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Randolph Scott - Tribute
Posted: June 3rd, 2007, 12:44 pm
On June 30th, The Western Channel is having a 24 hour tribute to Randy, so those of you who haven't seen too much of him, may want to tune in if you have the channel. They will be starting at midnight and going through to the following midnight showing a total of 12 of his movies, including:
The Tall T
Buchanan Rides Alone
Considering his movies are generally one and a half hours long, with an occasional 108 or 118 minutes length, they may also have some remarks ala the John Wayne tribute of last week.
Posted: June 3rd, 2007, 2:14 pm
I noticed that TCM is showing a bunch of Randolph Scott movies in July.
I really like "Seven Men from Now" and "Commanche Station." I look forward to seeing "The Tall T."
One Scott-Boetticher western I saw as a kid on Cleveland UHF TV but seems to have vanished now is "Westbound." It wasn't part of the Ranown cycle, so it got very little critical attention.
Posted: June 10th, 2007, 11:50 am
Although the Western Channel is having a RS tribute on the 30th, they are playing some of the movies scattered throughout the month also. One of these is Ride Lonesome, which has kicked off a discussion over on TCM. It seems that most of the people posting over there nowadays are either younger, or not truly interested in the value of older movies. I may continue on this thought, but first here is my take on Ride Lonesome.
A little more detailed background on the original 'despicable act' would have been helpful but, it would have added too much time to the length of this movie. (I don't want to give away what the 'act' was, as it is a vital part of the plot.) The Boetticher/Scott westerns were all limited to a maximum of one and one-half hours, and even rarely that long.
Scott, a rancher turned bounty hunter, has captured a wanted man, and is taking him to be put on trial, however, knowing the mans' brother is following, he follows a curious route, making his companions wonder what his plan is. There are several sub-plots, but they all tie in to the wanted man, and are all resolved by the end.
Karen Steele was a little too overt in the role as was her costuming, hair and makeup, but, it was the 50's and women just did not appear in front of the camera without every hair in place, and full make-up, even in death scenes, after days in the hospital, let alone out on the prairie.
This is one of my favorite roles from Pernell Roberts. If he could have developed this sort of character in other movies, he may have gone on to bigger and better. A high-toned, nearly educated cowboy who spoke in dulcet tones could easily have made a name for him. He started it in Bonanza, and carried it through on this movie, but never got to do more in any other later films. Having a young, 'dumb as a post' side-kick like Whit (James Coburn in one of his first feature films), added to our amusement as Pernell tolerates Whits' shortcomings with mild exasperation, finally letting us in on the secret, that unknown 'Why' to him . . . he 'likes' Whit. These character nuances endeared me to both of them.
As in all Boetticher/Scott collaborations, Scott has a scene in which he explains his actions and reactions, letting his companions in on his brusque and seemingly vicious attitude, thereby informing them of his sense of right vs. wrong. This scene usually involves a short summary of his life up to this point in time, thus rallying his detractors to his cause, as in this case with both Ms. Steele and Roberts.
I find this to be one of my favorite Scott westerns because of the various personalities all in contention with one another, yet coming together at the end. The final scene, of Steele, Roberts, and Coburn, riding away and looking back at the smoke was a great finish.
Lately, TCM posters seem to have a feeling of personal affront to many of the movies shown, (and I don't just mean the 'gay' themed ones). I'm probably wrong, but they seem to take the teen movies, drama and film noir as 'in your face' assaults. Actors are rarely discussed. . . more the content of the film plot, with reference to real vs. reel. I may be reading more into this than I should, but whenever I click over there, I rarely find anything that I care to respond to, and for some reason, the discussion on this particular film brought a lot to my attention. I could be reading between the lines - what do the rest of you think?
Posted: June 30th, 2007, 2:46 pm
Ride Lonesome is on right now, and I'm half watching while marveling at Jons' new 'look'.
This is definitely one of my favorite westerns, with or without Randy or John Wayne, it just has all the elements of a really good story.
The 7th Calvary was on earlier, and although the ending was a little too abrupt, I had a hard time understanding the attitude of the rest of the regiment. They resented RS for not being at the massacre, and believed he got special favors from Gen. Custer (who supposedly was a good friend), so was sent away before the fight began. I understand they had no real use for Custer, which in actuality was true, but why would he send his 'buddy' away, and not himself? This is the question I thought they might have considered. As usual, I loved Harry Carey Jr. in this. He has grown on my to be a big favorite support star. He's like a little kitten you can't resist petting.
Bell Starr, Comanche Station, The Tall T, Buchanan Rides Alone, and Decision at Sundown are all coming up. Decision at Sundown is the ONLY Randolph Scott Western I do not like at all. The whole idea of the story is just too screwed up for me. I am going to watch again later in case I missed something the last time I saw it. I love all of them, so I feel I have to give Decision one more chance.
See y'all when I get back to TCM
Posted: June 30th, 2007, 3:25 pm
If anyone has Comcast OnDemand "Buchanan Rides Alone" (one of my favorites) and "Ride Lonesome" are listed there for about a month in case you miss them today. Also, a reminder on the 5th TCM will have some Scott Westerns during prime time.
If you want a real laugh look for "The Stranger Wore A Gun." There is nothing wrong with the plot or anything but it was shot in 3-D. A bar fight takes place during a fire and the fire is so phony it's a real distraction. It was obviously added later. If I remember right when the camera would pan during the scene the fire went with it so you saw the same flames.
Posted: July 2nd, 2007, 7:41 pm
I have to say I'm not entirely happy with the choices TCM has made as to which RS movies to televise as a tribute to him.
