Ride Lonesome

1959

Action / Drama / Western

4
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 73%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 3624

Synopsis


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599.4 MB
1280*544
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 13 min
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1.14 GB
1920*816
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 13 min
P/S 4 / 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by pzanardo 9 / 10

Deservedly a cult movie

"Ride Lonesome" fully deserves its cult-movie status. Here the chemistry between the director Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott attains its highest level. Of course, as for any other cult movie, it would be desirable to see "Ride lonesome" several times to fully appreciate it. The story is very simple, and somewhat reminiscent of others by the distinguished western-writer Burt Kennedy, but it is dense with distinct themes and psychological nuances. The dialogue is perfect: extremely dry, sharp and laconic, but endowed with a remarkable sense of humour. We feel that the guys on the screen are more for action than for chats.

Boetticher merges the audience in the open freeness of wild nature, according to his trade-mark style of turning the landscape into a further character of his films. The photography and the use of color are magnificent. The action scenes are terse, (enough) realistic and much accurate in the movements of the actors. Particularly brilliant are the nocturnal scenes: the shadows which hide the faces are opposed to the glitter of metal objects (cups, fire-arms) and to the lights spread by Karen Steele's blond hair and white shirt. And these nocturnal scenes create a remarkable erotic atmosphere, due to the breathtaking presence of Steele as Mrs. Lane. It has been said that in Boetticher's films the Woman is never a real character, but rather a dreamed object of desire. "Ride Lonesome" is perhaps the best evidence of this theory: Karen Steele is so incredibly gorgeous that the viewer is led to see her more as a Goddess than as a woman. And thus we easily accept the instinctive respect paid to her by the male characters. Also note this subtlety: the Apaches attack the whites just because their chief wants to get Mrs. Lane. The power of Woman rules.

Any character is designed with accurate psychology, with excellent work by the whole cast. Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, Pernell Roberts, James Best are all commendable. I especially liked a very young James Coburn in the role of the naive cow-boy, living on the risky border between good and evil. Lee Van Cleef has a short role as the main villain Frank, but leaves his mark: look at his sneer and his body language when Frank realizes that he's going to face a mortal clash.

A marginal note: the Italian title of the movie sounds like "The tree of revenge". I venture to say that this title is better than the original one.

I greatly like "Ride Lonesome". You can enjoy it at two levels: either breath in the open spaces and relish the adventure, or make a deeper study of Boetticher's admirable style and technique.

Reviewed by herbqedi 9 / 10

Roberts and Scott perfectly matched

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.

Reviewed by funkyfry 9 / 10

One of the best westerns of the late 50s

Tight, efficient western story (not a "saga") about a man who uses a prisoner to get his brother into the open for revenge. In the meantime he strings along a beautiful stranded woman and 2 outlaws who hope to kill Scott and turn his prisoner in for a pardon for themselves. The climax before the evil-looking "hanging tree" is very impressive, although the film could have built Van Cleef into a stronger villain (perhaps the realism of a villain who isn't all that bad was part of the plan). Excellent synergy of all the vital elements by the director in this, one of the best of the famed (and hard to find) Ranown films.

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