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The "Tall Man Riding" of the title is Randolph Scott in another of his
series of "B" Plus (or "A" Minus, if you will) 80 minute westerns made
during the 1950s.
In this entry Larry Madden (Scott) is riding to the town of Little River when he happens upon a man being attacked by three others. He takes the part of the pursued and kills one of the attackers. The man he has helped turns out to be Rex Willard (William Ching) the son in law of Tuck Ordway (Robert Barrat) a powerful rancher with whom Madden has some issues. It also seems that Madden had been romantically involved with Ordway's daughter Lorraine (Dorothy Malone) who is now married to Willard.
Riding into town Madden meets an old nemesis Seabo Pearlo (John Baragrey) the owner of a local saloon, and his "singer" Reva (Peggie Castle). Lawyer Luddington (John Dehner) is also there and we learn that Madden has hired him to find out if Ordway truly owns his ranch, Warbonnet. It turns out that he doesn't and the property falls into the public domain.
Meanwhile Pearlo frames Willard for the murder of the gunman and Lorraine comes to Madden for help. He reluctantly agrees to attend the inquest but is ambushed by Pearlo's gunman, The Peso Kid (Paul Richards). Reva nurses him back to health and he returns to town in search of the Kid. However he learns that the Kid is planning to kill Willard on his way to trial with Deputy Barclay (Mickey Simpson). Madden is unable to prevent the murder and returns to town to learn that Pearlo has designs on Ordway's ranch.
Not being interested in the ranch Madden decides that it's time to confront Ordway. The two agree to meet in a showdown in a darkened room where Madden learns that Ordway is almost blind. Madden returns to town to confront the Kid. Then there's the land rush for Ordway's property. Madden decides to join in and................................
The romance between the Scott and Malone characters is a little hard to be taken seriously as he was twice her age at the time. But there's plenty of action in the picture to compensate. Director Leslay Selander gives us a slam bang land rush, plenty of gun play and a knock down drag out fight between Scott and Simpson (and their stunt doubles).
All in all a very entertaining western.
Randolph Scott starred in many fine westerns in his decades-long
career. His strong, gentlemanly demeanor gave way to steely
determination when confronting the villains who were unfortunate enough
to face him . This film again finds Scott out for vengeance in what
turned out to be a pretty decent shoot-em-up film.
Although Scott & John Dehner give their usual strong performances, the script ultimately lets them both down. It is full of clichéd western characters that hold few surprises for the seasoned viewer.
All of Randolph Scott's films are worth seeing, but this film from late in his career was not his best. An average film from a great actor.
Look fast for an appearance by character actor Dub Taylor !
Some of the same plot elements in the far more expensive James Stewart
western, The Far Country which came out the year before are to be found
in this fine Randolph Scott B western Tall Man Riding. Like Stewart in
his film, Randolph Scott is a tough and touchy guy you don't push too
hard and like Stewart he has two leading ladies and you're not quite
sure which one he'll end up with in the end.
Tall Man Riding is a range war western and Scott's the loner who's ridden back into town and into the middle of said war. On the one side is John Baragrey the owner of the local saloon and a man pushing homesteaders in on the local Ponderosa owner and Scott finds him repugnant on general principles. On the other side the local Ponderosa owner is Robert Barrat who was making his farewell big screen appearance. Scott was courting Dorothy Malone, Barrat's daughter and Barrat thought him not worthy. He ran Scott out of town after administering a public whipping to him. Malone's now married to William Ching.
The only friend Scott does make is saloon girl Peggie Castle who is the personal squeeze of Baragrey. She'd like to trade up if she can and finds Randy quite to her liking. She even saves him from a bushwhacking.
Tall Man Riding has enough hard riding and gunplay to suit western fans and it is also a harbinger of the westerns soon to be populating the small screen with more adult themes. There are two other roles of note in Tall Man Riding, John Dehner plays a sleazy lawyer and Paul Richards plays a gunfighter on the payroll of Baragrey.
In my description you will also notice some plot similarities to Destry Rides Again and the climax involves a land rush which while not as spectacular as the one in both versions of Cimarron is still exciting enough and done well enough with the small budget this B film had.
Tall Man Riding is a really good Randolph Scott western, one of the better ones he did in the Fifties.
