Film Review – BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE (1958)

BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE (USA, 1958) ***
      Distributor: Columbia Pictures; Production Company: Producers-Actors Corporation / Scott-Brown Productions ; Release Date: 6 August 1958 (USA), December 1958 (UK); Filming Dates: 4 February 1958–27 February 1958; Running Time: 78m; Colour: ColumbiaColor; Sound Mix: Mono (Westrex Recording System); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: U.
      Director: Budd Boetticher; Writer: Charles Lang (based on the novel “The Name’s Buchanan” by Jonas Ward); Producer: Harry Joe Brown; Associate Producer: Randolph Scott; Director of Photography: Lucien Ballard; Music Composer: Stock (Mischa Bakaleinikoff, George Duning, Heinz Roemheld, Paul Sawtell); Film Editor: Al Clark; Art Director: Robert F. Boyle; Set Decorator: Frank Tuttle; Costumes: Bucky Rous; Make-up: Al Greenway (uncredited); Sound: John P. Livadary.
      Cast: Randolph Scott (Tom Buchanan), Craig Stevens (Abe Carbo), Barry Kelley (Lew Agry), Tol Avery (Judge Simon Agry), Peter Whitney (Amos Agry), Manuel Rojas (Juan de la Vega), L.Q. Jones (Pecos Hill), Robert Anderson (Waldo Peck), Joe De Santis (Esteban Gomez), William Leslie (Roy Agry), Jennifer Holden (K.T.), Nacho Galindo (Nacho).
      Synopsis: A Texan heading back home with enough money to start his own ranch stops in the crooked town of Agry, where he’s robbed and framed for murder.
      Comment: Whilst this is one of the lesser of  Scott and Boetticher’s seven Western collaborations in the late 1950s, it is economically told and entertaining. The main problem is with the tone, which veers uneasily from tongue-in-cheek to melodrama with an eccentric cast of characters – notably the Agry brothers who run the town. Avery gives the strongest performance as the elder of the brothers, a judge looking to become senator but unable to resist holding a wealthy Mexican rancher’s son as hostage for money. Scott is tangled in the crossfire between the Agrys and looks on bemused at the absurdity surrounding him. Burt Kennedy ghosted on the script and his economic prose keeps the plot moving along nicely.