Category Archives: FRONTIERADO

TWENTY DJANGO MOVIES

The best Django, Franco Nero, played the gunslinger in Django, Django Strikes Again and (wink) Django’s Grand Return

Like Tarzan, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes the melancholy bounty hunter Django has been presented in various incarnations and with wildly differing continuity. And like soccer the Django movies have been an enormous success almost everywhere except the U.S. 

The great Franco Nero created the role in 1966 in a film so popular in Europe (but banned in the UK for its still- controversial violence) that it spawned a legion of sequels. Some sequels starred Franco Nero or others in the role of Django, while others were just unrelated westerns whose distributors simply  attached a phony Django title to them, sometimes redoing the dubbing to have the lead character referred to as Django, other times not bothering.

Original Django poster Balladeer’s Blog presents a look at twenty of the films featuring (legitimately or not) the most durable Eurowestern hero of them all. And, yes, if you’re wondering, the western bounty hunter Django was indeed the reason George Lucas named that outer space bounty hunter Jango Fett.

DJANGO (1966) – In 1867 Mexico Django, a veteran of the Union army in the Civil War, seeks revenge on Major Jackson, the Confederate officer behind his wife’s death. Jackson and his still-loyal troops, now turned  outright Klansmen, are, like so many other fleeing Confederates,  fighting for the Mexican Emperor Maximilian in the war to keep his throne.  

Django battles Jackson’s hooded thugs, even ambushing dozens with the Gatling Gun he keeps concealed in a coffin. When he’s out of men Major Jackson calls on Maximilian’s Imperial troopers for reinforcements and prepares to face Django and the Mexican rebel troops he’s fallen in with. For a detailed review of this unforgettable film click here: https://glitternight.com/2012/08/08/the-original-django-and-two-blaxploitation-westerns-a-primer-for-django-unchained/

DJANGO SHOOTS FIRST (1966) – AKA He Who Shoots First. Django comes into an enormous inheritance from his murdered father, an inheritance he learns he must share with his late father’s unscrupulous business partner, Mr Cluster. Django starts blowing away a host of bad guys as he tries to piece together who is responsible for his father’s death.

DJANGO, A BULLET FOR YOU (1966) – Django uses his guns to protect a group of downtrodden farmers from the villainous, land-grabbing town boss of Wagon Valley. He gets more than he bargained for when it turns out the town boss is conspiring with a railroad tycoon who has lots of money and lots of  gunmen to throw at him.

 $10,000 for a massacre$10,000.00 BLOOD MONEY (1966) – AKA $10,000.00 for a Massacre. A wealthy land baron hires Django to recover his kidnapped daughter and kill the gang of Mexican bandits who snatched her.

Django tries to manipulate the situation so he can get the land baron’s fee AND the bounties offered on the bandits. Continue reading

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PART TWO OF TWENTY JAMES GARNER MOVIES (11-20)

FOR THE FIRST TEN MOVIES CLICK HERE

One Little IndianONE LITTLE INDIAN (1973) – Light-hearted family western. James Garner portrays Corporal Clint Keyes, who, after clashing with his Indian-hating superior, escapes a potential hanging for it and rides off into the desert with a pair of camels left over from the ill-advised American Camel Corps attempt in the 1800s.

Clay O’Brien was the title character, Mark, a white boy who had been raised by Native Americans and who winds up tagging along with Keyes, Lone Wolf and Cub-style. Vera Miles plays the widowed Doris McIver and a very young Jodie Foster has the role of her daughter Martha. (“Why did you say that NAME!?”)

Morgan Woodward portrays the bad guy Sgt Raines, who relentlessly pursues Keyes to bring him back to be executed for mutiny and desertion. Robert Pine, Andrew Prine and Dallas‘ Jim Davis are in the cast as well. Naturally there’s a happy ending with Mark, the widow McIver and her daughter serving as a pre-packaged family for Garner’s character in the finale. Continue reading

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TWENTY JAMES GARNER MOVIES

James Garner 2Balladeer’s Blog’s theme of Top 20 lists for the year 2020 continues with this look at a score of James Garner films. NOTE: The Great Escape is not included, only because Garner was part of an ensemble cast in that movie. 

Best remembered for his portrayal of slick-talking gambler/ gunslinger Brett Maverick and Westlake-esque private detective Jim Rockford, Garner inspired the term “marshmallow macho”. That description perfectly captured Garner’s special appeal.

James GarnerFor many American males James Garner and the characters he brought to life represented a happy medium between psychotically macho men and unbearably femmey men. I hate the term “role model” but for lack of a better choice that’s what we’ll go with.

In addition Garner served in the Korean War and won two Purple Hearts.

MaverickMAVERICK (1994) – Though James Garner was technically playing a supporting role to Mel Gibson in this film, Gibson was portraying Bret Maverick, the character Garner had turned into a sensation in the 1950s. Since this movie would not exist without the cultural cache built up by James’ portrayal of both Bret AND “Pappy” Beauregard Maverick (in old age makeup) this definitely counts as a Garner film.

NECESSARY SPOILER: The lawman character that Garner portrays in the film turns out to really be Pappy Maverick, with Mel Gibson’s Bret simply playing along with his father’s impersonation. FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW OF THIS FILM CLICK HERE   

Barbarians at the GateBARBARIANS AT THE GATE (1993) – In this telefilm based on the best-selling non-fiction book, Jim plays F. Ross Johnson, the real-life president of RJR-Nabisco who unleashed one of the most chaotic and frenzied leveraged buyouts in Wall Street history during the “greed is good” 1980s.

