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Monday, 17 January 2011

Top Ten Western Actors - afterword

It seems my list has stirred up some controversy, particularly the omission of Randolph Scott, but as I pointed out I wanted to include actors from all stages of the western's development and so many greats were left off. Not only Scott, but Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, Joel McCrea and many others. But any list is subjective and if it provokes discussion then it's done it's job. Now my feelings on Scott are that he was brilliant and that he made some mighty fine pictures but there were also countless mediocre B- westerns, but then the same charge can be made against John Wayne.

The western was good to Scott but it also swallowed him up and unlike other western icons he rarely worked in other genres. In fact to those who don't like westerns his fame rests on his alleged sexual affair with Cary Grant. Though he is a true western icon - reflected in the fact that in the movie Blazing Saddles the sheriff turns to the townsfolk who have refused to help and pleads, "You'd do it for Randolph Scott."

Growing up in the UK Scott's westerns were shown regularly on TV but only the more run of the mill ones and so perhaps this is why he failed to make such an impression on me as other western actors. Though the westerns he made with director, Budd Boetticher are certainly among the best the genre can offer as are many of his other pictures -Western Union with Fritz Lang for one. And Scott was exceptional in Peckinpah's Ride The High Country. Scott actually made 35 westerns between 1940 and 1955 so I guess it's no surprise that so many of them were routine.

So why is he not my top ten? Well simply because I couldn't include everyone


old guy rambling said...

Just watched him last night--guess you could have done a top fifteen. What I liked about him most is the great horse he rode. Not sure if he would be in my top ten either, but I liked most of his films.

Walker Martin said...

Gary, now you really are rubbing it in by mentioning the alleged sexual affair between Randolph Scott and Cary Grant! True, they were good pals and roomed together, but there is no positive proof except Hollywood rumors and backstabbing gossip.

As Randy's son said concerning the rumours, "Bullshit"! Now to calm myself and get over the exclusion of Randolph Scott, I'll watch another double feature of Randy's westerns tonight.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Walker I'm going to watch Rage at Dawn so there.

Tom Roberts said...

I'll pass on RAGE AT DAWN and watch HANGMAN'S KNOT instead tonight.

Thanks for being so good natured under the artillery barrage from us Randolph Scott supporters. Like a team of good, strong horses, we all gotta run together.

Enjoy your time away, Gary.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd put Randy near the top even if the only westerns he ever did were Seven Men From Now, Commanche Station, The Tall T and Ride the High Country.
Nobody ever made me understand that the classic stoic cowboy hero had something inside him, something real and alive, more than Scott did in those films.