Budd Boetticher

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Scharphedin2
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Budd Boetticher

#1 Post by Scharphedin2 » Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:04 pm

Budd Boetticher (1916-2001)

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Burt wrote five of the seven screenplays, and he
was a great, great writer and is a wonderful director
and one of my dearest friends. We wrote and directed
as two great friends who work together instead of a
writer and director who didn't get along, trying to take
control of the picture. It was just a difference; we had
artistic control and fortunately we were artists. A very
simple answer [as to] why they were better pictures…
We knew what we were going to do. We made those
Scott pictures in 18 days. Three weeks, six days a week.



Filmography

One Mysterious Night* (1944)

The Missing Juror* (1944)

Youth on Trial* (1945)

A Guy, a Gal and a Pal* (1945)

Escape in the Fog* (1945)

The Fleet That Came to Stay* (1945)

Assigned to Danger* (1948)

Behind Locked Doors* (1948) Kino (R1) -- also included in Film Noir: The Dark Side of Hollywood

Black Midnight* (1949)

The Wolf Hunters* (1949)

Killer Shark* (1950)

The Three Musketeers (TV, 1950)

Bullfighter and the Lady (1951) Suevia (R2 ES)

The Cimarron Kid (1952) Universal (R1) -- as part of Classic Western Round-Up, Vol. 2

Bronco Buster (1952)

Red Ball Express (1952)

Horizons West (1952)

City Beneath the Sea (1953)

Seminole (1953) Optimum Releasing (R2 UK)

The Man from the Alamo (1953) Universal (R1) -- as part of Classic Western Round-Up, Vol. 2 / Universal (R2 UK)

East of Sumatra (1953)

Wings of the Hawk (1953)

The Public Defender (TV episode “Living a Lie”, 1954) Alpha (R1 US) – included in “The Public Defender - Volume 1”

The Magnificent Matador (1955) Suevia (R2 ES)

Alias Mike Hercules (TV series, 1956)

The Killer is Loose (1956)

Seven Men from Now (1956) Paramount (R1)

The Count of Monte Christo (TV episode “The Affair of the Three Napoleons”, 1956)

The Tall T (1957) Sony Pictures (R1 US) – included in “The Films of Budd Boetticher”

Maverick (3 TV episodes “According to Hoyle”, “Point Blank” and “War of the Silver Kings”, 1957)

Decision at Sundown (1957) Sony Pictures (R1 US) – included in “The Films of Budd Boetticher”

Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) Sony Pictures (R1 US) – included in “The Films of Budd Boetticher”

77 Sunset Strip (TV series, 1958)

Westbound (1959) Warner Bros (R1 US) – as part of the Archive Collection

Ride Lonesome (1959) Sony Pictures (R1 US) – included in “The Films of Budd Boetticher”

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)

Comanche Station (1960) Sony Pictures (R1 US) – included in “The Films of Budd Boetticher”

Hong Kong (TV series, 1960)

Zane Grey Theater (4 TV episodes “The Long Shadow”, “Ambush”, “Ransom” and “Desert Flight”, 1960-1961)

The Rifleman (TV episode “Stopover”, 1961)

A Time for Dying (1969)

Arruza (1972)

My Kingdom For (1985)

* signed as Oscar Boetticher


Forum Ressources

Budd Boetticher Box Set

Classic Western Round-Up, Volume 1 and 2

Film Forum's Essential Western Series

Paramount: Wellman, Boetticher

Randolph Scott


Web Ressources

Boston Phoenix -- article by Chris Fujiwara

Film Reference

GreenCine -- interview with Boetticher

The Guardian – obituary

Hungry Ghost – “Man of the West” article by David Chute, originally printed in LA Weekly, July 28 - August 3, 2000

imdb

Senses of Cinema -- profile on Boetticher

Senses of Cinema -- short article on Boetticher's westerns

Senses of Cinema – “Budd Boetticher and the Westerns of Ranown”

They Shoot Pictures


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django
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#2 Post by django » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:19 pm

Can anyone confirm if the Region 2 DVD of 'Seven Men From Now' has all of the extras on the Region 1 release?

A lengthy google trawl reveals no conclusive evidence one way or t'other...

(apologies if this is the wrong place to ask, but it hardly seemed thread worthy)

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david hare
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#3 Post by david hare » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:03 pm

From my recollection the R4 is identical to the R1 so I assume the Region 2 is as well.

