Budd Boetticher


Director
Budd Boetticher

About

Also Known As
Oscar Boetticher, Oscar Boetticher Jr.
Birth Place
Chicago, Illinois
Born
July 29, 1916
Died
November 29, 2001
Cause of Death
Multiple Organ Failure

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 Rou...

Family & Companions

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

Bibliography

"When in Disgrace"
Budd Boetticher, Neville (1989)

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.

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 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.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

My Kingdom For... (1985)
Director
Arruza (1972)
Director
A Time For Dying (1971)
Director
The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)
Director
Comanche Station (1960)
Director
Westbound (1959)
Director
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Director
Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)
Director
The Tall T (1957)
Director
Decision at Sundown (1957)
Director
The Killer Is Loose (1956)
Director
Seven Men from Now (1956)
Director
The Magnificent Matador (1955)
Director
The Man from the Alamo (1953)
Director
Seminole (1953)
Director
City Beneath the Sea (1953)
Director
Wings of the Hawk (1953)
Director
East of Sumatra (1953)
Director
Bronco Buster (1952)
Director
Red Ball Express (1952)
Director
The Cimarron Kid (1952)
Director
Horizons West (1952)
Director
Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)
Director
Killer Shark (1950)
Director
Black Midnight (1949)
Director
The Wolf Hunters (1949)
Director
Behind Locked Doors (1948)
Director
Assigned to Danger (1948)
Director
A Guy, a Gal, and a Pal (1945)
Director
Youth on Trial (1945)
Director
Escape in the Fog (1945)
Director
The Missing Juror (1944)
Director
One Mysterious Night (1944)
Director
Cover Girl (1944)
Assistant Director
Girl in the Case (1944)
Assistant Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western (1997)
Tequila Sunrise (1988)
Good Luck, Mr. Yates (1943)
Hocoy McManus

Writer (Feature Film)

My Kingdom For... (1985)
Screenwriter
A Time for Dying (1982)
Writer
Arruza (1972)
Narr wrt by
A Time For Dying (1971)
Screenwriter
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
Story
The Magnificent Matador (1955)
Story
Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)
Story

Producer (Feature Film)

Arruza (1972)
Producer
Comanche Station (1960)
Producer
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Producer
Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)
Associate Producer

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

Blood and Sand (1941)
Technical Advisor

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Gangland (1987)
Assistant

Director (Special)

Alias Mike Hercules (1956)
Director

Life Events

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"

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"

Videos

Movie Clip

Rise And Fall Of Legs Diamond, The (1960) - Charge It To A-R Now in 1920's Miami with some cash, Jack (Ray Danton), not yet nick-named, figures out how to get an introduction to racketeer Arnold Rothstein (Robert Lowery), in The Rise And Fall Of Legs Diamond, 1961, directed by Budd Boetticher.
Rise And Fall Of Legs Diamond, The (1960) - He Didn't Use His Head Pacey and crisp opening from director Budd Boetticher, introducing Ray Danton in his signature performance in the title role, Warren Oates his tagalong brother, Karen Steele a fascinated dance instructor, in the loose bio-pic The Rise And Fall Of Legs Diamond, 1960.
Blood And Sand (1941) - Death Of This Noble Bull In Seville, big coming-out for humble bullfighter Juan (Tyrone Power), the noted temptress Dona Sol (Rita Hayworth, escorted by George "Superman" Reeves) in the crowd, won over along with stubborn critic Curro (Laird Cregar), in Rouben Mamoulian's Blood And Sand, 1941.
Rise And Fall Of Legs Diamond, The (1960) - Do You Actually Have A Sick Brother? Leaving a movie, Alice (Karen Steele) has no idea Jack (Ray Danton) is using her as an alibi for a robbery, and to absolve himself, he introduces brother Eddie (Warren Oates), in The Rise And Fall Of Legs Diamond, 1960, directed by Budd Boetticher.
Ride Lonesome (1959) - Something Pure Awful Brigade (Randolph Scott) with prisoner Billy (James Best) arrives at the station, meeting Boone (Pernell Roberts), Wid (James Coburn) and the master's wife Carrie (Karen Steele), plot thickening in Budd Boetticher's Ride Lonesome, 1959.
Ride Lonesome (1959) - I Did Him A Hurt Once With director Budd Boetticher’s landscapes, about an hour into the picture, we finally meet villain Frank (Lee Van Cleef) who, explaining to a sidekick (Dyke Johnson), begins to realize why bounty hunter Randolph Scott (not seen) doesn’t mind being followed, in Ride Lonesome, 1959.
Ride Lonesome (1959) - He'll Know What To Do First scene from the credits, bounty hunter Brigade (Randolph Scott) finds outlaw Billy John (James Best), in Budd Boetticher's flawless Western from Burt Kennedy's original screenplay, Ride Lonesome, 1959.
Ride Lonesome (1959) - I Thought You Didn't Scare! Setting out to find the missing station-master husband of Mrs. Lane (Karen Steele), bounty hunter Brigade (Randolph Scott), with prisoner (James Best) and two semi-allies (Pernell Roberts, James Coburn), are confronted by Indians, strategy ensuing, in Budd Boetticher’s Ride Lonesome, 1959.
Tall T, The (1957) - Drop Your Guns Stage driver Ed (Arthur Hunnicutt) and hitcher Pat (Randolph Scott) ride into trouble with Frank Usher (Richard Boone) and his gang (Henry Silva, Skip Homeler) in Budd Boetticher's The Tall T, 1957.
Tall T, The (1957) - Ride Him! Pat (Randolph Scott) takes a wager on riding a bull from Tenvoorde (Robert Burton) in this comic piece from Budd Boetticher's Western The Tall T, 1957, from a novel by Elmore Leonard.
Comanche Station (1960) - Opening, Cody Opening credits and first sequence from the last collaboration between director Budd Boetticher and star Randolph Scott (as "Jefferson Cody"), Comanche Station, 1960, shot near Lone Pine, California.
Comanche Station (1960) - Seemed Like A Good Idea Cody (Randolph Scott) and Mrs. Lowe (Nancy Gates) converse on social matters following his having purchased her back from the Comanches, in Budd Boetticher's Comanche Station, 1960.

Trailer

Family

Oscar Boetticher Sr
Father
Henry Boetticher
Brother
Survived him.
Georgia Shambara
Daughter
Survived him.
Helen Hale
Daughter
Survived him.

Companions

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

Bibliography

"When in Disgrace"
Budd Boetticher, Neville (1989)

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.