All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
Scorching lead-hot action all the way!
A wanted murderer, Billy John, is captured by Ben Brigade, a bounty hunter, who intends to take him to Santa Cruz to be hanged. Brigade stops at a staging post, where he saves the manager's wife from an Indian attack, and enlists the help of two outlaws to continue his journey more safely.
The leanest and the best of the Randolph Scott/Budd Boetticher westerns, many of which are part of the so-called "Ranown" cycle. The purity of form and content Botcher achieves here by stripping down the genre to its essence is quite remarkable to behold. It's amazing what he accomplishes in a mere 73 minutes. Scott is terrific as usual as the quintessential western hero, but a strapping Pernell Roberts nearly steals the show from under his hard nose.
I didn't quite "get" Boetticher's westerns the first time through. I was too busy looking for the grandiose themes of civilization and the frontier, and as a result I missed how great the characters and dialogue and direction are and how effortlessly they fit into the slim 75-minute run times in productions with minimal budgets. I was looking for a forest and winded up ignoring each of the individual trees.
But even though I didn't think I had seen something great, I felt compelled to go back almost immediately and watch Ride Lonesome again. Not only are these westerns easy to watch and rewatch because they're so short, they nail a delicate but precious balance between being dense and detailed…
"What's one more bounty to a man like you?"
Ride Lonesome is just about as pure a distillation of the western genre as you can get in under 75 minutes. I can appreciate it for the clarity and simplicity of this condensation, but as someone who never really loved westerns in themselves (I've sort of come into my love for them backwards, starting with the revisionist westerns and working in reverse from there), it didn't really work quite as well as I hoped.
There are some great looking compositions (particularly in the opening scene, which strikingly forecasts where Sergio Leone would go with his spaghetti westerns) and there's a pleasant ambiguity in the moral exploration of the conflict between crime…
Excellent Western shot in stunning widescreen color with Randolph Scott, Lee Van Cleef, James Coburn, and Pernell Roberts (the oldest son on Bonanza). And Karen Steele, who's shirt was always tucked in nice and tight, even after riding the trail all day.
The story reveals itself slowly, but keeps you interested the whole way as the tension between characters keeps you off balance.
A bounty hunter is bringing in a criminal, the criminal's brother and gang is out to rescue the scoundrel and following behind. They stop at a stagecoach station and find the Indians are on the warpath. There's two drifters hanging out at the station, and a woman who's husband runs the place. The husband is out gathering…
Part of my Scott/McCrea project
For me, you can never go wrong in picking a Boetticher/Kennedy/Scott collaboration if you're in the mood for a western. Here Scott is joined by another Boetticher regular, the mighty fine Karen Steele, and familiar gunslingers Lee Van Cleef, James Coburn, James Best and Pernell Roberts (of Bonanza fame).
Randolph Scott plays a bounty hunter escorting a captured killer to Santa Cruz, and along the way he's joined by Roberts and Coburn, who have their own reasons for being interested in said killer, and the widowed Steele. Travelling through stunning desert country they encounter local indians, always knowing in the back of their mind that sooner or later, the killer's older brother (Van Cleef) and his men will catch up with them.
Up until the anti-climactic ending it's a pretty fun journey.
I loved Comanche Station and this is right up there as another great Boetticher/Scott Western. It tells a complex story of interweaving individuals that packs emotional power and a great script inside a tight 75 minutes. It looks absolutely incredible, rarely has Western landscapes been as beautifully captured as here - the rocky plains, mountains and bushland essentially become characters of their own. And that ending shot, just phenomenal. Highly recommended.
