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“Stop whatever you are doing with Rock Hudson. We’re letting him go,” Sam Israel, Universal’s publicity director, said to publicist Rogers Jones.

“Sam, you can’t do this. This studio has never had its own male star. We always borrow them. The only female star we ever made was Deanna Durbin. She brought this studio out of the red, into the black. Rock Hudson can do the same.”

Sam Israel waived Jones away.

Hard to believe Universal was so short sighted when it came to the man destined to become the studio’s major male star.

Hudson did move the studio from the red into the black.

Rock Hudson began his career as the protege of legendary director Raoul Walsh whose career went back to playing John Wilkes Booth in D. W. Griffith’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION.

Walsh became a second father to Hudson.

GUN FURY (1953) was filmed by one-eyed Walsh in 3D. Walsh, like HOUSE OF WAX director Andre de Toth, could not see in three dimensions. That did not stop him from making a good 3D movie.

I despaired of ever seeing GUN FURY in 3D until Twilight Time offered a limited edition release which I grabbed as soon as it became available.

It’s a highly enjoyable film made all the better through the use of 3-D.

Twilight Time is going out of business. They still have a few copies of GUN FURY available at a much reduced price. They have priced their entire inventory to move. Grab a copy now.

The real gem however is TAZA, SON OF COCHISE (1954) the second of the nine movies Douglas Sirk was to make with Hudson whom Sirk treated as a son. Sirk left Germany because his wife was Jewish. Jews were viewed as sub human in Nazi Germany just as our Native people were viewed by many as sub-human. As The Jews were moved into concentration camps the people called Indian were moved on to reservations. The ultimate goal was to liquidate them. The Nazis took their plans to destroy the Jews from the plans of Canada and The United States to destroy our native peoples.  Sirk’s son, by his first wife, stayed in Germany, joined the army and died during the war.

TAZA has been wonderfully restored by the 3-D FILM ARCHIVE. It is a must have film. TAZA was Sirk’s personal favorite of his American films. It is one of my favorites.

Hudson is so effortless and natural in his acting that he was taken for granted and ignored by the critics.

The public fell in love with him at once.

I have to confess I personally did not take Hudson seriously until I saw John Frankenheimer’s SECONDS (1966) which was neither a critical nor commercial success  on first release.

Hudson was not personally fond of TAZA we are told. The film was shot on location in Monument Valley, Utah. Hudson, in his role as Taza, had to wear full body make up in 180 degree weather.

Navajos were employed as extras. Hudson felt that next to the real thing the reel thing looked silly.

Not however to my eyes nor to the eyes of a great many more.

Rock was an actor always under estimated. He was under estimated at Universal when they decided to let him go. He is still underestimated.

These 3D Blu-rays of GUN FURY (1953) and TAZA, SON OF COCHISE (1954) let us see Hudson as we have never been able to see him.

Like Rock Hudson 3-D is a technique that is also vastly undervalued by the critics.

The public, as with Hudson, continues to love it.

That makes me happy as I love watching 3-D motion pictures.

–Reg Hartt 2020  05  14

More on TAZA and GUN FURY

Taza, Son of Cochise 3-D

Matthew Hartman at High-Def Digest reviews our latest restoration on 3-D Blu-ray: TAZA, SON OF COCHISE.…/tazasonofcochise3d.html

Strangely enough, like Andre De Toth’s House of Wax, Gun Fury was a 3D film shot by a one-eyed director. Probably best known for playing John Wilkes Booth in the silent classic The Birth of a Nation (1915), actor turned director Raoul Walsh lost his right eye in an acting career-ending freak accident, which would explain the film’s more naturalistic approach to its use of 3D. While there are a few fun 3D gags that show off the technology, the film relies more on its vast desert vistas and subtle use of the 3D stage to draw the viewer in. The film itself moves at a brisk 82 minutes that sticks to the conventions of the genre with a wholesome take on the man out for revenge story. It’s the film’s need to play it safe that would be my only complaint here story-wise.

Gun Fury is a fun gem that only suffers from its presentation issues here on the disc. While the plot maybe your standard western fare, it’s the actors, their performances, and the dialog that really shine here and make this film an enjoyable watch. Seeing these icons in their prime also doesn’t hurt either.


Colorful Western (originally filmed in 3-D) starring Rock Hudson as a Ben Warren – a California-bound settler who has to undertake a 1,500-mile ride to the Mexican border. After a stagecoach holdup, by post-Civil War rebel Frank Slayton and his notorious gang where they leave Ben for dead and head off with his fiancée (Donna Reed). Warren follows, and although none of the townspeople he comes across are prepared to help, he recruits two others who have sworn revenge on the ruthless Slayton. As westerns go this is okay fodder. Rock is steady and Donna Reed wholesome. Those who enjoy the genre will be in their element.


Originally filmed and released in 3-D, Gun Fury (1953) is one of the better Westerns produced in that format and works just as well in a flat version as it does with all its gimmickry intact and various objects being hurled at the viewer. The story takes place in the post-Civil War years and opens with Jennifer Ballard (Donna Reed) traveling by stagecoach to meet her fiancé, Ben Warren (Rock Hudson). Accompanying Jennifer on her voyage is fellow coach rider Frank Slayton (Phil Carey), who is traveling under the name Mr. Hampton for a reason. He is actually an ex-Confederate turned outlaw who quickly takes a strong liking to Ms. Ballard and his true nature is revealed once Jennifer and Ben are reunited. Slayton and his gang rob the stagecoach carrying the soon-to-be-married couple, abduct Jennifer and leave Ben for dead after shooting him. What follows is a tale of revenge and retribution as the injured Ben follows in pursuit, using his cunning to eventually divide and undermine the quarreling gang members and rescue his fiancée.

Classic film director Raoul Walsh (High Sierra, The Man I Love) gives us his only 3D movie: the revenge Western, Gun Fury 3D (1953).  Rock Hudson stars as a young man left for dead after a stagecoach robbery; in fact very much alive, he sets out after the men who tried to kill him (including the likes of Philip Carey, Neville Brand, and a young Lee Marvin), who also happen to have kidnapped his sweetheart (Donna Reed)….

Over the course of his 50-year directing career, Raoul Walsh helmed a staggering 138 films dating all the way back to 1914. D.W. Griffith was his mentor, and once sound came along, Walsh specialized in macho gangster, war, and western films, many of which showcase an array of legendary tough guys in some of their most iconic roles – James Cagney in White Heat, Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra, and Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On. So it’s no surprise a tidy little western called Gun Fury often flies under the radar in any discussion of Walsh’s work. Though hardly groundbreaking, this formulaic genre entry epitomizes the director’s brisk, no-nonsense style, and remains noteworthy as Walsh’s only 3D film.

Gun Fury was shot three years before Rock Hudson starred in Giant, but it’s hard to divorce the character he portrays, a young rancher named Ben Warren, from Edna Ferber’s hero, Bick Benedict. Both men are proud, driven, and pig-headed, so when Ben is wounded and left for dead after a stagecoach robbery, he doesn’t think twice about seeking revenge on his assailant, Frank Slayton (Philip Carey), a suave marauder who has also kidnapped Ben’s fiancée, Jennifer Ballard (Donna Reed). Frank is used to taking what he wants, and after Jennifer catches his eye, he’s determined to possess her, despite her steadfast commitment to Ben.

Frank and his band of hoods, who have knocked off a string of banks across the country, hope to escape to Mexico and drag Jennifer over the border with them. Their mad dash sparks a race against time for Ben, who tries to assemble a posse to intercept and capture them. Yet in true High Noon fashion, everyone he encounters finds some excuse not to help, until Ben hooks up with a cast-off cohort of Frank’s gang and a stone-faced Native American with his own score to settle. Together, the trio sets off on a deadly mission, but will they reach Jennifer before it’s too late?

Gun Fury is predictable in every category, and yet its entertainment value remains high. Fast-paced, lovely to look at (the film was shot on location in the heart of Arizona’s red rock country near Sedona and makes excellent use of all the unspoiled, breathtaking vistas), and featuring some exciting fight scenes, the movie maintains interest despite a pedestrian, cliched story and stereotypical characters. Frank’s bitterness over the Confederate loss in the Civil War, which fuels his criminal rampage, is the tale’s most original aspect, but the narrative always takes a back seat to the visuals. Above all, this is a vehicle designed to show off scenery, action, the attractiveness of the film’s stars, and – most important of all – 3D.

And it succeeds in those respects. Though its use of 3D isn’t particularly creative (most of the effects are of the gimmicky, projectile variety), Gun Fury exhibits a palpable dimensionality that helps immerse us in the rugged surroundings and feel a part of the fisticuffs. Hudson wasn’t yet a full-fledged superstar, but it’s easy to see why he became one. Handsome, likable, and manly, he handles both his physical and romantic chores with ease, while the lovely Reed, who earlier the same year wrapped up the role that would soon win her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in From Here to Eternity, tries her best to elevate her one-dimensional damsel-in-distress part.

Carey, who would later anchor the daytime soap One Life to Live for more than three decades, makes a formidable villain, as do Lee Marvin and Neville Brand in early menacing roles. In fact, all the actors inject plenty of spirit into a workmanlike film that may not rank as one of Walsh’s best, but perfectly represents the director’s style and cinematic viewpoint. Western fans may not be dazzled, but they’ll certainly enjoy this lively, action-filled yarn…especially in 3D.



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