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Yellowstone Kelly

Yellowstone Kelly(1959)

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teaser Yellowstone Kelly (1959)

TV star Clint Walker and director Gordon Douglas re-teamed for this Western after their work on 1958's Fort Dobbs. But although the earlier film had been a box-office disappointment, Warner Bros. didn't pull back for their second feature. They actually gave Walker a bigger production with Technicolor cinematography and extensive location work in Arizona that give the film an impressive look unlike anything audiences at the time would find on their TVs. Burt Kennedy adapted Heck Allen's fact-inspired novel about Western trapper Luther "Yellowstone" Kelly (Walker) caught between the Sioux, who have granted him unprecedented access to their lands, and a Cavalry troop out to avenge the Battle of Little Big Horn. Warner's tried to raise the film's box-office allure by matching Walker with not one, but two other stars of their TV series -- Edward Byrnes, who played parking lot attendant "Kookie" on 77 Sunset Strip, as Walker's apprentice and John Russell, the rugged star of Lawman, as the Sioux chief. They even pushed the connection to their TV series with the tagline "Clint's back!...and 'Kookie' is with him!" Contemporary audiences may be intrigued to catch early performances from Claude Akins and Warren Oates, the latter in his first billed film role.

By Frank Miller

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