1953, Paramount, 118 min, USA, Dir: George Stevens

George Stevens infuses the Western genre with mythic grandeur in this timeless classic. Alan Ladd is at his most iconic as the title character, an ex-gunfighter forced out of retirement when a family of homesteaders (Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, Brandon de Wilde) comes under attack by a vicious rancher’s hired guns. Jack Palance is one of the most threatening villains in movie history, and the film itself is both a summing up of the Western genre and a sign of things to come in later masterworks such as UNFORGIVEN. One of the most influential films ever made - and one of the most entertaining. Loyal Griggs won an Oscar for Best Cinematography.

1968, 96 min, Italy, Dir: Giorgio Capitani

Crawling back into town after blowing up his mine and his double-crossing partner, Van Heflin badly needs help he can trust. But adopted son George Hilton has turned into a lying cardsharp, complete with clerically garbed “protector” Klaus Kinski. In Italian with English subtitles.

1942, MGM/Park Circus, 74 min, USA, Dir: Fred Zinnemann

It’s CSI: Hollywood, 1942 in this ultra-rarity, as the delightful and delectable Marsha Hunt plays a police forensics expert caught between cop-chemist Van Heflin and glittery gangster Lee Bowman. Yet another in our series scripted by the great John C. Higgins, this is also the feature film debut of director Fred Zinnemann. NOT ON DVD

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