Transcript: The Western | Mar 23, 1989

John Sturges appears. He is in his early sixties, and has grey hair. He is wearing glasses, and a checkered white and red shirt. He is sitting at his desk, and swivels from one side to the other in his chair as he speaks. The desk is organized. There are some papers, a folder, and a fully packed penholder. In the back, there is a window overlooking the city, and many cars drive by.

John says WESTERNS ARE MORALITY TALES.
SHANE IS LIVE
BY THE SWORD,
DIE BY THE SWORD.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “John Sturges, Director of Magnificent Seven.”

John continues HIGH NOON
IS YOU LITERALLY
ARE YOUR BROTHER'S KEEPER.
SO YOU START OFF WITH SIMPLE,
BASIC STORIES OF GOOD AND BAD
AND RIGHT AND WRONG.
AND THEY HAVE
VIRTUES OF POWER.
THEY'VE BEEN AROUND FOR
THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
THE IDENTIFICATION WITH A HERO
IS A COMMON DENOMINATOR IN
ALL SUCCESSFUL PICTURES
OF THAT NATURE.
THIS STANDS OUT IN WESTERNS.
THE ISOLATION OF A WESTERN
SITUATION, YOU CAN'T PICK UP
THE PHONE AND CALL THE POLICE.
IN BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK,
FOR EXAMPLE, A MODERN WESTERN,
THE STORY WOULD HAVE BEEN
OVER IF HE COULD GET HELP.
WELL, HE COULDN'T GET HELP.
WE CUT THE TELEPHONE
LINES, AND SO ON.
SO THAT HERO IS LITERALLY
THE MAN THAT'S GOT TO DO IT
ALL BY HIMSELF.
SPACE, OPENNESS, MOVEMENT,
BEAUTY, THINGS THAT A LOT OF
PEOPLE DON'T HAVE IN
THEIR LIVES AT ALL.
AND THE PEOPLE THAT DO,
CAN ALWAYS USE MORE OF.
ALL THOSE ELEMENTS COMBINE.

Elwy appears in the studio. He’s in his fifties, mostly bald with some dark hair on the sides, and he has a moustache. He wears glasses, a greyish suit jacket, a white shirt, and a dark tie. He hosts the program sitting on a chair against a black background with a red film reel. The reel reads “Talking Film” several times, alternately in white and orange. Elwy holds some memory notes on his lap.

Elwy says WELCOME ONCE AGAIN,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
TO
TALKING FILM.
A SERIES OF HALF-HOUR PROGRAMS
WHICH EXPLORE MOTION PICTURES
ENTIRELY THROUGH THE WORDS
OF THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEM.
ONE OF THE MOST DURABLE OF
ALL MOTION PICTURE GENRES IS,
OF COURSE, THE WESTERN.
I PERSONALLY LOVE THIS FILM
FORM, I GUESS, EVER SINCE THE
DAYS OF TOM MIX AND KEN
MAYNARD, AND RIGHT UP THROUGH
TO THE CLINT EASTWOOD ERA.
THIS PROGRAM IS DEVOTED TO
FOUR GENTLEMEN WHO HAVE
CREATED SOME OF THE BEST
WESTERNS EVER MADE.
DIRECTOR JOHN STURGES, ACTOR
JOEL McCREA, AND DIRECTORS,
ROBERT ALDRICH
AND MARK RYDELL.
Mr. STURGES IS NOTED FOR SUCH
VERY DURABLE WESTERNS AS
THE GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL,
BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK,
AND A VERY PERSONAL FAVOURITE
OF MINE,
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
ACTOR JOEL McCREA'S CAREER
SPANS SOMETHING LIKE 30 YEARS.
AND INCLUDES APPEARANCES
IN CECIL B. DEMILLE'S
UNION PACIFIC
,
FOUR FACES
WEST, IN WHICH NARY A SHOT
WAS FIRED, AND
SAM PECKINPAH'S CLASSIC,
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY.
ROBERT ALDRICH DIRECTED
APACHE, ULZANA'S RAID,
AND VERA CRUZ.
AND, FINALLY, WE'LL HEAR FROM
MARK RYDELL, WHOSE FILM
THE COWBOY, STANDS, IN MY
ESTIMATION, RIGHT ALONGSIDE
HOWARD HAWK'S
RED RIVER,
AND JOHN FORD'S
MY DARLING
CLEMENTINE,
AS A TRULY
TOP-NOTCH WESTERN.
WE HEAR FIRST FROM ACTOR
JOEL McCREA TALKING ABOUT
AUTHENTICITY IN THE WESTERN.
HERE THEN ARE JOHN STURGES,
JOEL McCREA, ROBERT ALDRICH
AND MARK RYDELL, TALKING FILM.

Joel McCrea appears. He is in his mid-seventies, and has white hair. He is wearing a black suit jacket, a white shirt, and a golden pin in his collar. He is sitting opposite Elwy in what seems to be a hotel. There is a window in the back, overlooking a swimming pool.

Joel says BUT MY FEELING ABOUT IT IS
WHEN THEY WORKED WITH PEOPLE
LIKE, SAY, GARY COOPER OR
JOHN WAYNE, THEY'D MADE A
STUDY OF THE WEST.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Joel McCrea.”

