The Films Of Budd Boetticher (The Tall T/Decision At Sundown/ Buchanan Rides Alone/Ride Lonesome/Comanche Station/Sony DVD)
Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: B Films: B
not seen the Budd Boetticher Westerns in decades and never a fan of Westerns,
they did not stay with me outright and I sort of forgot them. Fortunately, Sony and serious fans of his
work and the genre have not, resulting in a new DVD box set called The Films Of Budd Boetticher and
featuring five of his most popular films in the genre.
time I saw them, I did not realize I took for granted the realism of the films,
their darkness and the ability they had to deal with stark mortality in a world
where people would kill each other at the drop of a hat. This was not violence out of urban plight or
gain as in Mystery tales, but a paired-down ugliness where the characters had
only so much to live for and were tested as few such films showed their
characters tested. He made more than the
following films and Westerns, but in this set all with lead Randolph Scott, we
get Revenge Westerns including:
The Tall T (1957) – Based on an Elmore
Leonard novel, Scott loses his horse in a bet, only to get involved in the
kidnapping of Maureen O’Hara and things get odder form the Burt Kennedy
script. One of the bets films here, this
also stars Richard Boone, Henry Silva, Arthur Hunnicut and Skip Homeier.
Decision At Sundown (1957) – Scott hunts a man (John
Carroll) who drove his wife to kill herself in this short, to the point. Karen Steele, Valerie French, Andrew Duggan,
Richard Deacon and Noah Berry Jr. also star.
Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) – Scott takes on corrupt
family running town centered on their brothel with the usual conflicts as the
family battles with each other. Craig Stevens,
Robert Anderson, Joe De Santis and L.Q. Jones also star.
Ride Lonesome (1959/2.35 X 1 CinemaScope) –
Bounty hunter takes on more tag-alongs than he’d like with Randolph Scott, Lee
Van Cleef, James Best, Pernell Roberts, Karen Steele and James Coburn in his
first film role.
Comanche Station (1960/2.35 X 1 CinemaScope) –
Scott saves a woman from the title Indian tribe, only to find out she is wanted
with a bounty on her head otherwise and one of his old enemies is going to cash
in at any price.
oversimplifications are intended, but we don’t want to spoil anything and this
can be so visual that describing it would be futile. Though he made many films, his career ended
sooner than it should have and his major influence on the genre remains underrated
and underappreciated, which is why this set is so timely. Let’s hope we see the rest of his output, no
matter who owns the film.
anamorphically enhanced image across the five DVDs are a bit softer than usual,
and though the color is good, it is not always great, especially when it is
supposed to be three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor. They can look good, but could use some more
work and Blu-ray versions should be interesting. All were lensed by Director of Photography
Charles Lawton Jr., except Sundown
(Burnett Guffey of From Here To Eternity
and Homicidal) and Buchanan (Lucien Ballard of The Wild Bunch and original Getaway, both reviewed elsewhere on
this site) and have that especially spare look and feel Boetticher brought to
his films. All the films are Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono, sounding good for their age, but showing their age.
include trailers across the DVDs, must-see documentary Budd Boetticher – A Man Can Do That, Jeanine Basinger’s audio
commentary on Tall T, Martin
Scorsese’s on-camera comments on Tall T
and Ride Lonesome, Taylor Hackford’s
on-camera comments on Ride Lonesome
and Decision At Sundown, Jeremy
Arnold’s audio commentary on Ride
Lonesome and Clint Eastwood’s on-camera comments on Comanche Station, for which Hackford does an entire audio
serious film fan needs to take this set in at least once.
- Nicholas Sheffo