Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Escape from Fort Bravo / Many Rivers to Cross / Cimarron 1960 / The Law and Jake Wade / Saddle the Wind / The Stalking Moon)
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Includes the following titles: Escape from Fort Bravo (1954) Many Rivers To Cross (1955) Cimarron (1960 Remake) The Law and Jake Wade (1958) Saddle The Wind (1959) The Stalking Moon (1958)]]>
The Law and Jake Wade (1958) is another Sturges-Surtees picture, one of three vehicles for fading MGM star Robert Taylor. He's a reformed outlaw turned town marshal who springs former partner Richard Widmark from jail, thereby paying off an old debt. But as Widmark sees it, they still have unfinished business, best settled by dragging Taylor and fiancée Patricia Owens off to a ghost town haunted by old guilt and savage Indians. As a journey Western, the movie pales alongside the great Budd Boetticher films of the same era, but the felonious traveling companions include Henry Silva, Robert Middleton, and DeForest Kelley, and the derelict town and its Boot Hill make a memorable killing ground. The credits of Saddle the Wind (1958) feature two unlikely names to be connected with a Western: the script is by Rod Serling (preTwilight Zone), and the wind in need of saddling is personified by John Cassavetes, doing an 1860s variation on a 1950s juvenile delinquent. He's kid brother to Robert Taylor, an ex-gunfighter who's turned rancher with the blessing of range baron Donald Crisp. The peace of their valley is variously threatened by gunman Charles McGraw, an extended family of squatters (headed by Royal Dano in anguished righteousness mode), and most of all the volatile, gun-happy Cassavetes. Saddle the Wind turns out to be something of a discovery, thanks to Serling's metaphor-rich dialogue and intriguingly oblique direction by Robert Parrish. There's some facile '50s-TV psychologizing, but mood trumps plot, and the inevitable showdown takes a surprising turn. Plus it never hurts to have Julie London around to gaze soulfully and sing the title song.
The final Robert Taylor item, Many Rivers to Cross (1955), is the one out-and-out clinker in the bunch, an excruciating attempt at frontier comedy largely set against painted vistas à la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. As it happens, both films were produced by Jack Cummings, a veteran of MGM musicals--only this is no musical, and the ill-cast Taylor seems poleaxed as free-living vagabond Bushrod Gentry (a rascal role that cries out for Kirk Douglas or Burt Lancaster). Eleanor Parker is fun as the fire-haired "she-fiend" who sets her cap for Bushrod, but really only James Arness hits the right note in a too-brief appearance about an hour in. Master Western director Anthony Mann is credited with Cimarron, the 1960 remake of the 1931 Academy Award winner. However, Mann left in mid-production ("creative differences"), and the movie seems more typical of the MGM contract director who took over, Charles Walters. Edna Ferber's novel of pioneer Oklahoma offers a plethora of themes--several species of prejudice, capitalism vs. charity, sons unhappily following in fathers' footsteps, and the irreconcilable tensions between a stability-craving wife and her footloose husband--but the action is front-loaded and the husband, Glenn Ford, is offscreen for years at a time. Most of the large cast comes and goes without establishing identities, and Maria Schell's Sabra Cravat is tiresome as both ditz and pill. However, the Oklahoma land rush gives grand spectacle. That leaves The Stalking Moon (1969), an odd-film-out since it's the only non-MGM production in the set and a decade more recent than the rest. Gregory Peck plays a scout trying to protect a white woman (Eva Marie Saint) and her half-breed son from an Apache warrior, the woman's captor-husband of ten years. The mostly unseen Apache is a veritable monster of determination, cunning, and bloodthirstiness: Peck and his charges doom entire Southwest communities to extermination just by passing through the neighborhood. This fierce amalgam of Western and horror movie was the last of seven collaborations between director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan J. Pakula--a distant cousin of their To Kill a Mockingbird. As a palm-sweater it's demonically effective, and fascinating as prelude to the great paranoid trilogy Pakula went on to direct, Klute, The Parallax View, and All the President's Men. Robert Forster has an early role as a fellow, part-Indian scout. --Richard T. Jameson
- Escape from Fort Bravo
- Many Rivers to Cross
- Cimarron 1960
- The Law and Jake Wade
- Saddle the Wind
- The Stalking Moon
- Theatrical trailers
Top Customer Reviews
Escape From Ft. Bravo (1953) Directed by John Sturges. (4/5)
At the end of the Civil War, Ft. Bravo is being used to house Confederate POWs. William Holden stars as Captain Roper, a man responsible for retrieving escapees from the Fort. He is often brutal in the execution of his duties, but he feels he must be or risk even more escapes. Eleanor Parker comes as a visitor to the fort and butters up Roper. All the while she is helping enable the escape of her true love, a Confederate prisoner. Roper falls in love with Parker's character. When he finds out the truth - after the prisoners escape - he could just leave them to the Apaches. Instead he goes out to rescue and retrieve the prisoners and the girl who betrayed his trust.