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dave41n
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Boetticher Westerns

#4 Post by dave41n » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:52 am

From Bordwell's most recent blog entry:
Q: When will we get the Boetticher westerns?

A: It’s most frequent question Grover gets asked. Soon, soon: A boxed set of restored titles is on the way.
Man, oh man, will I relish the day when these beauties are released. My VHS copies are on the verge of crapping out. I don't know about rights issues or anything, but I assume that the "Boetticher westerns" Bordwell refers to are those that constitute the Ranown cycle and not titles such as A Time For Dying, Westbound, etc.? Can anyone chime in on which titles we can expect?

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david hare
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#5 Post by david hare » Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:05 am

Yes, that's right apparently. Davekehr's blog (and many thanx to Blake Lucas and others) confirms the prints/transfers were ready a while ago and commentary tracks were done this year. Maddeningly Blake isn't on the latter.) But these are all due - I suspect early next year as a boxset.

Fabbo!

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tryavna
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Re: Boetticher Westerns

#6 Post by tryavna » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:36 pm

Q: When will we get the Boetticher westerns?

A: It’s most frequent question Grover gets asked. Soon, soon: A boxed set of restored titles is on the way.
All I can say is this: WOO-HOO!

Boetticher's reputation has been steadily climbing over the past few years, but I think a boxset of the Ranown cycle will finally catapult him into greater mainstream appreciation.

I kind of suspected something was happening, since TCM has shown several from the cycle in their proper aspect ratio (as opposed to the open-matte or pan-and-scan versions that the Western Channel still shows).

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essrog
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#7 Post by essrog » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:05 am

I finally got around to watching Decision at Sundown, which I'd had on DVR for almost a year. I'm not sure what to think. On the one hand, I liked the concept of the revenge-bent hero fighting for the wrong cause, who Scott played extremely well, and I thought the against-the-grain ending was brilliant. On the other, a lot of the dialogue made me realize how dependent Boetticher was on Burt Kennedy for the other Ranown films (imdb has him as an uncredited writer on Buchanan Rides Alone, which is the only one of the Ranown cycle I haven't seen). Any scene involving Doc was painful, and, though I'm not a huge fan of High Noon, at least the townspeople's behavior was consistent and believable. Here, after some preachiness from Doc, suddenly the entire town grows balls and stands up to Kimbrough, whose pernicious impact on the town is never effectively conveyed. I wonder if Kennedy would've done better with this story, but then again, all his scripts for Boetticher were set in the harsh landscape of the West instead of in towns, where people can mess up a good Western by talking.

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tryavna
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#8 Post by tryavna » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:22 pm

essrog wrote:I wonder if Kennedy would've done better with this story, but then again, all his scripts for Boetticher were set in the harsh landscape of the West instead of in towns, where people can mess up a good Western by talking.
Apart from Westbound (which I haven't seen yet), Decision at Sundown has always been my least favorite of the Ranown cycle, and I think you hit the nail on the head: the rest of the films are so powerful precisely because of the way that Boetticher uses the landscape to complement/comment on the characters and action (much as Anthony Mann did before him). Decision at Sundown is still interesting, but it strikes me as being overly schematic; it's driven by ideas that are just a bit too apparent. As you say, Kennedy would certainly have made these ideas more subtle.

And by the way, you really need to seek out Buchanan Rides Alone because I think it would answer your question about what Kennedy would have done for Decision. (I'm one of those who think that Kennedy's uncredited work on Buchanan must have been quite significant.) And what Kennedy does with Buchanan is ramp up the irony. In fact, Buchanan is almost a black comedy -- right down to the fact that Buchanan himself (Scott's character) doesn't really do much riding "alone" in the picture.

Jonathan S
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#9 Post by Jonathan S » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:20 am

A Sony insider on the Classic Horror Board (of all places!) has also just confirmed the release of the Boetticher/Scott series:

They made five westerns for Columbia: THE TALL T, DECISION AT SUNDOWN, BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, RIDE LONESOME and COMANCHE STATION. (Their first, SEVEN MEN FROM NOW, was a Batjac production and is already on DVD. Warners owns WESTBOUND, but Budd kinda disowned it.)

