A B movie or B film is a low-budget commercial motion picture, not an arthouse film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more identified films intended for distribution as the less-publicized bottom half of a double feature. Although the U. S. production of movies intended as second features ceased by the end of the 1950s, the term B movie continues to be used in its broader sense to this day. In its post-Golden Age usage, there is ambiguity on both sides of the definition: on the one hand, the primary interest of many inexpensive exploitation films is prurient. In either usage, most B movies represent a particular genre—the Western was a Golden Age B movie staple, while low-budget science-fiction and horror films became more popular in the 1950s. Early B movies were part of series in which the star played the same character. Always shorter than the top-billed films they were paired with, many had running times of 70 minutes or less; the term connoted a general perception that B movies were inferior to the more lavishly budgeted headliners.
Latter-day B movies still sometimes inspire multiple sequels. As the average running time of top-of-the-line films increased, so did that of B pictures. In its current usage, the term has somewhat contradictory connotations: it may signal an opinion that a certain movie is a genre film with minimal artistic ambitions or a lively, energetic film uninhibited by the constraints imposed on more expensive projects and unburdened by the conventions of putatively "serious" independent film; the term is now used loosely to refer to some higher-budgeted, mainstream films with exploitation-style content in genres traditionally associated with the B movie. From their beginnings to the present day, B movies have provided opportunities both for those coming up in the profession and others whose careers are waning. Celebrated filmmakers such as Anthony Mann and Jonathan Demme learned their craft in B movies, they are where actors such as John Wayne and Jack Nicholson first became established, they have provided work for former A movie actors, such as Vincent Price and Karen Black.
Some actors, such as Bela Lugosi, Eddie Constantine, Bruce Campbell and Pam Grier, worked in B movies for most of their careers. The term B actor is sometimes used to refer to a performer who finds work or in B pictures. In 1927–28, at the end of the silent era, the production cost of an average feature from a major Hollywood studio ranged from $190,000 at Fox to $275,000 at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; that average reflected both "specials" that might cost as much as $1 million and films made for around $50,000. These cheaper films allowed the studios to derive maximum value from facilities and contracted staff in between a studio's more important productions, while breaking in new personnel. Studios in the minor leagues of the industry, such as Columbia Pictures and Film Booking Offices of America, focused on those sorts of cheap productions, their movies, with short running times, targeted theaters that had to economize on rental and operating costs small-town and urban neighborhood venues, or "nabes".
Smaller production houses, known as Poverty Row studios, made films whose costs might run as low as $3,000, seeking a profit through whatever bookings they could pick up in the gaps left by the larger concerns. With the widespread arrival of sound film in American theaters in 1929, many independent exhibitors began dropping the then-dominant presentation model, which involved live acts and a broad variety of shorts before a single featured film. A new programming scheme developed that would soon become standard practice: a newsreel, a short and/or serial, a cartoon, followed by a double feature; the second feature, which screened before the main event, cost the exhibitor less per minute than the equivalent running time in shorts. The majors' "clearance" rules favoring their affiliated theaters prevented the independents' timely access to top-quality films; the additional movie gave the program "balance"—the practice of pairing different sorts of features suggested to potential customers that they could count on something of interest no matter what was on the bill.
The low-budget picture of the 1920s thus evolved into the second feature, the B movie, of Hollywood's Golden Age. The major studios, at first resistant to the double feature, soon adapted. All established B units to provide films for the expanding second-feature market. Block booking became standard practice: to get access to a studio's attractive A pictures, many theaters were obliged to rent the company's entire output for a season. With the B films rented at a flat fee, rates could be set guaranteeing the profitability of every B movie; the parallel practice of blind bidding freed the majors from worrying about their Bs' quality—even when booking in less than seasonal blocks, exhibitors had to buy most pictures sight unseen. The five largest studios—Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Fox Film Corporation, Warner Bros. and RKO Radio Pictures —also belonged to companies with sizable theater chains, further securing the bottom line. Poverty Row studios, from modest outfits like Mascot Pictures, Tiffany Pictures, Sono Art-World Wide Pictures down to shoestring operations, made B movies, ot
Santa Fe Stampede
Santa Fe Stampede is a 1938 American "Three Mesquiteers" Western film directed by George Sherman and starring John Wayne, Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune. Wayne played the lead in eight of the fifty-one films in the popular series. John Wayne as Stony Brooke Ray Corrigan as Tucson Smith Max Terhune as Lullaby Joslin Elmer as Elmer June Martel as Nancy Carson William Farnum as Dave Carson LeRoy Mason as Mayor Gil Byron Martin Spellman as Billy Carson Genee Hall as Julie Jane Carson Walter Wills as Lawyer Harris Ferris Taylor as Judge Henry J. Hixon Tom London as Marshal Jim Wood Dick Rush as Sheriff Tom James Cassidy as Jed Newton Richard Alexander as Joe Moffit Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times wrote that the Three Mesquiteers' success was "probably due to the fact that nobody has thought of ambushing them with a Flit gun". John Wayne filmography Santa Fe Stampede on IMDb
Robert Livingston (actor)
Robert Edward Randall was an American film actor known under his stage name as Bob Livingston. He appeared in 135 films between 1921 and 1975, he was one of the original Three Mesquiteers. He had played The Lone Ranger and Zorro. Livingston was born in Quincy and died in Tarzana, California from emphysema. Billed as "Bob Livingston," he was the original "Stony Brooke" in the "Three Mesquiteers" Western B-movie series, a role played by John Wayne for eight films, he portrayed Zorro in The Bold Caballero and the Lone Ranger in the 1939 film serial The Lone Ranger Rides Again directed by William Witney and co-starring Chief Thundercloud as Tonto. Livingston appeared as the title character in The Lone Rider series starring alongside sidekicks Al "Fuzzy" St. John and Dennis "Smoky" Moore; the role of the Rider had been played by George Houston. On December 18, 1947, he married daughter of director/producer Hal Roach, they had one son, actor/writer Addison Randall born on August 13, 1949. He was named after Livingston's younger brother, Addison Randall, who had died at the young age of 39 while shooting the film The Royal Mounted Rides Again in 1945.
