The McConnell Story (1955)

Mike's Take On the Movies .......... Rediscovering Cinema's Past

Not only does this Warner Brothers feature have James Whitmore which gives it instant credibility but it’s star players Alan Ladd playing opposite June Allyson sparkle on screen together making me wish the duo had done other films as a team. Ladd’s the energetic youngster who wants to be a fighter pilot and June is as always the spunky young gal that captures his heart and joins his lifetime adventure.

If he’s to be a flier it would appear as if Ladd is in the wrong branch of the service. He’s constantly going AWOL and taking flying lessons with Dabbs Greer while being pursued by MP, Gregory Walcott. It’s not exactly sitting well with his sergeant either played by Frank Faylen. It’s on one of his off base adventures that he comes across June and he’s smitten. From here forward the two are inseparable until the war intervenes. Ladd finally…

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RUDOLPH MATE’S BRANDED (1950)

Alfred Eaker

Branded (1950) lobby card

Rudolph Maté’s Branded emerged at the dawn of the 1950′s. It stars Alan Ladd and is little remembered today, due in part to Ladd’s being cast in George Stevens’ phenomenally popular Shane a mere three years later. I do not side with the consensus of contemporary criticism in the reassessment that says Stevens’ classic is overrated, just as I will not concede to revisionist opinions regarding High Noon (1952), although I do believe there were, and still are, better westerns: Henry King’s The Gunfighter, Budd Boetticher’s‘ The Tall T, or Anthony Mann’s Naked Spur. However,Branded is as almost as good as the film which sealed the surprising superstardom of Ladd.

Branded (1950) Alan Ladd. theatrical poster

There is something quintessentially cinematic and mythic in the image of a man on a horse under an expansive sky. Branded fills that bill to the Technicolor brim, contradicting an often held opinion that Westerns simply look better…

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Tribute to one of the most popular actors of the 1940's

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