Monday, March 29, 2010

It's The Big Valley's Turn on the Big Screen

The Golden Age of TV Western Remakes into Big Screen Movies continues. The Tainted Archive tipped us off this morning that the classic TV Western The Big Valley is slotted to be remade into a big-screen movie, 3D style. The website TV Series Finale reports that the remake will star Susan Sarandon, Ryan Phillipe, Richard Drefuss, and Bruce Dern in key roles.

The Big Valley
ran on television from 1965 to 1969. Along with Bonanza, it was one of my favorite Western shows when I was a kid. Not that I ever watched an episode all the way through - I think it was past my bedtime. But I love Barbara Stanwyck (I love her in everything) and I also like the fact that the show was based on the Hill Ranch, a historic ranch that was located in the area where I grew up: near Calaveras County and the Stockton area.

This is what the Wikipedia entry says about Hill Ranch:

The TV series was based loosely on the Hill Ranch located at the western edge of Calaveras County, not far from Stockton (one episode places the Barkley Ranch a few hours ride from town while another has Jarrod riding past a Calaveras County sign on his way to the TV series' ranch). The Hill Ranch existed from 1855 until 1931, exceeded 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), and had the Mokelumne River running through it. Lawson Hill ran the ranch until he was murdered in 1861. His wife Euphemia (aka "Auntie Hill") then became the matriarch. During their marriage they had four children, one daughter and three sons. Today, the location of the ranch is covered by the waters of Lake Camanche. A California state historical marker standing at Camanche South Shore Park mentions the historic ranch.

I love the fact that these shows are being remade. Granted, they'll never be as good as the originals, but then hey, maybe they will someday. And besides, it gets a whole new generation interested in the old shows and, more importantly, in Westerns.

7 comments:

David Cranmer said...

One of my favorites also. Have season one on DVD and now I see Hulu is posting episodes.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I wish I could share your optimism, Laurie. Whenever I hear about an old show being remade I think of disasters like Wild, Wild West.

I didn't see many shows when they origianlly aired, but back in the nineties they were on every day locally and I was able to see them during lulls at work (which was most of the time). I learned to appreciate them. And Linda Evans had a mansion along Gravelly Lake, near where I work. Alas, she was also a sucker for J.Z. Knight's Ramtha snakeoil.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan Lewis said...

The Cartwrights in skirts. Ho hum. This one never appealed to me. Seems Hollywood is determined to squeeze the last few bucks out of us boomers before it's too late.

Walker Martin said...

I like Barbara Stanwyck alot also, especially her film noir and crime films. But I always had a problem with THE BIG VALLEY and the squeaky clean characters. I like my westerns with more dirt, crime, and a hardboiled drive because it was a rough place to live in. THE BIG VALLEY seems more soap opera rather than horse opera.

Barry Traylor said...

I am afraid that I have to agree with Walker. I always thought The Big Valley was as cornball as Bonanza. By favorites were mostly in the 1950's, the early half hour b&w Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel. Although not having seen the latter in a long, long time it may not hold up well.

Richard R. said...

I watched a few of these back when, and it was because Stanwick was in the show. What I can't imagine, beside how Hollywood would manage to guide the screenwriters in a good direction with this, is what on earth they would need 3-D for. Personally I hope it doesn't get off the ground.