Livingston and Margaret Roach divorced in 1951. Robert Livingston on IMDb
Heroes of the Hills
Heroes of the Hills is a 1938 American Western "Three Mesquiteers" B-movie directed by George Sherman. Robert Livingston as Stony Brooke Ray Corrigan as Tucson Smith Max Terhune as Lullaby Joslin Priscilla Lawson as Madeline Reynolds LeRoy Mason as Red James Eagles as The Kid Roy Barcroft as Robert Beaton Barry Hays as Beaton's cohort Carleton Young as Connors Forrest Taylor as Sheriff John P. Wade as Board chairman Maston Williams as Convict Heroes of the Hills on IMDb
New Frontier (film)
New Frontier is a 1939 American Western film starring John Wayne, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Raymond Hatton, Jennifer Jones. This was the last of eight Three Mesquiteers Western B-movies with Wayne. A restored 35 mm copy of the film exists, was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of a 2007 John Wayne centennial retrospective, which included The Big Trail, The Searchers, True Grit; the leading lady is Jennifer Jones, billed as Phylis Isley, in her film debut. The director was George Sherman. John Wayne filmography New Frontier on IMDb New Frontier is available for free download at the Internet Archive
J. P. McGowan
John Paterson McGowan was a pioneering Hollywood actor and director and a screenwriter and producer. J. P. McGowan, as he was known, remains the only Australian to have been made a life member of the Screen Directors Guild. Born in the then-bustling railway centre of Terowie in South Australia, McGowan grew up in Adelaide and Sydney, he was a capable horseman and served in the Second Boer War with Montmorency's Scouts as a special dispatch rider. From South Africa McGowan was recruited to take part in a Boer War exhibit in the US at the 1904 World's Fair, he began working in live theatre, in 1910 joined Kalem Studios in New York City. That year McGowan made his first film appearance in A Lad from Old Ireland as part of the crew that traveled to Ireland to do the first American film shot on location outside of the United States, his horseback riding ability enabled him to do many of Kalem's riding stunts. McGowan directed and acted in the first 33 episodes of Kalem's 1914 adventure film series, The Hazards of Helen, which ran to 54 episodes, some still with McGowan's participation.
With other contributors, the series ran on to 119 episodes in all. While filming he began a relationship with Helen Holmes, the film's star, the two married, they left Kalem to set up their own production company, Signal Films, which made railroad melodrama serials and features but lost out when their distributor failed. The collaboration ended when they divorced in 1925. There was an adopted daughter, Kaye. McGowan made the transition from silent film to talkies. While never a major star, in a busy career that spanned four decades he is credited with acting in 232 films—mostly strong roles like sheriff or villain—writing 26 screenplays and directing 242 productions. In 1932 he directed a young John Wayne in the 12-episode rail vs airplane serial The Hurricane Express for the independent Mascot Pictures. From 1938 to 1951, as Executive Secretary of the Screen Directors Guild, he fought to secure recognition for the director within the studio systems of the film and emerging television industry.
J. P. McGowan died in 1952 in Hollywood and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, his life story was told in the 2005 McFarland book, J. P. McGowan: Biography of a Hollywood Pioneer by John J. McGowan. An expanded edition with The Gilmour Collection of photographs was published in February 2016. McGowan's career was celebrated in the town of his birth with the Terowie Days of Rail and Screen 2002-2010; the adventurous, stunt-filled partnership with Helen Holmes has been celebrated in the inventive bio-tribute,'Stunt Love', presented at the Adelaide Film Festival in February 2011 and at Museum of Modern Art, New York, in April 2011. Tragedy of the Desert The Voice in the Fog Blackbirds The Hazards of Helen Elmo the Mighty Elmo the Fearless Do or Die Perils of the Yukon Mistaken Orders Crack o' Dawn Outwitted Señor Daredevil Crossed Signals The Brown Derby Danger Quest The Red Raiders The Slaver Aflame in the Sky Below the Deadline Beyond the Law Quick Trigger Lee The Man from New Mexico The Hurricane Express When a Man Rides Alone No More Women Stampede Slave Ship Heart of the Rockies McGowan, John J. J. P. McGowan: Biography of a Hollywood Pioneer.
McFarland, 2005. McGowan, John J. "Hollywood's First Australian". Digital Print Australia, 2016. Lahue, Kalton C, "Bound and Gagged, the story of the silent serials". Castle Books, New York, 1968. Works by or about J. P. McGowan at Internet Archive J. P. McGowan on IMDb JP McGowan website dedicated to Sidney Olcott
The Kansas Terrors
The Kansas Terrors is a 1939 American Western "Three Mesquiteers" B-movie directed by George Sherman. Robert Livingston as Stony Brooke Raymond Hatton as Rusty Joslin Duncan Renaldo as Renaldo Julie Bishop as Maria del Montez Howard C. Hickman as Governor-General del Montez George Douglas as The Commandante Frank Lackteen as Captain Gonzales Myra Marsh as Maria's Duenna Yakima Canutt as The Sergeant Ruth Robinson as Juanita Richard Alexander as Nico The Kansas Terrors on IMDb