Joel continues THEY KNEW ABOUT THE WEST.
THEY KNEW WHAT WAS AUTHENTIC.
GOING BACK TO THE BEGINNING,
WHEN I WAS A NEWS BOY
HERE IN HOLLYWOOD, WILLIAM
S. HART WAS AUTHENTIC.
THEN CAME IN THE ONES LIKE TOM
MIX WHO WORE THE TRICK STUFF
AND FANCY, AND HE WAS A GREAT
SHOWMAN AND A BIG FAT HIT.
BUT HE WASN'T AUTHENTIC.
HART WAS COMPLETELY --
HAD TO BE AUTHENTIC.
IF IT WAS A SIOUX INDIAN, HE
KNEW HOW THEY'D BE PAINTED.
IF IT WAS A MOHAWK,
YOU KNOW, A BLACK FOOT
OR WHATEVER THEY WERE.
AND THE PICTURES THAT WERE
MADE LIKE WITH COOPER,
HE CAME FROM MONTANA,
HE KNEW THE WEST.
I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING
ABOUT AUTHENTICITY THAT EVEN
YOU DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I
REMEMBER WHEN I DID A LITTLE
THING FOR GOLDWYN CALLED
THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC
WITH JASCHA HEIFETZ.
I WAS WATCHING HIM PLAY
THE VIOLIN, YOU KNOW,
AND WE HAD THIS YOUTH
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
AND IT WAS JUST AMAZING.
I SAID THIS IS JUST GREAT.
I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT A VIOLIN,
BUT I SAID, BOY, I CAN SEE
HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE.
HE SAID, WELL, I KNOW NOTHING
ABOUT A HORSE, BUT WHEN I SEE
YOU RIDE, HE SAID, I KNOW
YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT.
AND THAT'S THE KIND OF
THING, AUTHENTICITY.
IT RINGS MORE TRUE.
AND YOU SEE IN SOME OF
THE PICTURES TODAY,
THEY'RE IN A HURRY.
THEY TAKE A FELLOW THAT'S
PROBABLY FROM THE BRONX OR
FROM SOMEWHERE, THEY'D BE
MUCH BETTER IN
DEAD END
THAN
I WOULD, BUT THEY ARE
NOT FAMILIAR WITH IT.
AND THE DIRECTORS AND PRODUCERS
ARE REALLY NOT FAMILIAR.
THEY TAKE WHAT THEIR WESTERN
IS FROM SOME WESTERN
THEY'VE SEEN.
WELL, IF THAT WESTERN DOESN'T
HAPPEN TO BE AUTHENTIC,
IT'S NOT GOING TO BE.
THE COVERED WAGON
WAS
AUTHENTIC,
THE IRON HORSE
THAT JOHN FORD
MADE WAS AUTHENTIC.
STAGECOACH, ONE OF THE GREAT
WESTERN PICTURES, I THINK.
I WASN'T IN IT.
BUT IT WAS JUST
ONE OF THE GREATS.

John says IN COPING WITH ANYTHING,
WHETHER THEY ARE WESTERNS
OR PICTURES ABOUT THE WAR,
IT'S WRONG TO FAKE IT.
IT'S WRONG TO IMPART SOMETHING
TO IT THAT WASN'T TRUE.
I BELIEVE THE AUDIENCE HAS
A RIGHT TO EXPECT YOU TO BE
ENTERTAINING AND EXCITING
WITHIN THE FORMAT OF THE WAY
THOSE PEOPLE WERE.
AND I'VE TRIED VERY HARD TO
MAKE THE WESTERNS I'VE MADE
CONFORM TO THE
WAY IT HAPPENED.
STILL, THE WHOLE
THING IS AN ILLUSION.
YOU AGE ALL THE
BUILDINGS IN WESTERNS.
THAT'S BECAUSE IT
WAS A HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
BUT THEY WEREN'T AGED,
THEY WERE BRAND NEW.
SOME OF THEM WEREN'T
EVEN PAINTED.
YOU PEOPLED THE SO-CALLED
TRADITIONAL WESTERN WITH
ANGLO-SAXON TYPES.
THEY DIDN'T ALL LOOK
LIKE GARY COOPER.
SO IT'S NOT TERRIBLY
CLOSE TO THE WAY IT WAS.
AND, OF COURSE, YOUR SENSE
OF PROPORTION IS ALL WRONG.
WE MADE HOLLIDAY AND EARP
AS IF THEY WERE THE MOST
IMPORTANT THINGS
HAPPENING IN THREE CITIES.
THEY WEREN'T AT ALL.
THEY WERE THE GUYS THAT ARE
RIGHT HERE IN LOS ANGELES
NOW THAT THE COPS ARE
LOCKING UP AT THE MOMENT.
THEY WERE THE OTHER
SIDE OF THE TRACKS.
IT WAS A HUGE COMMUNITY THERE.
KIDS GOING TO
SCHOOL, GRADUATIONS.
IT WAS ONLY A
SMALL PART OF IT.
I THINK EARP COMES AS
CLOSE TO BEING THE KIND OF
ROMANTICIZED CHARACTER,
IN FACT, PORTRAYED.
AND HOLLIDAY WAS
LIKE THAT, TOO.
SO MAYBE THEY WERE THE CLOSEST
IN THEATRICAL FIGURES TO THE
REAL THING.
TO COME CLOSE TO THE WAY IT
REALLY WAS WAS BECAUSE THE WAY
IT REALLY WAS WAS MORE
EXCITING, WE THOUGHT,
THAN ANY OF THE
OTHER VERSIONS.
WE DIDN'T ATTEMPT TO MAKE A
DOCUMENTARY, AND WE NEVER
ADVERTISED IT, NEVER IMPLIED
BY TITLES OR ANYTHING,
THAT THIS IS THE WAY IT WAS.
IT'S JUST THE WAY IT
WAS WAS VERY COLOURFUL
AND VERY EFFECTIVE.
IT'S PRETTY MUCH
THE WAY IT WAS, TOO.
WITH THE EXCEPTION
OF THE GUNFIGHT,
WHICH IS A FABRICATION.
THERE WERE PEOPLE THERE
WHO WEREN'T THERE.
I AMUSE MYSELF BY ASKING PEOPLE
HOW LONG THEY THINK IT RUNS.
THE REAL GUNFIGHT
WAS 17 SECONDS.
MOST PEOPLE WILL
GUESS FIVE MINUTES.
ALMOST 20 MINUTES
LONG IN THE MOVIE.
SO THAT IS PURE MOTION
PICTURE EMBELLISHMENT.
THE REST IS PRETTY
CLOSE TO RIGHT.

A caption appears. It reads “Four Faces West, 1948.”

