Sunday, November 26, 2017

French titles of Tom Tyler films

Galloping Thru 1931
As promised, here is a partial list of French titles of some Tom Tyler movies. It is surprising that France has a considerable western film fans base, at least large enough for a discussion forum to exist. This is of course a good thing, and the popularity of Tom Tyler in France dates back to the European distribution of Tom's FBO silent films as described in the article titled "Grows Abroad, Brown Finds" in Exhibitor's Herald, May 7, 1927 found on the Articles page of the main wesbite, Aventuras de Tom Tyler. Many thanks to and Western Movies Forum, France for the French titles.

Silent films:

The Masquerade Bandit (1926) – Le trésor du ranch
Phantom of the Range (1928) –  Le ranch de la soif
'Neath Western Skies (1929) – Le lion du ranch/Le Vol du Diamant

Stagecoach 1939

The Phantom of the West (1931) – Le fantome du Far West
Battling with Buffalo Bill (1931) – Buffalo Bill
Galloping Thru (1931) –  La diligence infernale
Single Handed Saunders (1932) – Seul Contre Tous
Tracy Rides (1934) – La terreur de la plaine
Ridin' On (1936) – Rivière tragique
Santa Fe Bound (1936) – Le rocher de la mort
The Last Outlaw (1936) – Le dernier hors-la-loi
Stagecoach (1939) – La chevauchee fantastique
The Mummy's Hand (1940) – La main de la momie
Riders of the Timberline (1941) –  Rivaux de la Foret
Valley of the Sun (1942) – La vallee du soleil
Valley of Hunted Men (1942) – La vallée des hommes traqués
The Talk of the Town (1942) – La justice des hommes
Thundering Trails (1943) –  La piste infernale
Gun to Gun (1944) –  Du sang sur le ranch
Boss of Boomtown (1944) – L'attaque de la mine
The Dude Goes West (1948) –  Le bourgeois temeraire
Blood on the Moon (1948) – Ciel rouge
Return of the Badmen (1948) – Far-west 89
The Younger Brothers (1949) – Le gang des quatre freres
I Shot Jesse James (1949) – J'ai tue Jesse James
Riders of the Range (1950) – Les cavaliers de la prairie
Best of the Badmen (1951) – Plus fort que la loi
The Lion and the Horse (1952) – Le lion et le cheval

Single Handed Saunders 1932. Hebdo Film, Paris, France, July 9, 1932

Friday, November 24, 2017

Buck Moon Trail, Part 1

Note: This is the first part of a series of fan fiction. Please keep in mind that outside of the primary character, Tom Tyler, all others are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Screencaps are from Tom's movies and are used simply as visuals. With the usual disclaimer aside, if you would like to link back to this story and need help doing so, please contact me at Thank you and enjoy the story!

A cloud of dirt obscured the wheels of a covered wagon that headed west towards Oklahoma, along with six horses and two goats in tow. After traveling what seemed like hundreds of miles the troupe of five people arrived in Missouri, having started the journey from New York state. The land out west was majestic but in a different manner than the Adirondacks. Of the five people, only one was a woman, anxious about traveling through the wild open country, anxious about one of the men on board who was ill and in need of some special medicine that would cure his illness. The woman sat behind the two men at the front, steering their way down the red and yellow hued roads. An ambivalent feeling came over her as she heard the ill man behind her, a sound not quite like a grunt, which made her head jerk in his direction. The man's amber eyes fell upon her face as he craned his neck to see what she was doing. Self conscious of the dust from the road on her green dress, she brushed it off, raised her eyebrows and sighed. The ill man beckoned to her but before she could rise and crawl over to him, she pulled a small bottle from the cotton purse tied at her waist, opened it and tossed a small beige capsule into her mouth and followed it with a swig of whisky. The ill man looked at her in a disparaging way.

“I know, Tom. Pretty ironic that you're the one needing medicine while I am busy self-medicating, huh.” The woman let out a tiny, demented laugh as she sank in the back of the covered wagon by his side. Her anxiety soon passed and her breathing rhythm changed. Tom's right hand reached out to gently stroke her long, wavy bronze hair. “Is the wagon spinning?” she sleepily asked. The last thing she remembered seeing was Tom's dark hair, a stray ringlet covering his forehead. But he smiled and shook his head at her.

“No, it isn't spinning my dear Julie” he replied, in his familiar and reassuring gravelly voice. His eyes looked deeply into hers.

