30's-40's b-western fans - question?

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ThreepwoodMac

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30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostMon Sep 14, 2015 7:38 am

My knowledge of westerns made before 1949 is pretty much limited to the best-known John Ford and Howard Hawks ones. My local antique shop has a sizable collection of Sinister Cinema b-western discs. Anyone happen to know if there are any diamonds in the rough or unsung mini-masterpieces in here?

DANGER VALLEY
WHIRLWIND HORSEMAN
RIDING THE SUNSET TRAIL
THREE IN THE SADDLE
MAN'S COUNTRY
BULLDOG COURAGE
RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE (1931)
BILLY THE KID IN TEXAS
TROUBLE IN TEXAS
RED RIVER VALLEY (1941)
FUZZY SETTLES DOWN
REBELLION
GUNSMOKE MESA
GHOST PATROL
CATTLE STAMPEDE
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Ray Faiola

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostMon Sep 14, 2015 11:59 am

TROUBLE IN TEXAS is a good Tex Ritter picture with Rita Hayworth. But most of the Grand National and Monogram westerns are pretty cheap except for the Buck Jones entries.

But the best B-westerns are the RKO George O'Brien's and the Tim Holt's. And most of Republic's westerns are aces. Good production values and great music. Universal's Johnny Mack Brown series is also top-drawer. I haven't seen too many of Columbia's Charles Starrett pictures but the ones I have seen are pretty good.

My favorite is RKO's POWDERSMOKE RANGE with Harry Carey, Bob Steele, Tom Tyler, Hoot Gibson, Guinn Williams and Sam Hardy.

The best B westerns to "listen to" are the original LONE RANGER radio programs up til about 1948.
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MaryGH

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostMon Sep 14, 2015 1:12 pm

I prefer the Tom Tyler B-westerns myself - Sinister Cinema has most of the ones he made for Republic.

I like "Powdersmoke Range" myself, as Ray above me mentioned.
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odinthor

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostMon Sep 14, 2015 3:01 pm

I haven't viewed it yet; but Fuzzy Settles Down seems well thought of, doubtless especially by those fine people who, like myself, are staunch Al St. John fans. (The title leaped out at me because it's on my "eventual purchase" list.)
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Marr&Colton

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostTue Sep 15, 2015 3:55 am

B-Westerns have a "flavor" all their own. Most fans of the genre are in the over-65 age group who remember them at their
local theatre. B-westerns pretty much ceased to be made by 1954. In my opinion their best years were from about 1936 to 1946. The great comic side-kick Al St. John got his start with Fatty Arbuckle in the silents and endeared himself to
generations of B-Western fans as side-kick to such heroes as Buster Crabbe and Lash LaRue.

That said, if these DVDs mentioned above were priced around a buck or so each, I would take a chance with them, but
any more than that would be a gamble vs. good video quality.

Nowadays HIGH QUALITY distributors such as Warner Archive and Sony Columbia Classics have gorgeous quality DVD releases of many great B-Westerns.

If you have a local or regional library system online, just do some searches locally and state-wide and you can borrow
them FREE.
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Bob Birchard

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostTue Sep 15, 2015 5:29 am

Although the preprint material is pretty beat up, the 1931 RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE with George O'Brien is well worth having, and has the Fox production values that are often lacking in the independent B Westerns.
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostTue Sep 15, 2015 6:20 am

I agree with Bob Birchard about the 1931 version of "Riders of the Purple Sage". Although the 1925 version with Tom Mix is still the best ever done, the '31 version is far superior to the lackluster 1941 version with George Montgomery. The problem with the '31 version is that it's too short, truncated because of budget it would appear; the film itself though, actor, acting, etc., is quite good. The '25 version is gorgeously filmed location-wise; the others are all perfunctory, in my opinion.

"Billy the Kid in Texas" (1940) with Bob Steele is one of six of the "Billy the Kid" movies he made. This one is pretty decent, but I have other Steele's I'd rather watch.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostTue Sep 15, 2015 3:19 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:I agree with Bob Birchard about the 1931 version of "Riders of the Purple Sage". Although the 1925 version with Tom Mix is still the best ever done, the '31 version is far superior to the lackluster 1941 version with George Montgomery. The problem with the '31 version is that it's too short, truncated because of budget it would appear; the film itself though, actor, acting, etc., is quite good. The '25 version is gorgeously filmed location-wise; the others are all perfunctory, in my opinion.

