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The Films of Budd Boetticher DVD Collection vs. Five Tall Tales: Budd Boetticher & Randolph Scott At Columbia, 1957-1960 Blu-rays

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The Tall T (1957)     Decision at Sundown (1957)     Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)

Ride Lonesome (1959)      Comanche Station (1960)

 

NOTE: The Indicator Blu-ray of Comanche Station is compared to this DVD and German Blu-ray version HERE.

Few hauteur directors are more revered and beloved than Oscar "Budd" Boetticher, Jr., who lived a life more amazing than any movie. And few films have been more eagerly-awaited on DVD than the spare, adult westerns he made at Columbia in the late 1950s, all starring Randolph Scott, most written by future director Burt Kennedy, and co-starring such outstanding actors as James Coburn (in his film debut), Richard Boone, Maureen O'Sullivan, Pernell Roberts, Lee Van Cleef, and Craig Stevens. Now, at last, you hold them in your hand: The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station. Rounding out the set is Bruce Ricker's acclaimed feature-length documentary, A Man Can do That, executive produced Budd's friend Clint Eastwood. Sony Pictures and The Film Foundation are honored to present one of the absolutely essential collections of this or any year.


Titles


The Tall T (1957) - Admirably scripted by Burt Kennedy from a story by Elmore Leonard, this is the best and bleakest of the Boetticher/Scott Westerns. A marvellous mechanism is set in motion by the stagecoach hold-up at the beginning where a solid citizen cravenly bargains for his life by suggesting that his wife be held for ransom. Boone's bluffly amiable villain promptly guns him down in contempt, but fulfils his elective role by taking up the suggestion. Thereafter, conceptions of justice and social justification are slyly questioned as Boone is hounded by Scott, bodies pile up, and the two men, gradually emerging as opposite sides of the same coin, face the inevitable showdown that neither of them wants but which society demands. Wonderful, with a full roster of fine performances.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE    

Decision at Sundown (1957) - This, the third of Budd Boetticher's remarkable Randolph Scott westerns, finds Scott as a man obsessed with revenging the suicide of his wife on her former lover. Boetticher's westerns seem to exist apart from history; they are highly stylized, almost abstract moral studies, compressed and analytical. Unique in the genre, they are essential viewing.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE    

Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) - In some respects this is my favorite of Budd Boetticher's Randolph Scott westerns (1958, 78 min.), though it's usually considered a minor work next to Ride Lonesome and The Tall T. After becoming innocently involved in a revenge killing in a small border town, Scott is robbed of his money and ordered away at gunpoint; he decides to go back for his money without really understanding all the local intrigues. Boetticher's acerbic humor, always his strong point, is given more edge than usual here through an intricate Charles Lang script. With Craig Stevens, Barry Kelley, and Tol Avery.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Ride Lonesome (1959) - Budd Boetticher stretched the format of his Randolph Scott westerns into CinemaScope with this 1959 entry in the cycle, and in some respects the narrative seems drawn out as well: there is hardly any pretense of action or suspense as the characters move, almost aimlessly, through an open landscape, testing each other's strengths and weaknesses through conversations that become psychological chess games. Scott, as usual, is looking for the man who murdered his wife; his companions are two wisecracking outlaws (James Coburn and Pernell Roberts) and a woman whose husband has been killed by Indians (Karen Steele).

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE  

Comanche Station (1960) - The conclusion of Budd Boetticher's Randolph Scott western cycle (1960), and a worthy culmination, combining summary elements (it's the last word on Boetticher's revenge plot) and hints of further developments (in the ultimate purification and loneliness of Scott's revenge-seeking hero). The film is essentially a series of horseback and campfire conversations, in which the morally ambiguous characters size each other up and try to decide what best to do with the white woman (Nancy Gates) Scott has inadvertently rescued from the Indians.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE  

Posters

Theatrical Releases: Various from 1957 - 1960

 

  DVD Reviews

Comparisons:

Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Indicator (Powerhouse) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Indicator (Powerhouse) - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Time (bitrate): Respectively: 1:17:12 (4.57 mb/s), 1:17:06 (4.49 mb/s), 1:19:18 (4.29 mb/s), 1:12:13 (4.48 mb/s) and 1:13:00 (4.48 mb/s)

The Tall T: 1:17:33.940

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 23,955,202,270 bytes

Feature Size: 22,565,390,208 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.89 Mbps

Decision at Sundown: 1:17:13.920

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 23,963,068,631 bytes

Feature Size: 18,023,519,808 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Buchanan Rides Alone: 1:19:29.306

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 24,697,994,538 bytes

Feature Size: 18,679,511,808 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

Ride Lonesome: 1:12:39.146

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 24,901,372,272 bytes

Feature Size: 19,909,008,768 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Comanche Station: 1:13:11.929

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Disc Size: 24,843,095,208 bytes

Feature Size: 20,071,253,568 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.98 Mbps