Joel says I TELL YOU, WHEN I LEFT
PARAMOUNT AFTER SEVEN YEARS
UNDER CONTRACT, I WENT OVER
AND DID
BUFFALO BILL
WITH
HARRY SHERMAN, WHICH
WAS A FOX RELEASE.
AND HARRY SHERMAN, WHEN WE
FINISHED THAT PICTURE, HE HAD
NEVER DONE BIG PICTURES.
HE'D DONE
HOP ALONG CASSIDY
FOR ABOUT 16 YEARS.
AND HE SAID I'VE GOT TO DO
ANOTHER BIG PICTURE WITH YOU.
AND HE SAID, DID YOU EVER
READ EUGENE MANLOVE RHODES'
PASÓ POR AQUÍ.
AND I SAID, YES, I HAVE.
THAT'S A CLASSIC WESTERN,
LIKE
THE VIRGINIAN
WAS
OWEN WISTER'S
CLASSIC WESTERN.
SO HE SAID, WELL,
I WANT TO MAKE IT.
AND I WANT TO MAKE IT
WITH YOU IN NEW MEXICO.
AND I'D LIKE YOUR WIFE,
FRANCES DEE TO PLAY THE GIRL,
AND WE'LL GET CHARLES BICKFORD
FOR PAT GARRETT, AND WE'LL GO
DOWN THERE AND
MAKE THE PICTURE.
NOW WE'VE GOT TO
TALK ABOUT A DIRECTOR.
SO AL GREEN, A DIRECTOR WHO
HAD MADE EVERY KIND OF PICTURE
EXCEPT WESTERNS, HAD JUST DONE
THE JOLSON STORY AND DONE A
VERY GOOD JOB OF IT.
SO HIS NAME CAME
UP, AMONG OTHERS.
AND I HAD FOUR OR
FIVE TO CHOOSE FROM.
AND I SAID, WHAT
ABOUT AL GREEN?
AND HE SAID, HE'S
NEVER MADE A WESTERN.
I SAID, I WORKED
EXTRA WITH HIM.
HE CAN MAKE ANYTHING.
HE MADE PICTURES OF MARY
PICKFORD, WITH GEORGE ARLISS.
HIS SON IS NOW, INCIDENTALLY,
THE HEAD OF PRODUCTION
AT UNIVERSAL.
MARSHALL GREEN.
BUT, ANYWAY, I SAID
LET'S TRY AL GREEN.
WELL, WE DID.
HE WAS GREAT.
HE WOULD ASK ME THINGS ABOUT
THE HORSES, BUT AS FAR AS
DIRECTING THE PICTURE AND
THE ACTION, HE KNEW JUST
EVERYTHING HE NEEDED TO DO.
SO WE WENT TO NEW
MEXICO ON THE PICTURE.
AND WE WERE ALL
ENTHUSED ABOUT IT.
WE WANTED TO DO IT.
THERE WAS NO CONTRACTUAL
THING WHERE YOU
HAD
TO
DO A CERTAIN THING.
YOU DID IT BECAUSE
YOU WANTED TO.
IT WAS A BIG PLUM FOR SHERMAN
BECAUSE HE WANTED TO GET INTO
BIG PICTURES.
SO WE HAD A GREAT
TIME DOING IT.
WE HAD A LITTLE DIFFICULTY
GETTING BICKFORD TO DO IT.
AND I WAS AFRAID -- HE HAD TO
DOMINATE THE PICTURE BECAUSE
HE WAS PAT GARRETT AFTER ME,
AND I WAS LIKE BILLY THE KID
WOULD HAVE BEEN.
SO THEY TRIED TO GET
HIM, AND HIS AGENT SAID
HE DOESN'T WANT TO DO IT.
AND SO SHERMAN ASKED
ME IF I'D SPEAK TO HIM.
SO I SPOKE TO HIM, AND HE
SAID, WELL, NO, HE SAID,
I'VE DONE FIVE PICTURES.
AND HE SAID, I REALLY DON'T
WANT TO WORK ANYMORE.
AND I SAID, CHARLIE, REMEMBER
WHEN I PLAYED A BIT IN
DE MILLE'S FIRST TALKIE
DYNAMITE
OUT AT M.G.M.
AND HE SAID YEAH.
AND THEN WE WENT CAMPING.
WE WENT DOWN THROUGH ARIZONA
AND NEW MEXICO AND CAMPED,
BICKFORD AND I.
HE WAS JUST OUT
FROM NEW YORK.
AND WE HAD A GREAT TIME 'COS
I TOOK HIM TO THE RANCHES,
AND I KNEW THAT RACKET.
AND HE'D NEVER BEEN
OUT OF THE EAST BEFORE.
I SAID, YOU REALLY SHOULD DO
THIS PICTURE BECAUSE I SAID,
WELL, HE SAID, I JUST
DON'T WANT TO DO IT.
I SAID, LOOK CHARLIE,
WHEN YOU DID
DYNAMITE
YOU WERE A BIG STAR.
YOU AND CONRAD NAGEL AND
KAY JOHNSON WERE THE STARS.
MY BILLING WAS SO SMALL
YOU COULDN'T FIND IT.
AND I SAID THE LAST FEW
PICTURES YOU'VE BEEN DOING,
YOU'VE BEEN DOWN THE
LIST QUITE A WAYS.
AND I SAID, IF YOU DO THIS
PICTURE, I'LL GIVE YOU
CO-STAR BILLING WITH ME.
HE SAID, I'LL LET
YOU KNOW TOMORROW.

Joel laughs and continues SO HE CALLED ME
THE NEXT MORNING.
HE SAID, YOU S.O.B., I'M
GOING TO DO THE PICTURE.
HE SAID, HOW DID YOU KNOW?
AND I SAID, WELL, I'M
AN ACTOR TOO, YOU KNOW?
AND I SAID, IF THEY ARE GOING
TO HIDE ME DOWN AT THE END,
I'M NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY.
AND I SAID I KNOW YOU DON'T
NEED THE MONEY, AND I KNOW
YOU'VE PLAYED EVERYTHING,
YOU KNOW, SO WE DID IT.

Elwy says WAS AN ENJOYABLE
FILM TO WORK ON?