The set will be rounded out by A MAN CAN DO THAT, the Eastwood-produced doc that originally aired on TCM. Expect it before the end of the year.

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backstreetsbackalright
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#10 Post by backstreetsbackalright » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:57 am

Jonathan S wrote:A Sony insider on the Classic Horror Board (of all places!) has also just confirmed the release of the Boetticher/Scott series:

They made five westerns for Columbia: THE TALL T, DECISION AT SUNDOWN, BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, RIDE LONESOME and COMANCHE STATION. (Their first, SEVEN MEN FROM NOW, was a Batjac production and is already on DVD. Warners owns WESTBOUND, but Budd kinda disowned it.)

The set will be rounded out by A MAN CAN DO THAT, the Eastwood-produced doc that originally aired on TCM. Expect it before the end of the year.
Terrific! That's a nice chunk of my backlog of must-see films that I can now watch on DVD instead of old, old VHS.

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essrog
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#11 Post by essrog » Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:38 pm

tryavna wrote:And by the way, you really need to seek out Buchanan Rides Alone because I think it would answer your question about what Kennedy would have done for Decision. (I'm one of those who think that Kennedy's uncredited work on Buchanan must have been quite significant.) And what Kennedy does with Buchanan is ramp up the irony. In fact, Buchanan is almost a black comedy -- right down to the fact that Buchanan himself (Scott's character) doesn't really do much riding "alone" in the picture.
Done and done -- I happened to have Buchanan sitting on the DVR, too, and just finished it. I agree with your assessment. This has to be the most underrated of the Boetticher/Scott Westerns, and if I had to venture a guess as to why, I think it's because of the black comedy aspects you mentioned. It's a very different beast compared to the more psychological bent of Seven Men from Now, Ride Lonesome, etc. Here, you have a family that's so irredeemably evil that you just have to laugh -- Boetticher and screenwriter Charles Lang (and/or the uncredited Kennedy) wisely forego any kind of explanation as to why they're so corrupt -- they just are. I know this was a few years before Yojimbo, but I see connections between the two (besides the obvious synergy between Western and samurai) -- the corruption of the entire town that's fueled by greed, the disdain for family members, and again, the black comedy.

The tone of the film was pretty much summed up with the last line of the film -- "Don't just stand there, Amos, get a shovel." Hilarious (in context, of course). I now cannot wait for the forthcoming DVDs.

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tryavna
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#12 Post by tryavna » Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:38 pm

essrog wrote:Here, you have a family that's so irredeemably evil that you just have to laugh -- Boetticher and screenwriter Charles Lang (and/or the uncredited Kennedy) wisely forego any kind of explanation as to why they're so corrupt -- they just are. I know this was a few years before Yojimbo, but I see connections between the two (besides the obvious synergy between Western and samurai) -- the corruption of the entire town that's fueled by greed, the disdain for family members, and again, the black comedy.
Absolutely! Though I suspect that the real connection between Buchanan and Yojimbo comes about by way of Leone's Fistful of Dollars. Leone was a huge fan of Boetticher -- something that doesn't get pointed out frequently enough. In fact, Boetticher was probably the most immediate precursor to both Leone and Peckinpah. (Ride the High Country was apparently originally intended as the culmination of the Ranown cycle, but of course went a different route in the end.)

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Antoine Doinel
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#13 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:39 pm

The commentaries for the Boetticher/Scott westerns boxset are currently being recorded.

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What A Disgrace
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Boetticher / Scott box

#14 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:03 pm

Boetticher / Scott box

"2. Can you comment any further on the possible release of Scott/Boetticher films

Definitely out this fall. Thrilled beyond words. Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese and Taylor Hackford are participating. It’ll also contain the Bruce Ricker documentary that aired on TCM a couple of years ago, A MAN CAN DO THAT, which Eastwood produced and appears in."

According to a poster on HTF, the set will contain The Tall T, Decision At Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station.

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essrog
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The Bullfighter and the Lady

#15 Post by essrog » Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:00 am

I caught up with Bullfighter and the Lady recently and would love to hear others' thoughts. I thought it was beautifully photographed, with an interesting mix of stylized low-key compositions (strange to see in a Boetticher film, since all the Ranown Westerns are in color) and documentary-style footage of bullfighting (though there is some stylization there, too, particularly in the lyrical slow-motion sequence at the end). I also thought Boetticher handled the relationship between the famous torero and his wife, as well as the bullfighting training scenes, with aplomb.