Audio English (original mono), DUB: French

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries/ Lecture Series/ Guardian Interview:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Isolated Scores:
LPCM Audio Undetermined 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, French, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.85 - 2:35 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary: Jeanine Basinger on The Tall T
• Audio Commentary: Jeremy Arnold on Ride Lonesome
• Audio Commentary: Taylor Hackford on Comanche Station
• Feature Documentary: Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That (1:24:12)
• Taylor Hackford on Decision at Sundown (5:47)
• Clint Eastwood on Comanche Station (6:28)
• Martin Scorsese on The Tall T (6:53)
• Taylor Hackford on Buchanan Rides Alone (9:28)
• Martin Scorsese on Ride Lonesome (5:19)

DVD Release Date: November 4th, 2008

Custom three - tiered foldout case (see image at top)
Chapters: various

Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator 

Edition Details:

• The John Player Lecture with Budd Boetticher (1969): archival audio interview conducted by Horizons West author Jim Kitses at the National Film Theatre, London (on Buchanan disc)
• The Guardian Interview with Budd Boetticher (1994): an extensive filmed interview conducted by film historian David Meeker at the National Film Theatre, London
• Budd Boetticher on the Ranown Cycle (1999): excerpts from Eckhart Schmidt's unpublished documentary Visiting... Budd Boetticher (37:20, on Decision disc)
• The Guardian Interview with Elmore Leonard (1997): the celebrated author, and writer of the short story upon which The Tall T is based, in conversation at London's National Film Theatre (1:34:23 on Ride Lonesome disc)
• The Tall T audio commentary with Jeanine Basinger (2008)
• Ride Lonesome audio commentary with Jeremy Arnold (2008)
• Comanche Station audio commentary with Taylor Hackford (2008)
• Martin Scorsese on ‘The Tall T’ and ‘Ride Lonesome’ (2008)
• Taylor Hackford on ‘Decision at Sundown’ and ‘Buchanan Rides Alone’ (2008) (09:25, buchanan and 5:44 on decision)
• Clint Eastwood on ‘Comanche Station’ (2008) (06:25)
• Playing in the Open (2018): an analysis of Ride Lonesome by Cristina Álvarez López (14:04)
• Christopher Frayling on Budd Boetticher (2018): the writer and cultural historian discusses the work of the great director (19:24, on Buchanan)
• Kim Newman on the Ranown Cycle (2018): an analysis by the critic and author of Wild West Movies (28:27, on Buchanan Disc)
• A Man Alone (2018): a portrait of Randolph Scott by film historian Edward Buscombe (16:47, on Decision)
• Super 8 version of ‘Comanche Station’: original cut-down home cinema presentation (19:37)
• Original theatrical trailers (Comanche Station 01:55, Buchanan Rides Alone 01:28, Decision at Sundown 02:02))
• Ride Lonesome trailer commentary (2013): a short critical appreciation by filmmaker John Sayles
• Comanche Station trailer commentary (2014): a short critical appreciation by screenwriter Sam Hamm (02:27)
• Image galleries: publicity stills and promotional material
• Limited Edition exclusive 80-page book containing newly commissioned essays by Pamela Hutchinson, Glenn Kenny, James Oliver, Neil Sinyard and Farran Smith Nehme, archival interviews with director Budd Boetticher and screenwriter Burt Kennedy, a critical anthology, and full film credits
• World Blu-ray premieres of The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone and Ride Lonesome
• UK Blu-ray premiere of Comanche Station
• Limited Edition Box Set of 6,000 numbered copies

Blu-ray Release Date: Mary 29th, 2018
Custom Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 10 X 5

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Indicator, out of the UK, bring us these iconic westerns on five single-layered Blu-ray discs cited as a "2K restoration of Ride Lonesome" and "HD restorations of The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone and Comanche Station". The image quality advances in the usual higher-resolution areas from better co0lor separation, more layered contrast and significant support of grain textures. In short, they look great with only a minor few instances of color alignment issues and some inconsequential teal-leaning notable in Decision at Sundown. There is appealing depth and no damage - these looks amazing in-motion. Once started - you can't stop watching...

NOTE: The German Blu-ray of Comanche Station has more matched screen captures to the DVD version and the Indicator Blu-ray HERE.

Indicator use linear PCM mono tracks in the original English with typical western effects (horses, guns etc.) being flat but carrying some depth. The scores for the first four films are by Heinz Roemheld (The Lady From Shanghai, The Monster that Challenged The World, The Land Unknown, The Mole People, 1933's The Invisible Man) and for Comanche Station; prolific Mischa Bakaleinikoff (It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Crooked Web, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The 27th Day, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Lady for a Day). The audio sounds wonderful, and available in isolated score options, in the uncompressed and there are optional English (SDH) subtitles on for all five films.

