Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Ten Dollar Town

Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) is the first Budd Boetticher movie we've watched. I know because he is often mentioned in Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule's Movie Quiz. Now I don't have to take a pass on that one. I picked this one to ease me into it, because some blog (can't find it now) said it was a comedy.

It stars Randolph Scott, as apparently all good Boetticher Westerns do. As Buchanan, he rides alone into Agry Town, just across the Mexico border, heading for West Texas. There he meets several of the Agry clan, like the sheriff, the hotel keeper, the judge, and a belligerent young drunk in the bar. After Scott is charged $10 for a room, $10 for a steak, and $10 for a bottle of whiskey, he remarks, "This sure is a ten dollar town." Saying it while looking right at a bar girl gives it a little extra oomph.

Well, it seems a Mexican lad comes in and kills the drunk Agry boy, for unmentionable crimes against a woman. Although Scott is just a bystander, the sheriff (the boy's uncle, I think) hauls him in, too. He escapes a double hanging, one thing leads to another, and it looks like it will be a while before he makes it to West Texas.

Scott is great in this: laconic, friendly, mild in the face of nastiness. Your basic decent cowboy. On the other hand, he doesn't seem to be that great at getting out of trouble. He doesn't even really ride alone, he keeps picking up sidekicks, like Manuel Rojas and L.Q. Jones.

Since this is supposed to be largely a parody on the other Scott/Boetticher Westerns, I suppose it would have been better to have waited until we had seen a few. But we're doing it the other way round. Next up, The Tall T.

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