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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:52 pm 
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His films from the 1960s tended to take a lot of flak, even from western afficionados-that seemed to turn around a bit in the last ten or fifteen years, when they became more readily available. What are your favorites?

I think 7 Ways from Sundown, Hellbent for Leather and Bullet for a Badman are probably the best-made films from this period at a technical level; but Posse from Hell, 6 Black Horses, and Apache Rifles are more fun to watch.

Favorite characters don't really overlap that much with favorite movies: I like Banner Cole (Posse from Hell) for his dry humor and ruthless courage, Bob Gifford (Comanche Creek) for his roguish quality, and Jess Carlin (The Texican) for reasons I can't really pin down. That last character has a very "lived-in" quality-Murphy gets a lot of screen time in that but not all that much action, so you spend a lot of time just watching his reactions to people and events, and for me at least it makes me feel like I know the character better than say, the protagonists of Hellbent for Leather or Showdown. The net impression is of someone who's basically honorable but not a total saint, with a droll, quiet sense of humor and a sad, world-weary attitude. I saw Texican around the same time I read THAB and NNOTB, and I think the movie played about an equal share with those two books in terms of shaping my impression of Audie Murphy as a person.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:54 pm 
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I GUESS I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THE UNFORGIVEN WOULD BE MY FAVORITE OF HIS 60'S MOVIES. HE DID HIS BEST ACTING IN THAT, AS FAR AS I CAN TELL.

NEXT TO THAT TRUNK TO CAIRO, BECAUSE HE HAS JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SECRECY & HUMBLENESS TO HIS OWN LIFE TO MAKE THAT VERY BELIEVABLE. AND HIS MANY COSTUME CHANGES KEPT IT VERY DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING ELSE HE HAS DONE PRIOR TO THAT. IT COULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER STORY FOR HIM TO WORK WITH, THO.

DIDN'T CARE MUCH FOR 6 BLACK HORSES BECAUSE THEY FOUGHT AND HE KILLED DAN DURYEA OVER A WOMAN THAT WASN'T WORTH IT.

DIDN'T LIKE SHOWDOWN CUZ I DIDN'T LIKE SEEING AUDIE WITH A SHACKLE AROUND HIS NECK. AND CHARLES DRAKE'S CHARACTER WAS A WHINING WUSS.

I LIKED BULLET FOR A BADMAN BECAUSE DARREN MCGAVIN PLAYED OFF AUDIE VERY WELL, BUT THERE WAS NO CHEMISTRY BETWEEEN HIM AND THE WIFE AND THEY SEEMED UNCOMFORTABLE PLAYING MAN & WIFE.

THE REST OF HIS 60'S MOVIES WERE PRETTY GOOD.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:27 pm 
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Christie and David,
Christie, It never ceases to amaze me how well you nail down Audie's characters in the movies you
have mentioned. And after reading your opinions, I suddenly realize just how much of Audie's own
true character he brought to the roles he played. I really think that is why Audie was such a "favorite"
with the movie going public. They picked up on that right away and felt this was a person who
they would like to know and could respect. He was the "Real Deal" !!!!

David, I liked your take on the movies you mentioned also, And a lot for the same reason's.
Charles Drake was such a Wuss in Showdown !!!! He really was an excellent actor to play opposite
Audie. My all time favorite I guess would have to be "Ride a Crooked Trail", for the down to earth
male - female banter between him and Gia Scala. In some of his movies with various actresses he
could sometimes come across as rather "wooden"... even though he had been accused of being
quite the 'womanizer'. Quite honestly, I don't think Audie trusted "people" in real life, and "women"
a whole lot less !!!!! But just my thoughts... Am really enjoying this thread.... Shirley Jean.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:15 pm 
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He can be kind of hit and miss in handling the romances, but I think it tends to be a combination of the dynamic with the actress and the quality of the scripting. I cut 6 Black Horses more slack than I probably should because I think he and Joan O'Brien work well together, ditto him and Marianne Koch in Trunk to Cairo. In general he seems to do his best romance work in portraying relationships that are already in progress, or in situations where his character is allowed to be a little naughty or less than chivalrous. What little we know about his real life relationships suggests that he tended to fall in love quietly but quickly, and to signal his feelings to the woman fairly openly once he knew his own mind. Many movie courtships, by contrast, have a lot of coyness and pretending disinterest that I don't think came naturally to him, or struck him as a logical thing to do.

I don't know what the deal is with the actress in Badman. She has no chemistry with Murph, as David says, and IMO she has none with the kid and doesn't have much more with McGavin. She might have been considered an up and comer at the time; because I think she went on to do Munsters or something after that, but I sure wouldn't list her among the movie's positive traits.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:26 pm 
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I THINK THE ACTRESSES HE PLAYED OPPOSITE THAT HE HAD THE BEST CHEMISTRY WOULD BE SUSAN CABOT, LORI NELSON, AND PATRICIA OWENS(GUNRUNNERS).