Indicator have brought us a whole slew of extras here that should please any western fan. Firstly there are 3 commentaries that are carried over from the previous DVD set. The Tall T commentary is with film historian, Jeanie Basinger. Ride Lonesome has a commentary featuring writer and film historian, Jeremy Arnold. Comanche Station has a commentary with director Taylor Hackford. We are still wading through them, and they include a 1969 archival audio interview of The John Player Lecture with Budd Boetticher conducted by Horizons West author Jim Kitses at the National Film Theatre, London (on Buchanan Rides Alone Blu-ray disc), a 1994 The Guardian Interview with Budd Boetticher an extensive filmed interview conducted by film historian David Meeker at the National Film Theatre, London, 38-minutes of Budd Boetticher on the Ranown Cycle (1999) which are excerpts from Eckhart Schmidt's unpublished documentary Visiting... Budd Boetticher (on the Decision at Sundown Blu-ray disc). We get another The Guardian interview - this one with Elmore Leonard from 1997 where the celebrated author, and writer of the short story upon which The Tall T is based, is in conversation at London's National Film Theatre (running over 1.5 hours on Ride Lonesome Blu-ray disc.) Repeated from the Sony DVD set are Martin Scorsese on ‘The Tall T’ and ‘Ride Lonesome’ video pieces from 2008 and Taylor Hackford on ‘Decision at Sundown’ and ‘Buchanan Rides Alone’ plus Clint Eastwood on ‘Comanche Station’. More new supplements are Playing in the Open - an analysis from 2018 of Ride Lonesome by Cristina Álvarez López sunning just shy of 1/4 hour, Christopher Frayling on Budd Boetticher (also from 2018) where the writer and cultural historian discusses the work of the great director for almost 20-minutes. I enjoyed Kim Newman's analysis on the Ranown Cycle for almost 1/2 hour. A Man Alone is a new a portrait of Randolph Scott by film historian Edward Buscombe and Indicator have included 20-minutes of the Super 8 version of ‘Comanche Station’: original cut-down home cinema presentation as well as trailers for each film with short critical appreciation by filmmaker John Sayles and screenwriter Sam Hamm. There are also Image galleries of publicity stills and promotional material and a tremendous limited Edition exclusive 80-page book containing newly commissioned essays by Pamela Hutchinson, Glenn Kenny, James Oliver, Neil Sinyard and Farran Smith Nehme, archival interviews with director Budd Boetticher and screenwriter Burt Kennedy, a critical anthology, and full film credits.

By the way, my Boetticher adoration runs deep and I actually own his leather satchel bag (see picture HERE and HERE NOTE: His initials emblazoned into the bag). I purchased it off eBay ... outbidding another chap named... Boetticher! It contains photos of the director with Martin Scorsese and also Budd's passports.

Best Blu-ray set of the year? 'Yep Pardner'... limited to 6,000 units - don't delay!

Colin Zavitz and Gary Tooze

***

November 2008 - NOTE: Although the 5 main features of this boxset are housed on individual discs they are not sold separately at this time and can only be obtained in Sony's The Films of Budd Boetticher Collection. Only The Tall T is dual-layered, the other four are all single-layered. They have been transferred progressively in the NTSC standard, coded for Region 1 with original mono audio, optional French DUBs and removable subtitles in English, or French.

Image: the single layered DVDs give consistent quality but nothing brilliant - fraught with noise and some dirt. Colors can show some surprisingly brightness. The Tall T, is rich with very heavy grain but also shows some dirt - especially early in the film. I didn't find the 'grain-shift', as discussed previously, overly problematic. In fact, I'm not displeased with the appearance as the roughly hone presentation is appropriately 'gritty' - keeping in perfect rhythm with the films. Detail and clarity improve as each film gets 'younger' although they were all made in a spans of about 3 years. I expect dual-layering may have benefited the image but I'm far too happy to replace my pan and scan DVD-R dubs, from Turner, to complain too much. These are very watchable.

The mono audio is likewise unremarkable but does the job without grand flaws (no dropouts or pops) although there is some inherent hiss that is mostly unnoticeable. Dialogue is always clear and defined and there is are optional subtitles available.

Extras - are great. Three commentaries from excellent participants (loved Basinger on The Tall T). Plus we have the wonderful documentary - Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That written and produced by my friend Dave Kehr with input from many and a lot on the enigmatic Budd himself. I thoroughly enjoyed this 1.5 hour piece. There are also brief short discussion interviews for each film with the likes of Taylor Hackford, Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese. Good job on the supplements Sony. 

These seminal widescreen westerns from a brilliant storyteller and underrated director are essential in my opinion. I suppose this set could have easily included Randolph Scott's name in the collection title as he stars in all 5 films. Our strongest recommendation.     

Gary W. Tooze


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The Tall T (1957)

 

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Decision at Sundown (1957)

 

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Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)
 

 

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Ride Lonesome (1959)

 

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Comanche Station (1960)

 

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Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Indicator (Powerhouse) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 




 

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