Culver City, CA: Columbia Pictures, 1957. Original one sheet poster for the second of Budd Boetticher's seven key Westerns in Ranown cycle, all starring Randolph Scott. "The Tall T" is based on a story by Elmore Leonard and the first of five films released through Columbia Pictures. The Leonard story was first published in "Argosy" magazine in 1955, then published as a paperback original in 1957 by Avon as a "tie-in" to the film (though it is not a novelization).
Near the end of Randolph Scott's career, producer Harry Brown, Scott, and Boetticher began work on a series of intelligent films that would combine Scott's minimalist approach to acting with Boetticher's lean, spartan approach to filmmaking. The result was a canon of films today referred to as the "Ranown" cycle, a rich canon of films that form an incredibly strong stylistic whole. Boetticher's approach to storytelling was traditional in the sense that it involved traditional Western characters, but revisionist in that his protagonist invariably worked alone, and sought his own brand of morality rather than one established by tradition, government, and family.
This second entry, a story that takes place over a 24-hour period, finds Scott defending two newlyweds against ransom-seeking stagecoach bandits. In his excellent review of American film Westerns, "The American West from Fiction (1823-1976) into Film (1909-1986)," author Jim Hitt writes: "The main struggle is between Brennan [Scott] and Usher [Richard Boone], who are mirror images of one another. Both are laconic loners. Brennan is a slightly world-weary, puritanical hero who finds himself at the mercy of the more flamboyant yet desperately lonely Usher. The existentialist end where Brennan outduels Usher is a hollow victory for Brennan who has failed to prove that he is either stronger or wiser. In many ways the bleakest of Boetticher's films, even better than the good short story on which it is based."
27 x 41 inches (105 x 89 cm), linen-backed. Near Fine.
Alloway, p. 87. Hitt, p. 232-233. Kitses, pp. 91-121.