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Westward the Women  /  Yellow Sky

June 14, 2015 - 7:00 pm
William Wellman Jr. He will sign copies of his book, "Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel" beginning at 6 p.m.

Westward the Women  (1952)

Based on a story by Frank Capra, who sold it to director William A. Wellman because “no one would let me do a Western,” Westward the Women (1952) allowed Wellman to revisit many of the themes of The Great Man’s Lady (1942) on a more expansive scale, particularly the unsung role of women in the taming of the American frontier.  Robert Taylor leads the cast as a wagon train guide hired to take a group of 140 mail-order brides on the dangerous trek from St. Louis to a ranch town in California where prospective husbands await.  Violence and calamities test the group’s mettle at every turn with Wellman matching driving action with a gritty, natural shooting style. 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.  (Production): Dore Schary.  Director: William A. Wellman.  Screenwriter: Charles Schnee.  Cinematography: William Mellor.  Editor: James E. Newcom.  Cast: Beverly Dennis, Renata Vanni, John McIntire, Julie Bishop, Hope Emerson.  35mm, b/w, 118 min.

Yellow Sky  (1948)

This highly praised western takes place in a ghost town.  In this unusual, confined setting, the characters dance around one another in a melodrama gleaming with style and passion.  Another tough William Wellman heroine, played by Anne Baxter, puts protagonist Gregory Peck firmly in his place with the heel of her boot.  Some scenes were clearly borrowed from The Ox-Bow Incident (1943); like John Ford and Howard Hawks, Wellman was not above quoting himself throughout his long career.

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  (Production): Lamar Trotti.  Director: William A. Wellman.  Screenwriter: Lamar Trotti.  Based on the unpublished novel by W.R. Burnett.  Cinematography: Joe MacDonald.  Editor: Harmon Jones.  Cast: Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, Richard Widmark, Robert Arthur, John Russell.  35mm, b/w, 99 min.