Wild Bill Elliott: In Glorious Sepia Tone

After a string of excellent little pictures for Republic like personal favorites Hellfire (1949) and The Showdown (1950), Bill Elliott signed a six-picture deal with Monogram (later to become Allied Artists). These six films, which included Kansas Territory (1953), while certainly cheap, are surprisingly adult — and boast some real talent on both sides of the camera. Directors like Lewis Collins and Thomas Carr. Casts that include Peggy Stewart, Fuzzy Knight, Denver Pyle, Robert J. Wilke, George Wallace and Phyllis Coates. Scripts often by Dan Ullman. And top-notch cinematography by Ernest Miller — “filmed in glorious sepia tone.”

When you come across these things, which is seldom these days, they’re inevitably presented black and white. Which is a real shame, since the novelty of sepia tone makes these intriguing films even more, well, intriguing — and gives them a distinguished look. 

What a great multi-disc DVD set these would make.

Seems like just as the B Western was getting good — as these and the RKO Tim Holt pictures show — TV killed them off. What a drag.

Who is your favorite classic Western star? Let us know in the comments!

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