Quite the equal of Boetticher’s classic B-Western series starring Randolph Scott, this ferocious gangster biopic indulges in none of the nostalgia for the Depression or glamorization of its anti-heroes so prevalent in most such movies. As incarnated by Danton, Diamond is a bundle of pure, destructive energy, so ruthless in his sexual, social and financial ambitions that he’ll do anything to increase or protect his criminal domain; even to the point of agreeing to his brother’s death as insurance that the law doesn’t reach him through his inevitably softer sibling. With superb noir photography from Lucien Ballard, the tone is almost existential: wisely, Boetticher defines his protagonist not through psychology but through action. Indeed, the very form of the film mirrors the speed, intelligence, and amoral cunning of its hell-bent mobster.
—Time Out Film Guide
A college athlete, Oscar Boetticher Jr. became a matador in Mexico in the mid 1930s. He entered the Hollywood film industry as a technical advisor on the 1941 version of Blood and Sand and then became an assistant director. Boetticher made his directing debut in 1944, and after helming a series of low-budget films, made the semi-autobiographical The Bullfighter and the Lady in 1951. He signed the film as Budd Boetticher, the name he would work under for the rest of his career. Boetticher showed real ability directing actioners and crime films, but his greatest impact was with a series of westerns starring Randolph Scott, most of which were produced by Harry Joe Brown and scripted by future director Burt Kennedy. These films, such as The Tall T and Ride Lonesome, are distinguished by their tight pacing, strong casts, and sly strains of humor. Boetticher spent most of the 1960s trying to raise money for a documentary of Mexican bullfighter Carlos Arruza. Before the shooting was completed… read more