3 July 2012 | eric-baril
a pre Karlson's "Gunman's Walk"
Even though Phil Karlson is a cult film noir director, his B movies are hard to find, especially his B westerns like "Adventures in Silverado", "They Rode West", "The Texas Rangers", or "The Iroquois Trail". I saw these westerns ("The Texas Rangers" and "The Iroquois Trail" are really tough), but the early "Thunderhoof" is the most invisible one, beginning to think this western is for ever lost. Maybe my fate was never to see Preston Foster, William Bishop, Mary Stuart and the handsome horse Thunderhoof I've been admiring on stills and lobby cards from my collection. And I finally saw a 16mm print, discovering another great western by Phil Karlson. "Thunderhoof" is really a B western shot only in mountains, no town settings, with only three characters and two horses. And there is a lot of tension between these three characters, the same kind of tension we see in Karlson's western masterpiece "Gunman's Walk". And maybe this was too unusual and too mature in a 1948 western, and it could explain why it was forgotten till now. Phil Karlson's touch is there : filming on location, smart camera tricks, tough fight, horse friendship. Preston Foster and William Bishop have shot other great titles with Karlson. Today, Phil Karlson's films noirs are easy to find, I hope one day his B westerns will be also available. Tough Phil Karlson really needs complete recognition, a book on his career is still missing.