Friday, August 3, 2018

‘YELLOWSTONE’ RENEWED, ‘DEADWOOD’ RETURNING, ‘HIGHWAYMEN’ RESCHEDULED, ‘BUSTER SCRUGGS’ RECUT – PLUS TWO NEW WESTERNS RELEASED THIS WEEK!


HERE’S AN EXCLUSIVE – FIRST LOOK AT THE NEW POSTER FOR THE NEW WESTERN ‘ANY BULLET WILL DO’, WHICH OPENS TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4th!



‘YELLOWSTONE’ RENEWED!



The folks at Paramount TV are so delighted with the popular and critical success of YELLOWSTONE that they’ve given the Kevin Costner vehicle an early renewal – the 10th and final episode of the tyro season will air on August 22nd, and the cast and crew will be heading back to Utah and Montana shortly. Reactions of Western aficionados to the Taylor Sheridan series have been mixed – Facebook complaints run the gamut from improper calf-delivery to no likable characters to “LONGMIRE did it better” – but all gripes seem to end with, “…but I can’t wait for the next episode!”

The series follows the Dutton family, led by Costner’s John Dutton, and their struggle to hold on to the largest cattle ranch in America, and the attempts of a developer (Danny Huston) and an Indian activist (Gil Birmingham) to take it apart.  It’s the 2nd most watched series on basic cable, following AMC’s WALKING DEAD.

What with production of YELLOWSTONE’s 2nd season imminent, it’s fortunate that Costner’s next project, THE HIGHWAYMEN, is already in the can. Made for NETFLIX, Costner and Woody Harrelson star as Fred Hamer and Maney Gault, respectively, the legendary Texas Rangers who got Bonnie and Clyde. Originally announced for October, the date has been changed to March of 2019. The movie is directed by John Lee Hancock (THE ALAMO) from a script by John Fusco (YOUNG GUNS).

‘DEADWOOD’ ROLLS CAMERA IN OCTOBER!



Things are busy at Gene Autry’s old Melody Ranch these days, where WESTWORLD is moving out, and DEADWOOD is coming home. Absent since 2006, David Milch’s series that did so much to reinvigorate excitement about the genre, is returning to HBO. Everyone involved is being tight-lipped about story-lines, returning characters, and whether it will be a series or a movie. What is known is that it will be directed by Daniel Minahan, who directed the series in the past, and has been busy of late helming HOUSE OF CARDS and GAME OF THRONES.

COENS’ ‘BUSTER SCRUGGS’ GETS A TRIM, HEADS TO VENICE!


Tim Blake Nelson as Buster Scruggs


The Coen brothers’ Western series THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS will have its premiere at The Venice Film Festival, which begins at the end of August.  It was originally announced as an anthology series with a difference – six episodes with six intersecting story lines.  You can read the details about the stories and casts from my earlier coverage, HERE.

Of course, an international film festival seems an odd place to premiere a TV series, but the Coens, who brought you the remake of TRUE GRIT and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, have decided to recut the series into a 132-minute movie.  NETFLIX says they will be premiering BUSTER SCRUGGS by the end of 2018, but no word yet on whether it will be in feature form or episodic. Or both (that’s my guess).

INSP’S ‘THE COWBOY WAY’ RETURNS FOR SEASON 4 ON AUGUST 26TH!


Booger Brown closing in on a steer

Bubba, Booger, Cody, and their wives and youngins make the move to Sunday nights with the 4th season of INSP’s remarkably popular and enjoyable reality series, THE COWBOY WAY.  The real-life day-to-day challenges and adventures of the Faith Cattle Company partners are a perfect antidote to citified stresses. You can read my Round-up interview with Bubba Thompson HEREYou can read my True West article on the series HERE.

TWO NEW WESTERNS THIS WEEK: ‘A RECKONING’ AND ‘THE IRON BROTHERS’ – AND A THIRD, ‘ANY BULLET WILL DO’, ON THE WAY!

It seems like THE REVENANT made a deep impression on a lot of filmmakers. After years of the sandy, gritty, deserty oaters that took their inspiration from Spaghetti Westerns, independent filmmakers have decided to look to the mountains.

The two new Westerns that open this week were both shot in heavy snow; A RECKONING in Montana, and THE IRON BROTHERS in Idaho and Wyoming.  And at the end of the month, a third Western, ANY BULLET WILL DO, from the writer-director of A RECKONING, Justin Lee, is also snowbound.  Below is an exclusive-to-the-Round-up clip from A RECKONING.


A RECKONING is the story of Mary O’Malley (June Dietrich), a young wife whose husband is brutally murdered. It’s not the first unsolved dismemberment murder in the small community, and the nominal mayor, played by Lance Henriksen, hires a flock of bounty-men to catch the killer. When Mary, with no faith in that rabble, tries to sell her property for a rifle, a pistol, and a horse, to find her husband’s killer herself, only one townswoman, played by Meg Foster, will help.