I THINK HE GOT MORE 'FRISKY' AND PLAYFUL WITH PATRICIA OWENS IN THE GUNRUNNERS THAN HE DID ANY OF HIS FEMALE COSTARS. WHEN THEY WERE DANCING AND CARRYING ON IN THE BAR PRETENDING HE WAS MESSING AROUND WITH A GIRLFRIEND INSTEAD OF HIS WIFE WHEN IT WAS ACTUALLY HIS WIFE :)) . I THINK THE BARTENDER KNEW BETTER, BUT THE LADY AT THE BAR WAS FLABBERGASTED. THAT WAS CLASSIC AND THE MOST INTIMATE IN MY OPINION THAT HE EVER GOT ON FILM.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:58 am 
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Posse From Hell has a place high on my list of favorites, partly because it was one of the first Murphy films I watched and I was enjoying learning about his life and history. The scenery is spectacular, a lot of the movie takes place on horseback :) , and it built a very interesting character in Banner Cole. I liked the way that he looked out for John Saxon's city-slicker character, even at the start when he was (pretty understandably) exasperated with his posse. Cole never fell into showing off how tough he was or how good he was at life in the West or even just wanting to rub in how green Saxon's character was, as a lot of actors would be tempted to do. Instead the movie shows Murphy's subtly capable 'just get it done' attitude, which at the end of the day gets more done than the bluster and bluff of some of the others.
The only thing I didn't like about the film was Zohra Lampert. I don't think she played the role as well as she could have, and I don't think she made Murphy's part very easy on him, but I read somewhere that she ad-libbed a lot and that threw him off, so maybe it would've been better if she'd stuck to the script.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:19 pm 
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FlyingJohnFan wrote:
Posse From Hell has a place high on my list of favorites, partly because it was one of the first Murphy films I watched and I was enjoying learning about his life and history. The scenery is spectacular, a lot of the movie takes place on horseback :) , and it built a very interesting character in Banner Cole. I liked the way that he looked out for John Saxon's city-slicker character, even at the start when he was (pretty understandably) exasperated with his posse. Cole never fell into showing off how tough he was or how good he was at life in the West or even just wanting to rub in how green Saxon's character was, as a lot of actors would be tempted to do. Instead the movie shows Murphy's subtly capable 'just get it done' attitude, which at the end of the day gets more done than the bluster and bluff of some of the others.
The only thing I didn't like about the film was Zohra Lampert. I don't think she played the role as well as she could have, and I don't think she made Murphy's part very easy on him, but I read somewhere that she ad-libbed a lot and that threw him off, so maybe it would've been better if she'd stuck to the script.


Yeah, that mirrors alot of my own experiences with that movie. Banner is very "results-oriented"-I love the scene where the one guy loses it and starts shooting up the (already dead) outlaw that Banner killed at the ranch. When he hears the gunshots, Banner spins round, and his gun just materializes in his hand, he's that fast, but when he understands what's going on, he just puts his gun up and says: "Go ahead, shoot him, again, he won't mind." You get the feeling that he likes the city slicker character, Leo Kern, for the same reason we in the audience do: Leo means well, he tries hard, and he knows that there's a lot of things he doesn't know about surviving in the wild, which is kind of refreshing in a posse full of know-it-all blowhards.

It seems to me that Posse from Hell is partly an allegory of the personality dynamics in a small military unit: you have Banner, who's the noncommissioned officer who's seen it all and done it all and is not thrilled with being saddled with a bunch of green new recruits; you have the Indian or Mexican guy, who's good at this stuff but is kind of disciminated against; you have the guy who was hot stuff in training but loses his nerve in actual combat (the wannabe gunslinger); you have the incompetent officer (the old Civil War guy) who gets "fragged" by his own troops to keep him from hurting anyone on his own side. And you have Leo, who's the very green, poorly trained recruit who has decent instincts and tries to learn and adapt, and might, if he lives long enough, actually become good at this stuff.

Like you, I'm not that high on Zohra Lampert's performance; she's pretty, and she's kind of sweet in the last couple of scenes, after the bad guys are dead and the surviving good guys have made it back to town, but she's EXTREMELY annoying in the earlier scenes where her character is very traumatized and unstable. Murphy found her improvisation off-putting at first, but according to John Saxon he didn't get angry, just talked it out with her and came to some kind of agreement, and said to Saxon afterwards: "She sure is different." Which I found funny, kind of this Southern gentleman who thinks the lady from New York City is nuts, but he's decided to humor her anyway.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:20 pm 
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Hi Folks,
I also generally liked "Posse from Hell". Audie's performance in that movie was very good. He as
usual had his character's personality "nailed down pat".. The worst actress ever in a Murphy western
has to go to Zohra Lampert. Who ever casted that western really blew it. Not only could Zohra NOT
act. she totally "Looked" all wrong for the part, and wasn't even pretty, And her diction and tonal
quality of her voice was so very awful!!! I could not gather up any sympathetic feelings for her
character. I realize the producers might have been going for an indian/spanish girl character for
the part, and if that was the case, Anne Bancroft, or even Gloria Talbot would have done much
better in the part. !!!!! Zohra's inclusion in that movie really brought it down several pegs. Poor
Murphy, some movies had to have been harder for him to get up in the morning and get excited
about being in. Christie, as usual, you have "nailed" it and I too, feel Murphy was very much being
the "southern gentlemen" in his treatment of her on the set... What is very neat to see is Saxon's
ability to act as well as he did in this part, so early on in his career. It show's the talent that is to
come later on in his career. I also felt that the old Civil War officer's character was 'OVER THE TOP"
It reminded me of the old fashion actor's playing to the last row in a live theater production rather
than in a "movie" production. Too Hammy !!!! All in all, I think Murphy's acting ability really saved
this western from being a farce !!!!! Just my thoughts. Shirley Jean :-@


