Ever since author Max Evans published his novel, The Hi-Lo Country, in 1961, it has been slated for motion picture adaptation, with director Sam Peckinpah attempting to bring it to the screen many times during the intervening years. And then Martin Scorsese was handed a copy of the tale that takes place on the fading prairies of the post-World War II West, as the face of the country was gearing up for its most radical change yet.
Already committed elsewhere, Scorsese adopted production duties, and nine years on from The Grifters, reunited with Brit director Stephen Frears by handing him the reins to a wholly American drama of friendship, passion and betrayal. Billy Crudup stars as chiselled, brooding Pete Calder, attempting to preserve the cowboy way in the face of mechanisation in the New Mexico town of Hi-Lo, and forget lifelong lust Mona who’s now a married woman. But despite the attentions of loving girlfriend Josepha, Pete’s desires are stirred when he learns Mona is not averse to a bit on the side. The problem is, that bit is Pete’s best mate and partner Big Boy Matson, and the situation boils up into a tense, emotional pressure cooker as Pete’s strong brotherly bond with Big Boy is severely tested by his raging loins. —Talktalk.co.uk
Frears was born in Leicester, England to an Anglican father and a Jewish mother. Attended the Trinity College in Cambridge before starting his carreer in television where he contributed to several high-profile series such as the BBC’s Play for Today. In the mid-1980s he came to prominence as an important director of British and later American films. It was his production of the one-off drama My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4 in 1985 that led to his notice as a capable film director when the production was released theatrically to great acclaim. He next directed another successful British film, the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears in 1987, followed by a second film from a Hanif Kureshi screen play, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. The following year he made his Hollywood debut with Dangerous Liaisons. Frears had another critical success with The Grifters, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director but suffered a major box office disappointment with Hero, starring… read more