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Also Known As: Oscar Boetticher, Oscar Boetticher Jr., Oscar Boetticher Jr., Oscar Boetticher Died: November 29, 2001
Born: July 29, 1916 Cause of Death: multiple organ failure
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois Profession: director, author, screenwriter, producer, technical advisor, assistant director, messenger, matador

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The career of Budd Boetticher is one of the most interesting ever confined to B pictures. A collegiate athlete at Ohio State University, he traveled to Mexico in the mid-1930s, becoming so enamored with bullfighting that he eventually wielded the cape as a professional matador. Boetticher's experience in the bull ring led to his entrance in the film industry as a technical advisor on Rouben Mamoulian's "Blood and Sand" (1941), and he spent the next couple years as an assistant director, apprenticing to the likes of Charles Vidor and George Stevens. His first directing credit (as Oscar Boetticher) came at the helm of "One Mysterious Night" (1944), and he continued with low-budget second features throughout the decade (with a brief interruption for military service). Boetticher (now taking his credit as Budd) returned to his former calling with "The Bullfighter and the Lady" (1951), co-writing the autobiographical tale of a cocky American who journeys to Mexico and decides to tackle the profession, enlisting the aid of the country's leading matador. The picture launched Robert Stack to stardom and won Boetticher an Oscar nomination for his original motion picture story, even though John Ford cut 42...

The career of Budd Boetticher is one of the most interesting ever confined to B pictures. A collegiate athlete at Ohio State University, he traveled to Mexico in the mid-1930s, becoming so enamored with bullfighting that he eventually wielded the cape as a professional matador. Boetticher's experience in the bull ring led to his entrance in the film industry as a technical advisor on Rouben Mamoulian's "Blood and Sand" (1941), and he spent the next couple years as an assistant director, apprenticing to the likes of Charles Vidor and George Stevens. His first directing credit (as Oscar Boetticher) came at the helm of "One Mysterious Night" (1944), and he continued with low-budget second features throughout the decade (with a brief interruption for military service). Boetticher (now taking his credit as Budd) returned to his former calling with "The Bullfighter and the Lady" (1951), co-writing the autobiographical tale of a cocky American who journeys to Mexico and decides to tackle the profession, enlisting the aid of the country's leading matador. The picture launched Robert Stack to stardom and won Boetticher an Oscar nomination for his original motion picture story, even though John Ford cut 42 minutes of footage before its release. (A version that restored 37 of those minutes is even better than the shorter print.) Boetticher's films through "The Killer Is Loose" (1956) exhibited a workman-like efficiency, the product of an intelligent man learning his job, but he upped the ante considerably when he embarked on a remarkable series of seven spare but stylish Westerns starring Randolph Scott, none longer than 78 minutes, on which his reputation rests. Beginning with "Seven Men From Now" (1956), Boetticher was the consummate auteur, assembling compatible talent to help him frame his vision with speed, economy and exhilaration. His formula pitted the strong-willed mythic hero (Scott) against an equally strong-minded gentleman-villain, the memorable interplay between the two frequently the product of witty scripts by Burt Kennedy, who collaborated on four of the seven pictures. Daring to give hero and villain equal prominence in his compositions and cutting patterns, Boetticher created an arena where fine actors like Lee Marvin, Richard Boone, Pernell Roberts, Claude Akins and James Coburn could shine opposite Scott, depicting a struggle between good and evil that was not simply a black-and-white affair. Though the delicate balance of power ultimately swings Scott's way, the viewer sees how elements outside man's control can influence the struggle and make clear-cut conclusions impossible. Harry Joe Brown joined the Boetticher posse as producer of "The Tall T" (1957), serving in that capacity throughout the remainder of the series, and the film also marked the first of three outings with Charles 'Buddy' Lawton Jr. as director of photography. Boetticher shot many of these films around Lone Pine, California, its arid, barren landscape accentuating the isolated harsh world in which his characters dwelled. In addition to Lawton, he employed such gifted cameramen as William A. Fraker and Lucien Ballard (his cinematographer for the long-term "Arruza" documentary) to ensure the beautiful look of his pictures. Mentioned in the same breath as Ford and Anthony Mann, he made an art of the low-budget Western, and established the austere image of Scott alongside that of John Wayne as a preeminent hero of the genre. After "Comanche Station" signaled the end of the series, he added a fine gangster film, "The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond" (both 1960), to his oeuvre before focusing his attention completely on his Mexican project. Boetticher spent most of the next seven years 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. Finally released in the USA in 1971, "Arruza" stands as a rich, fascinating portrait of a great athlete and man, containing spectacular photography of action so authentic and accurate that one can almost smell and breathe the dust, taste the blood. The rest of Boetticher's output after 1960 consisted of the barely 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). He was unsuccessful in getting his screenplay "A Horse for Mr. Barnum" made as a film before his death in 2001.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  My Kingdom For... (1985) Director
2.
  Arruza (1972) Director
3.
  Time For Dying, A (1971) Director
4.
  Comanche Station (1960) Director
6.
  Westbound (1959) Director
7.
  Ride Lonesome (1959) Director
8.
  Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) Director
9.
  The Tall T (1957) Director
10.
  Decision at Sundown (1957) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Tequila Sunrise (1988) Judge Nizetitch
3.
 Good Luck, Mr. Yates (1943) Hocoy McManus
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Evansville, Indiana
:
In the mid-1930s, suffered a football injury; traveled to Mexico to recuperate; studied and became a professional matador
1941:
Hired as technical advisor for "Blood and Sand"
1941:
Worked as a messenger at Hal Roach studios
1943:
First association with actor Randolph Scott, as assistant director on Charles Vidor's "The Desperadoes"
1944:
Film directing debut, credited as Oscar Boetticher, "One Mysterious Night"
:
Served in the US Marines; made propaganda films including 1946's "The Fleet That Came to Stay"
1948:
First post-war films, "Assigned to Danger" and "Behind Locked Doors"
1951:
Changed billing to Budd Boetticher
1951:
First screenplay credit, "The Bullfighter and the Lady"; shared Oscar nomination for Best Motion Picture Story with with Ray Nazarro; also directed; film produced by John Wayne
1951:
Helmed "The Cimarron Kid", starring Audie Murphy
1953:
Directed Anthony Quinn (whom he met during "Blood and Sand") in "City Beneath the Sea"; Quinn would later act in three other Boetticher films and provide the narration for "Arruza"
1955:
First of six collaborations with Lucien Ballard as director of photography, "The Magnificent Matador", starring Quinn
1956:
Reunited with Randolph Scott, for the first in a series of Westerns, "Seven Men From Now"; produced by John Wayne's brother Robert E Morrison; also first of four collaborations with screenwriter Burt Kennedy
1957:
Hired Charles 'Buddy' Lawton Jr as director of photography for "The Tall T", the first of three collaborations (all for which Kennedy provided screenplays); also first of six films produced by Harry Joe Brown
1958:
Employed Ballard as director of photography for "Buchanan Rides Alone", the only Boetticher-Scott Western for which he was head cameraman
1959:
First credit as producer, "Ride Lonesome", starring Scott (who was executive producer); Lawton was director of photography
1960:
Seventh and last film directing Scott, "Commanche Station"; also produced; final film with Lawton
1960:
With "The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond", added a fine gangster film to his oeuvre; Ballard was director of photography
1969:
First showing of "Arruza", his documentary about his friend Carlos Arruza, the Mexican bullfighter; also produced and wrote screenplay; released in USA in 1971 with new narration (Quinn replacing Jason Robards Jr); Lucien Ballard was director of photography
1970:
Wrote story for Don Siegel's "Two Mules for Sister Sara"
1971:
First feature as director in more than a decade, the Audie Murphy-produced "A Time for Dying", released shortly after Murphy's death; wrote screenplay; Murphy contributd cameo as Jesse James; lensing completed in 1964; Ballard was cinematographer
1985:
Last directorial assignment to date, the documentary "My Kingdom For . . ."; also wrote screenplay
1988:
Acted in Robert Towne's "Tequila Sunrise"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ohio State University: Columbus , Ohio -
Culver Military Academy: Culver , Indiana -

