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Big Iron Collection: Crooked River, Colorado Ranger, Fast On The Draw, Hostile Country, Marshal of Heldorado & West Of The Brazos
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Disc 1: CROOKED RIVER (1950) Thomas Carr directed six Jimmy Ellison/Russell Hayden B-westerns all in one month by using the same casts, costumes and locations and shooting whatever scenes were needed for each all at once to speed things up. A distinct compliment to Carr s expertise. Each a remake of a 30s western, this one based on Bob Steele s Smokey Smith ( 35), is the strangest, as in all the others Ellison and Hayden were pals, but here Ellison s the star searching for the killer of his parents while Hayden s a not-too-bad bandit leader. COLORADO RANGER (1950) Get set for plenty of hard-riding B-western excitement when a badman unknowingly hires Colorado Rangers Jimmy Ellison and Russell Hayden to run off homesteaders Julie Adams and Fuzzy Knight. The action never lets up in this remake of Johnny Mack Brown s Everyman s Law ( 36). FAST ON THE DRAW (1950) Frightened of guns after seeing his parents murdered by bandits when he was a boy, Jimmy Ellison is nevertheless goaded by his pal Russell Hayden into becoming Marshal in a lawless town, which leads to plenty of excitement. Adapted from Branded a Coward ( 35) with Johnny Mack Brown. Disc. 2: HOSTILE COUNTRY (1950) Roaring western gunfire erupts when Jimmy Ellison and his pal Russell Hayden ride in to join Jimmy s stepfather (whom he s never met) as half owners of a ranch, but discover outlaws have kidnapped the man and replaced him. Action-packed remake of Bob Steele s No Man s Range ( 35). MARSHAL OF HELDORADO (1950) Russell Hayden and Jimmy Ellison are appointed lawmen in a rough town over-ridden by bank robbing brothers which leads to plenty of gun slinging western thrills. A remake of Bob Steele s Rider of the Law ( 35), this is the cleverest and most enjoyable of the Ellison/Hayden westerns. WEST OF THE BRAZOS (1950) An imposter, pretending to be Jimmy Ellison to grab the oil rich ranch he s inherited, is really a notorious outlaw. Only a girl (Julia Adams) and Ellison s hard of hearing pal Russell Hayden know Jimmy s real identity. Quite humorous, clever script when the deaf Hayden is oblivious to outlaws gunfire all around him. Remake of Bob Steele s Alias John Law ( 35). Bonus Features: Original Advertising Materials Photo Gallery, Interview with director Thomas Carr, Trailers. Product Specs: </b 2-DVD9s; Dolby Digital; 330 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1950; SRP - $29.99.
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Each film opens with four horsemen riding toward the camera, they are Jimmy Ellison, Russell Hayden, Raymond Hatton and Fuzzy Knight while a familiar theme trots down the trail with them --- Some wonderful character actors in the cast are Julie Adams, Tom Tyler, George J. Lewis, John L. Cason, Stanley Price, I. Stanford Jolley, Stephen Carr, Dennis Moore, George Chesebro, Bud Osborne and Jimmy Martin, make these six oaters worthwhile, recommend them to all fans young and old.
DISC ONE (1)
CROOKED RIVER ( 9 June 1950) (56 min.)
COLORADO RANGER (12 May 1950) (59 min.)
FAST ON THE DRAW (30 June 1950) (55 min.)
1. An interview with Director Thomas Carr by St. Louisian Mike Nevins (excerpted from Western Clippings)
read by Richard Roberts
DISC TWO (2)
HOSTILE COUNTRY (24 March 1950) (59 min.)
MARSHAL OF HELDORADO (21 April 1950) (63 min.)
WEST OF THE BRAZOS (2 June 1950) (58 min.)
1. Original Advertising Materials Photo Gallery
(images courtesy of Boyd Magers, Western Clippings)
2. Trailers and Coming Attractions of the films listed below:
"Stranger on Horseback" featuring Joel McCrea
"Panhandle" featuring Rod Cameron
"Little Big Horn" featuring Lloyd Bridges, John Ireland & Marie Windsor
Jimmy Ellison and Fuzzy Knight are very good, but Russell Hayden and Raymond Hatton are scene stealer's whenever on camera --- Hatton long time sidekick and character actor with many of the greats in B-Westerns can handle drama and comedy with ease --- Director Thomas Carr does a fantastic job of directing six oaters with the same cast playing several parts within a months time --- These are not award winning Westerns, but fun to watch --- Great job of synopses by Boyd Magers of Western Clippings, who keeps this genre alive and also whom I respect --- all my heroes have been cowboys!
Total Time: 330 mins on DVD ~ VCI Home Video KPF #604 ~ (08/04/2009)
A GREAT example of such stuff, probably the best to date. Super, super low budget film making at it's finest! For B-Western fans, 5 STARS as a rating can't do this release justice...You need this collection.
I had only seen THE TALL STRANGER in a 35 mm print, and the serials available from VCI and WB.
So this is some kind of movie buff heaven for me.
The six films were shot in 29 DAYS, TOGETHER, using the same technicians, of course, and the same 14 MAIN ACTORS!
5 of them in the same roles.
The transfers are quite good, especially for CROOKED RIVER, from a British print.
The direction is just great. The actors, as already said in the above review, are great. JULIE ADAMS appears as BETTY ADAMS.
The visual experience as expected (the photographs and lobby cards shown with the interview are really exciting) is a winner: ERNEST MILLER who seems to have photographed only westerns, except for FULLERT's THE STEEL HELMET.
The cameraman ARCHIE DALZELL well remembered for his television work. RAY MERCER also known as a good special effects man.
GLEN GLENN as the sound engineer must be the future president of GLEN GLENN SOUND of TV fame.
The only weak part, as usual is the musical direction, using, carelessly, musicals bits of the catalog.
This morning, instead of working on something of national importance, I think (I'm never told) I watched CROOKED RIVER.
Still a classic western, before the western cut its own throat in the fifties by his agressive thinking.
The film is never boring (50 minutes) or too conventional, unlike the early Technicolor fifties westerns from Paramount,
Universal (not he MANN of course), WB and Columbia. Especially the artificial women's parts at Universal who compromise the integrity
of the western genre.
The 5 stars are not for masterpieces. The movie buff is not a condescending snob.
It's all tradition in a pure form: take it or leave it.
I really didn't think about the picture, I just enjoyed it.