Randolph Scott

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Ride The High Country Review


Excellent
More westerns have been made than almost any other kind of movie (beginning with the first narrative film ever made, The Great Train Robbery in 1903) but there are not that many great westerns. (To be fair, there aren't many bad ones either -- they're all about par.) A few classics -- The Ox-Bow Incident, Shane, High Noon, Fort Apache, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance -- are almost the only standouts in a genre which, at least for most of its history, was focused on myth-making and honoring traditional entertainment values, not breaking new trails.

At least, that was true until Sam Peckinpah came along in the 1960s. Peckinpah loved and respected the western genre enough to try to reinvent it, injecting much more violence and moral ambiguity. He was criticized for going too far in his later films, but their toughness and realism now seem natural and appropriate.

Continue reading: Ride The High Country Review

7 Men From Now Review


Essential
It's with a heavy heart that I admit this, both to readers and myself: nobody cares about westerns anymore. Well, maybe Tommy Lee Jones, but he's that all-too-rare exception. It's hard to imagine that not too long ago (the 1940s and '50s) westerns were considered high entertainment, only exceeded by comedies and musicals. And though the genre was dominated by masters like John Ford and Howard Hawks, a film like Budd Boetticher's 7 Men from Now still got some attention from viewers. These days, without major critical hype and publicity, you wonder if it would even make a bleep on the radar.

An obvious forbearer to Clint Eastwood's groundbreaking Unforgiven, 7 Men concerns Ben Stride (Randolph Scott), the former sheriff of Silver Springs and a recently widowed drifter. Not a drifter without purpose, however. When seven men held up a Wells Fargo office, they killed Stride's wife and ran off with twenty grand. In a chilling opening scene, Stride kills off two of them in a small cave and then heads off to find the rest. Early in his mission he runs across Annie and John Greer (Gail Russell and Walter Reed, respectively), a couple heading to California to find their fortune. He also runs across an ex-con that he locked up once, Bill Masters (the ever-brilliant Lee Marvin), who agrees to help Stride for the possibility of picking up the stolen loot. But, as always, nothing is as it seems.

Continue reading: 7 Men From Now Review

Ride The High Country Review


Excellent
More westerns have been made than almost any other kind of movie (beginning with the first narrative film ever made, The Great Train Robbery in 1903) but there are not that many great westerns. (To be fair, there aren't many bad ones either -- they're all about par.) A few classics -- The Ox-Bow Incident, Shane, High Noon, Fort Apache, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance -- are almost the only standouts in a genre which, at least for most of its history, was focused on myth-making and honoring traditional entertainment values, not breaking new trails.

At least, that was true until Sam Peckinpah came along in the 1960s. Peckinpah loved and respected the western genre enough to try to reinvent it, injecting much more violence and moral ambiguity. He was criticized for going too far in his later films, but their toughness and realism now seem natural and appropriate.

Continue reading: Ride The High Country Review

Follow The Fleet Review


OK
A really tepid outing from Astaire and Rogers, Follow the Fleet has none of the flair of other hoofin' flicks of the era, giving us Astaire as an unbelievable navy sailor (who chastises his crewmates in an early scene for not letting him forget he "used to be a hoofer"). Of course he ends up wooing and dancing with Ginger Rogers -- but , alas, none of the songs are memorable.
Randolph Scott

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