Willie Nelson on set of Pair of Aces movie set.
Willie Nelson on set of Pair of Aces movie set.
“Stagecoach” is being released on Blu-ray on June 21, 2016
by: Joe Corey
The original Stagecoach was the film that established the stardom of both John Wayne and director John Ford. The movie thrilled audiences in 1939 with the action and landscape shots of Monument Valley. The film was a sensation, but vanished for a while when the negative and prints went missing. For the most part, Stagecoach was known by a 1966 remake starring Red Buttons and Bing Crosby. It wasn’t until the early ’70s when a battered print found in John Wayne’s garage. The prints was restored and returned to the public eye. There was such a glory to this Western that established so much. But this is not the Stagecoachbeing reviewed here.
During 1985 Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson had joined up as The Highwaymen. This country supergroup proved to be hot enough that they were able to get their own movie of the week Western. Kenny Rogers was doing well with his Gambler movie. But what kinda of Western could these four men make? A classic sound deserves a classic story. Thus they Highwaymen were put on a Stagecoach and sent to Lordsburg. Kristofferson gets the John Wayne role of the Ringo Kid. Cash rides on top as Marshal Curly Wilcox. Jennings is the gambler risking a route through Apache land. Willie alters his character to be Doc Holliday. These quite a few familiar faces on the bumpy road including Anthony Newley (Garbage Pail Kids), June Carter Cash, John Carter Cash, Elizabeth Ashley, Mary Crosby and David Allan Coe. John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard) gets to take the reins of the horses as he drives his narrator into the frontier.
Since this is a TV movie adaptation, this version of Stagecoach goes under a different set of pacing. There are commercial breaks that must be part of act structure (although no commercials on the Blu-ray). Director Ted Post is noted for helming Clint Eastwood in Hang ‘Em High. He understood TV from his decades of directing episodes of Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Rawhide. This plays to the best of a TV Western. There’s a lot more talk and close ups of the musical stars. The fact that there’s four stars in the film, has the climax change so it isn’t about the Ringo Kid going it alone in his big face off. He’s got three others joining him with their guns drawn. Seeing how this is about having four accomplished performers as the headliners, it’s not that musical. Willie Nelson wrote a few songs, but this isn’t a long form music video for The Highwaymen. It’s a straight Western for Kristofferson like his work in Heaven’s Gate. While this isn’t quite up to the 1939 original, it’s much better than the 1966 remake.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The 1080p transfer brings out a lot of details lost on a 1986 TV broadcast. Willie Nelson looks so smooth in the higher resolution. The audio is DTS-HD MA Stereo. It’s not that overwhelming of a mix since it was meant to be heard on tiny TV speakers. The movie is subtitled.
No bonus features.
Olive Films presents Stagecoach. Directed by: Ted Post. Screenplay by: James Lee Barrett. Starring:
Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Elizabeth Ashley, Waylon Jennings. Running Time: 95 minutes. Rated: Unrated. Released: June 21, 2016.
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Eric Clapton’s second Crossroads Guitar Festival will be immortalized on DVD Nov. 20 via Rhino, Billboard.com has learned. The double-DVD set features 38 tracks from the July 28, 2007, show outside Chicago, with performances from Clapton, Jeff Beck, Sheryl Crow, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Steve Winwood and Willie Nelson, among many others.
Among the highlights of “Crossroads” are former Blind Faith mates Clapton and Winwood’s first on-stage collaboration in 25 years, Clapton dusting off material from Derek and the Dominos plus covering George Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity” and a rare live appearance from the Band’s Robbie Robertson with Clapton on Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love.”
The package wraps with Buddy Guy’s “Sweet Home Chicago,” featuring guest turns from Clapton, Robert Cray, John Mayer, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmie Vaughan and Johnny Winter.
Here is the track list for “Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007”: (more…)
Willie Nelson is a country singer on the road caught in a romantic triangle with Dyan Cannon and Amy Irving, the daughter of one of his longtime musical sidekick.
Director: Jerry Schatzberg
by: Samantha Stephens
It’s Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson like you’ve never experienced them. That’s because this concert footage has never been seen before.
CMT has the video premiere of the super group’s performance of “Good Hearted Woman,” recorded live at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, on March 14, 1990.
It’s all part of the new collection The Highwaymen Live — American Outlaws, a CD/DVD package arriving May 20 with previously unreleased concert performances from the legends.
In addition to the complete concert from their 1990 tour, the Columbia/Legacy package includes various performances at Farm Aid and a previously unreleased version of Cash and Jennings’ take on Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings.”
American Masters — The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End, a new feature-length documentary on the supergroup, will premiere May 27 on PBS.
Professional safecracker Frank (James Caan) visits Okla (Willie Nelson) to get some advice for his life on the outside and gets some very good advice: “Lie to no one,” and then is asked to do the impossible — get Okla out of prison before he dies.
In addition to Willie Nelson, the movie, released in 1981, stars James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Dennis Farina, James Belushi, and others.
Red Headed Stranger began its 39-day shooting schedule on April 29, 1985, on locations in and around Austin, Texas, with a cast and crew largely made up of native Texans.
Production offices with complete editing facilities had been set up earlier in the heart of Austin at the Encino Press, Bill Wittliff’s award-winning book publishing company. The National Registry Landmark house where O. Henry once lived and wrote proved to be a convenient and appropriately picturesque control center for the period western.
Besides his myriad duties as co-producer, writer, and director, Wittliff also conducted a massive talent search for local people to play key roles. While construction crews built sets on his and Nelson’s property just outside Austin, Wittliff and casting director Connie Todd pulled in talent from all over the area for a Texas-sized audition, videotaping hundreds of hopefuls, mostly nonprofessionals, many of whom had never acted before. The extensive auditions revealed “great faces and natural ability,” according to Wittliff, who eventually used 15 nonprofessionals in speaking roles:
Cauley Felps, the old man shot by Odie Claver, is played by Ted J. Crum, a security policeman at the University of Texas. Cindy, the yellow-haired lady, is Marinell Madden, a drama major at the University of Texas and a part-time waitress.Â One of the three drunks outside the church heckling Julian’s sermon is a house painter, another sells t-shirts, and one is Wilie’s roadie.
“Except for Willie, Morgan, Katharine, R. G., Royal and four of the Claver boys, (Odie is played by Sonny Carl Davis, an actor from Texas who lives in California now; Vicor is played by Mark Jenkins, a cowboy and a part-time actor from Wyoming; and Avery and Eugene are Paul English and Bee Spears, two of Willie’s band members) I went with the non-professionals Connie Todd found and brought in, sometimes right off the street,” said Wittliff.
The final credits read not unlike an old fashioned gathering of the clans, as family members and pets of the cast and crew joined Austin friends and neighbors for what was, according to Wittliff, “our homegrown deal.” Playing Nathan, Laurie’s song is Nelson’s grandson, 15-year-old Bryan Fowler, whose mother, Lana Nelson, did costumes and plays one of Wanda’s girls in the saloon. Wittliff’s wife, Sally, and their son, Reid, are guests in the wedding sequence, in which Bryan’s little sister, Martha Fowler, joins the Wittliffs’ daughter, Allison, as a flower girl.
The city of Austin was a gracious host for the Red Headed Stranger production, and its citizens provided several locations, including a private home that doubled as the church in Philadelphia where Julian (Willie Nelson) and Raysha (Morgan Fairchild) are married.
Laurie’s (Katharine Ross) farm spread was constructed on Wittliff’s country place 12 miles east of Austin, while the complete western town of Driscoll, Montana, was built on Nelson’s ranch, 30 mile west of the city.
The new music for piano, guitar, and harmonica, heard along with the songs from the original Red Headed Stranger album, was written expressly for the film by Nelson and recorded at his private studio, located within sight of “Driscoll.”
“We made the picture on a shoestring,” says Wittliff. In 1980 Hollywood it had been budgeted at $13,500,00, and by making it here, at home in Austin, we did it for about 1/7th of that.”
by: Joe Leydon
An entertaining celebration of an Austin mecca for boot-scooters and two-steppers.
Documentarians Brenda Greene Mitchell and Sam Wainwright Douglas share their unbridled affection for a decades-old Texas dance hall in “Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke.” This storied mecca for boot-scooters and two-steppers may not be much to look at it — truth to tell, it might require major renovation to qualify as ramshackle — but it has survived and thrived since 1964 on Austin’s South Lamar Boulevard, even as condo high-rises have, quite literally, sprung up all around it.
Owner-operators James and Annetta White have plenty of stories to tell, as do frequent Broken Spoke performers like Willie Nelson and Dale Watson, adding to a tasty mix of music and memories that doubtless will make the playlist of many PBS stations, and should wind up a top-selling DVD/Blu-ray souvenir in what passes for a gift shop at the Austin honky-tonk.
James White freely admits that, back in the day, he wasn’t able to afford highly skilled labor to the build the Broken Spoke. Indeed, he says, at some time or another since the ’60s, “Every drunk in South Austin has worked on this place.” Over the years, the slipshod construction has necessitated some, ahem, imaginative patch-up work — including the installation of a tin roof beneath the original ceiling to shelter patrons from leakage during rainfall.
But neither the haphazard structure nor the relatively tiny stage has kept the Broken Spoke from attracting an impressing array of country music performers, ranging from Western Swing icon Bob Wills to living legend George Strait, and drawing international throngs to its well-trod dance floor during the past five decades.
Dancing is practically mandatory at the Broken Spoke, a place where, as one veteran performer explains, entertainers both famous and obscure are expected to “play music for men and women who want to touch each other in public.” Terri White, James and Annetta’s daughter, is on hand most evenings to teach anxious newcomers how to two-step. (Another daughter, Ginny White-Peacock, sews the rhinestone-bedecked outfits that James wears on stage while greeting customers, introducing musical acts and, occasionally, singing with the bands.) Usually, another interviewee notes, there is a marked difference between dance halls and honky-tonks — the former is where you take your wife, while the latter is where you take someone else’s wife. But the Broken Spoke prides itself on being the best of both worlds.
(Not incidentally, “Honky Tonk Heaven” celebrates Austin as a whole as the live music capital of the known universe, primarily because it is a place where people are encouraged to dance — unlike, say, Nashville. “They don’t dance in Tennessee,” claims a Broken Spoke regular. “I don’t know what the problem is. Maybe too much religion.”)
Clocking in at a trim but satisfying 75 minutes, “Honky Tonk Heaven” indicates the enduring and widespread appeal of the Austin institution it celebrates — look quickly, and you see photos of folks like Michael Caine and Dan Rather among the pictures of celebrity performers and patrons — even as it discreetly raises the question of whether such a no-frills, down-home venue can survive amid the explosive modernization of Austin.
James and Annetta White, whose long personal and professional union has been the driving force behind the Broken Spoke, appear determined to keep the family business going as long as possible. Will the day ever come when the last call is announced? Anyone who sees and enjoys this entertaining documentary certainly will hope that the song never ends.
Production(Documentary) A Wild Blue Yonder Films production. Produced by Brenda Greene Mitchell, Michelle Randolph Faires. Executive producers, Maria J. McDonald, Scott Mitchell. Co-producers, Jenny Holm, Alexandra “Ecky” Malick, Andrea Ogden, Cheree Hamblin Hayes.
CrewDirected by Brenda Greene Mitchell, Sam Wainwright Douglas. Camera (color), David Layton, Lee Daniel; editor, Douglas; music supervisor, Andrew Halbreich; sound, Landry Gideon, Ginny Rowland, Matt Bryan, Justin Hennard, Isaac Hammons.
WithJames White, Annetta White, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dale Watson, Alvin Crow, James Hand, Jesse Dayton, Joe Nick Patoski, Cornell Hurd, Ginny White-Peacock, Terri White.
“Well I had three of my favorite people out there— it was some of the best times of my life.” — Willie Nelson
by: Jake Harris
They’ll always be around, and around, and around…
Though only half of its founding members are still alive, The Highwaymen are making a bit of a comeback.
The country supergroup made up of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson will be the subject of a new “American Masters” documentary on PBS in May, and a box set of rare live shows is set to be released a week before the documentary, Rolling Stone Country reports.