“Oh that's good.” Julie leaned back against a pillow and tried to get some sleep after lunch. Tom was able to force down some hot stew which Julie lovingly fed him, periodically offering him a bite of bread. She turned her face towards him, watching his look upwards, the fabric and beams forming the safe and cozy shelter of the wagon. “That's good,” she repeated, as she closed her eyes and began to doze off. Julie listened to the faint voices of the two men up front, while the third man rode a stallion ahead of the covered wagon. She was glad the days were longer, traveling during the summer month of July. The hot weather did not bother her too much, and the nights cooled down considerably. The troupe was to make one more stop over the next few hours before they shacked up for the night under the clear skies. Nothing eventful was anticipated, and there were no Indian tribe attacks since they began their journey. Hopefully it would stay that way, and safety was of utmost importance with Tom in their midst. Julie was protective of him although the other men advised her to give him some breathing room, to which she ignored. What if he were to die during their journey? The last thing they could handle was a young woman, too emotionally attached to a dying man. Tom did not seem to be concerned with them, for all he cared about was their getting him to their destination. Of course he appreciated the comfort and aid from Julie but there was something about her Tom could not quite figure out, and of course he was very patient with her – maybe too patient. Perhaps it was his hoping that she might confidentially impart what he was seeking to know about Julie. Tom decided to wait though at the present time and let her sleep after she spent the entire previous night awake keeping an eye on his failing health.

To be continued...

Saturday, November 18, 2017

More Spanish titles of Tom Tyler films

To continue with the translation of Spanish film titles (which is not easy by any means), below are a handful which are seen in Spain newspapers such as Luz: Diario de la Republica and La Voz for the time period of the late 1920's and early 1930's. As usual, those Spanish titles appearing on film booklets published in Barcelona are considerably easier to identify if only for their containment of more than one identifier on the title page, such as additional actor names, as well as character names in the story, neither of which requires a degree of mastery in the Spanish language.

Silent films:

Born to Battle (1926) - Nacido para luchar (click here to see an alternative Spanish title )

Tom's Gang (1927) - Tom y Su Cuadrilla

Cyclone of the Range (1927) - El Tigre del Rancho

Splitting the Breeze (1927) - Bebiendo los vientos

Pioneers of the West (1929) - Jinetes del Oeste

Neath Western Skies (1929) - Bajo el cielo del Oeste


Valley of the Sun (1940) - El Valle del Sol

Some French and German titles of Tom's films will appear in an upcoming blog post.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Surgery in a covered wagon: “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”

One of the most significant and memorable scenes that takes place in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949) has Tom Tyler as Corporal Mike Quayne who is injured during an Indian attack and has to undergo surgery to remove the bullet from the wound in a covered wagon during the trek through Indian territory out west. The commanding officer, Captain Nathan Brittles (John Wayne) is only a few days away from retirement yet has to guide his cavalry through one last mission – and at the same time, look after Major Mac Allshard's (George O'Brien) wife Abby (Mildred Natwick) and her niece, Olivia Dandridge (Joanne Dru). As an installment of director John Ford's cavalry trilogy, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, the movie stresses the magnificent land of the west, and not surprisingly, won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Color).

From the time we see Corporal Quayne appearing on horseback seated behind another officer over the crest of the hill, escaping a band of marauding Indians, to when he falls off and collapses onto the ground, injured, to when he is finally propped up by two men so that he could deliver his message to Captain Brittles, is dramatic in itself although not the highest point of the movie for Tom Tyler.

And with him horse and foot--and parks of artillery,
And artillery-men, the deadliest that ever fired gun.

Yet with his hair all astray, a bandana tied around his forehead, Quayne explains to his superior that his injury might have been preventable had his men some aid from Captain Brittles. Quayne is guided off in the direction of the covered wagon where he is about to undergo surgery to remove the bullet from his chest wound, temporarily disappearing from the story, to help build up the next scene to come, which takes place during inclement weather.

As the day progresses during the cavalry's march, the blue western skies slowly transform into dark clouds, a bolt of lightning flashing in the distance. While the simulated thunderstorm took place according to the script – at the same moment during filming, a real thunderstorm was looming over the horizon, providing just the right atmosphere for the surgery scene to take place. Laid up in the covered wagon, Abby and Dr. O'Laughlin (Arthur Shields) commence with the operation. Quayne displays a number of painful expressions, teeth gritting, sweat beading upon his forehead as Abby gets ready to administer him a shot of whiskey to help deaden the pain to come. She holds the glass before his lips, but Quayne lifts his hand to move the glass away and replies “After you Ma'am”, to which she takes a swig of the liquor before handing him the glass. Quayne drinks, and they start singing the cavalry song, right before he is finally knocked out so that Dr. O'Laughlin can remove the bullet from his chest. The cavalry continues on its trek, as the thunderstorm continues during the entire scene. Enveloped in total darkness, wrapped up as comfortably as he can be, relaxed for the doctor so the surgery is successful and recovery can be swift, the thunder of darkness along with the whisky shot, offers contentment to Quayne.

