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Warner Archive - Westerns, Warners, Selznicks & Spies DVDs
Written by Diana Saenger   

western_collection_200.jpgClassic movie fans will be excited to order New Releases of Westerns, Warners, Selznicks & Spies DVDs that are Manufactured on Demand (MOD) from the Warner archive Collection. To order visit (www.WarnerArchive.com or www.wbshop.com)

GO WEST, YOUNG WAC

GEORGE O'BRIEN WESTERN TRIPLE FEATURE Thanks to his performance in Murnau's silent classic Sunrise, George O'Brein soon shared the screen with a league of leading ladies like Janet Gaynor, Olive Borden, Helen Chandler and Leila Hyams. With the arrival of The Talkies, George traded in his spats for spurs and reigned as a true cowboy king whose Western yarns lassoed up boffo box office all through the '30s. Returning to Hollywood after WWII, O'Brien saddled up for a series of supporting parts for silent screen pal John Ford, including Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. But before that, O'Brien teamed with Virginia Vale for this trio of oaters including:

  • THE MARSHAL OF MESA CITY (1939) O'Brien plays reluctant lawmen, roped into bringing order to a lawless town on the fringes of Western civilization. Lucky for the Marshal, notorious gunslinger Duke Allison has his back (Henry Brandon).
  • LEGION OF THE LAWLESS (1940) Cowboy lawyer Jeff Toland decides to hang a shingle in a town where, thanks to masked vigilantes, the haves brutally rule over the neighboring have-nots. This film was later remade with Tim Holt as Pirates of the Prairie, available in Tim Holt Western Classics Collection, Vol. 1
  • TRIPLE JUSTICE (1940) Riding to Star City to be the best man for his Sheriff pal's nuptials, Brad Henderson shares a ride with three conniving cowpokes who shoot the Sheriff, rob a bank, kill a teller and leave Bill holding the bag. Escaping from jail, Bill set out after the owl hoots, hunting them down, and one by one.

WILD BILL ELLIOT WESTERN DOUBLE FEATURE Real-life rancher-turned-cowboy star Wild Bill Elliot (his nom du cinema was reportedly courtesy of Columbia's Harry Cohn) started twirling the celluloid lariat in 1938 and became a household hero playing Red Ryder reigning as ranch royalty for the next 15 years.

  • FARGO (1952) Barbed wire's role in the settling of the West plays a crucial part in this rancher versus settler saga that mixes science and six-guns.
  • THE HOMESTEADERS (1953) More scientific history is on order for the second of the Elliot oaters as we learn about post-Civil War military surplus' impact on farming in the great Pacific Northwest. But lest your eye's start to droop - that military surplus is unstable "weeping" dynamite - a highly dangerous cargo that must be transported past a host of hostiles.

WAYNE MORRIS WESTERN DOUBLE FEATURE Considered the last of the B-Western stars, Wayne Morris' life was as heroic off-screen as it was onscreen. While shooting the film Flight Angels, Morris learned to fly and put his movie career on hold to become a bonafide fighter ace in the war in the Pacific. After the war, he returned to Hollywood and saw out the B-Western in style. This collection features:

  • THE MARKSMAN (1953) This movie hits the target by neatly folding a police procedural into an oater in this noir-infused tale of a wannabe lawman with a gift for the long-shot.
  • THE FIGHTING LAWMAN (1953) The second feature ups the film noir ante with Morris playing a lawmen trying to unravel a web of murder and deception with a fatale of a femme (Virginia Grey) sitting at its heart.

WARNER BROS., OLD SCHOOL

THE SILK EXPRESS (1933) A young Neal Hamilton (Commissioner Gordon on the Adam West iteration of Batman) stars in this train-bound murder mystery thriller (look out, Silver Streak) with a wonderful ensemble of key Warner Bros. players. After the silk trade gets cornered by a malign market manipulator, a consortium of textile merchants make a desperate play to get the silk directly from the Far East. But it all depends on the being delivered from the ports of Seattle to the mills of New York in record time. As the "Silk Express" heads out on a record breaking race to the East Coast, it carries some extra cargo - a desperately ill Egyptologist and a corpse. With Alan Jenkins, Guy Kibbee, Sheila Terry and Vernon Steele. Directed by Ray Enright.

THE RIGHT TO LIVE (1935) W. Somerset Maugham's "The Sacred Flame" gets its second film treatment courtesy of director William Keighly and scribe Ralph Block. This sober drama results in an ahead-of-its time look at quality of life concerns. The superb cast, headed by the love triangle of heartsick spouse, Josephine Hutchinson, crippled husband Colin Clive, and noble sibling George Brent, deftly handles the heavy subject matter with able support from fellow cast members Peggy Wood, C. Aubrey Smith and Leo G. Carroll.

THE SELZNICK GIVES IT SIZZLE!

SWEEPINGS (1933) Lionel Barrymore headlines in a part written perfectly for him in this decades-devouring family saga about a department store dynasty's slow unraveling. Traveling to Chicago shortly after the fire, Daniel Pardway (Barrymore) joins his ne'er do well brother (Eric Linden) with his young bride in tow. Deaf to his brother's entreaties for a more rakish approach to life, young Daniel sets about creating a Department Store from the sock up. But his dreams of passing the legacy on to his children are dashed on the gulf created by the very wealth he has built up for them. Directed by John Cromwell, produced by David O. Selznick.

MEN OF AMERICA/ROAR OF THE DRAGON RKO DOUBLE FEATURE (1932) First up, William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd stars in Men of America. The deadly members of the Dillinger Generation imagine the country yokels of the West to be easy marks as they hide out from Johnny Law laden with loot. But when they take out one of the locals, they learn to fear these not-so-helpless long-tooths who tamed the Wild West. Directed by Ralph Ince. Then strap yourself in for Roar of the Dragon, an Eastern siege saga with all the nerve and flair of a Caniffean Adventure comic come to life. Richard Dix stars as a drunken seafarer left in charge of a motley crew of Westerners along with a machine gun when a murderous Chinese Warlord besieges a hotel. Character greats Edward Everett Horton and Zasu Pitts are among those trapped in the hotel, and Horton's character turn should surprise many a cineaste. Heartbreak, action, assassins and a gaggle of adorable orphans - this dragon's roar is a delight.

COME ALONG WITH WE, BUTCH CASSIDY

BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KIDS (1973) Sing along with WAC! "I pick that axe and then I get a call. Some bad guy's gonna take a fall. One by one, we're gonna meet them all and solve that mystery! Come along with me, Butch Cassidy." And now's your chance to answer that siren call thanks to this 2-Disc, 13-Episode collection of the complete Hanna Barbera animated rock and dagger series. An undercover teen superspy poses as the biggest teen pop star in the world while a sentient supercomputer named Mr. Socrates sends him and his band on missions - and is their manager. While this Seventies Saturday morning staple has nothing to do with a certain cowboy duo, it plays more like an alt animated spin-off of the little seen The Phynx mixed with a dash of Scooby since there's a dog, too. The Monkee's Mickey Dolenz lends his pipes to the proceedings playing the essential Shaggy role.

 



                       

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