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Ride Lonesome (1959)

Not Rated | | Drama, Western | 15 February 1959 (USA)
A bounty hunter escorts a killer to town to be hanged, but is allowing the man's outlaw brother to catch up with him, for a showdown over a shocking previous murder.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Ben Brigade
...
Mrs. Carrie Lane
...
Sam Boone
...
Billy John
...
Frank
...
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Storyline

A wanted murderer, Billy John, is captured by Ben Brigade, a bounty hunter, who intends to take him to Santa Cruz to be hanged. Brigade stops at a staging post, where he saves the manager's wife from an Indian attack, and enlists the help of two outlaws to continue his journey more safely. However, the Indian attacks persist, the outlaws plan to take Billy for themselves, tempted by the offer of amnesty for his captor, and Billy's brother Frank is in hot pursuit to rescue him. But Brigade has plans of his own ... Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Terror-cold tension... Hate-hot revenge! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 February 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auf eigene Faust  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of James Coburn. See more »

Goofs

Brigade insists on bringing his prisoner to Santa Cruz, Arizona. The county of Santa Cruz was created in 1899. The film is set in an earlier time. For instance the Apaches are on the warpath. The last major outbreak of the Apaches was in 1890. See more »

Quotes

Billy John: I don't know how much they're payin' you to bring me in, it ain't enough. Not nearly enough.
Ben Brigade: I'd hunt you free. Let's go,
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Connections

Referenced in The Middleman: The Cursed Tuba Contingency (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Roberts and Scott perfectly matched
23 June 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

For a 71-minute movie, Ride Lonesome is one of the most rivetingly memorable Westerns I've ever seen. Fans of epics and lots of mindless action should stay away. This is a thinking person's group character study of the five principals and the ubiquitous presence of Lee Van Cleef's "Big Brother" Frank despite a very economic amount of screen time.

True enough that in many ways, this plays a like a typical '50's "classic-formula"(including a misplaced-and-awkward Indian-Chief-wants-widow-for-squaw subplot) Western -- albeit exceedingly well-directed and well-acted. The dialog, richness of characterizations, and interplay among characters ultimately set this one apart. These come across as indelibly drawn real people who happened to live in the 1870's West. However, Boetticher fans need not threat that he has totally abandoned his contributions to Western Mythology. The rather spartan genre-emblematic symbolism he does include resonates all the more as a result of this efficiency.

This is true despite the presence, nay -- especially due to the presence of Randolph Scott and his pitch-perfect interplay with charmingly roguish Boone, marvelously essayed by Pernell Roberts. Neither ever loses sight of who and what the other man is. Both share a healthy amount of mutual respect mixed with healthy skepticism and awareness of an inevitable dark cloud shadowing their temporary alliance. Roberts, in particular, evokes every bit of sardonic humor, masculine charm, and fidelity to his own peculiar code that the script allows him. Scott, for his part, is far closer to the dark bitterness of Will Kane than he is when playing most of his heroic characters.

Both characters are more-than-ably joined in the ensemble by half-witted-but-loyal cowpoke Whit (James Coburn), homicidal man-boy Billy (James Best), and-abandoned-wife-and-later-widowed Karen Steele. The female actor is quite appealing visually and as convincing as possible in her role given her contrived introduction into the plot. Once we get past the Indian subplot, she comes into her own as she gradually learns who Scott's and Robert's characters truly are, and adjusts her emotions accordingly.

But, one facet of this film that has always stuck in my mind is the way Boetticher and Kennedy brilliantly collaborated to have Van Cleef essay Big Brother Frank, the movie's ultimate villain - especially considering the many High-Noon-ish parallels. He neither portrays a Big-Brother-Frank-Miller type of cocksure-but-defiantly-laconic swaggering gang leader or a typically unrepentant Lee Van Cleef villain. Instead, we get a somewhat remorseful, increasingly bemused, but immutably duty-bound human being of real-flesh-and-blood feelings. It is only after exhausting potential alternatives that he reluctantly comes to terms with the inevitability of his final conflict with Scott. And, his reluctance to do Scott further harm seems genuine, only to be trumped by his commitment to free little brother Billy.

But, as good as the entire ensemble is, the film draws a good deal of its charm and heart from Pernell Robert's performance as Boone. I note this as an aside, because Roberts went on to make only one more indelible feature film performance before getting overshadowed on Bonanza. Even worse for his promising career, directors reportedly found him nearly impossible to work with and there was no love lost between him and his fellow cast members who felt he thought himself superior to all of them; intellectually speaking, he was probably right, but that bought him nothing in Hollywood. Eventually, he had a fairly long run starring in a highly rated series that for some reason, has had no shelf-life on reruns called Trapper John, M. D. But, there, too, Hollywood scuttlebutt indicates that he made few friends. After just re-watching his marvelous work in "Ride Lonesome", and recalling other performances, I found myself thinking that these off-the-set issues were truly unfortunate because Roberts truly exuded leading-man-caliber talent. Instead I can only urge other IMDB'ers not to miss this performance.

Despite the economic budget, the cinematic and sound-related choices are impeccably executed. Contrasts are especially effective. My rating for this near-perfect Western is 9/10.


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