The Way West (1967)

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    • The Way West (1967)




      Plot Summary
      In the mid-19th century, Senator William J. Tadlock leads a group of settlers overland
      in a quest to start a new settlement in the Western US. Tadlock
      is a highly principled and demanding taskmaster who is as hard on himself
      as he is on those who have joined his wagon train.
      He clashes with one of the new settlers, Lije Evans, who doesn't quite appreciate Tadlock's ways.
      Along the way, the families must face death and heartbreak
      and a sampling of frontier justice when one of them accidentally kills a young Indian boy.
      Written by garykmcd

      Kirk Douglas ... Senator William J. Tadlock
      Robert Mitchum ... Dick Summers
      Richard Widmark ... Lije Evans
      Lola Albright ... Rebecca 'Becky' Evans
      Sally Field ... Mercy McBee
      Katherine Justice ... Amanda Mack
      Jack Elam ... Preacher Weatherby
      Stubby Kaye ... Sam Fairman
      Michael McGreevey ... Brownie Evans
      Harry Carey Jr. ... Mr. McBee (as Harry Carey)
      Connie Sawyer ... Mrs. McBee
      Michael Witney ... Johnnie Mack
      William Lundigan ... Michael Moynihan
      Elisabeth Fraser ... Mrs. Fairman (as Elizabeth Fraser)
      John Mitchum ... Little Henry
      Patric Knowles ... Captain Grant
      Hal Lynch ... Big Henry
      Timothy Scott ... Middle Henry
      Roy Glenn ... Saunders
      Paul Lukather ... Mr. Turley
      Stefan Arngrim Stefan Arngrim ...
      William J. Tadlock Jr.
      Roy Barcroft ... Mr. Masters
      Eve McVeagh ... Mrs. Masters
      Peggy Stewart ... Mrs. Turley
      Anne Barton ... Mrs. Moynihan
      Nick Cravat ... Calvelli
      Michael Keep ... Indian Brave
      Mike Lane ... Sioux Chief (as Michael Lane)
      and many more...

      Andrew V. McLaglen

      Writing Credits
      Ben Maddow ... (screenplay) and
      Mitch Lindemann ... (screenplay) (as Mitchell Lindemann)
      A.B. Guthrie Jr. ... (novel)

      Harold Hecht ... producer
      Mitch Lindemann ... associate producer (as Mitchell Lindemann)

      Bronislau Kaper ... (as Bronislaw Kaper)

      William H. Clothier ... director of photography

      Film debut of Sally Field.

      In 1956 Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions announced plans to film "The Way West."
      It was to be adapted by Clifford Odets and was to star Burt Lancaster,
      James Stewart and, hopefully, Gary Cooper. That version was not made.

      Lola Albright nearly drowned during the river crossing scene.
      The wagon she was in tipped over and she was trapped underwater
      when the contents of the wagon fell on her and pinned her down.
      When they finally got her out she was semi-conscious and spent the night in hospital.
      A day later she returned to the set, but they used a stunt woman to re-film the river scene.
      In interviews she has said she was deeply traumatized by this near-death experience.

      Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark reportedly did not get along with Kirk Douglas
      because of his tendency to usurp control of the project from the director.

      Shortly after the first River crossing scene, the wagon train passes
      a singular spire shaped rock formation.
      That is Chimney Rock, in the western part of Nebraska (Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska ).
      This location is approximately 600 miles from the wagon train"s
      starting point of Independence, Missouri, or about a third of the way
      into the journey of about 1,800 miles.
      At best, a wagon train might make 20 miles per day, with the troubles of river crossings,
      weather, and breakdowns of wagons.

      In his diaries, Charlton Heston states that he was seriously pursued for the Kirk Douglas role.

      This was first announced as a John Wayne starrer in 1951,
      two years after the source novel was first published.

      There was a minor helicopter crash on the set.

      Film debut of Katherine Justice.

      When the Indians capture Brownie you can see
      they are all wearing flesh colored underwear under their loincloth.

      Connie Sawyer (Mrs. McBee) and Kirk Douglas (Senator William J. Tadlock)
      both lived to see their 100th birthdays: Sawyer on November 27, 2012 and Douglas on December 9, 2016.

      Lola Albright is wearing a heavy pink lip gloss in some early scenes.

