The Cimarron Kid (1952)

2 10 2008

I wasn’t really expecting this to be on the same level as Budd Boetticher’s films with the great Randolph Scott, but I still can’t help but be a little bit disappointed by this. Certainly the lack of a leading man that demands as much attention as Scott does is a huge loss, but it seems to be aesthetically tame as well. It doesn’t look all that different from Tourneur’s Canyon Passage but I’d say that two completely different tones are being attempted, not to mention that Canyon Passage came about five years earlier. This is still a nice little western with a few nice ideas, but it only hints at the genius of Boetticher’s latter films.

There is one note-worthy aspect of this film and it is the unfortunately underdeveloped relationship between the title character and Carrie Roberts, a woman who tries to save “The Kid” from his inevitable doom. It’s almost a complete 180 from the cold tension in the male-female relationships of Boetticher’s work with Scott. Of course, that sensibility may just be inherited from Scott’s passive acting style, which Audie Murphy is leagues away from. Still, I think the attention Boetticher lends to this relationship is a bit uncharacteristic for a western. I still prefer the aformentioned cold tension, but the tone that seems to be intended in this film is sort of interesting. Overall, neither character is fleshed out enough to make their turmoil particularly interesting, but it still seems like a half-way decent attempt on Boetticher’s part.

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