Ride the High Country (1962)

94 mins | Western | 9 May 1962

Director:

Sam Peckinpah

Writer:

N. B. Stone Jr.

Producer:

Richard E. Lyons

Cinematographer:

Lucien Ballard

Editor:

Frank Santillo

Production Designers:

George W. Davis, Leroy Coleman

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
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HISTORY

The 30 Mar 1961 DV announced the first collaboration between veteran actors Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) production, provisionally titled Guns in the Afternoon. The two co-stars reportedly flipped a coin to determine top billing. The film also marked the screen debut of actress Mariette Hartley, as noted in the 2 Jan 1962 LAT. The 14 Sep 1961 LAT stated that the project was assigned to newly-contracted director Sam Peckinpah. Casting announcements included Alyce Allyn, Mina Martinez, Myrna Ross, Chris Carter (7 Nov 1961 DV), and Duane Eddy (2 Oct 1961 DV).
       The 21 Sep 1961 DV reported that Peckinpah and producer Richard E. Lyons were leaving that day to scout locations in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of northeastern CA, known as the High Sierra. The company left for location filming at Mammoth Lake in the High Sierra on 16 Oct 1961, according to that day's DV. Production charts in the 20 Oct 1961 issue also list 16 Oct 1961 as the start of principal photography. The 22 Nov 1961 DV noted the end of production that day. Additional CA locations included Frenchman's Flat, Conejo Canyon and Malibu Canyon. The 20 May 1962 LAT mentioned Inyo National Forest as a location.
       The 15 Jan 1962 DV stated that composer George Bassman would begin recording his score one week later. On 30 Jan 1962, DV reported that recording would be finished the next day. Bassman was quoted ... More Less

The 30 Mar 1961 DV announced the first collaboration between veteran actors Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) production, provisionally titled Guns in the Afternoon. The two co-stars reportedly flipped a coin to determine top billing. The film also marked the screen debut of actress Mariette Hartley, as noted in the 2 Jan 1962 LAT. The 14 Sep 1961 LAT stated that the project was assigned to newly-contracted director Sam Peckinpah. Casting announcements included Alyce Allyn, Mina Martinez, Myrna Ross, Chris Carter (7 Nov 1961 DV), and Duane Eddy (2 Oct 1961 DV).
       The 21 Sep 1961 DV reported that Peckinpah and producer Richard E. Lyons were leaving that day to scout locations in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of northeastern CA, known as the High Sierra. The company left for location filming at Mammoth Lake in the High Sierra on 16 Oct 1961, according to that day's DV. Production charts in the 20 Oct 1961 issue also list 16 Oct 1961 as the start of principal photography. The 22 Nov 1961 DV noted the end of production that day. Additional CA locations included Frenchman's Flat, Conejo Canyon and Malibu Canyon. The 20 May 1962 LAT mentioned Inyo National Forest as a location.
       The 15 Jan 1962 DV stated that composer George Bassman would begin recording his score one week later. On 30 Jan 1962, DV reported that recording would be finished the next day. Bassman was quoted in the 1 Oct 1962 edition, saying that he spent five weeks composing the score. He also wrote a title song with lyrics by Ken Darby, according to the 8 Feb 1962 DV. MGM Records released a version of the song by Robert Holliday and His Orchestra.
       A news item in the 8 Jan 1962 DV announced the picture's new title as Ride the High Country. Re-recording of dialogue was underway later that month, evidenced by a brief in the 23 Jan 1962 DV, which stated that Joel McCrea was unable to attend a session due to a snow storm that prevented him from leaving his ranch near Tonapah, NV.
       The film opened 20 Jun 1962 in New York City on a double bill with the Italian production, The Tartars (1962). The Los Angeles, CA, opening followed on 3 Jul 1962, as a companion picture to Boys' Night Out (1962, see entry). Reviews were mixed. Although the 21 Jun 1962 NYT described the picture as "a dandy little western," the 20 May 1962 LAT dismissed it as typical of the genre. However, MGM ran a full-page advertisement in the 24 Jul 1962 DV, featuring positive reviews from major publications. The 7 Dec 1962 issue reported gross receipts of nearly $2 million to date, compared to a relatively small production budget, estimated at $750,000 in the 6 Dec 1962 LAT. Ride the High Country was listed among the ten best films of the year by Newsweek magazine.
       According to the 12 Feb 1963 DV, MGM executive Peter Shaw decided to reissue the film following a special screening for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The 27 Feb 1963 edition reported that the studio was planning a sequel, in which the four primary actors would reprise their roles. No further information could be found in available sources.
       Ride the High Country marked the last film of actor Randolph Scott (1898--1987). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Mar 1961
p. 6.
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Oct 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
20 Oct 1961
p. 8.
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1961
p. 6.
Daily Variety
22 Nov 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Jan 1962
p. 10.
Daily Variety
15 Jan 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Jan 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
7 May 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1962
p. 6.
Daily Variety
24 Jul 1962
p. 28.
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1962
p. 8.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Feb 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
27 Feb 1963
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
14 Sep 1961
Section B, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
2 Jan 1962
Section A, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
20 May 1962
Section A, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1962
Section C, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 1962
Section C, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1963
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
20 Jun 1962
p. 42.
New York Times
21 Jun 1962
p. 26.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Guns in the Afternoon
Release Date:
9 May 1962
Premiere Information:
Washington, D. C., opening: 9 May 1962; New York opening: 20 Jun 1962; Los Angeles opening: 3 Jul 1962
Production Date:
16 Oct--22 Nov 1961
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 March 1962
Copyright Number:
LP21459
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Metrocolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
94
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

