John Wayne Legendary Heroes Collection (Blood Alley / McQ / The Sea Chase / Tall in the Saddle / The Train Robbers) (Sous-titres français)
The John Wayne Legendary Heroes Collection features five classic films from the larger-than-life American hero, including Blood Alley, McQ, The Sea Chase, Tall in the Saddle and The Train Robbers, all available on DVD for the first time.
Born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne first worked in the film business as a laborer on the Fox lot during summer vacations from U.S.C., which he attended on a football scholarship. He met and was befriended by John Ford, a young director who was beginning to make a name for himself in action films, comedies and dramas. It was Ford who recommended Wayne to director Raoul Walsh for the male lead in the 1930 epic Western The Big Trail, and, although it was a box office failure, the movie showed Wayne's potential. For the next nine years, Wayne worked in a multitude of B-Westerns and serials in between bit parts in larger features. Wayne's big break came in 1939, when Ford cast him as the Ringo Kid in the adventure Stagecoach. Wayne nearly stole the picture from his more seasoned co-stars, and his career as a box-office superstar began. During his 50 year film career, Wayne played the lead in 142 movies, an as yet unsurpassed record, and was nominated for three Academy Awards., winning the Best Actor award in 1970 for his performance in True Grit. Blood Alley (1955) - An American seafarer patrolling the South Seas is asked by the daughter of a missionary doctor killed by the Communists to help transport the citizens of a small Chinese town to freedom in Hong Kong. This action-adventure based on A. S. Fleischman's novel, marks the first on-screen pairing of movie legends John Wayne and Lauren Bacall. DVD special features include: Newsreel footage (The Hollywood Foreign Press Honors John Wayne, Crusade for Freedom, John Wayne and The Legion Poppy Sale (silent clip), Air Force Honors the Cast of Blood Alley), 1955 Promos on Blood Alley (Wayne discusses how he made it into the movies; "the monster" of movie land; the Mitchell BNC camera and his use of his home movie camera to capture scenes while on Blood Alley), John Wayne trailer gallery
McQ (1974) - John Wayne forcefully enforces the law in this high-velocity thriller that's a revenge western set in the big city. Police Lieutenant Lon McQ (Wayne) investigates the killing of his best friend and uncovers corrupt elements of the police department dealing in confiscated drugs. Directed by John Sturges (Ice Station Zebra, The Magnificent Seven), McQ also stars Eddie Albert (Roman Holiday) and Colleen Dewhurst (Annie Hall, Dying Young).
The Sea Chase (1955) -John Wayne and Lana Turner are a formidable romantic team in this harrowing adventure directed by Academy Award-nominee John Farrow (Wake Island). Sea captain Kal Erhlich (Wayne) is an anti-Nazi German freighter captain at the outset of World War II attempting to sail his ship from Australia to the North Sea rather than risk internment. Both Allied and German ships follow in pursuit, while Erhlich battles storms, sharks, and romances.
Tall in the Saddle (1944) - In this fast-paced entertaining western, John Wayne stars as Rocklin, a cowboy who upon arriving at a ranch to work as a cowhand finds his employer was just murdered. Although he has no friends, and no money, Rocklin stays in town, intent on tracking the killers and uncovering a plan to inherit the dead employer's riches.
The Train Robbers (1973) - The action never stops in this western starring John Wayne, Ann-Margret and Ricardo Montalban. A gunhand named Lane (Wayne) is hired by a widow, Mrs. Lowe (Ann-Margret), to find gold stolen by her husband so that she may return it and start fresh. However, once they cross the border into Mexico to recover the loot, they discover two very different pursuers: a large group of bandidos and a lone horseman (Montalban), both of whom know their every move. DVD special features include: Two featurettes (Working with a Western Legend - an inside look at Wayne with stuntmen Jerry Gatlin, Dean Smith and Terry Leonard; The Wayne Train), John Wayne trailer gallery
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From the 1940s comes the best film of the collection, "Tall in the Saddle", one of the finest 'B' westerns ever made. Written by lifelong friend, actor Paul Fix (who plays a villain), and co-starring two Wayne favorites, Ward Bond and Gabby Hayes, the film is really a 'whodunit' set in the Old West, spiced up with liberal doses of humor and sex appeal (provided by smouldering Ella Raines). Tightly scripted, with a short (87 minute) running time, this RKO release makes up for any lack of polish with plenty of excitement, and the Duke's sexy 1940s charisma.
The 1950s are represented by two Warner productions; "Blood Alley", the more entertaining of the pair, is a farfetched but enjoyable anti-Communist adventure set in China, as captured sea captain Wayne is rescued to transport a Chinese village to freedom, in a run-down steamboat. Lauren Bacall is one of his romantic interests (an imaginary girl Wayne created to stay 'sane' in prison is the other), with Paul Fix, Mike Mazurki, and even Anita Ekberg(!), playing 'Chinese' villagers. Cheesy, but it offers plenty of action, and does keep your attention! "The Sea Chase" is another story; starring Wayne as an anti-Nazi German ship captain(!) attempting to return his vessel to the Fatherland at the start of the war, the film manages to be both boring AND unbelievable, with little chemistry between him and Lana Turner (in their one teaming, together). Paul Fix again appears in a small role, as does James Arness, Wayne's protege and future star of "Gunsmoke". Wayne looks suitably serious in the role, but is totally miscast.
Skipping the 1960s, the collection finishes up with two more Warner films from the twilight of Duke's career, in the 1970s. "McQ", Duke's late entry into the 'Maverick Cop' genre that Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen had made popular, was, in a sense, making up for his turning down "Dirty Harry", a few years earlier (he was offered the role, before Clint Eastwood!) As a grizzled veteran cop investigating his partner's murder, Wayne discovers a trail of corruption leading back into his department, and in true 'Duke' fashion, he gets hold of a lethal-looking machine pistol and starts blowing away the bad guys! Honestly, he was looking far too old and tired for high-speed chases and hopping into the sack with Colleen Dewhurst(!), and seems distinctly ill-at-ease in the role (he would be far better in his next 'Cop' film, "Brannigan").
Fortunately, the collection finishes up on a brighter note, in Burt Kennedy's "The Train Robbers". While this comic western is, at best, a pale shadow of Duke's classic oaters, it does team him up with long-time friend/co-star Ben Johnson, as well as Rod Taylor (who works surprisingly well with the two western 'veterans'). Best of all, Wayne and Ann-Margret are terrific together, with teasing asides of her obvious sex appeal and his being too old to take advantage of it! Forget the plot, of a buried payroll and the various people out to get it; enjoy the easy comraderie of a group of screen pros!
While this collection certainly isn't the finest of the Duke's work, there are some good titles, here, and these ARE 'New to DVD'...If you are a John Wayne fan, you certainly have reason to celebrate!
All the disks are in excellent condition and the seller got it to me so quickly, I was very surprised but pleasantly so. A solid recommendation for these folks.
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