Joel says IT WAS A VERY ENJOYABLE FILM.
WE MADE IT DOWN IN GALLUP, NEW
MEXICO AND DURANGO, COLORADO.
IT WAS AN ENJOYABLE
FILM TO DO.
AL GREEN WAS THE MILDEST,
QUIETEST LITTLE GUY
YOU EVER SAW.
HE ALWAYS HAD A BIG
CIGAR AND A DIAMOND RING.
AND HE WOULD SAY, HE'D
COME AND DIRECT A SCENE.
HE'D ASK ME WHAT
THE HORSE WOULD DO?
WHICH SIDE OF THE HORSE, WHERE
WOULD THE HORSE, YOU KNOW,
BECAUSE HE KNEW I
WAS THE COWBOY THING.
SO THEN HE WOULD COME AND
HE'D DAY, IF YOU THINK OF IT --
HE WOULD PREFACE, EVERY TIME
HE WOULD CORRECT A SCENE,
HE'D SAY, 'IF YOU THINK
OF IT', WHEN YOU COME IN,
DON'T PULL YOUR HAT
DOWN QUITE SO FAR.
PUSH IT BACK A LITTLE AS
THOUGH YOU'VE BEEN HOT OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
OR GIVE YOU A LITTLE BIT
OF DIRECTION THAT WAY.
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
BUT EVERYTHING WAS PREFACED
BY 'IF YOU THINK OF IT'.
SO RIGHT AWAY, YOU
CAN'T TAKE ANY OFFENCE.
HE'S NOT TELLING YOU HOW TO
DO A THING, HE'S JUST TELLING
YOU WHAT HE THINKS WOULD MAKE
IT A LITTLE BETTER, YOU KNOW?
HE GOT ALONG WITH EVERYBODY.
THE CREW.
NEVER RAISED HIS VOICE.
NEVER RAISED HIS VOICE.
ALWAYS DAPPER, DRESSED.
HE WAS NO COWBOY AT ALL.
HE WAS LIKE A NEW YORK
SONGWRITER WOULD HAVE BEEN.
BUT JUST A WONDERFUL GUY.
WE HAD A GREAT TIME.

A caption appears. It reads “Apache, 1954.”

Robert Aldrich and Elwy appear in a living room. Both are sitting comfortably on separate couches; Robert rests his feet on a table. Elwy is wearing a light blue suit and a white shirt. The jacket is plain, and the trousers are checkered. Robert is in his early sixties, has grey hair, and wears glasses. He is wearing a white shirt, dark grey trousers, and a black scarf. The living room has a big lamp and a painting of a woman on a wooden wall.

Elwy says ROBERT ALDRICH, COULD YOU
EXPLAIN TO OUR VIEWERS
SOMETHING OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES
THAT LED TO THE MAKING
OF
APACHE?
THAT'S IN 54.
AND THAT WAS WITH BURT
LANCASTER'S COMPANY,
WASN'T IT?
AND I THINK A RUDDY, SUPERB
WESTERN, AND FIRST OF ITS KIND.
BUT PERHAPS YOU COULD TELL US.

Robert says WELL, IT WAS A NOVEL BY A
GENTLEMAN BY THE NAME OF
WELLMAN THAT WAS UNDER
OPTION TO JOE LOSI.
JOE LOSI COULDN'T
MAINTAIN THE OPTION.
HE DROPPED IT.
I BROUGHT IT TO THE ATTENTION
OF HECK LANCASTER, HILL
WASN'T IN THE COMPANY THEN.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Robert Aldrich, Director of Vera Cruz.”

Robert continues THEY BOUGHT IT.
IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST
FILMS MADE ABOUT THE UNFAIR,
UNREASONABLE TREATMENT
RECEIVED BY THE AMERICAN
INDIANS FROM THE
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT.
AND IT HAD A VERY
HAPPY ENDING.
THE LEAD CHARACTER
WAS CALLED MASSAI.
THE CHARACTER WAS
PORTRAYED BY LANCASTER.
AND IN THE BOOK, AND IN
THE SCRIPT, HE WAS KILLED.
WE WERE TWO-THIRDS,
THREE-QUARTERS THROUGH THE
PICTURE.
AND TO EVERYBODY'S SURPRISE,
IT STARTED TO SMELL LIKE A
VERY SUCCESSFUL PICTURE.
AND THE CORPORATE FIGURES THAT
HEADED UP UNITED ARTISTS IN
THOSE DAYS CAME TO THE WEST
COAST, WE WERE ON LOCATION IN
SONORA, SEDONA, ONE OR THE
OTHER, AND ASKED US TO SHOOT
AN ALTERNATE ENDING, A HAPPY
ENDING IN WHICH LANCASTER LIVED.
AND THEY WENT
BACK TO NEW YORK.
AND THERE WAS MUCH, MUCH TO DO
ABOUT SHOULD WE DO THIS OR NOT?
AND I TOOK THE CLASSIC
POSITION THAT IF YOU EVER
SHOOT TWO ENDINGS,
THEY'LL USE THE WRONG ONE.
LANCASTER WAS REALLY TORN.
I MUST SAY, HE
BEHAVED MARVELLOUSLY.
THE COMPANY WAS NEW.
THEY HADN'T HAD THE INORDINATE
SUCCESS THEY GLEANED RIGHT
AFTER THAT.
EVENTUALLY, HE CAME DOWN ON THE
SIDE OF LET'S SHOOT TWO ENDINGS.
HE DIDN'T DO THAT
THOUGHTLESSLY OR WITHOUT A
GREAT DEAL OF CONCERN.
HE JUST THOUGHT IT WOULD
BE A SAFER THING TO DO.
AND SURE ENOUGH, THEY DID, IN
FACT USE THE HAPPY ENDING.
WHICH IS UNFORTUNATE BECAUSE
THE PICTURE, I THINK, WITH
THE HONEST ENDING MIGHT
HAVE BECOME A MINI CLASSIC.
IT WAS A MARVELLOUS PICTURE.
HE WAS GOOD.
I HAPPEN TO THINK JEAN PETERS
WAS BETTER THAN ANYTHING
SHE EVER DID.

Elwy says I AGREE WITH YOU.

Robert says THAT'S THE STORY
OF THAT PICTURE.

Elwy says HE HAD HIS OWN COMPANY,
OF COURSE, BURT LANCASTER.

Robert says YES, HE DID.

Elwy says BUT THEN WITH UNITED ARTISTS,
HE WAS RELEASING THROUGH THEM.

Robert says YES, HE WAS.
AND THEY WERE FINANCING.