June Dietrich in A RECKONING

As Mary searches, through stunningly photographed forests, in snow, by lakes, we see she’s correct in her assessment: the bounty hunters are more interested in hunting each other than the killer. The problem is, you never get a sense that she has a plan. She isn’t following tracks, isn’t looking for sign, rarely speaks to anyone, has no suspect. She just rides or walks through stunning visuals. She once makes a comment that she’s sticking to well-travelled roads, assuming the killer would do the same, to look for more victims. But what she travels doesn’t appear to be a road or even a path; she’s just stumbling between trees, until she stumbles upon her husband’s killer, and that’s when the action starts.  A RECKONING is being released today by SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT.

IRON BROTHERS features a pair of real brothers, Tate Smith and Porter Smith, as Abel and Henry Iron, two mountain-men struggling to make a living as fur trappers since their father died.  Lazy and short-tempered Henry blows up at traders who offer him an insulting price for his pelts. In moments, a man is dead and Henry is on the run. At the same time, the more even-tempered Abel has an unexpected run-in with Shoshone hunters. Suddenly a chief is dead, and the Iron brothers are running a gauntlet of dangers on their way out of the mountains, trying to reach the safety of civilization.


IRON BROTHERS

As with A RECKONING, there is a wealth of beauty, but a poverty of incident. As Mary slogged through forest and snow, the Irons slog through snow and more snow. When the action comes, it’s entertaining, but the brothers, despite being engaging at times, mutter a great deal of their presumably improvised dialogue. Many of the conversation scenes are framed ala Ingmar Bergman, and shot in one take. If you have great actors, well-rehearsed, this can be very effective. But if you have actors doing their first film, what you have is a scene that cannot be edited, either to speed it up, or to use the best parts from several takes. THE IRON BROTHERS is co-written and co-directed by brothers Josh Smith and Tate Smith, and is available on many platforms, including AMAZON, from RANDOM MEDIA.

TIM McCOY TEACHES SIGNING, HEMINGWAY CUTS OUT ORSON WELLES, AND MORE GREAT VIEWING FROM ALPHA VIDEO!

THE SPANISH EARTH




Back in the late 1930s, World War II was raging in Europe, but Japan had not yet pulled the sneak-attack on Pearl Harbor that would propel the U.S. into the fray. A group of American intellectuals, among them writers Dorothy Parker, Archibald MacLeish, Lillian Hellman and Ernest Hemingway, took the side of Spain’s democratically elected government, against the fascist Generalissimo Franco, and decided to finance a documentary to try and sway American public opinion. Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens shot the movie, and Orson Welles performed the narration written by Hemingway. But when Hemingway saw the finished version, he found Welles’ delivery too gentle and cultured – he rewrote the commentary, and recorded it himself. It’s a fascinating documentary, and a fascinating document, whether you are a history buff, or a Hemingway fanatic or, like me, both.


‘DEADLINE’ AND ‘INJUN TALK’




In 1948’s DEADLINE, Sunset Carson is a Pony Express rider on his last run. The Western Union Telegraph is putting the Pony Express out of business, and when sabotage and murder occur, Sunset seems a likely suspect. A decent entry in the Sunset Carson cannon, it’s written and directed by Oliver Drake, whose greatest service to Western movie fans was co-writing Yakima Canutt’s autobiography.

But of much greater interest than DEADLINE is a half-hour educational film sponsored by Standard Oil, INJUN TALK.  Apparently the last film directed by B-movie whiz Nick Grinde in 1946, at a powwow, Col. Tim McCoy and chiefs from several tribes tell the fascinating history of Indian sign-language. As a form of communication used then mostly by elders, there was real concern at the time that sign-language would be lost. And Tim McCoy was no casual signer. Before his movie career he’d been Adjutant General of Wyoming, lived for a time on the Wind River Reservation, and was considered one of the most articulate of its practitioners – he taught Iron Eyes Cody among others.

RIDERS OF THE WEST and THE BUSTER CRABBE SHOW




RIDERS was one of eight ROUGH RIDER films that Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton made for Monogram in the 1940s, movies that traded on the charm of Western stars who were getting a little too old for the rough stuff. They would have made more but, incredibly, Col. Tim McCoy was drafted – recalled to active Army duty at age 51. Shortly thereafter, tragically, Buck Jones, on a cross-country bond-selling tour, died in a fire in a Boston nightclub, The Cocoanut Grove, along with nearly 500 others.

As with the previous set, the best part here is the short, an episode of THE BUSTER CRABBE SHOW from 1951. Much like THE GABBY HAYES SHOW and a number of others, Crabbe hosted a half-hour program where he chatted with the viewers, and showed a truncated B-Western. The fun of this one, of course, is watching Buster. The film he shows is GUNS OF THE LAW from the P.R.C. TEXAS RANGERS series. Normally these chopped movies are hard to follow. Fortunately, P.R.C. Westerns tended to be so short on plot that this is probably the best way to watch it!

AND THAT’S A WRAP!

I hope you’re having a grand summer!
Happy Trails,
Henry
All Original Contents Copyright August 2018 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved