Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch


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In his script for Riders of the Range the following year, Tim is trying to help the brother of the heroine also avoid problems with gambling. By the late forties most scripts for studio A pictures were written in the Master Scene format. A scene heading was given describing the location and then all the action at the location was included in the scene. It was then up to the director as to how to shoot it. In B films in general and the Holts in particular, the writer broke the scenes down into shots, with descriptions of the camera angles.

Each of these shots was listed on the production reports as scenes. It was not uncommon for the directors to shoot several of the scenes in one camera setup, so that on the Daily Production Reports, there were often more scenes than setups. The director whom Schlom hired for the first of the Holts was Lew Landers, whose credits went back to the early thirties.

He had directed two Gene Autry westerns, as well as B westerns with other stars, but he also did contemporary action pictures, horror movies, and comedies. He was a perfectly competent craftsman, but perhaps because of his work in comedy, he let Jeff Donnell, who played Jessie in The Stagecoach Kid , overact. He directed four of the Holts. The man who directed the most Holts and did the best job was Lesley Selander, who had worked with Houston on the Hoppys in the thirties. Selander primarily directed westerns and his IMDb page notes he is credited with westerns, the most of any director. He was fast, shooting up to sixty camera setups in a single day.

He had an unerring sense of what needed to be in the shot, which many directors do not have. PIX of Cimaron set. Most of the Holts were shot on three exterior locations. The street ran east to west on the lot, with an easily recognizable two-story building with four second story windows at the east end. The major saloon, which had many names over the course of its life, was on a corner halfway up the street on the south side of the street. The west end of the street had less elaborate buildings and a railroad depot. Generally one does not see a lot of trains in B westerns, since they are expensive to run.

Hot Lead , the only Holt film on the two DVDs involving trains, has a gang trying to rob the train in the depot, which looks as stupid as it sounds. Scholm did not have the budget for the kind of big train scenes that A westerns like Dodge City or Union Pacific both did. The preferred method of transportation in B westerns was the stagecoach.

In A westerns they were pulled by a team of six horses, while in B westerns they were pulled a team of four. You could move a stagecoach and horses much more easily to distant locations than you could a train, they did not require railroad track, and the horses cost less to feed. Fans of B westerns began to recognize the studio western streets.

Tim Holt and the B Western – Offscreen

They were not the only ones. Two hundred miles north of Los Angeles, the Alabama Hills have been used as a location for over films Holland, 89; see also Rothel, since the twenties, including A pictures such as Gunga Din and Django Unchained Most of the movies made there were the B westerns from the thirties to the fifties. Thirteen of the twenty-nine Holts were shot in the Hills. The Alabama Hills were particularly suited for B westerns. The Hills are between Lone Pine and the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, so the mountains make a great backdrop, giving the pictures a size those shot in the San Fernando Valley do not have.

There is a wide variety of rock formations in the hills, great for both good guys and bad guys to hide from whomever is chasing them. There are also long stretches of dusty trails, including one called the Movie Road where Holt and every other western star rode. But for the B movie directors, the Alabama Hills had another great advantage. While the Hills are only three miles west of Lone Pine, there is a wall of rocks that you pass through to get to the Hills themselves, which puts the town out of view once you get into the Hills. To the east of Lone Pine are the Inyo Mountains, not as large as the Sierras, but still clearly mountains.

The advantage of the geographical layout is that once you are in the Hills, you can point the camera in any direction and see hills and mountains with no sign of the town. On an A picture, you take as much time as you like, setting up the shots, but if you are doing 50 to 60 setups a day, you can just shoot in any direction.

The Dirty Outlaws: WESTERN [Full Movie] ENGLISH [Spaghetti Western] - free to watch

Lesley Selander first shot in the Hills on his Hoppys, and was very much at home there. The cameraman would come huffing and puffing behind him with a camera. If the Alabama Hills stood in for the arid, dusty American Southwest of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, the third major location stood in for the high county, the Sierras and the Rockies.

The ranch was, and still is, a working cattle ranch. It was 9, acres in the forties Jack Garner Ranch website, accessed October 30 and like the Alabama Hills, played host to several western film shoots. Five of the Holts were filmed on the ranch. Visitors are not encouraged at the ranch, but driving past the ranch on State Road 74, one can see a large meadow. But the large meadow never shows up in the Holt pictures. The smaller meadows closer to the mountains were used, probably because a smaller meadow means you have to rent fewer of the Garner cattle for the shoot.

