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ReFocus: The Films of Budd Boetticher

Edited by Gary D Rhodes, Robert Singer

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A vital collection of essays on Budd Boetticher’s long directing career

One of the most important yet overlooked of Hollywood auteurs, Budd Boetticher was responsible for a number of classic films, including his famous ‘Ranown’ series of westerns starring Randolph Scott. With influential figures like Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood acknowledging Boetticher’s influence, and with growing academic interest in his work, Gary D. Rhodes and Robert Singer present a vital collection of essays on the director’s long career, from a range of international scholars. Looking at celebrated films like Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) and Comanche Station (1960), as well as at lesser-known works like Escape in the Fog (1945) and Behind Locked Doors (1948), this book also addresses Boetticher’s influential television work on the James Garner series Maverick, and Boetticher’s continuing aesthetic influence on contemporary TV classics like Breaking Bad.

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Section 1 introduction

Chapter 1: "I never did think he was crazy": Mystery and Criminality in Boetticher’s Psychological Noirs, by Marlisa Santos
Chapter 2: On ethics and style in Bullfighter and the Lady (1951), by Fredrik Gustafsson
Chapter 3: Domestic Tension and Male Hysteria: The Killer is Loose (1956), by Tony Williams
Chapter 4: The Killer is Loose (1956) and the Televisual Dissolution of Film Noir, by Hugh S. Manon
Chapter 5: Adventures on the Small Screen: Boetticher, Warner Bros., and Maverick, by David J. Hogan
Chapter 6: The Signifying Heel: Boetticher’s The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960), by Robert Singer
Section 2 introduction
Chapter 7: The Ranown Cycle: Budd Boetticher’s "New Look" Western Programmers in 1950s Hollywood, by Zoe Wallin and Karina Aveyard
Chapter 8: Framings, Motifs and Floating Poker Games in Seven Men from Now (1956), by Steve Neale
Chapter 9: The Ranown Style: Mapping Textual Echoes, by Lucy Fife Donaldson
Chapter 10: You Were Married, But You Never Had a Wife: The Use of Space in the Westerns of Budd Boetticher, by Christopher Minz
Chapter 11: Ideology and Boetticher’s Westerns from the late 1950s, by John White
Chapter 12: Outlaws Without a Cause: Generational Conflict in Budd Boetticher’s Ranown Cycle, by Brooks E. Hefner
Chapter 13: The Box in the Desert: Budd Boetticher, Breaking Bad, and the 21st Century Western, by Robert Guffey
Author Biographies

About the Author

Gary D. Rhodes is Head of Film & Mass Media at the University of Central Florida. He is the author of Lugosi (1997), White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film (2002), Emerald Illusions: The Irish in Early American Cinema (2012) and The Perils of Moviegoing in America (2012). Rhodes is also the writer-director of the documentary films Lugosi: Hollywood's Dracula (1997) and Banned in Oklahoma (2004). Currently he is at work on a history of the American horror film to 1915, as well as a biography of William Fox.

Robert Singer is a Professor of Liberal Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. He received a Ph.D. from New York University in Comparative Literature. His areas of expertise include literary and film interrelations, interdisciplinary research in film history and aesthetics, and comparative studies. He co-edited Zola and Film (2005), The Brooklyn Film (2003), and he also co-authored the text, The History of Brooklyn's Three Major Performing Arts Institutions (2003).


'Rigorous, tightly focused, lucid and forceful – Budd Boetticher’s films lend their own distinctive attributes to this outstanding and long overdue collection of critical essays on the great Hollywood director. While his celebrated Westerns rightly take centre stage, an impressive posse of scholars does full justice to the entirety of Boetticher’s varied oeuvre. An indispensable contribution.'

- Professor Barry Langford, Royal Holloway, University of London

'The diversity of approach and the individuality of the writing come together for a common focus with such clarity and illumination, resulting in Refocus: The Films of Budd Boetticher being an essential read. It is the publication that fans of Budd Boetticher have longed for.'

- Dean Brandum, Senses of Cinema

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