Budd Boetticher
November 27, 2009 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Budd Boetticher, Randolph Scott, and the remarkable Ranown Cycle of Westerns. "Boetticher is one of the most fascinating unrecognized talents in the American cinema...Constructed partly as allegorical Odysseys and partly as floating poker games where every character took turns at bluffing about his hand until the final showdown, Boetticher's Westerns expressed a weary serenity and moral certitude that was contrary to the more neurotic approaches of other directors on this neglected level of the cinema." - Andrew Sarris. Hero to the French New wave and early subject of Cahiers du Cinema auteur theory, Boetticher's films are true treasures of American cinema. Martin Scorsese on Ride Lonesome and The Tall T: Clint Eastwood on Comanche Station: Taylor Hackford on Buchanan Rides Alone and Decision at Sundown. posted by vronsky (14 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
♬ Raaaaandolllllph Scottttt!♬
posted by Awakened at 11:56 AM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

There is an article by André Bazin on Seven Men From Now where he calls it the best western he has seen but google can't find it.

Randolph Scott is almost impossibly handsome, lean and elegant throughout all the films and varies his performance by small degrees in each one. Paul Schrader calls him "a tuning fork" -- in that the smallest vibration has meaning and nuance. (I have also heard him referred to as a "wonderfully limited" actor)
posted by vronsky at 12:21 PM on November 27, 2009

Also, Godard gave a small homage to Boetticher in his film Breathless - "Westbound" was playing at the theater the lovers went to.
posted by vronsky at 12:39 PM on November 27, 2009

What a great post. I love stuff like this thanks for sharing.
posted by nola at 1:02 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Good the Bad and the Ugly
posted by hortense at 1:20 PM on November 27, 2009

I met Budd Boetticher once. Nice guy, and of course a wonderful director. Go watch The Tall T, pronto. (And no, I have no idea what the title means.)
posted by languagehat at 2:31 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

The climax of Ride Lonesome had a perfect passage of cowboy dialogue. (Yes, I'm going to blow the big surprise. I believe you can't "spoil" a movie that's fifty years old. Regardless, you've been warned.)

The bad guy Frank catches up to Our Hero, Ben Brigade, and finds that Brigade has Frank's kid brother, Billy, in a noose on the same tree where Frank had hung Brigade's wife years before.

FRANK: It's me you're after, Brigade. You've got no quarrel with Billy.

BRIGADE: What quarrel did you have with her?

FRANK: (pause) That was so long ago, I'd almost forgot.

BRIGADE: A man can do that.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 2:32 PM on November 27, 2009

The Turner Classic Movies/TCM channel product a Boetticher documentary called "A Man Can Do That." They may replay it at some point so set yer DVRs.
posted by basicchannel at 6:49 PM on November 27, 2009

produced not product.
posted by basicchannel at 6:54 PM on November 27, 2009

Also, this is a really great post. Thanks.
posted by basicchannel at 6:56 PM on November 27, 2009

Not to be a dick hortense and purely subjective on my part but I find Eastwood overrated as an actor and hugely overrated as a director. The secondary characters in the Boetticher films give more interesting performances than anything Eastwood has ever done. And his commentary linked above was the weakest of the three.

Tell us more about meeting Boetticher languagehat!
posted by vronsky at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2009

Not much to tell. AMMI in Astoria was having a Boetticher retrospective in Sept.-Oct. 2000 (NYT description here), and he was there for the final day; my brother is a huge Boetticher fan, so I cornered him and asked him if he'd autograph the copy of his autobiography (now a collector's item) I'd bought as a birthday present, and he very kindly did so and chatted with me for a few minutes. He was obviously not in good shape (he died the next year), so I didn't want to keep him, but I've always remembered how gracious he was. He seemed like a real mensch.
posted by languagehat at 2:08 PM on November 28, 2009

That seems to be the consensus on him L-hat. In the documentary linked above Robert Towne especially goes on about what a great man he was.
posted by vronsky at 3:02 PM on November 28, 2009

No worries vronsky, he is not my favorite either, it was just Eastwood's remark about Boetticher's influences that prompted my Link to the complete HD film.
posted by hortense at 5:07 PM on November 28, 2009

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