Program Details

Playing Against Type: Stars You’d Never Believe Headlined Westerns

Kurt F. Stone
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Back in the 1930s, no one would think of Hollywood actors like Jimmy Stewart, Randolph Scott, and Henry Fonda starring in a Western. Fast forward a decade or more, and they all became major Western stars,  so much so that today, few remember their non-Western roles or films. On the other hand, other stars, like Ray Milland, Franchot Tone, Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, and even Joan Crawford, who played against type, got up on a horse, strapped on a six-shooter, and shot up the screen. In this series, Dr. Stone will take us behind the screen as we will watch and discuss a bunch of Westerns headlined by the unlikeliest of Hollywood icons and doing a pretty good job of it. Let’s face it . . . once a star, always a star . . . pardner!


  1. Humphrey Bogart: "Virginia City" (1940): Bogie stars alongside Errol Flynn and Randolph Scott in tale involving an escape from a notorious Confederate prison, a conspiracy and millions of dollars.
  2. Cagney and Bogart: "The Oklahoma Kid" (1939): Cagney and Bogart battle one another for supremacy during the Oklahoma Land Rush.
  3. Joan Crawford: "Johnny Guitar" (1954): Crawford stars as a steel-willed saloon keeper wrongly accused of murder and bank robbery by a lynch mob.
  4. Dick Powell: "Station West" (1954): Powell plays Haven, a Civil War-era army intelligence agent who goes undercover to find killers in a mining and logging town.
  5. Ray Milland: "A Man Alone" (1955): Milland (who also served as director) stars as a gunfighter who is suspected of a stagecoach massacre.
  6. Spencer Tracy: "Broken Lance"(1954): Tracy stars as a cattle baron who raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water, and then divides his property among his sons (Robert Wagner and Richard Widmark).

About the Instructor

  • FAU's "Hollywood Brat," Dr. Kurt F. Stone is now in his 26th year with Lifelong Learning. A man who wears many, many hats (medical ethicist, best-selling author, essayist, historian, blogger and ordained rabbi), Kurt is the recent recipient of the "Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award" by "Who's Who in America." His intense love and knowledge of film is, as he has long said, "is the best part of my genetic make-up." ." In 2023, Dr. Stone was the recipient of the “Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award” presented by “Who’s Who in America.”

    Recipient of the 2004 Excellence in Teaching Award