Archive for October 23rd, 2013


by Samuel Wilson

John Wayne was the matchmaker. His production company teamed Randolph Scott with writer Burt Kennedy and director Budd Boetticher for Seven Men From Now (1956). Everything went well, except for the theme song, then considered an obligatory feature of a western, of which all three principals reportedly despaired. When Scott hired Kennedy and Boetticher for his own production company, there would be no theme songs.  Boetticher would direct five films for Scott, as well as a Scott feature for Warner Bros.; Kennedy wrote three of them and did some uncredited doctoring on a fourth.  What difference did Scott make as a producer? Between The Tall T and Decision at Sundown the actor appeared in Richard L. Bare’s Shootout at Medicine Bend as an actor only, and it is dreadful. At a minimum, you can guess that after all his years in the business, Scott knew what he didn’t want. As it happens, his Boetticher films are often acclaimed for their stripped-down simplicity and efficiency. There’s definitely more going on, if not too much, in Westbound, the film Scott and Boetticher did for hire at Warners. On their own, they and Scott’s producing partner Harry Joe Brown understood that less could be more, that peeling away layers of convention and cliché revealed something more essential and universal. (more…)

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