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John Wayne: The Fox Westerns Collection [5 Discs] [DVD]

SKU:8809015
Release Date:05/13/2008
Rating:
$22.99

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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

    Special Features


    • The Big Trail 2-Disc Special Edition features - Disc One: Fox Granduer 70mm version of The Big Trail
    • Commentary with film historian/Author Richard Schickel
    • Featurettes - The Creation of John Wayne, Raoul Walsh: A Man In His Time, The Big Vision: The Grandeur Process, The Making of The Big Trail
    • Photo Gallery
    • Disc Two - Academy Aspect Ratio Version of The Big Trail
    • North To Alaska - Fox Movietonews: North To Alaska Premiere beseiged by Broadway Throngs
    • Original Theatrical trailer
    • The Comancheros - Fox Movietonews: Claude King and Tillman Franks receive Award for The Comancheros
    • The Undefeated - Original Theatrical Trailers
    • Closed Captioned

    Synopsis


    The Comancheros
    Michael Curtiz's The Comancheros was a deceptively complex movie -- so enjoyable, that it masked some of the best character development seen in a John Wayne vehicle that was not directed by John Ford or Howard Hawks, and so well made that it got by with some of the most violent action seen in a major studio release of the era. It also bridged the gap between Ford's The Searchers and the upbeat buddy movies of the late '60s and '70s (The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc.). It's 1843 in the Republic of Texas, and Jake Cutter (John Wayne) is a two-fisted Texas Ranger who runs across a gang of white renegades, called the Comancheros, who are trading guns and other contraband with marauding Comanches from a secret hideout in Mexico. Substituting for a repentant gun-runner, he goes undercover as a partner with Crow (Lee Marvin), a vicious half-breed who is a contact man with the Comancheros and knows the whereabouts of their hideout in Mexico. But Crow manages to get himself killed, and Cutter is forced to throw in with Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman), a bystander who also happens to be an itinerant gambler wanted for killing a man in a duel in New Orleans, to complete his mission. It turns out that Regret is a more decent man than most, and he and Cutter, despite some different outlooks on right and wrong, take a liking to each other. Their quest eventually takes them south of the border, where they find the Comancheros and their leader, Graile (Nehemiah Persoff), a bitter, brilliant cripple -- think of The Sea Wolf's Wolf Larsen in a wheelchair -- who has established a landlocked pirate society, and his daughter Pilar (Ina Balin). The only thing that keeps Cutter and Regret alive when they enter the camp is that Pilar and Regret have a history, and she still has feelings for him, enough so that she won't tell what she knows about Cutter and who he is. The two men must play on Graile's greed and Pilar's love in the explosive surroundings of the Comancheros' camp, while figuring out a way to stay alive long enough to get word to the rangers about where they are -- and to survive the attack that must inevitably follow. Director Michael Curtiz was ill for part of the shoot, and Wayne took up the slack, but The Comancheros displays some of the same freewheeling charm and deep passions that informed classic films of his such as Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and The Sea Hawk. Wayne and Whitman between them manage to evoke some of the rambunctiousness of Errol Flynn, and when Balin (one of the sexiest leading ladies ever to grace a John Wayne movie) arrives onscreen, the testosterone level shoots up even higher and the sexual sparks fly. The film's 105 minutes go by very fast, and this is a movie whose ending comes almost too soon. Curtiz's final film is one that leaves audiences with a smile, but also wanting more, which was a pretty good way to go out. John Wayne's daughter, Aissa Wayne (who subsequently went into a law career) appears in a small role. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

    The Undefeated
    This routine western finds Union Colonel John Henry Thomas (John Wayne) and company attacking Confederate soldiers lead by Colonel James Langdon (Rock Hudson). After a crushing defeat, Langdon torches his plantation rather than have it fall into enemy hands. A group of Southerners accept the invitation of Emperor Maximilian to join them, and Langdon heads off with a wagon train of settlers to a new land. Thomas with his adopted Indian son Blue Boy (Roman Gabriel) bring a herd of 3,000 horses across the Rio Grand for sale. The two factions meet at a Fourth of July party and relive the war through a drunken brawl. When Mexican General Rojas (Tony Aguilar) holds the Southerners hostage, Thomas orders the herd to stampede into the General's camp as ransom payment for their former enemies. Merlin Olsen plays the blacksmith Little George. Both Gabriel and Olsen were pro-football all-stars for the Los Angeles Rams. Olsen continued his acting and sports announcing after his gridiron days were over. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi

    The Big Trail
    The first "epic" western of the talkie era, The Big Trail is motivated by a hero's search for the murderer of his father. Twenty-three-year-old John Wayne, hitherto limited to bit parts, was thrust into the difficult leading role, a young mountaineer put in charge of a huge California-bound wagon train. Over the next several months, Wayne and his fellow pioneers face every imaginable hazard and disaster, from blistering desert heat to blinding snowstorms, negotiating steep cliffs, treacherous rivers, uncharted forests and other such natural obstacles. Meanwhile, Wayne's tentative romance with heroine Ruth Cameron (Marguerite Churchill) is continually thwarted by a charming but duplicitous gambler (Ian Keith), and all-around villain Red Flack (Tyrone Power Sr.) and his henchman Lopez (Charlie Stevens) ceaselessly plot to double-cross the other wagon-trainers for their own financial gain. The Big Trail was a box-office disappointment, a fact which some have attributed its expensive production methods. Each scene was lensed twice, once in 35-millimeter and then in the 65-mm "Fox Grandeur" wide-screen process. And then, each dialogue scene was filmed in French and German, with totally different casts. Even if Big Trail has been a big hit, it would have lost money thanks to the time-consuming shooting and reshooting of virtually every scene. Whatever the case, it was John Wayne who suffered most from the film's failure; instantly demoted to "B"-westerns, it took him nearly a decade to rebuild his stardom. Long believed lost, The Big Trail was made available for exhibition again in the early 1970s -- and in the 1990s the original widescreen version was at last restored for public view. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    North to Alaska
    Those familiar only with Johnny Horton's song hit North to Alaska might not be aware that the song came equipped with a movie. John Wayne and Stewart Granger star as a couple of lucky miners in Alaska Territory during the '98 gold rush. Since the Duke is the only man he can trust, Granger sends his pal to Seattle to fetch his fiance. Fabian appears in the cast (playing Granger's brother) primarily to attract teenage filmgoers; he gets to sing, of course, but he's better than usual. The film's centerpiece, an outsized brawl in the muddy streets of Nome, was repeated with several variations in Wayne's subsequent McLintock (1963). North to Alaska was based on a considerably more genteel stage play, Laszlo Fodor's Birthday Gift. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • John Wayne
      John Wayne - Capt. Jake Cutter
    • Stuart Whitman
      Stuart Whitman - Paul Regret
    • Ina Balin
      Ina Balin - Pilar Graile
    • Nehemiah Persoff
      Nehemiah Persoff - Graile
    • Lee Marvin
      Lee Marvin - Tully Crow




    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.