As a precursor to our film project, 12 Western Feature-Length Films in 12 Months, which Running Wild Films and 5J Media will start producing in 2016, director Travis Mills shares his thoughts on films from the genre as he studies Westerns in preparation for our own. Follow the project here on Facebook
This series of short blogs is titled “Western Impressions”.
The Tall T
The third or fourth time I have seen this one and the first time since I read Elmore Leonard’s original short story, The Captives. And now the first 15 minutes of Boetticher’s masterpiece feels like fluff. Everything that happens in town seems mostly unnecessary when compared to how Leonard’s story begins and I wish Budd had found a way to tighten it up. But I shouldn’t complain, this is just about the tightest Western ever made, so lean and mean in every aspect. I think Budd’s direction is without a doubt near perfect but Burt Kennedy doesn’t get enough credit for the dialog. Whether a scene like the one with Scott and Boone bonding was the result of director/actors, or whether is was in the screenplay to start, Burt’s writing throughout is so full of subtext and incredible tension. And I must say, I still think it is a great companion to the scene with DeNiro and Pacino in Heat, which is really a modern Western to me. There are too many scenes in this great picture to talk about, you can write a book on this one.
Lasting impression: between this and Hombre, Richard Boone is the greatest Western villain.