Stampede (1949)

Stampede (1949)
Running Time: 76 Minutes
Dir. Lesley Selander
Cast: Rod Cameron, Gale Storm, Johnny Mack Brown
Genre: Western

Screening Time: Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 1:05 p.m.

Storyline
A well-told Western about a range war between cattle ranchers, culminating in–guess what? Born in Calgary, Alberta, six-and-a-half foot Cameron is a natural-born cowboy.

4 Comments

  1. IMDBReviewer

    January 10, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Big budget Allied Artists western ‘spectacular’ has two really interesting moments: THE ALLIED ARTISTS LOGO done in a TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX style which is a very effective copy; and the big Stampede itself where hundreds of mad cows steer their way over a cliff. Maybe AA borrowed the Lydeckers from Republic or maybe they hopped over the studio fence to help out after hours, because it is a very well created scene in miniature that is quite convincing. From memory it is in a lightning storm…not a Gale Storm but a real studio storm. Gale Storm IS in this film, fresh from the Monogram musical blockbuster SUNBONNET SUE and perhaps some campus hi-jinks with Elyse Knox in another University set swing programmer (usually with Frankie Darro and Manton Moreland)….but I digress. STAMPEDE is a romantic western drama made with an attempt to showcase ALLIED ARTISTS as an arm of MONOGRAM that delivers bigger budget pix for the new age of ‘competing with television’ in the USA of 1949. Written by Blake Edwards!

  2. IMDBReviewer

    January 10, 2017 at 9:19 am

    …Gale Storm's size 5 pointy-toe boots on the shin, Ouch! All this in Allied Artist's rock'em-sock'em 1949 western Stampede. Allied Artists, not to be confused with United Artists, was an outgrowth of cheap movie font Monogram, a new label for the modest production company's more expensive pictures. While the budget for Stampede was no doubt comfortably below that of the $1,200,000 layout for the company's critical and financial hit of 1947, It Happened On Fifth Avenue, this highly entertaining western nevertheless qualified as a medium or "B-plus" production. But director Lesley Selander and producer Blake Edwards, who also co-scripted, were a pair who knew how to make every available dollar count. Selander was a veteran of dozens,(eventually over a hundred) B-grade westerns and other programmers starring the likes of Tim Holt, William Boyd, and Gene Autry, while Edwards would later gain fame and considerable fortune with the popular Peter Gunn television show and the fabulously successful Pink Panther series of feature pictures. No wonder Stampede comes off a tightly-knit, impressively filmed, dramatically engaging, outdoor picture of the type highly satisfying to the western aficionado.

    The plot, cattlemen versus homesteaders, could be labeled western scenario #6, but who cares — there hasn't been a new story since 33 A.D. It's the treatment that counts, and it is very well done here with a number of intriguing twists and some unexpected turns. Tall, raw-boned Cameron plays a cattle baron, so hard-nosed in resisting the homesteaders who have legally bought land he had regarded as his range, that he comes off almost an antihero in the opening reels. Diminutive Gale Storm plays the feisty homesteader tomboy who provides his formidable opposition, and of course his eventual love interest. Good support comes from Johny Mack Brown as a sure-shot sheriff friendly to the cattleman, Don Castle as Cameron's happy-go-lucky brother, Jonathan Hale as the cattleman's fair-minded attorney, with John Miljan, Donald Curtis, and John Eldridge as a trio of shady land dealers stirring up trouble.

    Much of the considerable entertainment value of this modest western come from the intelligent script by Edwards and John C. Champion, with well-developed characters and lots of snappy, colorful dialog, especially the sharp exchanges between Storm and the two cattlemen brothers. Black and white cinematography by Harry Neumann is first rate. The brutal fist fight segueing into a gunfight and back again to a fight fight inside a dark stable qualifies as a minor masterpiece of action filming. The starkly lighted, obliquely angled shots in this an other night scenes demonstrates how what is now known as the film noir style, all the rage in the late 1940's, filtered down even to unpretentious westerns.

    Stampede is an action packed, dramatically engaging, beautifully filmed, smoothly edited western. Top notch entertainment from Old Hollywood's Golden Era.

  3. Anonymous

    January 10, 2017 at 9:19 am

    The team that made "Stampede" (1949) also made "Short Grass" (1950). These are good B+ westerns. This one has more of a noir tilt than "Short Grass". Rod Cameron plays an uncompromising cattleman who runs a spread with his happy-go-lucky brother Don Castle. The territory has become subject to new land laws and a rather unscrupulous group has sold off lots to some people from Illinois. Their parcels lack water, because long ago Cameron's dad damned up a river and created his own lake. The speculators pressure Cameron through the local banker's calling in his loan. A full scale conflict develops. Gale Storm plays a feisty settler whom Castle likes but who seems to set her sights on Cameron, while still battling him at every turn.

    Rod Cameron in westerns is sort of like a predecessor to Clint Eastwood's man with no name, even though he has a name in his movies. He has a certain independence, a bearing, a strong delivery of brief lines, a quiet strength. He's also not an unambiguous good guy. His character and persona are very different from the leads in the western series like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.

    The cinematography in this movie is competitive with many film noirs. It can be enjoyed from that angle.

  4. Anonymous

    January 10, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Big budget is a relative term and while Stampede wouldn't pass muster as a B film at MGM, Paramount etc. it's a good and grim western from Allied Artists. It's a cut rate version with the same issues about ranchers and homesteaders that MGM's Sea Of Grass or Paramount's Shane have. In a far more humorous vein John Wayne's McLintock explores the same issues.

    Rod Cameron certainly sits as tall in the saddle as the Duke did. Unlike John Wayne, Cameron never escaped B pictures. He's the local McLintock in Stampede who built himself a nice cattle empire with his more easy going brother Don Castle. He's also built himself a dam and settlers who've bought parcels of land now have no water.

    There seems to be a lot of personal animus directed at Cameron by villains John Eldredge and John Miljan for no discernible reason other than jealousy. They seem to want to bring him down just on general principles. Among the settlers that Miljan and Eldredge bring are Steve Clark and his daughter Gale Storm.

    Cameron may never have cracked the A picture market as a star. But Stampede is a fine B western and the climax is the title.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *