--Charles Marquis Warren's HELLGATE and best of all PANHANDLE, an Allied Artist entry written by Blake Edwards. It isn't great by any stretch of the imagination but it's darn good. The rest of the package...well. Okay transfers.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Wasnt what I expected, August 8, 2014
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This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
Not what I expected.I thought it was all Westerns but it was not.I thought Randolph Scott was in more but he was only in one which was the only one I enjoyed.Panhandler was excellant.I turned all the others off.It gets a 2 rating because Panhandler was my Uncles fav
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Darn Good Westerns, June 5, 2013
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This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
I have no choice but to rate this dvd on a collective multi-film basis. I purchased it only to add Hellgate to my collection. I'd rate that particular film as a 4. The others ranged from mediocre to lousy. The worst, by far, was Wildfire: The Story of a Horse. It contains all the traditional western clichés: the handsome, two-fisted, fast-drawing cowpoke; his dim-witted sidekick; the wealthy crook who runs things in town along with his gruff henchmen; the salty, boozy old-timer; the sweety-faced daughter, sister, wife, or steady girl of an unjustly killed honest man; the naughty but nice dance hall girl; poker players, one of whom always cheats; and the scowling, tough-talking town marshal. Fortunately, throughout the whole series, at least there weren't too many bandit or indian attacks, and no threatening rattlesnake got its head blown to bits.

As far as I'm concerned, Hellgate by itself was worth the price. Why anybody had to lump it in with all that other yuck lies beyond my comprehension. If those were "darn good", please don't show me the bad.

I'm afraid this review won't help Amazon sell too many more copies, except perhaps to lovers of those corny stereotyped "when you've seem one, you've seem them all" westerns.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you love Westerns, do not pass these up, January 7, 2010
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This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
This set of Westerns, while not so mainstream, are genuinely good entertainment. They are not action flicks, and will not necessarily satisfy those who are addicted to fast action shootouts, but the good guy does win, and it does feel good when he does. Acting is good, dialog is often corny, but for those who enjoy the Western stereotypical approach to drama and action will not be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 19, 2014
This review is from: Darn Good Westerns Vol 1: Hellgate, Fangs of the Wild, Train to Tombstone, Panhandle, Operation Haylift, Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (DVD)
Great
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