The best of Boetticher's 'Ranown' films, perfectly balanced between action, emotion and humour, and with sublime Cinemascope compositions that I'd never really appreciated until I saw it on the big screen today. Randolph Scott is another of his grim, grey anti-heroes, this time a bounty hunter taking giggling James Best to a hanging, accompanied by two gunmen who want a piece of the action (Pernell Roberts and James Coburn), and a widow with enormous pointy boobs and the voice of Marilyn Monroe (Karen Steele). It's exquisitely done, with Roberts absolutely unforgettable as the laidback, uber-cool Sam Boone (his surname borrowed from the chap playing his good-bad predecessor in The Tall T), whose inscrutable code of ethics seem to be leading us inexorably to a shootout. The final shot is extraordinary.
Watched as the second part of a Budd Boetticher double bill (with 'The Tall T'), and sadly very much the weak link of the pair. It's not terribly well set up, beginning as it does with an oddly contrived scenario in which five men clearly outnumber our lone hero, played by Randolph Scott, and yet four of them inexplicably decide to ride away anyway. An inelegant way to establish the rest of the film as a slow ride across the desert, Scott's bounty hunter apparently intent on taking the imprisoned man into custody, steadily pursued by the aforementioned four, and also some Indians who end up equally inexplicably giving up halfway (it seemed like Boetticher just forgot about them).
This is my favourite of the Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher Westerns. It has the usual ingredients and the same locations, but, for me, it is the most impressive of these films because of the way everything is pulled together. But this is probably just a matter of taste. And, if it shows the strength of the Boetticher Westerns, it also shows their limitations. Randolph Scott has the skills of the Western hero: he is good with guns, fists and horses, he is shrewd and keeps his own counsel, he commands every situation. And Scott is likeable and amiable, but he lacks the inner angst that James Stewart had in the Anthony Mann Westerns or the sense of a flawed epic hero…
Scott and Boetticher had made quite a few of these mini-westerns by the time this one came out. It feels like the last ride for both men, their creative partnership with Kennedy (the writer) turning a bit stale - though they would go on to make two more together.
Both the opening and closing sequences are visually stunning, yet even with only an hour between them the whole thing feels pretty flat. Unfortunately, both the acting and the writing let the film down. Most of the characters are fairly useless - including some unsuccessful casting for the members of Scott's riding party.
Of the bad guys, Van Cleef is maybe the most interesting and he has only two scenes total. The Tall T this ain't - that minimal masterpiece so limited every element of plot and character that it remains refreshingly raw and powerful 60 years later. A base story by Elmore Leonard probably helps too.
...And that, kids, is how Burning Man began.
In the past year or so, I've made a determined decision to get more accustomed to pre-1970's films from around the world, particularly genres I've previously given short change to, such as musicals, war films and westerns. I have to admit it's greatly enhanced my appreciation of cinema in general. It's amazing how great some of these films actually are.
Since cinema is the greatest love of my life, I also collect books on film, trying to find out anything and everything I can. As the old Calvin Klein commercial goes, 'A man has many loves, but only one Obsession'. An unexpectedly great and relatively inexpensive find was 'The Editors of American Cowboy's The Top 100 Westerns of All Time,'…
Goes to show that a movie doesn't have to be 3 hours, or cost millions of dollars to be smart, beautiful, or complex.
On its surface this is a basic tale of revenge. Even though we don't find out about the revenge element until about 40 minutes in. Up to that point we think that Ben Brigade is bringing Billy to Santa Cruz to hang for a murder he committed. They pick up a couple stray outlaws at a stagecoach stopping point, as well as the newly widowed Mrs. Carrie Lane. She was married to the owner of the stagecoach before the Indian's killed him.
They are being pursued by Billy's brother, whose is a pretty nasty outlaw in his…
"I guess she's about the best all-over good-lookin' woman I ever seen."
Easily my favorite of the Boetticher/Randolph collaborations. Again, Scott as Brigade, has had his wife murdered in a spaghetti western kind of way. And like a spaghetti western, Lee Van Cleef is responsible.
Scott plays his usual stoic, mannered self, with an underpinning of rage and loss that plays well against James Coburn and James Best (Roscoe P. Coltrane!) - likable cowboys who live one day at a time, unfettered by a haunting feeling of loss and revenge.
The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…