The last of the red hot Golden Age Hollywood genre buckaroos, Budd Boetticher represented a long-vanished prototype: the man's man studio director who, before turning gruffly to making pictures, had spent years being a boxer or a stevedore or a soldier or what have you. Today, filmmakers pay their dues by earning six figures shooting shampoo commercials; then, a man who made westerns or war movies or gangster films was a man who had lived in the world and returned with a heartful of brutal and hopeful business you can't learn by watching other movies. In a sense, Boetticher outdid the competition by becoming a professional Mexican matador right out of college -- a scenario difficult to beat for hard-won iron-man chops in Tinseltown. Of course his biography influences how his best films -- the westerns he made between 1956 and 1960 -- have been perceived and why they've been canonized,
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