Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ride the High Country

Ride the High Country (1962) is apparently the movie that launched director Sam Peckinpah's career. James Drury fans take note! Drury is not the star--Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea are--and he doesn't appear in the movie until quite a ways after the beginning, but his role is pivotal.

Drury's character is completely different from his role as Lom Trevors in ASJ and it was really interesting to see him as a real jerk, a miner with three louts as brothers, one of whom is LQ Jones (Stagecoach Seven), who marries a girl that doesn't know what she's getting herself into, and he comes to a bad end. But I had to rewatch Drury's scenes when his character first appeared as I wasn't sure it was him; he looked very different from Lom.

The story actually begins with Scott and McCrea agreeing to guard a shipment of gold from a mining camp, but lots of moral ambiguities arise as a result of their decision. The scenes at the mining camp are a far cry from how miners were depicted in ASJ.

There is an excellent bonus feature that details Sam Peckinpah's career and it states that this movie is considered a classic Western. It has some violence but not nearly as much as later Peckinpah films reportedly do (I haven't seen anything else by him). I liked the movie and certainly recommend it.