As far as the main story arc goes, I was intrigued early on with the idea of the fair-haired American nonchalantly asking the greatest torero in Mexico to teach him the ropes basically so he can impress a broad. I kept waiting for Robert Stack's character to get his comeuppance for not understanding that his attitude and behavior, while rewarded in America, are not as well-received in Mexico (ala John Grady Cole in the novels All the Pretty Horses and Cities of the Plain). But he kept getting better than he deserved, even after he inadvertently caused the death of his mentor. I didn't think he deserved the redemption he achieved, but the movie thought he did.

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tryavna
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#16 Post by tryavna » Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:37 am

Essrog, I guess that the Ranown cycle has so completely overshadowed the rest of Boetticher's output that I can see why you were surprised at his B&W stylization in Bullfighter. However, it's important to remember that, much like Anthony Mann, Boetticher got his start by making b-noirs -- some of which are well worth seeking out. I'm particularly keen on The Killer Is Loose, which is probably his best film outside the Ranown westerns. (It's surprisingly brutal and features Wendell Corey's finest performance.)

As for Bullfighter, I like it, and I largely agree with your evaluation: It's a fascinating semi-documentary look into a world/lifestyle that most Anglos know very little about -- apart from some of the more romanticized notions about the sport, like Hemingway's. I'm less bothered by the vague sense of cultural imperialism that surrounds Stack's venture into this foreign world. (After all, the film is largely autobiographical, since Boetticher himself became an accomplished bullfighter in his youth.) I do agree, however, that the ending is a bit of a cop-out. Perhaps Boetticher was pressured by John Wayne (who produced the film)? We know that Wayne asked John Ford to come in afterwards and re-cut the film. At any rate, this is a movie I'd like to know a little more about. Perhaps it will eventually get the same DVD treatment that 7 Men from Now did, and that will give us some answers.

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david hare
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#17 Post by david hare » Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:19 pm

A Boetticher title that seems all but forgotten, perhaps because it's so unseen is Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond with Ray Danton. THe latter a big 60s TV actor, and the movie also has quite a TV like flatly lit image. I've kept the old laserdisc (burnt to DVDR) of it, but it seems to have vanished from sight. The laser is full frame which I suspect is open matte for intended 1.85 mask.

It's a great movie, Fuller-esque. In fact of all things the late Peter Allen (of all people) turned it into a musical! Maybe he was inspired by Party Girl from the same period.

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Cinephrenic
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#18 Post by Cinephrenic » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:21 pm


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GringoTex
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Re: Budd Boetticher

#19 Post by GringoTex » Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:42 pm

I've spent six straight nights watching the five films in the Sony box plus Seven Men From Now and am flabbergasted at the achievement. I'm tempted to label the thing Boetticher's Six Moral Tales because they comprise a series of conversations on a single moral theme. Except we have our cake and eat it, too, because we also get vistas, horses, indians, and gunfights.

Watching Scott ride behind the rock outcropping at the end of Comanche Station, knowing it was the last thing he and Boetticher ever did together, may be the mots mournful experience in my movie watching career.

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Matt
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Re: Budd Boetticher

#20 Post by Matt » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:57 pm

Boetticher's Westbound is available for viewing on Netflix Instant. Another Randolph Scott western, released in between Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station (but made for Warner Bros.) It's minor, and it appears to have been mercilessly cut (it's only 66 minutes long; IMDb states 72), but Scott is charming as always. It's slightly corny in spots, but in the good, Fordian way; Wally Brown plays an old stagecoach driver in a vaudevillian performance that even Andy Devine and Walter Brennan would cringe at.

The version on Netflix is Academy ratio. IMDb says 1.85, but it doesn't look cropped. Probably just shot TV-safe open matte, but it looks nice regardless.

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GringoTex
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Re: Budd Boetticher

#21 Post by GringoTex » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:00 am

Matt wrote:Boetticher's Westbound is available for viewing on Netflix Instant. Another Randolph Scott western, released in between Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station (but made for Warner Bros.) It's minor, and it appears to have been mercilessly cut (it's only 66 minutes long; IMDb states 72), but Scott is charming as always. It's slightly corny in spots, but in the good, Fordian way; Wally Brown plays an old stagecoach driver in a vaudevillian performance that even Andy Devine and Walter Brennan would cringe at.

