Welcome to Bottleneck

A day that ends with DESTRY RIDES AGAIN in a beautiful new 4K resotration pretty well HAS to be counted a success, doesn’t it? Add ice cream and you have something close to perfection.

Prior to that, I enjoyed Ford’s THREE BAD MEN all by myself, Litvak’s COEUR DES LILAS with Nicola, and George Pal and Byron Haskin’s THE WAR OF THE WORLDS and Rouben Mamoulian’s BECKY SHARP with Fiona. We’re at the point where things are starting to link up oddly, so not only did Cedric Hardwicke narrate TWOTW and appear as Lord Staines in BS, but the representation of Waterloo as a series of Technicolor splashes of light on a miniature diorama considerably resembled the depiction of HG Wells’ Martian invasion in the later movie.

I discovered a hige admiration for Gene Barry, who really brings unexpected qualities to his work in the sci-fi opus. The fact that he’s Professor Clayton Forrester, a name subsequently acquired by Mystery Science Theater 3000, added a welcome tickle. In his first vaguely romantic scene, it’s HE who takes his glassess off. Why Mr. Barry, without your glasses, you’re… you’re beautiful!

DESTRY RIDES AGAIN stars Scottie Fergusson; Lola Lola; Prince Nikita Starloff; Dr. Enoch Downer; Quatermass McGinty; Spudsy Drake; Twister McGurk; Mrs. Polly Peabody; Effie Perine; Joe Pettibone; and Gooper Politt.

7 Responses to “Welcome to Bottleneck”

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

  2. La Faustin Says:

    Yay COEUR DE LILAS! How much more lovely sordid detail must be visible on the big screen.

  3. Not so much in this print, but we got a Bertrand Tavernier intro. “Not meeting Litvak,” because BT’s generation of critics were prejudiced against him, “is one of the great regrets of my life.”

  4. chris schneider Says:

    Gene Barry is, indeed, fetching in WAR OF THE WORLDS. I had a sixth-grade teacher who looked a little like him. But I’ll always remember the film for Ann Robinson’s uncle reciting the psalm as he goes to meet the Martians. My Los Angelean pride is also pleased by that “ … uh, welcome to California?”

  5. The priest disintegration is jolly good, but of course this one turns into the most religiose of all the 50s sf pictures in the last reel. But but even that’s very well set up and executed, storywise.

  6. Matthew Clark Says:

    I love Ford’s “3 Bad Men”, a great western, and not to be confused with Ford’s “Three Godfathers”. Great exteriors, and the lovely Olive Borden. From reading Joseph McBride’s biography on Ford, this film came at the end of a series of big silent era westerns, like “The Covered Wagon” and Ford’s “The Iron Horse”, so audiences may have been tired of this type of film when it was released. And this film didn’t do so well at the box office. Which may be why Ford didn’t do another western until “Stagecoach” 14 years later in 1939. Also, according to McBride, the running time of “3 Bad Men” was originally longer and the studio made Ford cut a lot out of it. The second half seems a bit rushed and there are some sub plots that are unresolved. Still, would have loved to see it on the big screen.
    One interesting point in the story is the villain Sheriff Hunter, played by Lou Tellegen. He may be the one giving the orders to the bad guys, but you sense that they would turn on him if he made the wrong decisions. You don’t usually see this sort of dynamic within western outlaw gangs. Usually the top villain is firmly in control and not as afraid of his gang as the character is in this film.

  7. It’s all there, and it makes you mourn the years Ford spent NOT making westerns. A Ford pre-code western might have been quite a thing.

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