Friday, November 2, 2012

Man of the West(1958).

Man of the West(1958). Western film starring Gary Cooper and directed by Anthony Mann in his last film in the genre. The screenplay, written by Reginald Rose, is based on the novel The Border Jumpers by Will C. Brown.

Link Jones, catches the train to Fort Worth, where he plans to use the money of his town friends, to hire a schoolteacher. While on the train, Sam Beasley has a conversation with Link, causing the marshal to become suspicious, who then warns Link that Sam, is a well known con man. Then says that Link looks familiar.

Later, Sam suggests that he may be able to help Link. Their conversation is overheard by bad guy Alcutt. When the train stops to pick up fuel, Sam introduces Link to saloon singer, Billie Ellis, who Sam thinks would make the perfect school teacher.

While the men help load the train with wood, Alcutt stays onboard  to signal to Coaley Tobin, Trout and Ponch, who plan on holding up the train. Link, tries to stop them and is knocked unconscious. The holdup is prevented by the train guard, who orders the train to pull away.

Alcutt, steals Link's bag with the money before jumping from the train, but is wounded as the outlaws ride off. When, Link comes to he discovers that he, Sam and Billie have been left behind, many miles from the nearest town. Link leads Billie and Sam to a run down farm, where he used to live.

While the two others wait in the barn, Link finds the train robbers inside the house. Coaley, does not believe Link when he says that he and his friends just want to rest for the night. Dock Tobin, who is shocked to see Link, his nephew, who left many years earlier.

Tobin, says that nothing has been the same since Link left and introduces him to Link's cousin, Coaley. Wanting to prove that he is a tuff guy Coaley, kills Alcutt, who is near death from his injuries. Now, knowing that he and his friends are in trouble, Link has Sam and Billie brought into the house and lies to Tobin, telling him that he wanted his uncle help after being left by the train.

Tobin, then tells him of his plan to rob the Lassoo bank and he needs Link's help. Link, agrees to be part of the holdup to protect Billie, he says that she is his girl friend. Then goes to help Sam, dig a grave for Alcutt.

Hearing Billie scream, Link finds Coaley drunkenly forcing her to take her clothes off. Coaley holds a knife to Link's throat to prevent him from interfering. Dock, then intervenes and sends Link and Billie to sleep in the barn.

There, Billie tells Link that she can not believe that he ever could have been involved with such bad men. Link, then tells her that he was just like them, until he decided he wanted a better life. Later, Link finds his empty bag in the hay, he knows that he must get back his friends money even if he has to kill his family to do it.

The following morning, Link tells Billie about is wife and two children, as well as his friends, who know about his past and in spite of it, trust him with their money. Claude Tobin, another of Link's cousins, arrives after hearing about about the train robbery and is not too happy about Link's return. Claude, then tells the men that the Crosscut marshal is connected Link, to the Tobin gang. Tobin, stops Claude and Coaley's, from killing Link and his friends and they head off on the four-day ride to Lassoo.

That evening, Link and Coaley, get into a fight and Link badly beats Coaley and brutally strips him of his clothes. Coaley, tries to shoot Link, but Sam interferes and is killed instead. Tobin, then shoots Coaley for disobeying him.

Later Billie, realizes that she is in love with Link, but knows she can never have him.

The next day, Link asks Claude why he is still with Tobin. Claude, admits that he thinks of Tobin, as father he never had. Then warns Link, that he will never beat the gang.

Just outside of the town of Lassoo, Link volunteers for the holdup job, but Tobin insists that he take Trout with him. Link and Trout, soon discover Lassoo is a ghost town and the bank deserted except for a old Mexican woman, who Trout shoots and kills. Link kills Trout, then waits for Claude and Ponch to show up. Will Link be able to out gun the gang, recover his friends money and return home to his wife and kids?


Fun Facts:

Gary Cooper was, at 56, a decade older than Lee J. Cobb who played his "Uncle" Dock Tobin. In the film Cooper and John Dehner talk about being children together - Dehner was actually fourteen years younger than Cooper.

James Stewart, wanted the role played by Gary Cooper, but since Stewart had fallen out with director Anthony Mann he did not get the part.

Gary Cooper, did his own horse-riding scenes despite physical pain from a car accident years earlier.

I loved the beautiful scenery and the scenes inside the train scenes seem to be real. The age difference of Gary Cooper and Dehner do seem a little weird. The bad guys are some of the meanest you can find in a western.