Elwy says OH, SO THEY WERE CALLING...?

Robert says ONE NEVER KNOWS.
YOU ARGUE WITH YOURSELF, OR
MOST PEOPLE DO ABOUT THE
WISDOM OF THEIR INTEGRITY.
WHERE DO YOU SELLOUT,
WHERE YOU DON'T SELLOUT?
AND I'D LIKE TO THINK
I DIDN'T SELLOUT.
BUT I DID SHOOT
THE OTHER ENDING.
SO OBVIOUSLY, I CAN'T
CLAIM TOTAL PURITY.
BUT THE FACT THAT I WAS
MALLEABLE ENOUGH TO SHOOT THE
OTHER ENDING, OR WILLING TO
SHOOT THE OTHER ENDING, I
THINK WAS VERY INSTRUMENTAL
IN THEIR GIVING, MEANING HECK
LANCASTER GIVING ME A SHOT
TO DO "VERA CRUZ", WHICH WAS
TRULY A BIG, BIG, EPIC FOR
A GUY WHO HAD ONLY DONE TWO
SMALL PICTURES
BEFORE, YOU KNOW?
AND I THINK IF THEY HAD
DISCOVERED THE TRUCULENCE AND
THE INDEPENDENCE, AND-OR THE
STUBBORNNESS, I DON'T THINK
THEY WOULD HAVE DONE THAT.

Elwy says BUT THEY DID.

Robert says THEY DID.

Elwy says NOW ONE CAN SEEM TO SEE THE
AIM OF
APACHE
BECAUSE IT'S A
PICTURE THAT PRESENTED
THE PLIGHT OF AN INDIAN.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE FIRST.
IT WAS REALLY TOTALLY
AHEAD OF ITS TIME.

Robert says YOU MUST -- I WAS
ONLY THE DIRECTOR.
IT'S TRUE, I SHOWED
THEM THE NOVEL.
YOU MUST GIVE CREDIT TO
LANCASTER AND HECK FOR
PERCEIVING THAT KIND OF
MESSAGE IN THAT MOVIE.
THE FACT IT BECAME
COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL WAS
REALLY A MISTAKE.
THEY MADE IT BECAUSE
THEY BELIEVED IN IT.

Elwy says NOW THE OBJECTIVES IN A
PRODUCTION LIKE
VERA CRUZ,
HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE THEM?

Robert says WELL,
VERA CRUZ
WAS THEN,
IS NOW, A GREAT BIG FANTASY,
LARGER THAN LIFE, FULL OF FUN,
EXCITEMENT, SHOOT 'EM UP,
GOOD GUY AGAINST THE BAD
GUY, BLACK HAT, WHITE HAT,
REALLY AND TRULY.
BURT WORE THE BLACK HAT, AND
COOPER WORE THE WHITE HAT.
AND IT WAS A TRADITIONAL
COPS AND ROBBERS WESTERN.
AND MADE ONLY FOR
ENTERTAINMENT.
FORTUNATELY, IT WAS
SUCCESSFUL AT THAT LEVEL.
THERE WERE SOME VERY, VERY
LOOSE COMMENTS ABOUT THE
MAXIMILIAN TAKEOVER IN
MEXICO, THE INTERNAL STRUCTURE
OF MEXICO AT THAT
TIME, THE REVOLUTION.
BUT THEY ARE IN THE DISTANCE.
THEY ARE NOT REALLY WOVEN IN
THE FABRIC OF THE PICTURE.
BUT IT'S AN
ENTERTAINMENT PICTURE.

A caption appears. It reads “The Magnificent Seven, 1960.”

John says EVERYBODY WAS AWARE THIS
WOULD MAKE A GOOD WESTERN.
A FELLOW BROUGHT THE
PROJECT TO YUL BRYNNER.
AND HE TOOK A GO AS AN
INDEPENDENT PRODUCER OF HAVING
A SCRIPT DEVELOPED, AND
THE SCRIPT WAS TERRIBLE.
AND HE GOT RID OF A LOT OF
MONEY, AND HE WANTED TO JUST
BE AN ACTOR.
SO HE BROUGHT IT TO UNITED
ARTISTS, AND THEY SAID, LOOK,
YUL WILL ACT IF YOU WANT
TO TAKE THE PROJECT OVER.
SO I ABSORBED THE DOUGH,
BUT THREW THE SCRIPT AWAY.
FELLOW NAMED WALTER NEWMAN,
MARVELLOUS WRITER, WORKED ON IT.
BOTH OF US WORKED ON IT.
AND WE CAME UP WITH THE
SCRIPT THAT WE SHOT.
VERY SUCCESSFUL FILM.

Elwy says IT WAS UNIQUE IN THAT THE SEVEN
ACTORS AT THE TIME THAT WERE
IN THAT FILM, THEY WERE NOT
NAMED STARS, WITH MAYBE THE
EXCEPTION OF YUL BRYNNER.

John says THEY WERE ALL POTENTIAL
STARS, THAT'S RIGHT.

Elwy says AND THEY JUST ABOUT ALL
OF THEM BECAME SUPERSTARS.
CERTAINLY STEVE McQUEEN DID.

John says CHARLIE BRONSON, MY GOD.

Elwy says JAMES COBURN.

John says JIM COBURN.

Elwy says HOW WAS IT LIKE TO WORK
WITH THOSE SEVEN ACTORS?

John says VERY EASY.
FIRST PLACE, STEVE WAS
UNDER CONTRACT TO ME THEN.
AND THAT WAS HIS
SECOND MAJOR ROLE.
YUL IS A LOVELY
GUY TO WORK WITH.
NO PROBLEM THERE.
THE REST OF THEM WERE... WELL,
JUST GLAD TO HAVE THE PARTS.
JIM COBURN WAS VERY NEW.
CHARLIE HAD BEEN
AROUND A LONG TIME,
BUT HE HADN'T DONE
ANYTHING PARTICULAR.

Elwy says WHEREABOUTS DID
YOU SHOOT THE FILM?

