Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Ride Lonesome 
Ride Lonesome, the penultimate film of the so-called ‘Ranown Cycle’, viz. the seven film collaboration between director Budd Boetticher, actor Randolph Scott, producer Harry Joe Brown, and scriptwriter Burt Kennedy, remains the most highly reckoned work of the filmmaker. It was about, as the title clearly suggests, a taciturn loner, gunslinger and bounty-hunter driven by vengeance. The man in question is Ben (Scott), and the film begins with him capturing, courtesy a straight-faced bluff, a young guy (James Best) wanted for murder. Two outlaws who are interested in the share of the loot, and a newly widowed knock-out (Karen Steele) who catches attention wherever she goes, join him in the arduous task of crossing Indian territory in order to, seemingly, deliver the psychotic killer to the state. But, as is gradually revealed, his sole motive here is to use the guy as a bait for luring his notorious elder brother (Lee Van Cleef) in order to settle an old score. The film was replete with exciting action sequences, and that, combined with the fine build-up, the perpetual sense of suspense and tension, the nicely photographed landscapes, the moody and ambiguous atmosphere, and its obsessed-with-revenge anti-hero, made this muscular B-Western an engaging watch. But, that said, I wouldn’t call this a masterpiece as most admirers of this film tend to do. The supporting characters, particularly the lady who seemed to have certain agendas of her own for most parts, weren’t particularly well explored. And the ending, despite the inevitable face-off, could have done with a darker climax; the simmering violence of the storyline never really managed to explode, though the "hang tree" did make for a distressing symbol.
Director: Budd Boetticher
Genre: Western/Revisionist Western/Revenge Film