Many Rivers To Cross (1955) Directed by Row Rowland. (4/5)
This is a rather unusual cross between a comedy and a western. I really didn't like it the first time I saw it, but it does grow on you. Eleanor Parker stars as a woman who is afraid she will be a spinster and sets her sights on Robert Taylor's character, Bushrod Gentry. Bushrod is an unlikely husband and an untameable frontiersman, or so it seems.
Cimarron (1960) Directed by Anthony Mann (3/5)
Maybe I was spoiled by the 1931 version - in particular the very hammy portrayal of Yancey by Richard Dix. That film won an unbelievable Best Picture Oscar and a Best Actor nomination for Dix. This movie is far superior to the original, with Glenn Ford as Yancey. It confronts head-on the issues that the original just skirts around, yet in doing this it just seems to take on too much.Read more ›
Warner does its job again and the picture quality is very nice and aspect ratios preserved. If you like actors like Robert Taylor, William Holden and Glenn Ford, and Gregory Peck, you may want to consider getting this box set since it also has a good price.
Considering everything, I gave the package 4 stars but the movies would get between 3 and 4 stars from me.
I watch western movies and also read many fiction and non-fiction books on the west so several of these films meet my interest. Nothing better than seeing a book you have read brought to the silver screen. Among the better ones here are THE STALKING MOON (From noted western writer T.V. Olsen's book of same name), ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO, and THE LAW AND JAKE WADE (Fawcett Gold Medal Book 756, Marvin H. Albert). While the other 3 DVDs are interesting the above 3 are the ones of main interest to me, and was surprised how good a movie such as SADDLE THE WIND turned out to be. I am less interested in CIMARRON (remake from 1931) and MANY RIVERS TO CROSS.
Warner Brothers seems notorious for not opening their vaults to issue many DVDs, even the acclaimed CHEYENNE series of the 1950s and 60s has seen only 1 box issued. If more are desired one must turn to the Encore Western channel for both Cheyenne and Maverick series. Quite frankly as a reader having both hardcover and softcover westerns by noted author T.V. Olsen on the shelf, wondered if THE STALKING MOON would ever appear on DVD.
The collection of western movies in this box covers the years 1953 through 1968, a fifteen year period seeing the western go from top box office draw to almost its disappearance. As more than one reviewer has mentioned the movies do not fit together much at all, but then maybe they were never meant to do so. Any collection having work by both Theodore V. Olsen and Marvin H.Read more ›
Simply thrilled that they put these Westerns out on DVD!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some of the movie are better then others . But the price was right . The picture was good , good color .Published 9 hours ago by Bonnie X
Does not seem to be any way to do four and a half stars, which is what i want to give it.
Six movies, two of which i will watch again, three i enjoyed watching and one... Read more
Richard Widmark always played a tough western guy - a really good actor! These movies bring back wonderful Saturday mornings at the movies! Love western movies of this caliber! Read morePublished 16 days ago by John S.
this would have to be the best western set I have ever watched loved the packagingPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this for my father on father's day and he liked it. If your looking for a gift for a man or woman that likes westerns this would be a good choice!Published 6 months ago by JD
Five out of the six are good and one is excellent ( The Stalking Moon) .
But enjoyed them all. Good value.
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