Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Drama > The Films Of Budd Boetticher (The Tall T/Decision At Sundown/ Buchanan Rides Alone/Ride Lonesome/Comanche Station/Sony DVD)

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



I have 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.


At the 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.



No 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.



The 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.


Extras 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 commentary.


Any serious film fan needs to take this set in at least once.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com