Veterans Day.

50 Westerns From The 50s.


I love this shot of Audie Murphy in Six Black Horses (1962). Veterans Day seems like a good time to share it.

Thanks to all who serve, or have served, in our Armed Forces. May we never forget your sacrifice.

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In The Company Of Heroes.

50 Westerns From The 50s.


We walked around Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon — it was a beautiful day. While there, we paid a visit to a few of our heroes.

We were told there was a desire to give Audie Murphy his own monument at Arlington. But in his will, he requested that he be buried just like his buddies.


Lee Marvin is buried next to boxer Joe Louis. The nice lady in the Visitor’s Center knew exactly where Marvin was, rattling off his location (Section 7A, grave 176) in a split second. He’s a popular one, she says.


Burt Kennedy is also in Section 7A (grave 15). Took these with my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality. Also, the subject line is lifted from Harry Carey Jr.’s book.

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Night Passage (1957).

50 Westerns From The 50s.

Night Passage premiere SLC

Directed by James Neilson
Produced by Aaron Rosenberg
Screenplay by Borden Chase
Based on a story by Norman A. Fox
Director Of Photography: William Daniels, ASC
Music composed and conducted by Dimitri Tiomkin
Film Editor: Sherman Todd, ACE

CAST: James Stewart (Grant McLaine), Audie Murphy (The Utica Kid), Dan Duryea (Whitey Harbin), Dianne Foster (Charlotte Drew), Elaine Stewart (Verna Kimball), Brandon de Wilde (Joey Adams), Jay C. Flippen (Ben Kimball), Herbert Anderson (Will Renner), Robert J. Wilke (Concho), Hugh Beaumont (Jeff Kurth), Jack Elam (Shotgun), Tommy Cook (Howdy Sladen), Paul Fix (Mr. Feeney), Olive Carey (Miss Vittles), James Flavin (Tim Riley), Donald Curtis (Jubilee), Ellen Corby (Mrs. Feeney), John Day (Latigo).


Over the three-year life of this blog, few topics have generated the level of response as a recent post — nothing more than a few production photos, really — on Night Passage (1957). It’s a film with quite…

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Gallery: Shooting Night Passage (1957).

50 Westerns From The 50s.

Night Passage red sized 1Night Passage (1957) is a film I’ve taken my time getting around to. It’s been years since I sat down and watched it, though I’ve looked at bits and pieces of the gorgeous transfer Universal cooked up for the DVD. (The Technirama would be incredible on Blu-ray.) William H. Daniels’ cinematography is some of the best widescreen outdoor stuff I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t take much to make Durango, Colorado look good.


One of the problems with Night Passage is that we don’t look at it as 50s Westerns fans. We come at it as Anthony Mann snobs, putting it (and its eventual director, James Neilson) down and speculating about what it could’ve been if he’d hung around long enough to direct it.

Annex - Duryea, Dan (Night Passage)_NRFPT_02-2

But the truth is, anything with Jimmy Stewart going up against Dan Duryea is gonna be worthwhile. Add in Audie Murphy, not to mention Jack Elam…

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The Cimarron Kid (1951)

50 Westerns From The 50s.

A frequent commenter here, John Knight, sent me a copy of Budd Boetticher: The Western. Thanks, John! A dossier put together by Jim Kitses for the BFI back in 1969, it’s got some excellent writing on Boetticher and his work. (Two Mules For Sister Sara, which he wrote, was in production when this was published.) The highlight has to be a lengthy interview from 1963. It’s fascinating, without the focus on the Ranown cycle that would come later, and full of all sorts of wonderful stuff.* Here’s a quick sample.

Budd Boetticher: “One of the first films that I directed was a Western, The Cimarron Kid. Audie Murphy wasn’t my kind of actor, and that showed up in the film. Audie is a very complicated young man… He’s sensitive, he’s got taste, and guts. The film wasn’t great, there was one good sequence in a train.”

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Audie Murphy

The license is haunting to see. Thank you for sharing it, I can understand why you were hesitant to include it in your post but I am glad that you did.

50 Westerns From The 50s.

No Name On The Bullet (1959) gets my vote as Audie Murphy’s best picture. I first became aware of this one back in the early 90s, I think, when Joe Dante mentioned it in an interview. Thanks, Joe!

Reading up on Murphy a bit last night, I came across a 1961 interview that appeared in TV Guide:

“I’m not an actor. I don’t even like actors. By that I mean I have nothing in common with them. They’re dedicated souls with just one driving goal in life, and I’m not. I don’t malign them – I just don’t spend any time with them.”

Another one (I found it in Last Of The Cowboy Heroes):

“I’m here in [Hollywood] because it’s where I have something to do. But I don’t do it well.”

Also came across this, the charred remains of his drivers license. It was on him in…

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