To fully understand the nature of Randolph Scott Westerns you have to think the 1950's; I can because I was there, watching every ' cowboy film ' that came out. Westerns then were part of a boys everyday life. I remember at the age of 8-10 riding around my home town on an imaginary horse; we even formed imaginary posses!.....and Westerns were being shown at local cinemas every week.
Randolph Scott played other parts in his long career but achieved a curious fame as a man-of-few-words cowboy. What was it that drew audiences to him despite his limited acting ability?
It is simply this. He was tall and lean, epitomising the rangy, half-starved loner who is doomed, like the Flying Dutchmen to roam the western badlands fruitlessly. He was stoic, thin- lipped, stern-looking, brooding, with sad eyes, forever looking to the next horizon, as he does in this film. If you look into Scott's face there's faint suggestion of longing, a faint wistfulness, hidden by a determined effort to hide any weakness. It's a face that no other western hero has, making Scott a magnet on screen......in the light of this,his acting ability was not in question.
Comanche Station also has a surprisingly good performance from Claude Akins; in fact, stealing a few scenes from Scott. He epitomized malevolency and cold cunning, but smiled easily, perversely emphasising points he made in the character. One long observation his character made concerning Nancy's return to her husband was loaded with cynicism and spite....perfect.In the action scenes he showed himself also to be a fine horseman.....if that really was him firing a rifle on horseback!
Nancy Gates cruised thru her role with little impact; but what western girl didn't?......in the hard, troubled world of the 1950's clearly defined male cowboy, there was little room for strong females.
Commanche Station is a great Western because of it's love affair with the very nature of the genre; tall enigmatic men, the outback, the wide open spaces, the tumbled rocks that threaten to hide hoards of Indians, and the ever-present but unloved horses, surely the most unsung animal of all time.
You'll remember this film because of these things; but mostly because here, encapsulated in 70 minutes, are all of the elements and nuances that all great westerns have or should have.
What more do you want?!