7.4/10
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59 user 36 critic

The Tall T (1957)

Approved | | Romance, Thriller, Western | 2 April 1957 (USA)
An independent former ranch foreman is kidnapped along with an heiress, who is being held for ransom by trio of ruthless outlaws.

Director:

Budd Boetticher

Writers:

Burt Kennedy (screenplay), Elmore Leonard (based on a story by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Randolph Scott ... Pat Brennan
Richard Boone ... Frank Usher
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Doretta Mims
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Ed Rintoon
Skip Homeier ... Billy Jack
Henry Silva ... Chink
John Hubbard ... Willard Mims
Robert Burton ... Tenvoorde
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Storyline

Having lost his horse in a bet, Pat Brennan hitches a ride with a stagecoach carrying newlyweds, Willard and Doretta Mims. At the next station the coach and its passengers fall into the hands of a trio of outlaws headed by a man named Usher. When Usher learns that Doretta is the daughter of a rich copper-mine owner, he decides to hold her for ransom. Tension builds over the next 24 hours as Usher awaits a response to his demands and as a romantic attachment grows between Brennan and Doretta. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Taut! Torrid! Tremendous! T Is for Terror!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Captives See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The line screenwriter Burt Kennedy wrote for Scott, "Some things a man can't ride around," was repeated in a later Scott/Brown production, "Ride Lonesome." two years later. Kennedy also uses the line in two non-Scott westerns, Six Black Horses with Audie Murphy and Support Your Local Gunfighter with James Garner. See more »

Goofs

When Brennan is standing on top of the stagecoach, the clouds behind him change from one scene to the next. See more »

Quotes

Pat Brennan: Did you love him?
Doretta Mims: I married him.
Pat Brennan: That's not what I asked.
Doretta Mims: Yes! Yes, I did.
Pat Brennan: Mrs. Mims, you're a liar. You didn't love him, and never for one minute thought he loved you. That's true, isn't it?
Doretta Mims: Do you know what it's like to be alone in a camp full of roughneck miners, and a father who holds a quiet hatred for you because you're not the son he's always wanted? Yes, I married Willard Mims because I couldn't stand being alone anymore. I know all the time he didn't love me, but I didn't care. I ...
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Connections

Referenced in The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Classic of its kind.
28 October 2004 | by Robert J. MaxwellSee all my reviews

SPOILERS.

If you're attracted only to black-and-white dramas shot in the rain in Slovenia, you probably won't like this one.

It's a no-nonsense El Cheapo Western shot on a low budget, an elementary piece of exposition of masculine honor, with Boetticher, Scott, Kennedy, Richard Boone, and movie flats -- all at the top of their forms.

What distinguishes the half-dozen or so Westerns that came from Boetticher and Scott is not so much the plot, which is generally simple, but the slight twists in character and the occasional grace notes in the dialogue.

You have to love this dialogue. "Cookin'? That's WIMMIN's work!" And, said by Scott in all sincerity, "There are some things a man can't ride around." And, "There are ten head of wimmin for every man in Sonora. Course, most of them is just hurrah gals." And, "I'm not gonna get shot in the belly just 'cause you're feelin' sorry for yourself." And, "Why don't you just say it out in words?"

Basically the story has Scott and O'Sullivan (who, twenty years earlier had been Tarzan's delectable mate) held hostage by Boone and his two shallow young companions, Billy Jack (Skip Homeier) and Chink (Henry Silva). Boone, although a vicious murderer, is not entirely unsympathetic. He feels forced to "run with" these coarse companeros who live from moment to moment. They don't even know their own ages. They've been beaten and mistreated since they were kids. ("You run with them," says Scott reprovingly.) Boone, on the other hand, is sick of their talk about wimmin and such. He is lonely, has no family or wummin waiting for him. "Talk," he orders Scott at gunpoint, "about anything!" He dreams of someday having a spread of his own, with a couple of cattle, working the ground.

But the code -- I mean the movie code of the 1950s, not the Western code -- is an unforgiving one. He is, after all, a murderer. When O'Sullivan's cowardly new husband is given permission to ride off to freedom and desert his wife, Boone turns away and mutters, "Bust him, Chink." The coward's name is Willard Mimms -- Arthur Honeycutt draws out the vowel and imposes a dipthong on it when he pronounces the name -- "Mee-yums." We know Mimms is toast five seconds after we meet him.

Richard Boone is great as the heavy with the daydreams. In a particularly violent climax he is blinded by a shotgun, twirls around entangled in a burlap sheet, and collapses. Scott shows his range in this movie. He laughs at the beginning and becomes grim after being taken hostage. He even forcefully smothers O'Sullivan in passionate kisses. And I thought he only like horses and mules. Commanding too is the performance of Henry Silva, in pink shirt and suspenders. He's clever, the way a sewer rat is clever. He slouches when he walks, and he stands hipshot. His expression hardly ever varies. And his voice is matter of fact, even when he's eagerly anticipating dumping yet another body in the well.

It's quite a lot of fun, shot as it is in Movie Flats. That's Mount Whitney in the background, the highest peak in California's Sierra Nevada. The highest peak in the lower 48 for that matter.


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