John says MEXICO.
THE LOCATIONS WERE BUILT IN
CUERNAVACA, WHICH IS SORT OF A
THIRD OF THE WAY FROM MEXICO
CITY TO ACAPULCO, AND THE
INTERIORS WERE IN CHURUBUSCO
STUDIOS IN MEXICO CITY.
MADE THE WHOLE
THING IN MEXICO.

John takes a cigarette to his mouth.

A caption appears. It reads “The Cowboys, 1972.”

Mark Rydell appears. He is his late forties. He has dark curly hair, and a moustache. He is wearing a tartan shirt in the shades of brown. He is sitting opposite Elwy, in a busy open-air recording set. There are a van, and a camera on its rails.

Elwy says THE REALISM OF
IT WAS ASTOUNDING.
CAN YOU COMMENT
ABOUT THAT REAL LOOK?

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Mark Rydell, Director of The Cowboys.”

Elwy continues MY GOD, THOSE KIDS LOOKED
AND MOVED LIKE KIDS OUT OF
OLD PHOTOGRAPHS.
I WASN'T LOOKING
AT KIDS IN 1970.

Mark says WELL, THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER
IS WE TRAINED THEM AND SPENT
SOME SIX MONTHS TEACHING THEM --
HALF OF THEM WERE RODEO KIDS.
THE OTHER HALF
WERE ACTORS.
AND WE TRAINED THE ACTORS.
AND SINCE THEY WERE
ADOLESCENTS AND THEY WERE
NATURALLY INCLINED TO DO THOSE
THINGS WELL, WE TRAINED THEM
SOME SIX HOURS A DAY FOR
MONTHS UNTIL THEY BECAME,
LITERALLY, BRILLIANT HORSEMEN,
AND DID ALL OF THOSE STUNTS
ALL BY THEMSELVES.
I MEAN, THEY HERDED ALL
THOSE HUNDREDS OF HORSES
AND THE 15 HUNDRED HEAD OF CATTLE.
THEY LITERALLY DID THAT.
THE REALITY THAT CAME FROM THE
FACT THEY WERE CAPTURED BY
THIS FANTASY COME TRUE.
IMAGINE HOW EXCITING IT MUST
BE TO BE 13 AND TO SAY I'M
GOING TO BE A COWBOY AND HAVE
A CATTLE DRIVE AND BE ONE OF
JOHN WAYNE'S CATTLE DRIVERS.

Elwy says WHAT ELSE COULD ONE WANT?

Mark smiles and says AND BEAT THE
VILLAINS, AS WELL.

Elwy says YEAH.
WHICH THEY CERTAINLY DID.
WERE YOU INFLUENCED AT
ALL BY HOWARD HAWKS?
I WAS THINKING OF
RED RIVER.

Mark says IT'S HARD NOT TO BE
INFLUENCED BY THE MASTERS.
I UNASHAMEDLY STEAL FROM
ALL OF THE BEST PEOPLE, AND
HOPEFULLY USE, LET IT FILTER
THROUGH MY OWN SKILLS
AND TALENT.
BUT I THINK THE TRADITION IS
IMPORTANT, AND HISTORY IS
IMPORTANT, AND THE STUDY OF
ALL OF GREAT ART IS IMPORTANT.
AND WE HAVE TO PAY
HOMAGE TO MEN LIKE HAWKS
AND MANY OTHERS.
I DON'T THINK IT'S A SHAME TO
BE INFLUENCED BY ANYBODY'S WORK.

A caption appears. It reads “Ride the High Country, 1962.”

Joel says RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY
WAS
ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PICTURES
BECAUSE I HAD A CHANCE TO PLAY
A CHARACTER THAT WAS KIND OF
AT THE END OF MY CAREER, SEE?
THAT WAS IN 62, AND
I STARTED IN 30.
WHEN THAT CAME UP, RANDY
SCOTT FOUND THAT PROPERTY.
HE AND A FELLOW, DIRECTOR
NAMED BURT KENNEDY.
AND THEY FOUND IT.
BUT THEY SAID, YOU GOT TO GET
ANOTHER MALE STAR TO DO IT.
SO THEY SENT IT OUT TO M.G.M.,
AND DICK LYONS WAS THE
PRODUCER THAT TOOK IT OVER.
HE SAID WHAT
ABOUT JOEL McCREA,
AND RANDY SAID GREAT.
I'VE NEVER WORKED WITH
HIM, BUT IT'LL BE FINE.
SO THEY SENT IT TO ME.
SO I SAID, I'LL DO IT.
BUT I WANT TO
PLAY STEVE JUDD.
I WANT TO PLAY THE
GUY THAT HAD INTEGRITY.
BUT I SAID, DON'T SAY ANYTHING
TO RANDY ABOUT IT BECAUSE HE
GOT THE PROPERTY,
HE SENT IT TO ME.
I SHOULDN'T HAVE
FIRST CHOICE.
LET'S JUST ASK HIM WHICH
HE WANTS TO DO AND SEE.
AND, YOU KNOW, IF HE
CHOOSES RIGHT, I'LL DO IT,
AND IF HE DOESN'T, I'LL
SAY, WELL, OKAY, I'LL PASS.
SO THAT'S WHAT WE DID.
AND RANDY SAID, WELL, YOU
KNOW, I'VE PLAYED THE OTHER
GUY, THE HONEST TRUE BLUE GUY
SO MANY TIMES, I'D LIKE TO DO
THE OTHER ONE.
AND SO I SAID,
WE GOT A DEAL.
AND THAT'S HOW WE
HAPPENED TO DO IT.
THEN, M.G.M., WERE
TALKING ABOUT BILLING.
THEY SAID, WHICH OF YOU --
BECAUSE BOTH OF US WERE KIND
OF PRETTY EQUAL.
SO I SAID, WELL, I DON'T KNOW
HOW TO DO BILLING, YOU KNOW,
WHATEVER IS FAIR.
SO PECKINPAH SAID, WHY
DON'T YOU FLIP FOR IT.