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:02 pm 
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I think his role in The Unforgiven is one of his best performances. The performance John Huston got out of Audie in that film is a testament to both men. The whole experience for Burt Lancaster as the producer was so bad because he was constantly at war with John Huston that he bad mouthed the film and refused to do any publicity for it. It wasn't until many years later when he finally saw the entire film that he stated Audie's performance was the best in the whole movie and that he had underestimated Audie's acting ability at the time. Of course Audie had been dead for years by that time but at least he was man enough to own up to it before he died himself in 1994. I remember the look on Audie's face when he is holding up the cloth to Lillian Gish and asking her if his sister is an Injun. Sort of that same look he had in The Man. I don't know where he channels that from but it is effective to say the least.

My other favorite is Bullet for a Badman because it was one of the few times he was a father on film and he took to it so naturally. He had way more chemistry with Darren McGavin than he did Beverly Owen who played his wife. What stood out for me is her pointed bra that was the rage in women's fashion in the early 1960s. Basically I think she was just a bad actress. She did go on to play the first Marilyn Munster and then left the show after the first season to get married and move back east. She left acting and did the world a service by doing so.

I also liked his performance with Barry Sullivan in Seven Ways to Sundown. Talk about no chemistry Venetia Stevenson who he was having a relationship with in real life they had none in this movie. She was so boring she became an afterthought in the whole movie. That would be her last acting gig also as she married Don Everly and had a family and left show biz, another good decision.

Sharon


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:10 pm 
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Yeah, a lot of heroines in his sixties movies tend to have kind of underdeveloped personalities; I don't think even an could do much with the character in 7 Ways from Sundown, but Stevenson's pretty bland onscreen. I think the filmmakers were going for the idea of two very young people who are attracted to each other but aren't sure what to do about it (shades of the Wild and the Innocent) but mostly their dynamic just comes off as uncomfortable. It's a pity, because she sounds like a nice enough person from what little I've read about her, and since she's British, I have to give her points for managing to not sound British She didn't enjoy filmmaking by most accounts.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:22 pm 
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david williams wrote:
I GUESS I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THE UNFORGIVEN WOULD BE MY FAVORITE OF HIS 60'S MOVIES. HE DID HIS BEST ACTING IN THAT, AS FAR AS I CAN TELL.

NEXT TO THAT TRUNK TO CAIRO, BECAUSE HE HAS JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SECRECY & HUMBLENESS TO HIS OWN LIFE TO MAKE THAT VERY BELIEVABLE. AND HIS MANY COSTUME CHANGES KEPT IT VERY DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING ELSE HE HAS DONE PRIOR TO THAT. IT COULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER STORY FOR HIM TO WORK WITH, THO.

DIDN'T CARE MUCH FOR 6 BLACK HORSES BECAUSE THEY FOUGHT AND HE KILLED DAN DURYEA OVER A WOMAN THAT WASN'T WORTH IT.

DIDN'T LIKE SHOWDOWN CUZ I DIDN'T LIKE SEEING AUDIE WITH A SHACKLE AROUND HIS NECK. AND CHARLES DRAKE'S CHARACTER WAS A WHINING WUSS.

I LIKED BULLET FOR A BADMAN BECAUSE DARREN MCGAVIN PLAYED OFF AUDIE VERY WELL, BUT THERE WAS NO CHEMISTRY BETWEEEN HIM AND THE WIFE AND THEY SEEMED UNCOMFORTABLE PLAYING MAN & WIFE.

THE REST OF HIS 60'S MOVIES WERE PRETTY GOOD.


Forgot to respond to a couple of David's points here. I totally agree on not liking to see Murphy shackled/tied up; there's a few movies that do this to him and it always seems like such an affront to his dignity. Showdown, I didn't mind as much as some of the 50s ones, partly because of that scene where he beats on the guy with the loose end of the chain, which is kind of entertaining. :))

I also agree on what's appealing about the Trunk to Cairo character-it's very easy to believe that if Murphy were a secret agent, this is the kind he would be: very lowkey and nonthreatening in behavior, easy for people to underestimate or blab their secrets to but very efficient in doing his job.


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