Cast & Crew
Edward L. Cahn
After killing a guard during a jail break, convict Stacey Doggett escapes into the desert. Pursued by the authorities, Stacey slays farmer Matthew Random, steals his ivory-handled gun and escapes on horseback. Matthew's twin brother Luke vows to avenge his brother's death after learning that the escaped convict was a member of the Checkers gang. Stacey camps in the desert nearby, and when his fellow Checkers' members ride up, one of them shoots Stacey in the back, but he survives. Luke, meanwhile, rides in search of Matthew's gun, which matches his own, believing that it will be in the killer's possession. At a lake, Luke attempts to rescue a Havasupi Indian woman named Willow when she is assaulted by Checkers member Pete Longo. When Stacey shoots Longo, Willow flees. Luke allies himself with the gunman, unaware that he is Matthew's killer, because Stacey is also seeking revenge against the Checkers. When the men catch Willow stealing the clothes they hung out to dry, she reveals that she was exiled from her tribe because of her relationship with Longo, who later turned on her. As Willow knows that Longo was headed for Red Bud, she agrees to accompany Stacey and Luke there to identify the other gang members. Stacey reluctantly consents to Luke's decree that they leave Willow alone. One night, Willow secretly admits to Luke that she has seen his gun before, and warns him not to trust Stacey. They kiss, but Luke withdraws because of their agreement. When they encounter two medicine show wagons, Willow recognizes Rena, the daughter of snake oil salesman Windy as being the girl friend of Checkers gang member Cale Tanner. Stacey buys some of Windy's "Wonder Water," and they agree to ride together to Red Bud for safety. That night, while Stacey flirts with Lola, a performer in the show, Windy warns Luke not to trust Stacey, and also teaches him gun-handling tricks. Windy fears for his daughter's chastity, and when Rena attempts to run away with Tanner, Windy fires a shot at him, sending him fleeing. Windy then warns Rena that he will kill Tanner at the first opportunity. Later, Luke and Stacey watch Windy's medicine show at the Red Bud saloon. When Luke sees the mate to his gun hanging from a belt near the door, where everyone is required to leave their weapons, Luke identifies a Checkers gang member and assaults him. Unaccustomed to brawling, Luke is quickly knocked out and Stacey jumps into the fray. Stacey gores the man in the throat with a spur, after which Windy interrupts his show to pursue Rena and Tanner, who has taken Matthew's gun. A revived Luke joins Stacey in a search for Rena, whose body they find in the woods. After Rena is buried, Windy joins Luke, Stacey and Willow on their mission of vengeance. One night, Stacey forces himself on Willow and beats her when she resists. Luke confronts Stacey, but Windy breaks up their fight and insists they make peace. The small group is ambushed by the Checkers gang when they later ride into Havasupi territory. In the ensuing gunfight, Stacey is wounded and after Luke rescues him, they retreat. Stacey survives his injury and later that night, Willow confides to Windy that she recognizes Stacey as a former Checkers gang member. Willow then asks Windy to help her look after Luke. A few days after Stacey has recovered, the vigilantes engage in another gun battle with the Checkers gang and, after killing many men, they follow Tanner into the desert. One evening, Willow encourages Luke's affection, but he insists that his mission comes first. After two more gun battles, Willow is abducted by her tribesmen, who strip her and tie her to a tree. Tanner kills Windy during a gunfight and escapes, with Stacey and Luke in pursuit. When Stacey meets up with Tanner and hesitates pulling the trigger, Luke shoots and kills Tanner, then recovers Matthew's gun. Stacey reveals that Tanner is actually his father, and shot him in the back so he could take over the gang. Stacey then admits to killing Matthew, and challenges Luke to a duel. Although Stacey had previously mocked the farmer's unskilled gunmanship, Luke now kills his former friend, then rescues Willow.
Edward L. Cahn
Edward L. Cahn
Robert S. Eisen
Charles B. Griffith Jr.
Charles J. Lyons Jr.
Frederick E. West
TCM Remembers - John Agar
Popular b-movie actor John Agar died April 7th at the age of 81. Agar is probably best known as the actor that married Shirley Temple in 1945 but he also appeared alongside John Wayne in several films. Agar soon became a fixture in such films as Tarantula (1955) and The Mole People (1956) and was a cult favorite ever since, something he took in good spirits and seemed to enjoy. In 1972, for instance, the fan magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland mistakenly ran his obituary, a piece that Agar would later happily autograph.
Agar was born January 31, 1921 in Chicago. He had been a sergeant in the Army Air Corps working as a physical trainer when he was hired in 1945 to escort 16-year-old Shirley Temple to a Hollywood party. Agar apparently knew Temple earlier since his sister was a classmate of Temple's. Despite the objections of Temple's mother the two became a couple and were married shortly after. Temple's producer David Selznick asked Agar if he wanted to act but he reportedly replied that one actor in the family was enough. Nevertheless, Selznick paid for acting lessons and signed Agar to a contract.
Agar's first film was the John Ford-directed Fort Apache (1948) also starring Temple. Agar and Temple also both appeared in Adventure in Baltimore (1949) and had a daughter in 1948 but were divorced the following year. Agar married again in 1951 which lasted until his wife's death in 2000. Agar worked in a string of Westerns and war films such as Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Breakthrough (1950) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Later when pressed for money he began making the films that would establish his reputation beyond the gossip columns: Revenge of the Creature (1955), The Brain from Planet Arous (1957), Invisible Invaders (1959) and the mind-boggling Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966). The roles became progressively smaller so Agar sold insurance and real estate on the side. When he appeared in the 1988 film Miracle Mile his dialogue supposedly included obscenities which Agar had always refused to use. He showed the director a way to do the scene without that language and that's how it was filmed.
By Lang Thompson
DUDLEY MOORE, 1935-2002
Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall.
Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.)
Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win.
However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - John Agar
Although the film was shot and released in color, the viewed print was in black-and-white. The Variety review lists Ronald Sinclair as film editor, and Hollywood Reporter production charts listed Bob Benson as editor. However, only Robert S. Eisen was credited onscreen. Benson's and Sinclair's contributions to the film, if any, have not been confirmed. In addition, although copyright records list Pathecolor as the color process, reviews list Eastman Color. Motion Picture Herald listed the release date for Flesh and the Spur as September 25, 1956, but the film was not reviewed until February 1957. According to contemporary news items, the film was shot on location at various ranches in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, CA.