Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Silver Screen Influences: Ride Lonesome

If TEMPERANCE was my salute to Unforgiven and A THOUSAND YESTERDAYS was my salute to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, then my newest novel THE GUNFIGHTER CINCINNATI is my tribute to Ride Lonesome. My second favorite of the Scott, Boetticher, Kennedy collaborations (Seven Men from Now is still my favorite), Ride Lonesome has their signature straight-forward, no-nonsense plot seasoned with awesome visuals and a fascinating group of characters.

Randolph Scott’s Ben Brigade is a grittier, harder version of the likably steadfast character he’s known for. Although he usually plays someone with a mysterious past, the reveal at the end of Ride Lonesome that shows Brigade’s motivation has a lot more weight to it than usual. Scott is joined by an excellent group of multi-layered characters but both Pernell Roberts and James Coburn stand out as the morally-questionable anti-heroes I love to watch. Karen Steele is adequate in her role as the damsel in distress and only has one instance of screaming like a crazy person.

I nodded to a lot of things in Ride Lonesome in my newest novel. From the obvious group of miss-matched characters thrown together in a quest, to the dim-witted criminal being dragged along for the ride. Even the contorted hanging tree in Ride Lonesome made its way into the pages of THE GUNFIGHTER CINCINNATI. Ride Lonesome also has one of my favorite shots combined with one of my all-time favorite lines. As Ben Brigade and Pernell Roberts’ Sam Boone ride across a valley, a group of Indians are slowly revealed atop a ridge behind them. In the foreground, the two men are discussing Karen Steele. Boone says, “I guess she’s about the best overall good-lookin’ woman I’ve ever seen.” Just before Brigade acknowledges the riders, he replies, “She ain’t ugly.”

Ride Lonesome (1959)
Director: Budd Boetticher
Writer: Burt Kennedy
Stars: Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef

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