Notes

"They asked me a couple years ago in France, 'Mr Boetticher, why are your Westerns better than anybody else's?' I thought, well, that's very nice to say when you think of Ford and Wellman and Hawks and the really great directors, and I said probably because everything you see in my Westerns is true. It could happen. In Sturges' picture ("Gunfight at the OK Corral"), he's got the four guys at the OK Corral walking down the middle of the street! You could have killed them with a bucket of hot water, for Christ's sake!" --Budd Boetticher to Moviemaker, January 1998.

"Sam Peckinpah was never my friend. Andrew Sarris wrote a piece: 'Whatever happened to Budd Boetticher? The last time I heard of him he was on his way to Mexico City to make a bullfighting picture ... Doesn't anybody realize that Peckinpah copied everything Boetticher did?' Well, 'Major Dundee' came to Mexico City and I was writing 'Two Mules for Sister Sara' down there. Sam sent a limousine over one day and I met him at the Del Prado Hotel. It was Sunday afternoon and Sam was into his third Bloody Mary ... Here I am dead broke, trying to finish 'Arruza', and here's Peckinpah, riding high, and he walks towards me with a Bloody Mary in his hand and he says, 'Mr. Boetticher, I just want you to know that I've seen 'Bullfighter and the Lady' 10 times.' I said, 'Really? What a wonderful way to start a friendship. What do you think of my Westerns?' He said, 'I've never seen one.' Bullshit! He really didn't like me. But he was a great director." --quoted in Moviemaker, January 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Debra Paget. Actor. Married in 1960 but separated after only 22 days; divorce became official in 1961.
wife:
Mary Boetticher. With husband raised Portuguese Lusitano stallions and trained them in the art of rejonero, or bullfighting on horseback; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Oscar Boetticher Sr.
brother:
Henry Boetticher. Survived him.
daughter:
Georgia Shambara. Survived him.
daughter:
Helen Hale. Survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"When in Disgrace" Neville

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