Offbeat western;I have often the impression that all those past events
are perhaps more interesting than what happens in the present time;it
is one of these movies which would have needed some flashbacks .It's
all the more necessary since many things happened,concerning not only
Three scenes are particularly good: Randolph Scott entering his enemy's house when we see a portrait on a wall,showing a still young man with a whip;then the older man,with a whip;The duel in the dark place;the final race which shows more violence in four minutes than in all the rest of the movie.Dorothy Malone is at ease in westerns ("Colorado Territory" ,"Warlock") although she could be Randolph Scott's daughter.
In Tall Man Riding, an uncharacteristically belligerent Randolph Scott
returns to his home to ruin and possibly kill the wealthy rancher who
bull-whipped him and run him out of town years earlier, only to get in
the middle of a deadly feud.
The first half of the film lacks action but it's saved by an interesting second half. Highlights include a rowdy fistfight in the Sheriff's office, another fight inside a stagecoach, and a blind gun battle inside a pitch black room.
Like all studio B-pictures, Tall Man Riding is fun, looks great and has good action sequences but doesn't have a very memorable script. However, Randolph Scott is much more macho and blustery than usual, making this a bit more unusual.
Tall Man Riding is directed by Lesley Selander and adapted to
screenplay by Joseph Hoffman from the novel written by Norman A. Fox.
It stars Randolph Scott, Dorothy Malone, Peggie Castle, William Ching,
John Baragrey, Robert Barrat and John Dehner. Music is by Paul Sawtell
and cinematography by Wilfred M. Cline.
Petty routine Oater that retains watchable factors due to Randolph Scott, location photography (in Warnercolor) and some straight backed action. Larry Madden (Scott) returns to the town of Little River seeking revenge on the land baron (Barratt) who publicly humiliated him with a whipping. Madden's crime was to date the man's daughter (Malone). Soon enough Madden is dealing with all sorts of problems, liars and cheats, murder, hired assassin, an ambush, prison escape, betrayal, corrupt law and of course affairs of the heart. All wrapped up in under 85 minutes.
There's some interesting characterisations about the place, but the screenplay doesn't have time to capitalise on the potential (eg: one key character is going blind but barely anything is made to add dramatic worth to this issue). Selander does a competent job of directing, but the over all feeling is that the makers were happy to settle for a "B" Western and just chock the play with formula staples guaranteed to please all the family looking for an unassuming afternoon at the theatre. Which on the face of it is enough for Western fans who know what they are getting with these 50s "B" level Oaters.
When you got Randy Scott in square jawed antagonist mode, Dottie Malone batting her eyelids, Peggie Castle showcasing beautiful thighs that could crush walnuts, and Wilfred Cline photographing the Calif Ranch locales, well it's impossible for genre fans to hate really. 6/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cool and tall in the saddle, Randolph Scott rides into the town of
Little River after a five year absence seeking revenge on the man that
got in the way of his plans and lifestyle when he took up with the
rancher's daughter, Corinna Ordway (Dorothy Malone). With Malone's name
in the credits, I was surprised to see that the stronger female lead
here was offered up by Peggie Castle, who did a pretty good job of
putting up with big shot Cibo Pearlo (John Baragrey) and his two bit
gunslinger The Peso Kid (Paul Richards). As the film plays out, it
looks like a coin toss as to which of the leading ladies would wind up
with Larry Madden (Scott) by the end of the picture.
I always enjoy catching Scott in one of his many Westerns, but from today's vantage point, it's curious that he would have been paired romantically with much younger actresses in his films. Sure he was a bankable draw, but it doesn't look very believable today. Malone for example would have been about thirty when this picture was made, Castle twenty eight. They could have been Scott's daughters, who was around fifty seven at the time. Not saying it couldn't happen for real, but it's a bit of a stretch.
There was a scene that impressed me in this film that blew by rather quickly, but I thought I'd mention it. When Scott's character meets Corinna on the range, they get into something of an argument, and Malone brings her riding whip straight down across Scott's hat and face - he didn't even flinch! That seemed pretty remarkable to me, that Scott would see that coming and not instinctively back away. Must have been a tough enough guy in real life.