Joel smiles and continues SO WE WERE HAVING LUNCH AT
THE BEVERLY BROWN DERBY,
AND RANDY AND SAM, AND
DICK LYONS AND MYSELF.
SO RANDY HAD A SILVER DOLLAR.
AND HE FLIPPED
IT UP LIKE THAT.
IT CAME DOWN ON
THE COFFEE CUP.
AND THE COFFEE CUP HAD
ABOUT THAT MUCH COFFEE,
SO WE COULDN'T SEE.
SO HE POURED IT OUT.
AND HE WON.
SO THAT'S WHY IT WAS RANDOLPH
SCOTT AND JOEL McCREA IN
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY.
BUT WE LOVED IT.
SAM, IT WAS THE FIRST BIG
PICTURE SAM HAD MADE.
HE'S A TALENTED WRITER.
HE REWROTE SOME OF THE SCENES.
IN THE ORIGINAL STORY,
GUNS IN THE AFTERNOON,
RANDY GOT KILLED.
AND I WENT BACK WITH THE TWO
YOUNG ONES WITH THE GOLD.
AND SAM GOT THE IDEA, THAT
THE GUY, INTEGRITY, THE ONE
THAT HAD BEEN HONEST, IF YOU
KILL HIM, IT'S GOING TO BE
MORE EFFECTIVE.
AND HE SWITCHED THAT.
AND HE SWITCHED SEVERAL
OTHER THINGS AND REALLY
CONTRIBUTED A GREAT DEAL.

A caption appears. It reads “Bad Day at Black Rock, 1954.”

John lights his cigarette and says WELL, THAT AGAIN...
WAS A STRICT CASE
LIKE SERGEANT 3.
I'D BEEN APPROACHED
FOR DIRECTOR.
WITHOUT GOING ON ENDLESSLY,
A VERY INTERESTING THING
ABOUT PICTURE MAKING.
THAT STORY WAS WRITTEN BY A
FELLOW, AND THE PREMISE OF THE
STORY WAS A MEDAL OF HONOUR
WINNER WHO IS DEAD, IS
ENTITLED, OR REQUIRED BY LAW,
TO HAVE THE GOVERNMENT SEEK OUT
HIS NEAREST OF KIN AND
GIVE THEM THE MEDAL.
SO THE HERO IS A DETECTIVE
LOOKING FOR THE FATHER
OF THE BOY.
A LOT OF MONEY WAS SPENT
PREPARING THAT PICTURE.
A WHOLE SET WAS BUILT ON THE
BACK LOT AT M.G.M. FOR DICK
BROOKS, OLD FRIEND,
GOOD DIRECTOR.
THE THING BLEW UP.
SOMEHOW THE SCRIPT
GOT OUT OF CONTROL.
EVERYBODY GOT MAD, AND THE
WHOLE PROJECT WAS ABANDONED.
THEN A MAN NAMED DORE SCHARY
WHO WAS RUNNING METRO AT THAT
TIME, AND WAS A WRITER, MILLARD
KAUFMAN WROTE THE SCRIPT,
GOT TWO IDEAS.
ONE, MAKE THE MAN A MAN WHOSE
LIFE HAD BEEN SAVED BY A
JAPANESE BOY WHO GOT
THE MEDAL OF HONOUR.
AND FURTHER THAN THAT,
DISFIGURE HIM SO HE HAD A
SENSE OF LOSS, AND A SENSE
OF DEFEAT, AND A SENSE OF
WANTING TO CRAWL AWAY.
WELL, THOSE TWO PREMISES,
THAT WHOLE STORY CAME ALIVE.
AND THERE WASN'T A
PICTURE FOR SPENCER.
I WAS A CONTRACT
DIRECTOR AT M.G.M.
I WANTED TO MAKE A PICTURE
IN THE BIG SCREEN PROCESS.
THE FIRST ONE METRO EVER MADE.

Elwy says REALLY?

John says YEAH.
SO FOR ALL THOSE
REASONS, I ACCEPTED IT.
THE STUDIO CONSIDERED IT
WAS GOING TO BE A DISASTER.
THEY THOUGHT,
JUST MARK TIME.
NO ONE HAD ANY IDEA IT WAS
GOING TO BE A GOOD PICTURE
IN THE STUDIO.
WE DID.
WE LIKED IT.
VERY EASY PICTURE.
SHOT IT IN 23 DAYS.

Elwy says REALLY?
THAT QUICKLY?

John says YEAH.
USED TO QUIT EVERY
AFTERNOON AT 3 O'CLOCK.
WE HAD A BEAUTIFUL SCRIPT.
IT WAS ALL THERE.

John lights another cigarette and continues WE BUILT THE TOWN
IN LONG PINE AGAIN.
AND SUN, WE'D SHOOT ONE WAY IN
THE MORNING, THE OTHER WAY IN
THE AFTERNOON.
TAKE FIVE MINUTES
TO LIGHT SCENES.
AND EVERYTHING WAS TAKE ONE.
THERE WERE ONLY 425
SET-UPS IN THAT PICTURE.
IT'S THE WORLD'S RECORD FOR
THE LEAST AMOUNT OF FILM SHOT.
WE SHOT 81,000
FEET OF
ALL
FILM.
AND I THINK, I'M NOT SURE
EXACTLY THIS FIGURE,
BUT I THINK THERE WERE ONLY
ABOUT 20 SCENES THAT WERE
MORE THAN TAKE ONE.
LOOK AT THAT CAST.

A caption appears. It reads “Working with John Wayne and Gary Cooper.”

Mark says WELL, IT WAS A BIG LESSON.
JOHN WAYNE AND I ARE
ANTITHETICAL POLITICALLY
AND IN MANY WAYS EMOTIONALLY.
BUT I LEARNED A LESSON.
I APPROACHED HIM WITH, I
GUESS, THE KIND OF PREJUDICE
I SHOULDN'T HAVE BECAUSE I FOUND
HIM TO BE A MAN OF ENORMOUS
WARMTH, ENORMOUS AVAILABILITY.
THE ULTIMATE PROFESSIONAL
WHO WOULD SLAVE
FROM MORNING 'TIL NIGHT.
WAS BETTER ON THE TENTH TAKE
THAN ON THE NINTH, AND BETTER
ON THE FIFTEENTH THAN THE FOURTEENTH.
HE WAS A VERY COMMITTED
AND SCHOLARLY ACTOR.
AND THOUGH HE HELD
POLITICAL VIEWS THAT WERE
IN ABSOLUTE OPPOSITION
TO MY OWN THINKING,
WE HAD A GREAT
PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIP.
AND I FOUND HIM
TO BE A VERY WARM
AND CONSTRUCTIVE INDIVIDUAL.
HE'S THE KIND OF MAN WHO NEVER
TURNS AWAY FROM A QUESTION.
THE CHILDREN WENT
BANANAS OVER HIM.
THEY HUNG ALL OVER HIM.
AND HE ENJOYED THAT AND DID
NOT RESIST ANY OF THE...
I'M AUTOMATICALLY SEDUCED WHEN
I FIND SOMEBODY WHO LOVES CHILDREN.
Marks smiles and continues BECAUSE I DO.
AND I THINK HE'S
A TERRIFIC GUY.
HE'S THE KIND OF MAN I
WOULD LIKE TO HAVE ON A
CATTLE DRIVE IN THE
18 HUNDREDS, I'LL TELL YA.

