Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '55 - Colin McGuigan ""

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Underrated '55 - Colin McGuigan

"My name's Colin McGuigan. I'm originally from Northern Ireland but resident in Greece for many years now. I've been a fan of classic Hollywood as long as I can remember and caught the western bug early on - watching Randolph Scott on Saturday afternoons on TV probably sealed it for me. It's a vast genre, always offering up new surprises and even the stuff I've become most familiar has the ability to reveal different aspects and perspectives. I've come to love the westerns of the 50s most of all, even though I can and do appreciate every era, and feel that decade saw the genre at the peak of its maturity and sophistication."

Colin's Blog is 'Riding The High Country' - found here:

Colin also did both Underrated Thrillers and Underrated Westerns lists for RPS previously:

Footsteps in the Fog (1955; Arthur Lubin)
Stewart Granger is the cold killer who finds himself blackmailed and ensnared in a relationship he loathes. The movie is a first rate slice of Gothic melodrama which sees Granger playing well off Jean Simmons and boasts solid plotting and fine photography from Christopher Challis.

Violent Saturday (1955; Richard Fleischer)
Soap opera meets film noir in Richard Fleischer's heist drama. The long, slow buildup doesn't pay off quite as fully as might be expected given the time invested in telling the audience about the lives of the characters. The heist and aftermath are presented with some style and Lee Marvin, in a supporting role, comes close to stealing the picture right from under the noses of some big names who were billed higher.

The Desperate Hours (1955; William Wyler)
Bogart built his reputation playing gangland hoods and criminal types but later shied away from such roles when his star rose to its height. This movie, coming almost at the end of his career, saw him returning to his roots in a way. He faces off against Fredric March in a heavyweight acting duel under the eye of director William Wyler. A paranoid nightmare in suburbia that ought to be more widely appreciated.

Wichita (1955; Jacques Tourneur)
If we're talking underrated, then Jacques Tourneur and Joel McCrea are good examples and this collaboration of director and star is itself not nearly as well known as it deserves to be. There are many films revolving around episodes from the life of Wyatt Earp and this rates as one of the best. Tourneur's easy confidence behind the camera and McCrea's assurance in front of it result in a deeply satisfying western.

Shotgun (1955; Lesley Selander)
Who's Lesley Selander? Well, even fans of the western, and Selander made a lot of movies in that genre, may not be all that familiar with the name. In my opinion, that's a pity as his tough, no-nonsense approach has much to recommend it. This one is a typically harsh little movie driven along by a brusque performance from Sterling Hayden, and could be regarded as a good introduction to Selander's work.


Anonymous said...

Well, I am definitely watching SHOTGUN this weekend Colin, thanks! Not so sure about DESPERATE HOURS - It's been ages since I saw it but remember finding it a bit slow and ponderous (like a lot of later Wyler frankly). Must try again (and certainly preferable to the Cimino remake).

Judy said...

Must confess I haven't seen most of these, but they all sound intriguing and this posting reminds me I've been meaning to see 'Footsteps in the Fog' for ages. I really liked 'The Desperate Hours' and the way Wyler keeps cranking the tension up another notch - a fine role for Bogart, and I usually like films with strangers taking over the household. A "paranoid nightmare" is spot on.

SteveQ said...

Selander directed 107 westerns, mostly borderline "A" films. Lambert Hillyer directed 106, mostly "B" films. I considered two of these films when making my own list.

Jerry Entract said...

I'm gonna try again with this (profiles allowing!).

I've commented more generally over at Colin's blogsite but I forgot to say that Jacques Tourneur's "WICHITA" starring Joel McCrea is one of my most favourite westerns. A magnificent film, I think it needs to have greater recognition.

Laura said...

Colin, what an interesting list! I've only seen SHOTGUN and WICHITA (I share Jerry's great admiration for the latter film, which really should be better known!). I'm especially intrigued by VIOLENT SATURDAY -- what a cast!!

Best wishes,