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Friday, July 13, 2018

Westerns On 60's Ways Down


Audie Murphy Seeks 40 Guns To Apache Pass (1967)

Audie Murphy had to scratch for work after being let out of Universal, his kind of westerns not long for an industry leaned toward spaghetti flavoring a genre gone flat. Murphy was fed up with saddling, but needed cash. He'd like to have done other sorts of projects, developed a few, but with no takers toward financing. Don Graham's fine AM bio says the faded star got a mere $50K to do 40 Guns To Apache Pass for producing Edward Small, one of four they teamed on with budgets of $400K each. Small by this time may have figured his output had more value on television, that being where these likely broke even or took modest gain. Director William Witney got his 40 Guns crew out to rocks where I guess he'd been innumerable times for westerns near identical to this one. Witney was thirty years at the game by now, time enough to fill an ocean with actioners. The fact of some being a best in their class still awaits proper recognition, and though 40 Guns isn't that, it still plays efficient and more so if seen at proper 1.85. 40 Guns To Apache Pass was essentially an old western newly made, last roundup for hands long calloused by outdoor work. What became of so many men who saw their way of life and living suddenly put aside? We'd sit through films like 40 Guns To Apache Pass at the Liberty, impatient for them to end for horror or sci-fi to follow. Someone might have whispered, a la Rhett Butler, I wouldn't be in such a hurry to see them go if I were you ...

4 Comments:

Blogger Jerry Kovar said...

Over the years I have had to defend Audie Murphy, and his films, to friends, family and the cinema elite. Putting my hero worship aside, I thought Audie did a fine job when given the right script with a proper director. His two films with John Huston ("The Unforgiven" and "The Red Badge of Courage"), Joseph Mankiewicz ("The Quiet American"), Jack Arnold ("No Name on the Bullet") and some of his Jesse Hibbs output ("To Hell and Back") being among my favorite Audie performances. Unfortunately "40 Guns to Apache Pass" (his last starring role ) followed a failed attempt at a Euro-western, "The Texican" and ended a 7 year string of poor to mediocre efforts. I wondered this am, as I do every morning, what Greenbriar had in store. And on yet another birthday I was pleasantly surprised to find an Audie Murphy posting.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Mike Cline said...

Love Audie Murphy. Sadly, his name is fading away like an Eastman color film print. Today's kids have no knowledge of who Audie was, which is a shame, considering what he did. And I speak not of making movies.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Boppa said...

Jeff Arnold also picked an Audie Murphy western to review today. But his choice, ‘Sierra,’ is from much earlier in Murphy’s career. http://jeffarnoldblog.blogspot.com/2018/07/sierra-universal-1950.html

9:21 AM  
Blogger Bill O said...

Don Siegel apparently toyed with casting him as Scorpio in Dirty Harry. Don't think it was serious, but his death ended the chance. He could've been more terrifying than Andy Robinson's histrionics.

10:27 AM  

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