RARA-AVIS: Great Scott!

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@colba.net)
Date: 10 Mar 2000

>But didn't Scott play the lead in "The Tall T", which is based on
>Leonard's short story with the same name?

>... Randolph Scott, one of my favorite western
>actors, and one who made some wonderful hardboiled westerns in the 1950s,
>of which THE TALL T was only one.

>My favorite film adaptation of an Elmore Leonard story is THE TALL T. It's
>"bleak, hard-boiled, often morally ambiguous." But it stars Randolph Scott.
>Didn't notice a stuffed shirt. A small masterpiece, this.

Touched a nerve, huh?

You guys missed the qualifying word--"oater." I shouldn't have mentioned names. After all, I admit, Scott and the Duke made some really great films (I love THE SEARCHERS for example). But they also made a bunch of really corny, overly-simplistic cowboy quickies that were truly black-and-white, even if some of them were in colour. You know, oaters. In fact, their careers were based on them. (Unless, of course, that term now encompasses any and all westerns--I just always assumed it meant B-flick westerns)...

Far be it from me to snicker at westerns, by the way. I still keep my cap guns ready, in case them varmints attack. You never know....

But, so as to not wander too far off topic, can anyone think of some of the best hardboiled or noirish westerns. I don't just mean violent.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few:

Hombre The Searchers The Ox-Bow Incident The Unforgiven The Wild Bunch Maybe some of the early Spaghetti westerns... and there was a Walter Hill flick a while back, about, I think, the James Gang? I can picture the poster, with a bunch of them facing the camera, in their long coats, on horseback, but I can't see the title. And Shane, which is a great story, even though the film looks like the old west had as many drycleaners as cowboys.

I'm sure there are others...

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/ This month: The P.I. Poll on Short Fiction, plus new stuff from Hugh Lessig, Peter Parmantie and Dave White.

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