Elwy says WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WORK
WITH THE GREAT AMERICAN
GARY COOPER IN A
PICTURE?

Robert says A DELIGHTFUL MAN.
I THINK A SURPRISE
TO MOST PEOPLE.
HE CERTAINLY WAS TO ME.
I, LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE,
ONLY KNEW... THE LEGEND.
THE LEGEND AND THE FANTASY.
BUT HE WAS TRULY A PRO.
HE... I KNOW WE HAVE
DIFFERENT STANDARDS.
HE SHOWED UP ON TIME.
HE KNEW HIS LINES.
HE ALWAYS WAS PROMPT.
A TOTAL GENTLEMAN.
THE ONE THING THAT WAS NOT
A LEGEND, I FOUND, WAS HIS
ATTRACTION TO THE LADIES AND
THEIR ATTRACTION TO HIM.
HE WAS, BY ALL STANDARDS I'VE
EVER KNOWN, THE MOST POPULAR
MAN WITH THE LADIES I
EVER MET OR ENCOUNTERED.

Elwy says IS THAT SO?

Robert says AND VERY ACTIVE,
VERY BUSY.

Elwy laughs and says OH, THAT'S A MARVELLOUS
STORY, REALLY.
BECAUSE LIKE SO MANY
OTHERS, I JUST LOVED HIM.
RESPECTED HIM.

Robert says HE WAS A DELIGHTFUL,
LOVELY MAN.

Elwy says AND A GREAT ACTOR.
LLOYD BRIDGES SAID
SOMETHING FUNNY, ONCE.
HE WORKED WITH HIM, I
THINK, ON
HIGH NOON
FOR THE FIRST TIME.
AND HE SAID, HE WAS APPALLED,
THIS LEGEND, IN THE STUDIO,
AFTER A DAY, HE
SAID, DID NOTHING.
AND HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING
UNTIL I SAW THE RUSHES.
AND HE SAID, OH, MY GOD,
WHAT WAS HAPPENING UP
ON THE SCREEN.

Robert says I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE
ENOUGH TIME ON THIS PROGRAM,
BUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT
HAPPENED ON THAT SHOW.
HE BECAME CONCERNED THAT BURT
WAS STEALING THE PICTURE,
AND IF YOU RECALL IN
VERA CRUZ , BURT DOES HAVE A VERY
FLAMBOYANT --

Elwy says THEY SPAR ALL THE
WAY THROUGH IT.

Robert says ATHLETIC PART.
AND I WAS CALLED UPON TO
REASSURE HIM BURT WAS NOT
STEALING THE PICTURE.
AND I SAID, I REALLY WOULD
LIKE TO WAGER WITH YOU THAT
WHEN YOU, COOPER, HAVE TO
LEAN OVER LANCASTER, WHO, BY
NECESSITY HAD TO SHOOT AT THE
END, THAT THE AUDIENCE'S EYES
WILL BE FILLED WITH TEARS
BECAUSE OF YOUR PERFORMANCE
AND BECAUSE OF
YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
AND HE DIDN'T
QUITE BELIEVE THAT.
SO I THINK WE WENT TO SAN
DIEGO, I'M NOT WHERE THE
PREVIEW WAS.
AND I HAPPENED TO BE LUCKY.
I HAPPENED TO BE RIGHT.
THE AUDIENCE JUST LOVED HIM.
AND I WON'T SAY IN TEARS,
BUT THEY WERE DEEPLY,
EMOTIONALLY TOUCHED.
WHEN THE SHOW WAS OVER,
COOPER CAME OUT, AND SAID,
YOU WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.
AND HE WAS VERY PROUD
OF HIS PERFORMANCE.

John says I'VE TRIED VERY HARD TO MAKE
PICTURES THE BEST I COULD.
AND THE THING THAT I TREASURE
MOST IS THEIR ACCEPTANCE BY
AN AUDIENCE.
BY CRITICS, TOO, BUT
MOSTLY BY AN AUDIENCE.
THE BIG THRILL IS TO
SEE A PICTURE WORK.
I'VE TRIED TO MAKE PICTURES
THAT WERE ABOUT COURAGE,
ABOUT THE GOODNESS AND THE
ESSENTIAL DECENCY OF MAN.
BECAUSE I THINK, WHILE THEY
ARE NOT THE ONLY FORM OF
THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENT,
THEY'RE ONE OF THE BEST.
I'VE TRIED TO, LIKE
EVERYONE, MAKE STORIES
ABOUT CONFLICT, SUSPENSE.
WHEN YOU MAKE THAT WORK, AND
YOU MAKE AN AUDIENCE ENJOY
SOMETHING FOR A COUPLE OF
HOURS, YOU FEEL YOU'VE MADE
SOME KIND OF MARK ON YOUR
OWN LIFE, AND OTHER PEOPLE.
THAT'S THE BEST PART.

The end credits roll. They read “Talking Film. Hosted by Elwy Yost. Producer Bruce Pittman. Production Assistant Judy Kelly. Unit Manager Vickie Gilchrist. Video Tape Editor Jim Crewe. Executive Producer Elwy Yost.” A logo appears. It reads “Copyright A production of T.V. Ontario. The Ontario Educational Communications Authority, 1979.”

Watch: The Western