Julie London (September 26, 1926 – October 18, 2000). Born Gayle Peck in Santa Rosa, California, she was the daughter of Jack and Josephine Peck, who were a vaudeville song-and-dance team.

When she was 14, the family moved to Los Angeles. Shortly after that, she began performing in movies. She graduated from the Hollywood Professional School in 1945.

 In July 1947, she married actor Jack Webb (Dragnet). They had two daughters: Stacy and Lisa Webb. London and Webb divorced in November 1954. Daughter Stacy Webb was killed in a traffic accident in 1996.

In 1954 she met jazz composer and musician Bobby Troup at a club on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. They married on December 31, 1959, and remained married until his death in February 1999. They had one daughter, Kelly Troup, who died in March 2002, and twin sons, Jody and Reese Troup (b. May 28, 1963). Jody died June 10, 2010, just 13 days after his 47th birthday.

 London suffered a stroke in 1995 and was in poor health until her death on October 18, 2000 (the day her husband, Bobby Troup, would have been 82), in Encino, California, at age 74.

London began singing under the name Gayle Peck in public in her teens before appearing in a film. She was discovered by talent agent, Sue Carol (wife of actor Alan Ladd), while working as an elevator operator.

London recorded 32 albums in a career that began in 1955 with a live performance at the 881 Club in Los Angeles. Billboard named her the most popular female vocalist for 1955, 1956, and 1957.

While shopping for a record deal, she recorded four tracks that would later be included on the album, Bethlehem's Girlfriends, in 1955. Bobby Troup backed London on the dates, and London recorded the standards, "Don't Worry About Me", "Motherless Child", "A Foggy Day", and "You're Blasé". London's most famous single, "Cry Me a River", was written by her high-school classmate, Arthur Hamilton, and produced by Troup. The recording became a million-seller after its release in December 1955 and also sold on re-issue in April 1983 from the attention brought by a Mari Wilson cover. London performed the song in the film, The Girl Can't Help It (1956), and her recording gained later attention in the films: Passion of Mind (2000) and V for Vendetta (2006).

Other popular singles include "Hot Toddy", "Daddy", and "Desafinado". Recordings such as "Go Slow" epitomized her career style: her voice is slow, smoky, and sensual. The song "Yummy Yummy Yummy" was featured on the HBO television series Six Feet Under and appears on its soundtrack album. Her last recording was "My Funny Valentine" for the soundtrack of the Burt Reynolds film Sharky's Machine (1981).

London also made more than 20 films. Her beauty and poise (she was a pinup girl prized by GIs during World War II) contrasted with her streetwise acting technique. One of her strongest performances came in Man of the West (1958), starring Gary Cooper and directed by Anthony Mann, in which her character, the film's only woman, is abused by outlaws.

She performed on many television variety series and guest appearances on: Rawhide (1960) and The Big Valley (1968). Her ex-husband, Webb, was executive producer for the series Emergency!, and in 1972 he hired both his ex-wife and her husband, Troup, for key roles.

London received second-billing as nurse, Dixie McCall, while Troup received third-billing as emergency-room physician, Dr. Joe Early. She and her co-stars, Robert Fuller, Randolph Mantooth, and Kevin Tighe, also appeared in an episode of the Webb-produced series, Adam-12, reprising their roles.

 London and Troup appeared as panelists on the game show Tattletales several times in the 1970s. In the 1950s London appeared in an advertisement for Marlboro cigarettes singing the "Marlboro Song", and in 1978 appeared in television advertisements for Rose Milk Skin Care Cream.

Her song "Love Must Be Catchin' On" appeared in the premiere episode of the ABC series Pan Am on Sunday, September 25, 2011.


  1. I find "Man of the West" too brutal for a re-watch despite the outstanding cast.

    On the other hand, I never tire of listening to my many Julie London albums.

  2. Caftan Woman, I agree.. it is a very brutal western. Reminds me a little of the spaghetti westerns.

  3. It's definitely a potent film, a classic example of the "adult Western" of the 1950s.

  4. Classic Film and TV Cafe, Thank you.. for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, with us :)

  5. I just watched 'Man of the West' and found it a very suspenseful western. I'm not familiar with Julie London but I thought she was a very good female lead. I like they didn't have a typical romance.

  6. Alyssa, No.. It was a one sided romance.

  7. Not a lot of movies could have resisited the urge to have the hero and herione ride of into the sunset. And even though her love was unrequited, a strong friendship and respect still formed because of the ordeal they went through and I thought that was beautiful and rare from this era.


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