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The Great American Western, Vol. 16 [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered
  • Interactive menus
  • Scene access

Synopsis

Old West Cowboys
Old West Cowboys takes a documentary-style look at some of the rough and tough heroes of the Old West. Using rare authentic stills and historical reenactments with professional actors, the film revives the legends of this dusty, adventurous time in the life of America. Viewers experience gunfights, bank robberies, wild chases on horseback, saloon brawls, and more. ~ Betsy Boyd, Rovi

The Woman of the Town
Originally, producer Harry Sherman's Woman of the Town was slated for Paramount release, but that studio was overloaded with product, so the film was deferred to United Artists. Nonetheless, the finished product has the "look" of a Paramount, right down to the presence of character actor Albert Dekker in a leading role. Dekker plays Bat Masterson, who after failing to secure a job as a newspaper reporter becomes marshal of Dodge City. Preferring socializing to peacekeeping, Masterson falls in love with Dora Hand (Claire Trevor), the obligatory golden-hearted chorus girl whose concern for the welfare of her fellow citizens at time reaches Madonna-like dimensions. When Dora is shot down cattle baron King Kennedy (Barry Sullivan), Masterson begins taking his job seriously. After taking care of Kennedy, Masterson determines to enshrine the memory of Dora, whose efforts to clean up Dodge City were largely ignored by the "decent" townsfolk. Our favorite bit in Woman of the Town has the frontier newspaper editor advising an aspiring girl reporter (Beryl Wallace) to stick to her gossip column-whereupon we're informed that the lady is Louella Parsons! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Fighting Caravans
Directly after his successful screen teaming with Marlene Dietrich in Morocco, Gary Cooper returned to Paramount's "Zane Grey" western series with Fighting Caravans. Cooper is cast as Clint Belmet, a hell-raisin' frontiersman facing a misdemeanor jail term. To avoid arrest, Clint talks French-born Felice (Lily Damita) into posing as his wife. Having successfully eluded the Law, Clint joins a wagon train heading to California, with Felice in tow. He callously tells her that he expects to exercise his "husbandly" prerogative in bed, but changes his tune when he genuinely falls in love with the girl. Eventually, Clint assumes some responsibility for the first time in his life by becoming the wagon train's sole trail guide, rescuing the other passengers from the villainous machinations of gun-runner Lee Murdock (Fred Kohler). Several stock shots and outtakes from Fighting Caravans (retitled Blazing Arrows for television) later showed up in another Zane Grey series entry, Wagon Wheels (1934). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Proud and the Damned
Will (Chuck Connors) leads a group of American Civil War veterans into San Carlos, Columbia. The local mayor (Cesar Romero) welcomes the quintet, unaware they are scouting out the town for Columbian General Martinez (Andre Maruis). Soon the visitors are reveling with gypsies Mila (Anita Quinn) and Ramon (Jose Greco). Will and Mila end up making love, much to the dismay of the jealous Ramon. Will shoots and kills the hotheaded Ramon, and the mayor is called on to restore order. The five Americans are held for questioning following the murder. When the scouts fail to return to the General, the storm clouds of war gather over the once-peaceful town. Mila becomes ostracized by the townsfolk for her brazen behavior that resulted in Ramon's death. The mayor considers letting Will and Mila leave town in an effort to avoid further bloodshed. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

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