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The Films of Budd Boetticher Collection


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

Ride Lonesome (1959)      Comanche Station (1960)

 

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

DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

 

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC
Time (bitrate): Respectively: 1:24:12 (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)
Audio English (original mono), DUB: French
Subtitles English, French, 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

 

Comments:

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.

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.

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



DVD Menus


Extra Documentary:

 


 

Screen Captures

 

The Tall T (1957)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Decision at Sundown (1957)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

     Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

 


Ride Lonesome (1959)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Comanche Station (1960)

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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