The real Ross Johnson was close with Warren Beatty and other major players in the entertainment industry, which may be why he gets painted in a less villainous light in the movie. (Being played by the ever-charming Garner certainly helps.) In reality FEWER jobs were lost by the ultimately triumphant Henry Kravis’ LBO plan than would have been lost if Johnson came out on top.

Teddy Forstmann, the lone Wall Street figure of the 80s who was a voice in the wilderness condemning LBOs and the damage they did to the economy, gets depicted as a virtual loon. Very odd, since Forstmann’s real-life views on LBOs were closer to the sentiments of Larry Gelbart and the others behind this flick than Johnson’s or Kravis’ were.

Ultimately Barbarians at the Gate is a dark comedy classic, it’s true, but read the book if you want the real low-down on the eventful RJR-Nabisco buyout. Continue reading

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BEST OF JULY 2019

Balladeer’s Blog’s year-end retrospective continues with July’s best:

Gang of Roses 2003GANG OF ROSES (2003) – A very detailed review of the action western about a gang of four African-American women and one Asian woman shooting things up in the Ollllld West. CLICK HERE

FAQ’s ABOUT SJW’s – The title speaks for itself on this one. CLICK HERE

MOCK HEADLINES: JULY 12th – The popular comedy bit returned for this July 12th installment. CLICK HERE

pistols and cardsNEGLECTED GUNSLINGERS: RUSSIAN BILL AND FARMER PEEL – For gambler/ gunslinger “Farmer” Peel click HERE and for expatriate Russian nobleman and gunslinger Russian Bill click HERE 

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY 2019 – A light-hearted look at other July 4ths in U.S. history. CLICK HERE

Apollo 12 patchAPOLLO 11 AND AMERICA’S OTHER MOON LANDINGS – For the 50th anniversary of America’s first moon landing here’s a look at all the Apollo moon trips. CLICK HERE

TRANSGRESS WITH ME: JULY 19th – Another exploration of transgressive thinking. CLICK HERE 

Breakheart PassBREAKHEART PASS (1975) – A review of this classic Charles Bronson western for what was Frontierado Season back in July. CLICK HERE  Continue reading

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BON JOVI: SANTA FE – FRONTIERADO SONG

With a loved one in the hospital it’s been a subdued Frontierado here today. Still, wherever you are and whatever your Frontierado Saga, I hope you and yours are having a terrific time! In the past Bon Jovi has given us holiday songs like Wanted: Dead or Alive, Blaze of Glory and Billy Get Your Guns. This time it’s Santa Fe or as some call it Judgment Day in Santa Fe

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HAPPY FRONTIERADO! TIMELINE OF THE WICKED BURG: SIDNEY NE

Wild West TownFrontierado is here at last! Time for buffalo steaks, cactus salads, Tumbleweed Pizzas, Cactus Jacks, Deuces Wilds, Western Spaghetti and lots of games of Frontierado Poker. Naturally the day ends with Silverado plus a few other westerns of your choice. I usually add Posse or Once Upon A Time In The West.

And since it’s a three-day weekend you’ve got both Saturday and Sunday to recover.  

When it comes to Wild West towns places like Tombstone, Dodge City and Deadwood get the lion’s share of the attention. In keeping with Balladeer’s Blog’s overall theme here’s a look at some of the action in the neglected town of Sidney, NE. Figures like Wild Bill Hickok, Luke Short, Susan B Anthony, Whispering Smith and Dom Pedro II of Brazil passed through Sidney in its heyday. Here’s a timeline of just some of the events in the town infamous as “The Wicked Burg”:  

April 29th, 1868 – Daniel Richardson, Thomas Cahoon and William Edmondson became the first recorded dead men buried in Sidney’s Boot Hill Cemetery. All three men were killed in a clash with Native Americans.

May ?, 1875 – Susan B Anthony delivered a lecture in Sidney advocating women’s suffrage.

October 24th, 1875 – At the Capitol Saloon the livery stable owner Robert W Porter and Charles Patterson got into an argument (the subject is not known) that resulted in Patterson shooting Porter to death with 3 shots. Patterson was placed under arrest. Continue reading

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THE TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT: BILLY THE KID VS DRACULA AND FRONTIER MARSHAL

Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 2nd! Here’s a brief look at two films presented on The Texas 27 Film Vault that match the old west theme of this holiday season. Randy Clower and Richard Malmos were the hosts.

A movie guaranteed to contain absolutely NO accurate information.

A movie guaranteed to contain absolutely NO accurate information.

FRONTIER MARSHAL (1939)

Original Broadcast Date: Saturday October 25th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

Serial: An episode of Mysterious Doctor Satan was shown before the movie. This 1940 serial presented the title villain trying to take over the world with a big, goofy robot while being opposed by a masked superhero called Copperhead.  

Movie: Frontier Marshal is notorious as the LEAST historically accurate depiction of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Randolph Scott starred as Wyatt Earp with Cesar Romero as Doc Holliday. Nobody can pronounce Doc’s name right, plus he’s presented as a Medical Doctor instead of a dentist. Meanwhile Doc himself starts out the film drinking only milk. (?)

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

No Clantons or McClaurey’s are to be found anywhere, nor are Wyatt’s brothers. Doc is shown getting killed off BEFORE the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral even happens! To top it all off the famous gunfight takes place at night for no apparent reason and Wyatt’s only ally in the battle is a saloon girl who had a crush on Doc. Bad craziness all around in this little honey.   Continue reading

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