Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hurry Sundown

Already, we are back at the old Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott watering hole for Decision at Sundown (1957). Scott even gets a sidekick, Noah Beery, Jr.

It starts with Scott getting off a stagecoach. But he doesn't wait for a normally scheduled stop - he sticks a gun in the drivers ear and makes him stop. Then he fires a shot to alert ... alert ... to alert Noah Beery, who finally shows up with an extra horse. He'd fallen asleep. And so they make their way to the town of Sundown, where Scott has business with Tate Kimbrough (John Carrol). To kill him.

Beery lets Scott know that Tate is a big man in Sundown, and that he is getting married that very day. So Scott goes to the barber for a shave so he'll look good for the wedding. Then he heads to the saloon where he refuses to drink on Tate's tab. Finally, he heads to the church and lets Tate know that he aims to kill him.

That warning leads to an amazing stand-off, with Scott and Beery holed up in a stable. We get to meet the people of Sundown. The woman Tate is fooling around with but won't marry. The bought-and-sold sherrif. The doctor who doesn't like Tate, but opposes violence. He can move freely between the townspeople and the stable.

The way upright Scott rides into town, forthrightly declares himself, and sets out to make good on his intentions is contrasted with the corrupt leaders and follow-the-crowd townspeople of Sundown. But there's a twist to this movie. Scott may be sure, but is he right? Noah Beery keeps trying to get him to reconsider, and maybe get something to eat. So we not only get Scott unutterable cool, but we get a critique of it as well.

In conclusion, these are great westerns.

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