Back in 1952, James Stewart – who would have been 115 years old – starred in Bend of the River, an adaptation of the novel Bend of the Snake by Bill Gulick.
The West followed tough cowboy Glenn McClintock, who risks his life to deliver confiscated food and supplies to homeowners after gold is discovered in the area.
The part marked a major turning point in the star’s career, as it saw him start playing more violent and brutal characters – something he wasn’t known for during the ’40s.
The movie was also the last time Stewart, then 44, wore his head of hair on film. The middle-aged star shared billing with Arthur Kennedy and Julie Adams, who played McClintock’s friend Emerson Cole and Major Laura Bailey, respectively.
Meanwhile, the fourth on the label behind their name was a rising star in his late twenties named Rock Hudson (real name was Roy Harold Shearer Jr.), in the role of a professional gambler named Trey Wilson.
Read more: It’s a Wonderful Life James Stewart refused to work with the star again
The film was one of the last films for the actor locked in the supporting part before he reached stardom as a leading man in Hollywood. This is not surprising given audience response to Hudson compared to Stewart, even though the film originally received poor reviews before being critically acclaimed in later years.
When Bend of the River premiered in 1952, the star of It’s A Wonderful Life was so upset that the supporting actor received more cheers and applause than he did. As a result, he vowed never to speak to or work with him again, which he ended up doing.
Hudson went on to enjoy a career as a leading man in films like Scarlet Angel, The Lawless Breed, Seminole, Magnificent Obsession, and Giant. Over the course of his Hollywood career, the truth about his sexuality was known among his colleagues in the film industry, and he would sadly die of an AIDS-related illness in 1985 at the age of 59.
As for Stewart, despite his confidence wavering at the Bend of the River premiere, he has gone on to have an impressive career. After his western with Hudson, he collaborated with director Anthony Mann on four more films over the next two years. The 1950s also saw him working with Alfred Hitchcock on the likes of Rope, Rear Window and Vertigo. And the star passed away in 1997 at the age of 89 from a heart attack caused by an embolism.
(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)