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Budd Boetticher
Born July 29, 1916(1916-07-29)
Chicago, Illinois,
United States
Died November 29, 2001 (aged 85)
Ramona, California,
United States
Other name(s) Oscar Boetticher
Occupation Film director
Years active 19421985

Oscar "Budd" Boetticher, Jr. (July 29, 1916 in Chicago – November 29, 2001 in Ramona, California) was a film director during the classical period in Hollywood most famous for the series of low-budget Westerns he made in the late 1950s starring Randolph Scott. Known for their sparse style, dramatic rocky locations near Lone Pine, California, and recurring stories of a lone man seeking vengeance amidst a brutal and abstract landscape, the films have, decades after their release, come to be known as some of the most important Westerns ever made,[citation needed] often compared to the works of existential writers or to narratives from the Old Testament.[citation needed] Until 2008, only Seven Men From Now had received a special edition DVD release, and the remainder of Boetticher's most acclaimed films, including Ride Lonesome, The Tall T, Comanche Station, Decision at Sundown, and Buchanan Rides Alone, which were once unavailable, had a DVD release on November 4, 2008 as the Budd Boetticher Box Set.


Early life and work

Boetticher was raised in the Midwest, born in Chicago, and was a star athlete at the Ohio State University. After college he traveled to Mexico, where he learned the art of bullfighting. A chance encounter with Rouben Mamoulian landed him his first film job, as the technical advisor on Blood and Sand (1941).

Bullfighter and the Lady - 1951
Republic Pictures

Soon Boetticher began a career as a journeyman director of B movies on the backlot at Monogram, Columbia, and other small studios, making pictures he later disparaged.[citation needed] He got his first big break when he was asked to direct the film The Bullfighter and the Lady for John Wayne's production company, Batjac, based loosely on his own adventures studying to be a matador in Mexico. The film was edited drastically without Boetticher's consent, and his career again seemed on hold. The film has since been restored by the UCLA Film Archive and the restored print is sometimes referred to by its working title, Torero.

Rise to fame

Boetticher finally achieved his major breakthrough when he teamed up with producer Harry Joe Brown and screenwriter Burt Kennedy to produce the seven films (last in 1960) that came to be known as the Ranown Cycle.[1] Even though his films were hailed at the time by some critics, including French critic André Bazin, who praised Seven Men from Now (1956) as an "exemplary Western", they were largely forgotten until a new generation of scholars and critics championed them in the 1970s[citation needed].

Boetticher's other most important films[citation needed] include The Tall T (1957), Buchanan Rides Alone (1958), Ride Lonesome (1959), and Comanche Station (1960).

Later career

Boetticher spent most of the 60s south of the border pursuing his obsession, the documentary of his friend, the bullfighter Carlos Arruza, turning down profitable Hollywood offers and suffering humiliation and despair to stay with the project, including sickness, bankruptcy and confinement in both jail and asylum (all of which is detailed in his autobiography When in Disgrace). It was finally released in the USA as "Arruza" in 1971.

The rest of Boetticher's output since 1960 consists of the rarely seen A Time for Dying (a collaboration with Audie Murphy released in 1971), the story for Don Siegel's Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), the documentary My Kingdom For... (1985) and his appearance as a judge in Robert Towne's Tequila Sunrise (1988), and he was still actively attempting to get his screenplay "A Horse for Mr. Barnum" made, before his death in 2001.

Selected filmography


  1. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1992-11-29). "Tall in the Director's Chair Budd Boetticher made some of the best-remembered Westerns of '50s and '60s; they don't make 'em like that (or him) anymore". Los Angeles Times: p. 4. 

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