Tim and Chito were often cowboys looking for work at a ranch, and the Garner Ranch was the most picturesque of several Southern California ranches used for the Holts. The smaller meadows also put you closer to the pine trees, which are a great change from both the Alabama Hills and locations around Los Angeles. You could also get to the Garner Ranch quicker than you could the Alabama Hills. Lunch was from P. M, and they finished shooting at the location at RKO: Box p. The primary cinematographer of the Holts was J. Roy Hunt, who started as a cameraman in If Houston and Selander were a great writer-director combination, Sleander and Hunt were an equally great director-cinematographer team.

Hunt was particularly good on the Alabama Hills locations, given the films a full, rich look in the long shots. As Martin mentioned, Schlom was always looking for ways to make the films better, and he took advantage of the fact he was working at a major studio. Stuart Blackton. He loved the dark more than Hunt did. Nick could paint pictures with his camera! It was quality work! In The Stagecoach Kid the first attack on the stagecoach includes camera angles lower to the ground than Hunt would have done.

In Dynamite Pass many scenes are shot back-lit with the sun behind the actors , which Hunt did not do. Also in Dynamite Pass , there is a shot of the villain John Dehner with hanging equestrian equipment in the foreground, the kind of shot Musuraca did with the fishing nets in Out of the Past.

There was no primary editor on the Holts. Eight of the films were edited by Desmond Marquette, and Les Millbrook did five. But Swink, like the other editors, could be limited to what the directors gave him. The scene in which Chito says his full name, a standard element of the Holts, was usually shot in a two-shot with Tim. Landers shot it as a single medium shot of Chito, which over emphasizes the joke, something than Selander would never have done. Swink probably had to use the shot because that is all he had.

The directors of B pictures did not shoot a lot of coverage different angles on a scene and did not do a lot of takes. A stray page of paper called a Log-Picture report that ended up in the daily production reports for Saddle Legion RKO: Box p shows that Selander generally only shot one or two takes, although on one shot, he did six takes. Unlike many B westerns, the Holts did not use many rear projection shots, in which a supposed outdoor action was shot in a studio with footage projected on a screen behind the action.

In other B westerns, it was often used for shots of the actors riding horses, but the riding scenes in the Holts were done on location. Rear projection was mostly done in the Holts for the interiors of a stagecoach. The Holts did not use a lot of stock footage footage of assorted subjects kept in the studio film library.

It is much simpler in the film and at least some of it is stock footage. Any kind of SHOTS we can find which suggest great catastrophe of nature and its consequences of disaster, destruction and even death. The only time the Holts reuse their own material not an uncommon practice in B movies is when a cattle stampede shot for Saddle Legion is used again, verbatim, three pictures later in Hot Lead , released six months after Saddle Legion.

Perhaps Schlom was amortizing the cost over two pictures. Paul Sawtell had written the music for several of the Holt westerns, but for the Holts, Schlom teamed him up with C. Bakaleinikoff, who orchestrated and conducted the scores. In , Holt made Desert Passage. He never appeared in another B western. He only made three other films, and only appeared in two television shows, and only one of those was a western, a episode of The Virginian.

Within the year after the Holts started production, they started losing money at the box office.

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Richard Jewell is the leading expert on the history of RKO, the author of two books on the studio, with his third, dealing with the studio in the war and the post-war era, forthcoming. He had detailed access to all the RKO studio archives years ago before they were scattered to the four winds.

He has been able to provide me with budget, film rental the money sent from the theatres to the studios , and profit and loss statements on several of the films Jewell: email. Even though the budgets went down, the losses continued. The reason for the decline was simple. After record attendance levels during the war and through , there was a steep decline in movie attendance beginning in late Film historians have generally credited this drop to the arrival of television, but historian Douglas Gomery has pointed out there were only one million television sets in the country up until the early fifties.

He credits the decline in attendance primarily to the people moving out of the cities and into the suburbs to start the Baby Boom Gomery, In the case of the B western, television may have played a larger role. The B picture studios, like Republic and Monogram, started selling off their old films, many of them westerns, to television in the mid-forties Gomery, Even people who could not yet get television because of the small number of stations such as those in small towns in the South, the Midwest, and the West were aware that westerns were available on television.

