Fox Western Classics (Rawhide / The Gunfighter / Garden of Evil)
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The 1951 Rawhide (no relation to the later TV series) is a trim, satisfying Henry Hathaway picture that blends the leathery trappings of the Western with the claustrophobic atmosphere and intensity of a noir suspense film. At a remote swing station for the transcontinental stagecoach, several no-goods aim to help themselves to a gold shipment. But the next coach isn't carrying gold, so the intruders hold the stationmasters (Tyrone Power and Edgar Buchanan) and some stranded passengers captive while they wait. Power and Susan Hayward handle the heroics without larger-than-life posturing; Dean Jagger, Hugh Marlowe, and George Tobias relish the rare opportunity to play villainous or ambiguous types; and Jack Elam is, well, Jack Elam, reliably oozing viciousness from every pore. Screenwriter Dudley Nichols knew the territory, having scripted John Ford's Stagecoach thirteen years earlier. Hathaway also directed Garden of Evil (1954), Fox's first Western in the new CinemaScope process. (Very wiiiiide CinemaScope--the DVD preserves the 2.55:1 format, which was later modified to 2.35:1.) The story involves several fortune-seeking Americanos accidentally thrown together in Mexico and enlisted to help rescue a fellow countryman injured at his remote gold mine. Much of the film unreels as a journey Western exploring tensions among the strangers, especially those inspired by dreaming of gold and the man's redheaded wife (Susan Hayward). The dialogue reaches for profundity and comes up short, but Richard Widmark as a self-designated "poet" and Gary Cooper as a retired lawman give satisfaction as they one-up each other. The movie's distinction lies in Hathaway's no-sweat adaptation to the widescreen format, the awe-inspiring Mexican settings--a deserted village, a valley of black sand, a mountain town buried under volcanic ash--and the only music score ever composed for a feature Western by Bernard Herrmann.
Herrmann is just about the only thing the four commentators on Garden of Evil talk about (there's also a separate "making of" featurette). Nobody does commentary on The Gunfighter or Rawhide, but the disc for the former includes a featurette on master cameraman Arthur Miller, while a Rawhide addendum highlights the oft-used movie location of Lone Pine, Calif., and another pays tribute to gutsy leading lady Susan Hayward. Talking heads include some half-dozen film historians (e.g., David Biographical Dictionary of Film Thomson) plus Henry Hathaway's son and Gary Cooper's daughter. --Richard T. Jameson
Top Customer Reviews
Rawhide - Rawhide deserves not only a DVD release, but recognition as one of the greatest Westerns ever. Taut, masterful direction by the great Henry Hathaway, and excellent perfomances by everyone makes this a must have film for anyone who loves the Western genre.
Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward are trapped at a stage way station by a gang of desperate criminals. Surprises and tragedy unfold as Power, Hayward, and Hayward's baby try to survive and outwit the criminals.
There are scenes in this film that are so tense that even today's hardened, jaded moviegoers will appreciate. This was not a film with larger than life heroes or cardboard cutout villains, but real people well portrayed with great lines from a magnificent script.
The Gunfighter - Gregory Peck, with his natural, spare acting style, and his folksy, plain demeanor, was a natural for Westerns, and his greatness in this genre was never more evident in this 1950 film, which was one of the earlier psychological Westerns.
Peck plays Jimmie Ringo, the most notorious gunfighter in the West, is running from the brothers of a man he killed. He shows up in a town where his ex-wife lives with their young son. Ringo holds up in the town saloon as a favor to the town marshal, who an old friend, while he waits for an opportunity to see his wife.
Meanwhile, the town is taken over with the nervous enthusiasm of people wanting to see a celebrity, a shootout, or a dead celebrity.Read more ›
Gregory Peck stars as the proverbial gunfighter who is forced into a kill-or-be-killed life.
Jimmy Ringo has legendary speed with a gun, hence every young cowpoke who thinks he's fast wants to kill him to get his reputation. Peck plays a superb role in this western classic.
Highly recommended for fans of Gregory Peck and western movies.
Gunner December, 2007
This movie hits upon the themes of the true nature of gunfighting and its real costs which has influenced such classics as "The Magnificent Seven," "The Shootist," and "Unforgiven." If you are a fan of westerns, you will not be disappointed in "The Gunfighter."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This old classic is a well acted western drama without all the profanity that seems to be the norm in current-newer movies.Published 6 days ago by William G.
An absolutely overlooked underrated movie..with shane high noon..john wayne/ john ford westerns got kind of unnoticed. Read morePublished 15 days ago by rwish34
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