I have really enjoyed Randolph Scott's presence in films at both both bookends of his career, having previously seen him in the pre-Code 'Hot Saturday' (1932) and his last film, Sam Peckinpah's first great film, 'Ride the High Country' (1962), as well as a few in between ('Pittsburgh', 'Virginia City' and 'My Favorite Wife' most readily come to mind), so I thought it was high time to visit some of his most influential films, the Western collaborations with Budd Boetticher.
Scott has a really unique presence in these films. So far, I have seen three of the seven they made together, and he doesn't romance, he seems a tortured, troubled soul, even in the almost comedic, 'Buchanan Rides Alone'. This was another excellent script by Burt Kennedy, finely scored and photographed. It was clear that this was a well-run filmic organization, that really knew what in tarnations they were doing. Rare is the film that is short but sweet. I consider this a 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' kind of movie, in that it's not too long, not too short, but just right. Though not quite as good as its predecessor, 'Ride Lonesome', I still didn't have the heart to give it a lower rating.
I know the Western genre as a whole tends to get short shrift these days, but when you see the great ones, it makes you really glad somebody made them--and that Boetticher and Scott made a lot more than simply seven together.
John Chard - Review
If I loved her, it wouldn't matter.
Comanche Station is produced and directed by Budd Boetticher and stars Randolph Scott, Claude Akins, Nancy Gates, Skip Homeier & Richard Rust. It's written by Burt Kennedy with music and cinematography from Mischa Bakaleinikoff & Charles Lawton Jr. respectively.
Jefferson Cody has for many years been looking for his wife who was kidnapped by Indians. Taking time out from his futile search, he trades with the Comanches to get a woman, Nancy Gates, released. During the journey back to reunite Nancy with her husband, they run into an outlaw and his two protégés. Stating that the Comanches are on their trail and speaking about a reward being offered for Nancy, relations start to disintegrate by the hour.
This was to be the last of seven collaborations between director Budd Boetticher and Western legend Randolph Scott, and it's a most fitting sign off from the duo. Between them they managed to make Westerns with an almost haunting cloud hanging over them, themes of loneliness, complex characters and scenarios segue throughout their output. Here in this fine picture we find Scott's Cody in a complete state of loneliness, but outside of the pain the character clearly carries with him, Cody is a classic Western hero, courage and integrity are fortitude's by which he lives his life. As this tale unfolds it's evident that Boetticher isn't prepared to offer up conventional Western standards, this, like many of Boetticher's other Westerns, is not a standard Oater, a good versus evil fable, it's a cunningly intelligent picture that's both sad in texture, and also in heart. The film is boosted by Charles Lawton Jr's camera work as he captures some stunning outdoor scenery, the rugged rocks and dusky land creates some striking compositions around the troubled characters.
See this if you are one of those people who thinks Westerns were merely an excuse for Cowboys and Indians high jinx. Boetticher and Scott, leading lights in the sub genre that featured the Ranown Westerns. 8/10