Scott plays a bounty hunter returning a former Indian captive in “Comanche
Station,” a 1960 Columbia release directed by Bud Boetticher and written by
western regular Burt Kennedy.
Jefferson Cody (Scott) trades rifles and
other items with a group of Comanche Indians in exchange for a captive settler,
Nancy Lowe (Nancy Gates). Her husband has offered a large reward for her
return. After the exchange they’re met by outlaw Ben Lane (Claude Akins) and his
sidekicks Frank (Skip Homeier) and Dobie (Richard Rust) who help Cody during an
Indian attack at Comanche Station. Lane and Cody are old enemies and he and his
men have been searching for Nancy. Lane wants a piece of the $5,000 reward in
return for helping protect Nancy on the journey to her husband. Cody
reluctantly agrees and forms an uneasy alliance due to the Indian threat.
Cody befriends Dobie, who wants to be his own
man rather than the sidekick to the outlaw Lane.. Cody and Nancy form a friendship
which Lane sees as an opportunity to get under Cody’s skin. He plots to return
Nancy on his own and collect the reward, but he knows Cody is a better shot and
the better man.
The Indians are threatening and portrayed by
Native Americans rather than red-faced Caucasian extras. They’re talked about
more than seen and when they are seen they’re mostly on horseback and only a
modest threat to Cody and Lane. Lane is the real threat and Cody predicts the
outcome as Lane’s men are killed and the movie ends with the thrilling, if
predictable, gunfight between Cody and Lane on the edge of a rocky cliff.
The movie is a little gem overall with excellent
location photography beautifully shot in CinemaScope by Charles Lawton, Jr.
There’s also tight direction by Boetticher and strong performances by Scott,
Akins and the rest of the cast. The movie was apparently shot in 12 days in the
California desert, but the very short running time of 70 minutes doesn’t hurt, as
it ensures that things move at a brisk pace.
was the final film for Ranown, the production company formed by Scott and
producer Harry Joe Brown. Scott announced his retirement from movies after this
release. Fortunately, Scott returned for one more movie, “Ride the High
Country,” in 1962. Generally regarded as a classic of the genre, Scott retired
for good after that.
region 2 German release includes both German and the original English audio. The
CinemaScope picture and sound quality on this release are both terrific. While
the movie has a running time barely over an hour, there’s a lot packed into the
70 minute running time which is also an excuse to watch it as part of a double feature.
The movie was previously available as part of the 2008 DVD set, “The Bud
Boetticher Collection.” The only extra carried over from that release is the
original trailer in English. This German release also includes a slide show
stills gallery of original advertising material which is accompanied by cues
from the score. Well worth the time for fans of classic westerns, Bud Boetticher
and Randolph Scott.
Media titles are primarily available through Amazon Germany. However, imports
can often be found on eBay and Amazon in other countries. Although officially a
“region 2” title, many of readers report that Explosive Media titles play fine
on their region 1 players.)
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