“The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End” airs on PBS May 27, and will feature new interviews from Kristofferson and Nelson as well as archived interviews from Cash and Jennings, who died in 2003 and 2002, respectively.
“Well I had three of my favorite people out there— it was some of the best times of my life,” Nelson says in the trailer, which can be viewed here. Other country artists are interviewed, too, such as Jessi Colter and Marty Stuart.
The documentary showcases a rare 1990 concert in New York where the band played for nearly three hours, with each member playing their own solo hits.
“The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws” is a box set that will be released May 20. The four-disc CD/DVD package includes a DVD of the full New York show featured in “Friends Till the End” and CDs of two Farm Aid concerts from 1992 and 1993.
Nelson fans can expect to see some of his biggest hits in the box set, including “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” “Always On My Mind” and “On the Road Again.” The third disc closes with a new version of “One Too Many Mornings,” which Cash and Jennings previously recorded. Kristofferson and Nelson provide the vocals for the new version.
And if you can’t get enough of Willie, you can always drive by East Seventh Street and Neches Street
At the 1985 Oscars, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson performed “How Do You Feel About Foolin’ Around” from the film ‘Songwriter’ and the Oscar-nominated “On the Road Again,” from 1980’s ‘Honeysuckle Rose.’
by: Marah Eakin
In a new interview with Access Hollywood, Willie, 82, said Owen Wilson (who plays Derek Zoolander’s catwalk-nemesis-turned-friend Hansel in the films) invited him to Italy to shoot a part for the movie.
“Well, Owen and I are good buddies and we stay pretty close in touch,” Willie – who just released a new book, “It’s a Long Story: My Life” – told Access, when asked how his foray into the Ben Stiller-led comedy came about. “Woody [Harrelson] and all these folks – we hang out a lot in Maui.
“Owenis the one who asked me if I wanted to do it. I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” he said.
Willie is the latest in a string of celebrities to join the comedy.
This is far from Nelson’s first movie role. He appeared in The Dukes Of Hazzard andWag The Dog, among other movies, and has a role in the upcoming Waiting For The Miracle To Come, a fantasy adventure movie produced by Bono and set to film at Nelson’s actual ranch in Luck, Texas.
by: Annie Reuter
Willie Nelson gives back to a show that has helped him throughout his career in a new documentary called A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story. The singer sings Austin City Limit‘s praises in the film, which will premiere at the 2016 South by Southwest Festival in Nelson’s own Austin, Texas, next month.
Described as “the ultimate backstage pass to 40 years of incredible music,” the two-and-a-half minute trailer highlights four decades of music from the longest-running music show in television history. The film features interviews with producers and artists, as well as showcases some of the legendary performances throughout the past 40 years. Appearances in the film are made by Nelson, Beck, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy, the Pixies, Loretta Lynn, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Townes Van Zandt, Buddy Guy, Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, Marcia Ball and many more.
“I’ve been associated with Austin City Limits since the beginning,” Nelson says in the A Song for You trailer. “I did the first show.”
Meanwhile, other artists discuss their nerves to play the historic television show as the tradition it holds is undeniable. The trailer highlights several performances by country legends Nelson, Kristofferson and Merle Haggard, as well as Miranda Lambert, Jack White, Coldplay and Dave Grohl.
“I don’t care about being inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Grohl says in a clip. “I got to play Austin City Limits.”
Directed by Keith Maitland, the film also discusses the difficulties the show had as one producer admits that each year they never knew if they would be funded. Thankfully, somehow, they always found a way.
“I’m really glad to see it still doing well and getting better all the time,” Nelson concludes.
On January 30, 2004, the movie “The Big Bounce”, opened.
Thank you, Mark, from Willie Nelson’s Museum and General Store, (www.WillieNelsonMuseum.com), for finding this gem, a still from the movie, “The Big Bounce” released in 2004, also starring Owen Wilson, Gary Sinese, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Sheen, Bebe Neuwirth, Harry Dean Stanton, Gregory Sporleder, Steve Jones, Director: George Armitage
Thanks to Phil Weisman for sending this photo. I love those movie stills, who doesn’t.