May 24-26,  2002

American Cinematheque Presents...

Ride Lonesome: A Tribute to Budd Boetticher & The Randolph Scott Westerns

 

Series Compiled by  Dennis Bartok.

Special Thanks to: Michael Wayne/BATJAC PROD.; Todd Wiener and Rob Stone/UCLA FILM & TELEVISION ARCHIVE; Cathye Clark/PARAMOUNT PICTURES REPERTORY; Blake Lucas.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $8 general admission unless noted otherwise.

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Even in a genre known for its spare qualities, the series of Westerns directed by Budd Boetticher in the late 1950’s, including 7 MEN FROM NOW, THE TALL T and RIDE LONESOME, are a model of utter simplicity: none more than 80 minutes long; opening and closing on the archetypal image of Randolph Scott, seeking vengeance for his murdered wife. Within this framework, Boetticher created a brilliantly authentic West of bitter violence, quiet poetry, gallows humor and dynamic, even attractive villains.

Born in Chicago, Boetticher traveled to Mexico in the late 1930’s, where he studied with the country’s finest matadors. He entered the film industry as consultant for the bullfighting sequences on BLOOD AND SAND (1941). Boetticher soon began directing a series of terse, low-budget action pictures for Columbia and Monogram. It wasn’t until the release of BULLFIGHTER AND THE LADY in 1951 that Boetticher first began his obsessive, personal exploration into traditional codes of masculinity and ritualized combat. This exploration reached its height in the "Ranown" cycle of Westerns, where Boetticher worked with Scott and a team that included (variously) cinematographer Lucien Ballard, writers Burt Kennedy and Charles Lang, Jr. and producer Harry Joe Brown.

As a tribute to Budd Boetticher, a longtime friend of the Cinematheque who passed away last November at the age of 85, we’re pleased to present six of the classic Randolph Scott Westerns, screened in the order they were originally released, plus Budd’s masterful BULLFIGHTER AND THE LADY.

Our enormous thanks to the UCLA Film & Television Archive for their brilliant restoration work on 7 MEN FROM NOW and BULLFIGHTER, and to Michael Schlesinger and Grover Crisp at Columbia Pictures Repertory, for striking stunning new, restored prints of THE TALL T, DECISION AT SUNDOWN, BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, RIDE LONESOME and COMANCHE STATION for this series!

 

Friday, May 24 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature – Restored 35 mm. Prints!! Actor Stuart Whitman to Introduce the Screening!

7 MEN FROM NOW, 1956, Batjac Prod., 78 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. The first of the Randolph Scott Westerns (and Budd’s personal favorite of all his movies), the legendary 7 MEN FROM NOW was long thought to be a lost film – until it was recently restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, with the cooperation of producer John Wayne’s son, Michael. And what a rediscovery it is: Scott stars as a tight-lipped sheriff relentlessly hunting the men who killed his wife, while fending off distractions from lovely Gail Russell and loquacious bandido Lee Marvin.

THE TALL T, 1957, Columbia, 78 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Tense, sexually ambiguous story of rancher Randolph Scott kidnapped by killer Richard Boone (in a career-making performance) and his gun-happy henchmen. Brilliantly scripted by Burt Kennedy (based on an Elmore Leonard story), THE TALL T switches effortlessly from folksy humor to tragic violence, leaving the viewer literally breathless. "In every one of the Scott pictures, I felt I could have traded Randy’s part with the villain’s." – Budd Boetticher. With Henry Silva, Maureen O’Sullivan.

 

Saturday, May 25 – 5:00 PM

THE BULLFIGHTER AND THE LADY, 1951, Republic (Paramount), 124 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Beautiful, doom-laden story of a brash American (Robert Stack) entering the traditional world of Mexican toreros; Gilbert Roland is stunning as Stack’s older mentor. The first of Boetticher’s great bullfighting films. With Joy Page, Katy Jurado. Robert Stack will appear for discussion.

 

Saturday, May 25 – 8:00 PM

Double Feature – New 35 mm. Prints! Discussion between films with actors H.M. Wynant & L.Q. Jones (schedules permitting)

DECISION AT SUNDOWN, 1957, Columbia, 77 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. The most atypical of the Ranown Westerns, the morally complex DECISION finds Randolph Scott hunting for the man responsible for his wife’s suicide, but realizing he himself may be at fault. Co-starring Karen Steele, Noah Beery.

BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, 1958, Columbia, 78 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Scott stars as a former mercenary, carrying $2,000 in blood money, trapped in a border town by a corrupt family. Everyone is willing to trade a dead man’s honor for hard cash in this almost comically remorseless Western. With Craig Stevens, L.Q. Jones.

 

Sunday, May 26 – 5:00 PM

Double Feature – New 35 mm. Prints! Actress Nancy Gates to Appear for Discussion Following COMANCHE STATION!

RIDE LONESOME, 1959, Columbia, 73 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Complex, poetic revenge tragedy starring Randolph Scott as a sheriff-turned bounty hunter, using a young desperado to flush out his murderous older brother. Scott’s final act of absolution at the hanging tree ranks with John Wayne’s last moments in THE SEARCHERS. With Pernell Roberts, James Coburn.

COMANCHE STATION, 1960, Columbia, 74 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. In the last of the Ranown cycle, Scott buys a white woman back from the Indians, hoping to find his wife. Instead, he finds himself locked in a lethal struggle with a bounty hunter (Claude Akins) to return the woman to her husband for a large reward.