movie film review | chris tookey

Ride The High Country / Guns In The Afternoon

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  Ride The High Country  / Guns In The Afternoon Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
9.08 /10
Joel McCrea , Randolph Scott , Edgar Buchanan
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Directed by: Sam Peckinpah
Written by: N.B.Stone Jnr, William S. Roberts (the latter was uncredited)

Released: 1962
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 94

Two superannuated lawmen (Joel McCrea, pictured left, and Randolph Scott, right) have to decide whether to resist criminal temptation when called upon to escort gold from a mining camp to a bank.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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A wry, nostalgic tribute to the Old West - surprisingly upbeat and non-violent for a Peckinpah movie. It's a lot of people's favourite western, because of its quirky sense of humour and obvious affection for the main actors (it turned out to be Scott's final film, after a lifetime in the saddle). The screenplay is not startlingly original, but it's been underrated; Stone, the uncredited Roberts and the director find new, more realistic slants on western mythology, without demeaning it.

Treasurable scenes include the surreal wedding celebration at the mine (where five men have an eye for the bride), the saloon with its distinctly unalluring Madam and whores, and the final shoot-out among the chickens. Lucien Ballard's photography is excellent.

The picture, which was only Peckinpah's second, received good reviews but was underestimated by MGM, who released it as the lower half of a double-bill, supporting far inferior movies, such as Boys' Night Out and The Tartars . Despite MGM's best efforts to bury it, the film rapidly earned a reputation around the world, winning First Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Grand Prize at the Brussels Film Festival (beating Frederico Fellini's 8 1/2 ), the Silver Goddess from the Mexican Film Festival for Best Foreign Film, and a further prize at the Venice Film Festival. It was named as one of the top films of 1962 by both Newsweek and Film Quarterly.

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