His days of glory as a legendary lawman have passed, and aging Steve Judd accepts the job of transporting gold from a remote mining camp in the Sierras to a smalltown bank. Assisting him are Gil Westrum, another forgotten lawman reduced to earning his living as a carnival sharpshooter, and Heck Longtree, an adventurous young drifter. Secretly, Gil and Heck plan to steal the gold deposits, with or without Steve's help. En route to the mining camp the three men are joined by Elsa Knudsen, the rebellious daughter of a religious zealot. Elsa is running away to join her boyfriend, Billy Hammond, at the mining camp. When they arrive, she marries Billy; but a brawl starts immediately after the ceremony, and Elsa refuses to stay with her husband and his drunken brothers. Instead, she leaves the camp with Steve, Gil, and Heck, who have collected the gold for transport. On the way back to the lowlands, Gil and Heck attempt to steal the gold, but Steve outwits them. Later, Gil slips away but returns when his comrades are attacked by the Hammond brothers. In a blazing shootout, the Hammonds are slain, but Steve also is mortally wounded. Before Steve dies, Gil promises him that he will deliver the gold and do what he can for Elsa and Heck, who have become attracted to each ... +


His days of glory as a legendary lawman have passed, and aging Steve Judd accepts the job of transporting gold from a remote mining camp in the Sierras to a smalltown bank. Assisting him are Gil Westrum, another forgotten lawman reduced to earning his living as a carnival sharpshooter, and Heck Longtree, an adventurous young drifter. Secretly, Gil and Heck plan to steal the gold deposits, with or without Steve's help. En route to the mining camp the three men are joined by Elsa Knudsen, the rebellious daughter of a religious zealot. Elsa is running away to join her boyfriend, Billy Hammond, at the mining camp. When they arrive, she marries Billy; but a brawl starts immediately after the ceremony, and Elsa refuses to stay with her husband and his drunken brothers. Instead, she leaves the camp with Steve, Gil, and Heck, who have collected the gold for transport. On the way back to the lowlands, Gil and Heck attempt to steal the gold, but Steve outwits them. Later, Gil slips away but returns when his comrades are attacked by the Hammond brothers. In a blazing shootout, the Hammonds are slain, but Steve also is mortally wounded. Before Steve dies, Gil promises him that he will deliver the gold and do what he can for Elsa and Heck, who have become attracted to each other. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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