      Kirk Douglas' revolver was first made in 1860 or later.
      The time line of the period is 1843. He would have been using a
      percussion single Shot US Model 1842 or at best a civilian
      Patterson Colt with no trigger guard and especially, no side barrel extractor tube.

      A large tree that is felled during the raft building clearly has a large wedge
      cleanly cut out of it as from a chain saw.
      Even if a large two-man hand saw were being used, it is not shown,
      as every tree being cut that is shown, is being chopped down with an axe.

      Character error
      The Sioux chief's hair is not styled in the Sioux fashion.
      It more closely resembles that of the Pawnee, traditional Sioux enemies.

      During the river crossing several men in long "duster" coats
      appear on one side of the river and in the next shot, seconds later, are on the other side.
      They switch back and forth several times,

      Errors in geography
      The movie shows the wagon train in Oregon, moving East in the middle of the action.
      The mountains of Central Oregon, are shown clearly in the background,
      while all around the actors are surrounded by cinder rock formed by recent (within 500 year)
      volcanic activity. This isn't anything you'd see along the trail.

      When the party reaches the river, and the obviously parched humans fall into the water
      to take a drink of it, the livestock and horses seem to be curiously disinterested in doing so.

      Revealing mistakes
      When the Irishman is lowered into the Grand Canyon as "the first man ever",
      one can clearly see a gravel road at the bottom.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Old Tucson - 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona, USA
      Crooked River Gorge, Oregon, USA
      Mount Bachelor, Oregon, USA
      Bend, Oregon, USA
      Eugene, Oregon, USA
      Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
      Tucson, Arizona, USA

      Watch the Movie

      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 1 time, last by ethanedwards ().

    • The Way West is a 1967 American western film based on the
      Pulitzer Prize winning novel by A. B. Guthrie, Jr..
      The film stars Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, and Richard Widmark,
      and features Sally Field in her first major film role.
      The film was directed by veteran television director
      Andrew V. McLaglen and featured on-location cinematography by William H. Clothier.

      The film is notable for being the first big-budget western since
      1930's widescreen John Wayne spectacle The Big Trail,
      to show pioneers lowering a wagon train over a cliff with ropes.

      This was the first time that Mitchum and Douglas appeared
      in a film together since Out of the Past in 1947.

      Douglas had previously filmed another A.B. Guthrie novel, The Big Sky.

      The movie stars Duke's, 'Pals, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark
      and also features Jack Elam, Harry Carey Jr.,John Mitchum
      Directed by 'Pal' Andrew V. McLaglen and cinematography by William H. Clothier

      User Review

      Wagon train western you can practically follow with a check-list...
      6 May 2009 | by moonspinner55 (las vegas, nv)

      moon wrote:

      In 1843 Missouri, hot-headed senator Kirk Douglas leads a large group of chosen people across rugged terrain to start "a new Jerusalem" in Oregon; he picks a half-blind pioneer scout (mourning the death of his Indian wife!) to help lead them, but immediately clashes with a family man over incidental matters; meanwhile, a sex-starved teenage girl has a fling with a married man, resulting in personal tragedy and an Indian attack (don't ask). A small pox outbreak is falsely reported, there's a wedding, a frigid woman goes insane, and the trail comes to an end at the Grand Canyon. A.B. Guthrie, Jr.'s book becomes somewhat besotted western epic with star-names, mixing vulgar jokes and inanities with ripe old clichés. A voice-over narration and a patriotic song come clean out of nowhere, while snarling Douglas blames himself for a death and asks a servant to whip him.

      It's cheap and low-brow all the way, but most viewers in the mood for a picture such as this probably won't be disappointed. There are some solid elements worth mentioning: William H. Clothier's outdoor cinematography is fine in the old-fashioned sense; and, although Bronislau Kaper whips up a dusty frenzy with his ridiculous score, the pacing is jaunty throughout and the wagons roll along at a fast clip. Douglas and Richard Widmark manage to retain their movie star allure, though Robert Mitchum was looking haggard by this time (and his performance is intentionally forgettable--he cancels out all his interest in the proceedings with one heavy sigh). Sally Field makes an inauspicious movie debut which I'm fairly certain she'd rather forget, but Lola Albright has a pleasing smile and Michael Witney does well as the handsome married man who can't get his wife to submit...but why does he shoot blindly into a rustling bush at night when it could have been his wife spying on him? Perhaps he was hoping it was! **1/2 from ****
      Best Wishes
      London- England