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 Post subject: Richard Boone
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:32 am 
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Prince Judah
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 Post subject: Re: Richard Boone
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:33 am 
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When it came to conveying menace, no one had the edge on Richard Boone. Boone is now best remembered as a villain - and with good reason - but he cut his teeth on heroic characters. He left college early to try various things until joining the U.S. Navy in 1941, serving on 3 ships during WW2. After the war, he used the G.I. Bill to study acting at the Actors Studio in New York. Serious and methodical, Boone debuted on Broadway in 1947 in the play Medea and appeared in Macbeth (1948) and The Man (1950). He had a semi-regular role in one of the earliest TV series, The Front Page (1949-50).
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His film debut was as one of the soldiers in Halls of Montezuma (51), which also featured Jack Palance, Robert Wagner and Neville Brand in very early film roles. His fifties film career was underwhelming. A good example is his role as Pontius Pilate in the epic The Robe (53): it was a key role and he had the key scene of giving star Richard Burton his orders, but it was a one-scene role. Boone had bigger results in TV back then: he nabbed the regular role of a doctor in Medic (1954-56) for two seasons. Then, in 1957, he began the TV role which made him famous - Paladin, the sophisticated gun-for-hire in Have Gun - Will Travel, which lasted for 6 years. As Paladin, he was just as apt to figure out some formula or karate-chop someone as he was to gun them down. His rough, craggy appearance was balanced out by a highly civilized, intellectual approach and sharp attire. Boone also gained experience as a director, directing quite a few episodes.
____ Image <with Stuart Whitman in Rio Conchos
Success and fame were not immediate, however. In 1958, he was still starring in low-budget stuff like I Bury the Living, most of which took place in a graveyard. Boone accrued gravitas and presence gradually; by 1960, he was in a special supporting role as General Sam Houston in John Wayne's epic The Alamo. After his Paladin role ended, Boone tried an unsuccessful anthology show, The Richard Boone Show, for a season. For the remainder of the sixties, he worked in films and made his mark in several, getting more craggy and imposing with each passing year: Rio Conchos (64) was a violent western that intro'ed footballer Jim Brown as an action star. Boone then upped his game by playing 2nd lead to Charlton Heston in the medieval drama The War Lord (65). Boone (who also dabbled in weight-lifting) looked so tough and mean in this film, one had no problem believing he could pick up a grown man with one arm. If there was one guy that Chuck could rely on here, it was Boone as Bors.
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This led to Boone's crowning achievement in the pantheon of unforgettable bad men - as the stagecoach robber Cicero Grimes^ in one of the earliest revisionist westerns, Hombre (67). The film starred Paul Newman & Fredric March at their usual best, but Boone stole every scene he was in. I think what makes this such a great role is that Boone made the character real, not just a movie western badman, but someone you may actually run across on a desolate country road in real life and live to regret it. As an adult, I can now safely analyze why this was such a great role, but as a kid, Boone scared the hell out of me on a very visceral level when I first watched this. His every movement, slight or heavy, his every word - all implied unpleasant outcomes; he just oozed threats out of every pore of his weather-beaten face; and there was that unique, unforgettable voice, as if a disguise for some demon. I believe this role impacted Boone's remaining career; he was forever associated with ultimate villainy from that point and was cast accordingly.
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Boone played a similar though modern-day villain in Night of the Following Day (68), teamed with Marlon Brando as kidnappers. Since Boone added hints of craziness to his character, the audience knew early on that Brando would eventually have problems with his partner. Though Boone even directed some of the film at Brando's request, suggesting that the film was in serious trouble, it's one of Brando's more interesting sixties films. Already by this time, it seems that if one needed an ultimate adversary for someone like Brando, Boone was the go-to guy. Boone followed up as another ruthless killer in the political thriller, The Kremlin Letter (70), and was John Wayne's foe in Big Jake (71). By the time of The Shootist (76) and The Big Sleep remake (78), Boone's villains were reaching mythical status - one could argue that they might be over-the-top but I can't really call them hammy. As always, it's Boone's scenes I remember best in these films, whether he's yelling barely-coherent threats at the Duke or bellowing curses in-between crazed laughter.
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Boone also went back to TV in the seventies, playing more mellow characters in Goodnight, My Love (72,paired with Michael Dunn) and as Hec Ramsey (72-74). One of Boone's late roles, a curious fit for him, was in The Last Dinosaur (77), a TV movie which was released theatrically overseas. It was an offbeat plot about a lost land and Boone was offbeat as a rich hunter born in the wrong time; he was bellowing at and chasing after a T-Rex in this one. In real life, Boone became enamored of Hawaii in the early sixties and moved there for several years. This appeal also stimulated his rare nice guy role in Kona Coast (68). It's said that Boone is the one who convinced producers to film the famous TV series Hawaii 5-0 all on those islands and he turned down the role which made Jack Lord famous. Finally, Boone was the original voice of Smaug, the famous dragon in the Hobbit book series, in the early animated version of The Hobbit (1977).


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 Post subject: Re: Richard Boone
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:48 pm 
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He looks a bit like James Arness in this pic. I've actually seen some of his Medic episodes. Two of them was included in a Charles Bronson box set that contained a bunch of TV roles he did before he became a star. I have to say they were not very good.

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 Post subject: Re: Richard Boone
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:44 am 
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Detective Thorn wrote:
He looks a bit like James Arness in this pic.

I believe that's a still from Big Jake (1971). Like I mentioned, there was a period of about a decade right after Hombre (67) that anytime a big star like Brando or John Wayne needed an ultimate villain to go up against, first pick seemed to be Richard Boone. For The Shootist (76), Boone's role was rather small; for that one, it seems like someone thought that they needed Boone in there somehow. In the final gun battle, Boone was over-the-top crazy; I saw the film when it came out in the theaters and still remembered his final confrontation all these years later as if I saw it yesterday. He was picking up a table and then shouting at Wayne in that distinctive voice of his, "That was for Albert..!" (Albert was a dead brother in the film). I could barely understand what he was yelling but, boy, did I remember it. :comegetsome:

Detective Thorn wrote:
I've actually seen some of his Medic episodes. Two of them was included in a Charles Bronson box set that contained a bunch of TV roles he did before he became a star. I have to say they were not very good.

I've never seen an episode of Medic. It was Boone's first series lead so it had to be mentioned. The role that 'made' Boone was in Have Gun - Will Travel. As with many success stories, it worked well for Boone because his character was unlike any other TV cowboys and stood out as memorable. He also looked better in it, whether it was the mustache or the western outfits (he was usually dressed in black). His character was a West Point cadet, was highly cultured and even seemed to have far eastern knowledge and mysticism. But, the important thing was, he could kick you-know-what when he had to.


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