The Tall T

Director: Budd Boetticher
Year Released: 1957
Rating: 3.0

Randolph Scott, after being emasculated (he's walking around with ribbon candy, he gets thrown off a bull and laughed at, he loses his beloved horse in a bet), has to use his wit and skills to regain his manhood by outsmarting a trio of stagecoach robbers who have taken him and some aging newlyweds hostage. It's quite smart for a low-budget, "B" picture - thanks to Boetticher and screenwriter Burt Kennedy (working off an Elmore Leonard story) - and the conversations between characters are worth following: the warfare is more mental than physical (though naturally there is gunfire). Masculinity is partially regained with a kiss: once Scott's loner forces captive, "homely" Maureen O'Sullivan to lock lips, it's like Popeye's Spinach, and vitality is restored.