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Author Topic: Night Passage (1957)  (Read 4365 times)
cigar joe
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« on: August 26, 2006, 07:28:09 AM »

Another film that shows some great Western locations.

Dir. by James Nielson with James Stewart, Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea, Brandon DeWilde, Jack Elam, Robert J Wilke, Hugh Beaumont, Dianne Foster, and Elaine Stewart

This is a great RR Western for railroad buffs.

This film has some beautiful  RR action footage shot on the narrow gauge Denver & Rio Grand Western RR going through the canyons of Southern Colorado. It also has nice station and railyard shots.

It also has a good set piece shootout at the end that takes place at the terminus of an aerial ore tramway that feeds an old abandoned ore mill. Its pretty cool to see these actual working locations.

This is another "brothers" story, one good, one bad, and Stewart plays the "Man with the Accordion" lol. And come to think of it this may also be a quote for OUTITW because Stewart uses tunes from his past to change the dynamics of the confrontation he has with his brother.

The story is a bit contrived but you can overlook a lot of it since it pays off so well with its cinematography. Its a typical 50's western but this is another that doesn't go overboard with its reqisite love story.

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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2006, 12:32:25 PM »

I just finished watching it, I taped it on Saturday. What an AWESOME movie! This is perhaps the best American western I've seen! The scenes on the supply train bound for the end of track is just breath-taking. Like Cigar said if you're a railroad fan you'll love this movie!

Even if you're not a railroad fan you'll still enjoy it. The theme song of the movie " follow the river " is very nice. There were even some parallels between this and OUATITW such as a musical instrument to bring back memories to a bad person, railroad baron traveling everywhere in the comfort of his private car, even the bad guy tries to kill a kid  ( the bullet strikes the kid in the arm, but the point is, he tried. that never happens in AWs ).

I actually rode on that railroad in the film, it's called the Durango and Silverton. It runs through the mountains of southwestern Colorado, exactly where the film takes place. I'm sure Cigar Joe has heard of it.


Great movie. Beautiful shots, great story,...cool trains.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2006, 03:41:19 PM »


Even if you're not a railroad fan you'll still enjoy it. The theme song of the movie " follow the river " is very nice. There were even some parallels between this and OUATITW such as a musical instrument to bring back memories to a bad person, railroad baron traveling everywhere in the comfort of his private car, even the bad guy tries to kill a kid  ( the bullet strikes the kid in the arm, but the point is, he tried. that never happens in AWs ).

You should copy this post and add it to the 30 Westerns in Once thread. Or I could do it......

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cigar joe
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2006, 03:59:13 PM »

I think I did some of it, but Peacemaker Makes a good point about the Morton simularities, that I didn't.

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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2010, 03:47:55 PM »

An above average oater but it really could have used Anthony Mann at the helm.
He would have injected some sadism to the piece.

The box cover, the title and Joe's description, made me think that most of the action takes place on the train but they ditch the locomotive around the first hour mark.
The climax takes place in a sawmill, and that location should have been used more thoroughly.

Stewart good, but he's missing the edge he has in the Mann westerns.
Audie Murphey is typical Audie Murphey and Dan Duyrea is real good but not as good as he was in Winchester 73'.


7/10

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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2010, 08:23:42 AM »

According to Garfield, Mann had been asked to direct but begged off because he didn't want Murphy. That makes sense, as the other main actors are all Mann's stalwarts. The story is too linear, not as gritty as Mann would surely have concocted. And yes, Murphy is not up to the task: he just doesn't look dangerous and in his verbal duels with Duryea he's not convincing. But even Stewart (here better as a singer than as actor: I'd never thought I could ever write anything like this!) and Flippen (just can't play boss: though he's not a railroad baron but a kind of director) are not up to their standards. Duryea, on the other hand, is wonderful: he dominates every scene he's in (probably Mann would have provided a scene with Stewart to match him). Elaine Stewart is very sexy. And the music, well, it is one of the surprises of the movie: that accordion must have been an inspiration for the score of The Deadly Companions. 7\10 

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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2010, 09:49:00 AM »

The regular story is that MANN started the film (quite obvious since he made all of Stewarts 50's western ..).
He couldn't talk Stewart out of playing his accordeon in the film. So he left the production.

Of course he was right. Actors can be so stubborn.
NIGHT PASSAGE doesn't come near the great Mann/Stewart achivements (MAN FROM LARAMIE,
WINCHESTER 73, THE FAR COUNTRY, BEND OF THE RIVER, NAKED SPUR..).

Nice Technirama photography, nice to see Audie next to an A-Star. Not a great film.

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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2010, 02:03:23 AM »

Nothing special. Slightly entertaining. 5/10

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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 09:17:56 AM »

I enjoyed this more than the last few posters, though maybe not so much as Peacemaker. But don't take my word for it...

Quote
Night Passage (1957) is best-remembered as Anthony Mann and James Stewart's abortive eighth collaboration. Having teamed up on several classic Westerns (Winchester '73, The Man from Laramie), the two fell out over script disagreements, leaving Disney veteran James Neilson to helm the picture. It's still a solid oater.

Grant McLane (James Stewart) is a former railroad "troubleshooter" eeking out a living as a traveling musician. After several robberies, train boss Kimball (Jay C. Flippen) hires Grant to safeguard a payroll shipment. Grant learns the robbers are led by his estranged brother, the Utica Kid (Audie Murphy). Along with little boy Joey (Brandon De Wilde) Grant foils the robbery, but finds his trouble's just beginning.

Clocking in at a lean 90 minutes, Night Passage is marvelously economical. Writers Norman A. Fox and Borden Chase provide sharp characterizations, with Grant humiliated playing for coins and Utica desiring to one-up his brother. There are neat twists on familiar set pieces: Utica's gang foils a railroad posse with expertly deployed horseshoes, while the final showdown occurs in a sawmill. There's little doubt where the story's headed, especially with Joey in the mix, but Neilson tells the story so crisply it's hard to complain. If any genre can get away with cliches it's the Western.

Neilson's direction is unfussy, lacking Anthony Mann's grim stylization but certainly pleasant. William H. Daniels provides beautiful photography, especially of the train hurtling through Colorado's autumnal countryside. The train heist presages The Wild Bunch's second act stick-up; a shootout in an unlit bar resembles set pieces in The Price of Power and The Shootist. Dimitri Tiomkin contributes a fine score. Maybe Mann could have made Passage an all-time classic, but there's really little to complain about.

James Stewart plays cynical and hard-bitten better than most. Cynics mock Stewart's accordion-playing but it serves the character fine; villains mock or underestimate the musician-gunslinger at their peril. Likeable Audie Murphy makes Utica's conflict and redemption seem poignant. Brandon De Wilde isn't bad and love interest Elaine Stewart does well with an under-drawn love interest. Dan Duryea recycles his talky psycho from Winchester '73. Genre stalwarts Paul Fix, Robert Wilke, Jack Elam and Chuck Roberson put in requisite appearances. Olive Carey has a notable bit as a grizzled frontier lady.

Night Passage plays better than its reputation suggests. It may be Anthony Mann lite, but it's certainly entertaining. 8/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2013/06/night-passage.html

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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2013, 09:40:56 AM »

Do you rate the 5 Mann/Stewart westerns higher than 8?

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« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2013, 09:47:16 AM »

Only Laramie and Far Country. I definitely like Night Passage better than The Naked Spur.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2013, 01:51:09 PM »

Quote
the Utica Kid (Audie Murphy)
Nothing quite says "Dude" like someone from Utica. A joke name for a joke picture.

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