The version on Netflix is Academy ratio. IMDb says 1.85, but it doesn't look cropped. Probably just shot TV-safe open matte, but it looks nice regardless.
This is the first Netflix Instant I've tried and I stopped because the image was literally blurry (as opposed to low resolution). Is this standard or is there something wrong with my setup?

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Matt
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Re: Budd Boetticher

#22 Post by Matt » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:12 am

GringoTex wrote:This is the first Netflix Instant I've tried and I stopped because the image was literally blurry (as opposed to low resolution). Is this standard or is there something wrong with my setup?
It's apparently a problem with many of the Starz Play titles available on Netflix. It may also depend upon the quality setting Netflix puts you at based on your download speed. It looked okay when I watched it.

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Scharphedin2
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Re: Budd Boetticher

#23 Post by Scharphedin2 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:19 pm

I updated the initial post of this thread with a number of films and links to articles that have appeared since the thread was initially set up.

The release of The Bullfighter and the Lady in Spain hopefully bodes well for a future release in other countries. I own the old Laserdisc, which I looked at the other day, and I was surprised that it is actually the full 120+ minute original version of the film. My impression was that this original cut had only been rescued and restored in the late '90s.

With respect to Boetticher and his bullfighter films -- has anyone ever seen the film he worked on for many years called Arruza -- something like an epic documentary on Boetticher's bullfighting teacher, shot on location in Mexico, and not completed before the death of Arruza? Boetticher considered it his crowning achievement, but was it ever "completed" and shown?

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zedz
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Re: Budd Boetticher

#24 Post by zedz » Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:27 pm

This bump reminded me to comment on the recent Boetticher box. I finally got into this a couple of weeks ago, intending to only watch the couple of titles I hadn't seen before (Decision at Sundown and Buchanan Rides Alone), but these films are so compelling I had to go through all of them.

The films are miracles of economy, richer in character and incident and subtext than many films twice their length. They're often characterised as 'stark' and 'austere', and there's a clarity about them that leans in that direction, but seeing them again what I really notice is the depth and nuance of the action and acting and the fluidity and precision of the filmmaking (including bravura crane shots that are so flawlessly integrated into the on-screen action that you can indeed mistake Boetticher's style for minimalism).

All of the films are great, with The Tall T and Ride Lonesome among the greatest of the genre. And Decision at Sundown exposes just how hypocritical almost every other Hollywood revenge drama is (we're supposed to tut-tut over the hollowness of revenge while getting our kicks from the sanitised 'accidental' death of the villain). I'm somewhat on the fence about Comanche Station, since it's almost off-puttingly self-referential - it's like 'Ranown's Greatest Hits' with situations, stretches of dialogue and even key props recycled from the earlier films - but on its own terms it's head and shoulders above 90% of other westerns.

The box is an essential purchase, even if many of the extras are mere puffery. Eastwood has almost no insight to offer, and the various commentaries are standard backgrounders and repeat each other. Scorsese's bits are very brief, but he does at least offer a valuable insight about the tension within Boetticher's frames: the stillness of the figures amplifying the significance of small movements (just consider the eloquence of Richard Boone's hand gestures in The Tall T - what a great performance that is!).

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david hare
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Re: Budd Boetticher

#25 Post by david hare » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:59 pm

A propos of Boetticher, or maybe more than merely a propos, I've been watching some of the earlier (late 40s to mid 50s) Randolph Scott pictures for RKO and Warner before he hitched up with BB - the titles here are all out on the Warner Archive series - and I recommend them without reservation. So far, Trail St (Ray Enright), Carson City and Thunder Over the Plains (both de Toth) and Man Behind the Gun (Felix Feist). All the directors are noteworthy for deft skill with the genre, and the screenplays are all tight and vivid. Terrific supports including Robert Ryan, Raymond Burr, Lawrence Tierney... but most importantly I get a real sense of a consistent Ranown Randy Scott persona arriving fully formed through these movies, and the move to Boetticher is effectively prepared for. I'd be very interested to hear others' thoughts on these, considering so much attention and affection has already been lavished on BB, and not always with due deference I think to Randy or principal Ranown writer Burt Kennedy. Certainly if you want to think about Randy as a co-auteur the earlier pictures are definitely worth a spin.

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