Of the four they're showing, Seven Men From Now, and Comanche Station are good ones, but in Decision at Sundown, Randy seems more like a revenge seeking maniac than a fair minded sort, like he usually plays. Also the Desperadoes is more of a Glenn Ford vehicle than Scott.
My choices would have been Ride Lonesome, The Tall T, Hangman's Knot, and Buchanan Rides Alone. In these he plays a variety of cowboy. Most of them are his normal good guy fighting back, but on the side of the law. Also his quiet, sensitivity to peoples' feelings and emotions, and the way he handles them. Randys' movies are mainly about a western loner traveling from one place to another with a definite goal in mind. He rarely has a partner, but he generally finds someone to align with. I think one of the charms of his movies (for men and boys), is that they are about the man, he's not a lover. Occasionally he gets the girl, but normally she belongs to someone else, and he is just playing the protector.
Unfortunately, I don't think the movies being shown on July 5 will instill any real admiration from viewers who have not seen his other efforts, but perhaps I am wrong, I hope so, because I like to think a new generation would find RS a viable ideal.
Posted: July 6th, 2007, 12:25 am
I think that TCM was limited in their selections of Scott/Boetticher westerns because the Western Encore channel seems to have the others tied up. we sometimes forget how territorial these lease rights can be when dealing with films and channels we love. But if Western Encore is showing the Tall T, Buchanan Rides Alone and the others, then they wouldn't be available to TCM to run.
That said, I really enjoyed the Scott/Boetticher westerns tonight.
As Ford found his voice in Monument Valley, the Alabama Hills of Lone Pine were where Scott and Boetticher found theirs as a team. The strange outcropping of rocks with the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range rising behind them allowed them to film everything from the desert plains (Lone Pine is just up the road from Mojave) to the high country of the Sierra Nevadas.
It's easy to see when watching 7 Men from Now and Comanche Station that Bart in Blazing Saddles was right: "You'd do it for Randolph Scott".
In deed we would.
In these westerns, Scott is a man who has been betrayed by a woman, a friend, a cause, something that has sent him on a journey to find perhaps himself, to right the wrongs that have been done, to find redemption or offer it to others.
In the post-War westerns, the best ones are the ones with heroes who aren't just black and white but have multi-layers of gray to their characters. Scott, like Jimmy Stewart with Anthony Mann and Wayne with Ford, found with Boetticher the lone hero who has to right the wrong(s) that have occurred story wise before the film began. In the Scott/Boetticher world, Scott never loses sight of the meaning of doing what is right.
The exception to this is Decision at Sundown where Scott plays a man driven by his inability to accept that his wife may not have been as faithful as he believed. Yet, it is his love for her that drives him throughout the story. At the end of the story, he should be more thankful for Ray Teal's help but reminds Teal that he and his men should have stood up sooner.
Comanche Station seems in some ways an homage to Ford with the character of Dobie and the rescuing of a woman kidnapped by Indians. Even some of the locales in Lone Pine evoke memories of The Searchers.
In the end, Scott rides back towards the Alabama Hills of Lone Pine and then on up to the High Country where waits his final role and being able to enter his house justified.
Thanks TCM for saluting (cue chorus) Randolph Scott.
Posted: July 13th, 2007, 3:13 am
Well, The Stranger Wore a Gun. I missed the beginning of the film but realized almost immediately that the film had originally been realized in 3-D.
Was this Ernest Borgnine's first western?
I loved Lee Marvin. So young, so handsome. That voice.
Really enjoyed Claire Trevor.
But most of all enjoyed the landscape of the Alabama Hills (though De Toth is no Boetticher, especially when it comes to staging fights or shoot-outs) against the Sierra Nevada mountains. Looks like it was shot in winter with all that snow on the mountains.
Did love the use of shadows of by De Toth.
The final fire sequence was quite good but still a tad off in term so editing.
What did Robert O say before the film began?
Posted: July 13th, 2007, 6:27 am
I didn't see the intro but Robert O. did say after the picture that this was Borgnine's first western.
I saw part of it and thought it funny during the chase scene how the rocks would move with the camera as it panned the action.
Posted: July 13th, 2007, 11:17 am
Don't recall what Mr. O said, but I can say that the guy who did the singing in Man in the Saddle was Tennessee Ernie Ford - there was a question about him recently, I wish I had known he was in this movie sooner, I would have called attention to the fact.
Posted: July 13th, 2007, 11:47 am
I was wondering who was singing and his face did look vaguely familiar---thanks for clearing it up. Too bad they didn't give him a screen credit.
Posted: July 14th, 2007, 6:31 pm
Recently enjoyed a nifty oatburner "Man in the Saddle" (1951) with none other than Randolph Scott.
A good supporting cast with Joan Leslie, a blonde Ellen Drew, Alexander Knox, John Russell, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Cameron Mitchell, and bandito Alfonso Bedoya who actually ends the movie with a smile on his face.
It's been a while since I settled for a good western.
Posted: August 25th, 2007, 3:04 am
Yesterday I watching "Frontier Marshal"(1939) and the instant Randolph Scott appeared on screen from afar, I couldn't help seeing a resemblance to Gary Cooper. He has some of the same mannerisms and similarities in the tall physique. Does anyone else think so?
Posted: November 4th, 2008, 12:07 pm
With the release of the Randolph Scott (cue chorus)/ Boetticher Columbia westerns today I thought it might be timely to bring this up again to see if we had anything to add.
One other note - "Decision At Sundown" is on TCM tonght. The street with that famous front may be the most single photographed western set built. Anyone know if it was just a backlot set or not?