"Billy the Kid in Texas" (1940) with Bob Steele is one of six of the "Billy the Kid" movies he made. This one is pretty decent, but I have other Steele's I'd rather watch.


RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE (1931) is on YT if you want a pop at it. Was looking to see if copies were for sale over here, and drawing a blank, took the freebie trail... It may be from a reissue - will need to take another look...
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Ed Hulse

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostTue Sep 15, 2015 9:50 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:The problem with the '31 version is that it's too short, truncated because of budget it would appear; the film itself though, actor, acting, etc., is quite good.


The 1931 Riders was not truncated, for budgetary or any other reasons. I have the script and director Hamilton MacFadden actually expanded some of the scenes. Moreover, O'Brien's early Fox Westerns were budgeted in the $150,000—200,000 range and often played solo in the company's downtown houses in the keys.

I supplied Sinister's Greg Luce with my print of Riders, which he transferred himself. My 16mm was a reversal copied from Bill Everson's reversal, which was copied from the beat-up 35mm projection print Alex Gordon found at Fox.
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostWed Sep 16, 2015 5:54 am

Ed Hulse wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:The problem with the '31 version is that it's too short, truncated because of budget it would appear; the film itself though, actor, acting, etc., is quite good.


The 1931 Riders was not truncated, for budgetary or any other reasons. I have the script and director Hamilton MacFadden actually expanded some of the scenes. Moreover, O'Brien's early Fox Westerns were budgeted in the $150,000—200,000 range and often played solo in the company's downtown houses in the keys.

I supplied Sinister's Greg Luce with my print of Riders, which he transferred himself. My 16mm was a reversal copied from Bill Everson's reversal, which was copied from the beat-up 35mm projection print Alex Gordon found at Fox.

Didn't mean to create an argument, but O'Brien's version - and I'm an O'Brien fan from the get-go - just always seems to play, not like one of Richard Arlen's '31 Westerns (e.g., "The Conquering Horde" or "Gun Smoke") which have an "A" feel about them, but more like a "B". I know, Arlen's were made at Paramount. It's just my opinion, certainly not anything else. I still think the '25 version captures the spirit better, but, as I said, the '31 version is far superior to the '41 version - again, strictly in my opinion.
Last edited by R Michael Pyle on Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bob Birchard

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostWed Sep 16, 2015 6:05 am

I agree with everything Ed writes, except the idea that Hamilton McFadden had much to do with expanding the script. O'Brien himself had very little good to say about McFadden, though in his criticisms he never mentioned McFadden by name. McFadden's shortcomings as a director seem to have been papered over by other people at Fox. O'Brien himself on his pictures, and possibly cinematographer Dan Clark on THE BLACK CAMEL. His inadequcies as a filmmaker became evident on THE FOURTH HORSEMAN starring Tom Mix at Universal. Scheduled for a 10-day shoot, McFadden came in under budget and on schedule, but the studio brought Richard Rosson in to direct 10 days of re-shoots. McFadden's career as a director never really recovered, and he was soon reduced to being a bit actor.
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jcp7701

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostWed Sep 16, 2015 12:42 pm

Ghost Patrol (1936) has the distinction of one the most annoying sound effects, ever. In this case, it involves an airplane.

People will have different preferences as to the era of their favorite B-westerns. Myself, that would be the pre-1936 period when silent screen stars: Mix, Jones, Maynard, Gibson, McCoy were either still going strong (or gradually declining), even if not with the budgets their 1920's efforts had--or second-rank silent stars: Wilsey, Perrin, Custer, Cody, and Wales were eking out some sort of existence, but still in leading roles, no matter how small the budget.
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radleyas

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Re: 30's-40's b-western fans - question?

PostFri Nov 17, 2017 3:35 pm

odinthor wrote:I haven't viewed it yet; but Fuzzy Settles Down seems well thought of, doubtless especially by those fine people who, like myself, are staunch Al St. John fans. (The title leaped out at me because it's on my "eventual purchase" list.)


I realize this was posted ages ago, but I offer my hearty agreement. If Al's in the film, it's a good one. Rare to find another St. John fan. *happy dance*

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