When Harry Sherman stopped producing the Hopalong Cassidy films, William Boyd, the actor playing Hoppy, bought up all the rights to the films and the Hoppy stories. Boyd was smart enough to include the television rights, and began selling the old films to television while producing new films. Boyd started doing a syndicated television series in Gene Autry started his television show in while continuing to make films until , and Roy Rogers stopped making features and started doing a television series in The later Holt features, with their smaller budgets are not as striking as the early ones in the series.

The shooting schedules were cut from twelve days to eight. Distant location trips to Lone Pine and the Garner Ranch were eliminated, and less interesting locations in the San Fernando Valley were used. The time and money spend on music scores was reduced and the scores suffered. Schlom also ended up using some less talented people. Hot Lead was one Holt written by William Lively.

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Unlike Houston and Repp, he had no feel for the Tim-Chito relationship. At the end of the film they ride off arguing, something Tim and Chito never did. The film was directed by Stewart Gilmore, one of only six features he directed. He soon realized he was a better editor than director and had a long career as a film editor. Unlike William Boyd, Holt never particularly cared for merchandising. There were no Tim Holt toys, and while there was a Tim Holt comic book from to , Richard Martin did not think much of the agent who handled that deal, since neither he nor Holt saw much money Rothel, So in Tim Holt simply quit the movies.

He later told his third wife why he got out of the business. Talking about his life after his film career he said,. Do you realize that this is the first time in my life that I can make my own decisions and do what I want to do? First it was my parents who told me what to do, then RKO told me what to do, then I went into the service and Uncle Sam told me what to do. I came back out and RKO still told me what to do. Quoted by Bardee Holt in Rothel, Holt worked a variety of jobs after his film career, including in the oil business in Oklahoma and for radio and television stations.

He died in at age Richard Martin appeared in three more films and two television episodes after Desert Passage , then got out of the business and into insurance, where he was successful and happy Rothel, Desert Passage was the last film Norman Houston wrote; he did not go into television. Ed Early Repp wrote two more movies after his last Tim Holt movie, then an episode each for three television series.

Lew Landers directed several more B movies after the Holts, then directed episodic television until Lesley Selander continued to direct films, mostly westerns, as well as television episodes; from to he directed 43 episodes of the television western Laramie , and he directed his last western film in Roy Hunt photographed only three more films after Desert Passage.

Nicholas Musuraca photographed six more films before turning to television in , where he photographed such varied shows as The Lineup in , The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in , and 56 episodes of The Jack Benny Show from to Schaffner, getting three Academy Award nominations. After Desert Passage Herman Schlom never produced another film. In he produced three episodes of the television series My Friend Flicka , his final work as a producer. Perhaps Schlom, and perhaps Holt, Martin, Houston, Repp, and Hunt as well, felt that they had done their best work in the Holts and wanted to leave the business on that high note.

We do not know. There is one other thing we do not know. In the research for this article I was not able to answer the Mystery of the Wind in the Trees. Watching any group of films, you notice patterns. One that struck me with the Holts was that in scenes in many of the films the wind is blowing in the trees in the foreground while there is no wind in the trees in the background.

Once or twice might be coincidence, but not as often as it happens in the Holts. The papers of J. Since the winds predate the Musuraca-shot films, it may have been something Hunt worked out. Or something that Landers or Selander picked up on early B pictures. Or something that Herman Schlom, who did everything he could to make the pictures as good as possible, hustled past the budget department at RKO. However it happened, the trees glistening in the wind make the Holts just that much better than other B westerns.

Anderson, Christopher. Holland, Dave. Erickson, Hal. Everson, William K. A Pictorial History of the Western Film Gomery, Douglas. Jewell, Richard, with Vernon Harbin. Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. See details for additional description.


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Format Paperback. See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Harrison , Paperback. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Synopsis "A fun, informative read. He does not state these are the greatest, merely why a person interested in Westerns should watch these particular films.

Head `Em Off At the Pass!  94 Westerns You Should Watch Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch
Head `Em Off At the Pass!  94 Westerns You Should Watch Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch
Head `Em Off At the Pass!  94 Westerns You Should Watch Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch
Head `Em Off At the Pass!  94 Westerns You Should Watch Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch
Head `Em Off At the Pass!  94 Westerns You Should Watch Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch
Head `Em Off At the Pass!  94 Westerns You Should Watch Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch
Head `Em Off At the Pass!  94 Westerns You Should Watch Head `Em Off At the Pass! 94 Westerns You Should Watch

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