Best of… Series – 1960 – Comanche Station

This review contains heavy spoilers (2nd paragraph).

Comanche Station (Budd Boetticher, 1960)

 I think I’m alone in the Boetticher world when I say that this is the best I’ve seen from him. It’s actually quite similar to Ride Lonesome, especially in the way it’s set up. Again we are introduced to a man who we believe to be a bounty hunter as he makes a trade with Comanches for a woman prisoner with a big reward on her head. And as they begins their travels back home, a small group of bandits decide to join their journey. Here’s where it’s similar to all the other Boetticher films I’ve seen in that it’s almost a western road movie. Much of the film is spent watching the characters travel across the beautiful landscape, through woods and rivers, sometimes without a word spoken. I just find that whole approach very poetic.

The supporting characters in this film really help make the film what it is. The bandit leader speaks frankly, always with his own intentions in mind. The two guys riding along with him have a strong friendship. They discuss what might be right and what might be wrong. They’re both pulled between what actions to take throughout the film. And when one dies, the other has a very honest and affecting reaction. The highlight of the film, though, comes in a brief shot towards the end of the film. We learn the protagonist is not actually a bounty hunter, but is in search of his wife who was kidnapped 10 years earlier. As he brings the woman home to her husband and watches them embrace, you can see and feel his bittersweet reaction to what he is watching – happy he was able to reunite a man with his wife, but pain in knowing this will probably never be the case for him.  9.75/10

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