Sunday, 10 February 2013

Fort Defiance, Promos and Lobby Cards

It's time to upload all the lobby cards and promos I've discovered so far for Fort Defiance. There are some beautiful pictures here. I try to get them in as high a resolution as possible, but a couple are quite small.

The descriptions of some of these contain plot spoilers.

Some Posed Promos

Peter Graves as Ned Tallon.

In these pictures Peter Graves doesn't seem to be trying to look particularly blind, as his character is. Of course, I love his character in this film. On IMDB it appears to be his fourth role, but two of those roles were uncredited. It's his second big appearance since Rogue River, and was released in the same year. He's just so young, it's hard to get over it. As a character, Ned is wonderful. Determined and brave (occasionally a little stupid.) Blinded some years ago due to his brother's feud with Dave Parker, the local saloon owner, he's left on the family ranch while his brother is away at war. He may not have top billing, but the entire film revolves around his story.

Peter Graves as Ned Tallon and Tracey Roberts as Julie Morse.

Again, Peter Graves is looking cute and handsome, but doesn't seem to be in character as blind Ned. Tracey  Roberts' character is supposed to be about his age, but the actress is twelve years older than him.

Tracey Roberts as Julie Morse.

This was interesting casting. As I said above, she/s twelve years older than Peter Graves, but meant to be the same age. She sometimes comes across as quite hard - but perhaps a dance hall hostess would have to be hard at times. It may be the protective part in me. I want her to be sweet and homely, to be a nice innocent girl for Ned - but perhaps it's best that she's not. She'll need to stand up for him quite a lot in life, I feel.

She's also in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode 'The Love Affair.' Her last appearance, believe it or not, was in Mr Bean!

Ben Johnson as Ben Shelby.

I like Ben Johnson. I like the character he plays in this film, but I like him anyway. He seems to have quite a following on the internet. He's also been in two episodes of Route 66, and three episodes of Gunsmoke (I'd like to see them) and is a hell of a horse rider.

Here he plays Ben Shelby, a rancher and ex-Civil War soldier who has come to the Tallon ranch to gain revenge on Johnny Tallon, who let Ben's brother and his entire regiment get slaughtered in the war. He doesn't expect to fall in with Johnny's brother Ned, and his Uncle Charlie, but he ends up forming a life-long friendship.

Dane Clark as Johnny Tallon.

I like Dane Clark too. His character in this film as Ned's brother is wonderful. He does seem as if he's from Arizona by way of Brooklyn (where Clark was born) but I can forgive him that. He has such a wonderful dry, acerbic sense of humour and although he pushes Ned around and may have been a coward at one point in the Civil War, he's just brilliant. Everything he does seems to stem from a sense of guilt and responsibility towards Ned, so you can forgive him a lot. Since the war he's been knocking around robbing banks and killing, but it seems that his moment of war cowardice and the robberies since were all due to his drive to survive and get money to help Ned.

He's also in one episode of Mission: Impossible (Hit), and (this is awesome) has also been in an episode of Quincy M.E.! He's also been in Highway to Heaven, but we'll gloss over that. 

Stills from the Film.

Ned throws himself to the ground as Ben Shelby shoots an interloper who wants to make off with their cattle. I think this is about the only lobby card where you get to see Uncle Charlie (far right), who's a wonderful character played by George Cleveland.

Ben and Ned have a confrontation with Brave Bear, who is about to take their cattle in response to pressure on the Native Americans by the government. Brave Bear was played by Iron Eyes Cody, who was actually the son of Italian immigrants and not Native American at all, although IMDB says 'He married an Indian woman, Bertha Parker, and together they adopted two Indian sons. Iron Eyes Cody lived and worked as an Indian for all his adult life; he labored for decades to promote Native American causes, and was honored by Hollywood's Native American community in 1995 for his efforts.'

During the Indian attack, Johnny gives Julie a gun so she can defend herself and Ned if needs be. It's a moment which shows the caring behind Johnny's toughness and bravado.

Three stills of the Indian attack. It's a silly attack - basically they circle round and round the stagecoach so the white men can pick them off one by one - but it does make for some dramatic filming and lovely shots of horses.

In desperation, to stop Johnny taking him to San Francisco against his will, Ned pulls a gun on his brother.

This is the same as the one above, but a different card, so I've included it for completeness' sake.

Johnny wrestles the gun from Ned.

In the end, Johnny agrees to let Ned stay with Ben, and promises to sort out Dave Parker, who wants to kill all the Tallons, so he goes to Dave Parker's saloon to force him to buy the ranch so that Ned can set up somewhere new. Dave Parker isn't there, so he has to deal with his man, Joe Doniger (Duke York), who gets as far as saying, 'Over my dead - ' before Johnny takes him at his word. He's shown here with his gun out, which is about a tenth of a second before Johnny shoots him.

Johnny keeps a sharp eye on the patrons of the bar while the bartender (Lee Phelps) gets him the money from the register and safe.

Would you argue with this man?

While Johnny's gone, Ned has essentially asked Julie to marry him, and Ben has turned up after riding in from the canyon. Unfortunately, Johnny's return from the bar is swiftly followed by the arrival of Dave Parker and his gang. Johnny's assured of Ned's future, so he prepares to go out and face the Parker gang alone.

Johnny goes out to face his doom.

He manages to take down the entire Parker gang, except for Dave Parker himself, before he's shot down.

Inside, Ned and Julie are listening to the firefight outside. If Johnny doesn't succeed, they will be next. But of course, Johnny does succeed. Once Johnny falls, Ben goes out and shoots Dave Parker, and it's all over.

In the street in Fort Defiance after all the dust has settled, Julie, Ned, and Ben are waiting for Ben's wife to arrive. It's been said that James Arness wouldn't have a woman sitting in front of him on a horse, for reasons of modesty. Obviously Peter Graves is not so bashful. (Actually, come to think of it, they're not on the same horse here. It just looks like it.)

Finally, a couple of colour lobby cards and posters.

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