Ride the High Country, is in many ways an old-fashioned “buddy” picture, with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea in the leads. They’d both been at it awhile by the time the film was shot in 1961 — Mr. Scott was 63, and Mr. McCrea, a bit younger, at 56. Both began their careers in film in the 1920s.
It was to be Mr. Scott’s final performance.
So when you watch this one, you’re seeing a couple of consummate veteran actors going through their paces.
I’ve always loved this film, but it’s an odd one, in some ways, as the more serious attributes of the western. are continuously mixed with comedy.
What’s not odd is the cinematography by Lucien Ballard (Rio Grande, The Killing, Buchanan Rides Alone, Will Penny, True Grit, The Wild Bunch), which is majestically reproduced in this Warner Archive released. Grain structure, black levels, and resolution come to fore here, making this a prime experience toward seeing the film.
I’d love to report that it’s a perfect Blu-ray, but because of one small mastering error, I can’t. For some reason, even though this is a brand new image harvest, someone decided to retain the window-boxed main title sequence, used on prior releases.
Did I mention that this was directed by Sam Peckinpah? Beyond the appearance of the two leads, it’s his work here, that lifts it above what might be considered standard fare.
Image – 4.8
Audio – 5
4k Up-rez – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass