Monday, 18 October 2010

Ride Lonesome (1959)

One of Budd Boetticher's series of westerns starring Randolph Scott and written by Burt Kennedy, Ride Lonesome  is a fine, lean piece of film-making with dialogue as tight lipped as a desert parched cowboy. A typical plot - silent, mysterious loner tracks down a murderer with a bounty on his head to take him back to Santa Cruz to hang, whilst all the while trying to lure the murderers brother into a showdown in revenge for the killing of his wife.  But then you never watch a western for its plot do you?

The action is fast and quick, much like the 50s B-movie production. Burt Kennedy's script is a killer, full of that mid-century American machismo that seemed designed for the movies. Randolph Scott barely moves a muscle throughout the film, keeping his conversation to a minimum, his eyes set on the horizon:

"You mean you’d kill each other over a bounty? Like two dogs fighting over a bone?"

"You could say that."

There's no justification for his actions, no-one tells him he's going to far when he strings up the juvenile murderer and goads his brother on, the one scene were he seems to enjoy himself.
A great film, minimal and restrained and all over in 73 minutes - I'd like more please.

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