The Tall T
Directed by Budd Boetticher
Written by Burt Kennedy based on a story by Elmore Leonard
Columbia Pictures Corporation/Brown-ScottProductions/Producers-Actors Productions
First viewing/Netflix rental
Pat Brennan: Don’t you?
These Boetticher Westerns are all new to me and I’m really liking them.
Pat Brennan (Randolph Scott) worked for years as the best ranch foreman in town. Now he has bought a place of his own. He rides into town to buy a seed bull from his former boss. The boss says he can have the animal for free if he can ride it – he will forfeit his horse if he can’t. Pat is thrown and loses his horse. He starts walking the 20 miles back home and is picked up by his friend who is driving a stagecoach specially chartered by newlyweds for their honeymoon. The groom Willard Mims, an obnoxious social climber, objects but his heiress wife Doretta (Maureen O’Sullivan) makes him relent.
The party arrives at a cattle station where they are met by suave outlaw Usher (Richard Boone) and his hired guns. The thugs are both mean trigger-happy lunkheads. While Doretta is inside fixing a meal for the gang, Willard panics and tells Usher that Doretta’s father will pay a large ransom for her. He sends Willard off with one of the men to deliver a ransom demand and holds Pat and Doretta hostage.
When Doretta discovers that her new husband betrayed her, it is up to Pat to get her to calm down and cooperate in their survival from what looks to be certain death. With Henry Silva as the meaner of the two thugs.
Once again, Boetticher delivers a really quality film. He is great with actors, action, and scenery. Randolph Scott was born to play these roles. I didn’t care much for him when he was a rather awkward romantic lead in the 30’s. It was very nice to see O’Sullivan again after several years and she does well as an allegedly Plain Jane old maid. Boone is also fantastic. Recommended.
Clip – opening