Not completely gone from the story, we see Corporal Quayne one last time, days after his surgery while he is recovering, heavily bandaged up and sitting on the end of the covered wagon and anxious to get back into action. Captain Brittles denies the request and orders Quayne back into the wagon so that his recovery is complete. This is the last we see of Quayne in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” and as with Tom's other minor roles in A-westerns, a powerful piece of acting is delivered. What is also significant about this role is that the progressive effects of scleroderma are visible in Tom's face, a terminal disease which has no cure even in 2017.

“She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” is not the first movie where Tom is in a role undergoing surgery in a covered wagon; “The Forty Niners” (1932) has a similar scene minus the actual surgery taking place. In this case, a group of men and women head out west to California to seek their wealth in the gold rush, and Tom, as Tennessee Matthews, gets into a fight with another man (Al Bridge) over a woman. Plugged from the front, Tennessee passes out, injured, and is carried into one of the covered wagons where the unseen doctor removes the bullet. Tennessee recovers, and while he is laid upon blankets, he also has mosquito netting covering him in order to prevent further infection.

Similar to his role in “Stagecoach”, Tom Tyler is onscreen only for a few minutes in the three scenes he appears in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” but makes the most of them, his experience in silent film paying off once again. Had “Stagecoach” been shot in Technicolor, it probably would be similar to this movie, since John Ford directed both, it is not difficult to imagine the vibrant pink, orange and purple colors dominating the western sky, stretching over the raw land of reds and yellows. As a supporting actor, Tom's acting talent is as fine as it comes, and as with the B-westerns of his silent film career, shows that he is perfectly suited to films of the western genre.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Now that you've been introduced to Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel...

Now that the upcoming “Shazam!” movie finally has its star in the form of Zachary Levi, not to mention the new Blu-ray DVD release of “Adventures of Captain Marvel” (Republic), a whole new generation is discovering the work of Tom Tyler. This is of course a very good thing, and once the newly converted Tom Tyler fan takes a serious interest, the next question usually is: “What movie of his should I see next? He made so many of them!” For the fan who likes both superhero movies and westerns, there is the option of watching Tom in the 1941 film serial “The Phantom”, or one of his Three Mesquiteer movies which he also made for Republic. In the latter, the familiar sets are decked with stagecoaches, horses, and a quaint western town. The soundtrack used in “Adventures of Captain Marvel” can also be heard throughout these Three Mesquiteer films. Recommended films: “The Blocked Trail”, “Shadows of the Sage”, “Code of the Outlaw”, and “Riders of the Rio Grande”.

Assuming “The Phantom” and one or two of the Three Mesquiteer movies satisfy, what is next on the roster?

"Call of the Desert"
To go into a direct line back to Tom Tyler's career origins – that of B-westerns for FBO, one of his silent films is highly recommended viewing. There are presently four of his silent films which are available “Call of the Desert”, “Canyon of Missing Men”, “The Texas Tornado” and “Phantom of the Range” (1928). The two latter ones were made for FBO, with the other two made for Syndicate. All four are excellent, and give the viewer an idea of just how far back Tom Tyler's career goes as a silent film leading man. It may be true that he did not resemble the average silent film leading man, as Tom Tyler was above average in more ways than one. Transitioning from silents to early talkies, Tom made B-westerns for Monogram, Reliable, and Victory. These movies are fun to watch, and are all family friendly. Recommended films in this category are: “Two Fisted Justice”, “Tracy Rides”, “Coyote Trails”, “The Feud of the Trail” and “Deadwood Pass”. The plots may be simple, the land beautiful and wild, just perfect for an actor like Tom Tyler. He certainly did not require fancy, lavish sets to play off his rugged masculine persona.

"The Mummy's Hand"
In addition to “Adventures of Captain Marvel” and “The Phantom”, Tom Tyler also made a number of other film serials. Westerns are “Battling with Buffalo Bill” and “The Phantom of the West”, although “The Phantom of the Air” is a fun airplane-stunt filled serial too that is highly recommended.

Much has been made of Tom's role as the movie monster in “The Mummy's Hand” and for a good reason; he was well suited to the role, with his stature and carriage. Don't forget his creepy eyes, courtesy of a camera trick. But his eyes in real life are hardly creepy, and quite nice to look at. There are many supporting film roles Tom Tyler had in dramas like “Brother Orchid” ,“The Talk of the Town” and “King of Alcatraz” worth watching, which prove just how versatile an actor he was.

For the icing on the cake, don't forget to watch John Ford's “Stagecoach” in which Tom Tyler's role as Luke Plummer has been critically acclaimed. Long available on DVD, this movie is a must-have, and is considered to be one of the greatest westerns of all time.

Enjoy your journey through Tom Tyler's movies!