Ride the High Country (1962)
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as Gil Westrum
as Steve Judd
as Elder Hammond
as Sylvus Hammond
as Jimmy Hammond
as Abner Sampson
as Saloon Girl
as Heck Longtree
as Luther Sampson (uncredited)
Critic Reviews for Ride the High Country
Symbols of a waning era who eventually clash over right and wrong, Messrs. McCrea and Scott mesh perfectly, with the latter getting the drollest lines -- and there are plenty.
Using everything that came before and predicting everything that came after, Ride the High Country can now be seen as the lynchpin in the history of the entire Western genre.
...great entertainment: humorous, adventurous, inventive, and enthralling.
Ride the High Country vigorously and colorfully brings alive the Old West of cinematic myth.
A film of abundant visual beauty through whose heart blows a chill valedictory breeze.
Audience Reviews for Ride the High Country
Beautifully shot western with performances by Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott that distill their personas perfectly.
This early effort by "Bloody Sam" is one of many elegiac westerns the lauded director helmed. Hmm, now that I think about it, pretty much every western he did was an elegy...interesting. The setting is the early 1900s: the twilight for the Old West. Joel McCrea is an ex-lawman living on the fringes of society. When he gets hired to escort a shipment of gold, he decides to enlist the help of his old pal played by Randolph Scott. Unlike McCrea's character, Scott's doesn't have much remaining integrity, and thus is easily tempted, along with his young saddle mate to convince McCrea's Steve Judd to steal the gold for themselves instead of delivering it as expected. This film come out during a transition period for the western genre. It was after the heyday of the classic era, but a few years before the revisionist epics that started in the late 60s, perhaps best exemplified by Peckinpah's own bloody masterpiece The Wild Bunch. As a result, this film is a bit of a mix between the old period, what with being a send off of sorts, as well as a forerunner for what would soon come, though the violence here, while fairly strong for the time, isn't quite to the level that it would be in the aforementioned The Wild Bunch. The leads are pretty good, and they have a nice rapport with one another. Their costars likewise do pretty decently with the material. The film is rough around the edges, and you can tell it's before Peckinpah hit his stride, but it's still got some great location shooting and decent cinematography. Give this one a watch. It's pretty solid.
I think this is actually a pretty cool movie and I enjoyed it as much as I possibly could. However, I'm not a big fan of Joel McCrea or Randolph Scott. Therefore, the nostalgia factor really didn't hit home to me. Even with that handicap, Sam Peckinpah's debut is pretty incredible. It's wonderfully shot, moody and fun. I think my favorite shot of the entire movie is the scene where one of the bad guys is shot in the gut and the camera just stays on him while he slowly dies.
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