The picture has it's share of action sequences and the eventual obligatory showdown, two in fact, but I won't count the one against Tuck Ordway (Robert Barrat) because let's face it, the old guy was blind. Madden's square off against Peso was a bit awkward I have to admit, but the bad guy had it coming. Geez, he shot Reva (Castle) in the back!
What I'm curious about now as I've recently started watching the 'Lawman' TV series, is whether Peggie Castle ever sang in that show. She does a spirited dance hall number early in this film called 'A Big Night Tonight'. I'm just about at the end of the first season of 'Lawman' and she hasn't shown up yet portraying her character Lily Merrill, but when she does, I'll be interested to see if she shows her singing talent. She sounded pretty good to me here.
This is a good Randolph Scott western , good plot, good scene of the Land Rush plenty of action scenes, colorful, two pretty actresses Dorothy Malone and Peggie Castle, where Castle outshines Malone. If you saw this western in the fifties you would certainly agree that you got your money's worth, it sure delivers all you could expect from a pre Boetticher Scott western. Scott gives one of his best performances as Larry Madden, a tough, quiet, well developed character the ideal western hero. Paul Richatd as "The Peso Kid" makes us nostalgic of the "bandidos" in the old westerns. Lesley Selander, the director, had a lot of practice in this genre, remember Hopalong Cassidy?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Scott plays Larry Madden, a man who left the town of Little River after
being whipped by local landowner Tucker Ordway... now he wants revenge!
He isn't the only one who wants to destroy Ordway; Cibo Pearlo, owner
of the town's saloon wants him dead too. One might think that Madden
and Pearlo would join forces but they dislike each other as much as
they dislike Ordway! Madden wants to kill Ordway in a fair fight but as
Ordway has a reputation as the fastest gun around he has a second plan
so that even if he is dead he'll get his revenge... he sent a lawyer to
Washington to ascertain the legality of Ordway's land claim and has
discovered it is not legal. As with most westerns there are romantic
possibilities; here the question is will Madden end up with Cibo's girl
Rivo or Ordway's daughter Corinna, who he was involved with before.
This B-western is packed with action including several shootouts, brawls, the ambushing of a stagecoach and a spectacular scene where people rushed to claim Ordway's land. These scenes were all impressively filmed and looked believable despite nobody bleeding when shot! Scott did a fine job in the lead role and supporting actresses Dorothy Malone and Peggy Castle were suitably spirited as Corinna and Rivo. Being a story about revenge I thought I'd know how it would end early on but due to an interesting twist that cliché was avoided.
Randolph Scott may have been getting on a bit when he made many of his westerns but he still had it in him to look believable as a tough guy; in fact here it works to his advantage as he is out for revenge for something that happened five years previously... something that wouldn't have been believable if he'd been in his early twenties! It does however mean he is a bit too old to be involved with the films two romantic possibilities as he is old enough to be their fathers.
Overall this is a great little film; if you are a fan of the western genre it is well worth watching; I'm surprised it isn't better known.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Randolph Scott returns to his home town to get him some revenge over
Tuck Ordway (good name), the father of his former fiancée (Dorothy
Malone) who ran him out of town five years before. Saloon owner Cibo
Pearlo (great name) also has a score to settle with Ordway, but he's
just as bad in Randy's eyes, so the offer of an alliance is rejected
with a shot of whiskey in Pearlo's face. However, as Randy's plot
starts to come together, he begins to realise things aren't quite as
clear cut as he thought.
Tall Man Riding is another typical mid-1950s Randolph Scott Western. His character is basically the same as every other character he played in these films the clean-cut good guy. Back in the 1950s Scott seemed to be his own cottage industry, churning out an instantly recognisable and reliable product, untouched or unconcerned by any changes that might be happening elsewhere in the business. He's joined here by Dorothy Malone, who doesn't really add a lot, and is easily outshone by Peggie Castle as a saloon girl with a heart of gold. There's also a gunslinger called The Peso Kid (bad name) who doesn't say a lot, but is a thoroughly bad egg.
This is tolerable enough entertainment; simple and undemanding, following a tried and trusted formula whereby we are treated to an action set piece every ten minutes or so. It has some neat touches, and it's clear that a little more care has been taken with this one than was usually devoted to the average B-movie.
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