4 July 2009 | MartinHafer
A nice portrait of a somewhat forgotten director
Budd Boetticher was a famous director who made films from the 1940s to the late 1960s. While he is somewhat famous today, he isn't one of the "big names" from this era and he had a very particular niche--great lower budget Westerns (many of which starred Randolph Scott). While I have seen most of these classic Scott films, I knew very little of Boetticher's career otherwise, so I really was happy I saw this documentary about him and his films.
Overall, BUDD BOETTICHER: A MAN CAN DO THAT was an interesting amalgam. Some films about great directors focus almost exclusively on the films or the style of direction, while others are more like biographies that focus on the life of the man. However, this one manages to use both approaches during the picture. For a general overview of him and his films, this is a good film. If you are looking more for the analysis of the films or a biography alone, then perhaps the film might be less than satisfying. I personally liked the focus just the way it was.
Since Boetticher died earlier this decade, there was fortunately a lot of recent footage of the man and it felt like he was talking to the audience. None of this grainy old footage like I'd seen on the life and films of John Ford, for example. Considering that Boetticher was very lucid and vibrant up until the end, this really helped the film tremendously.
In addition, the film had many clips with various stars who had worked with the man and knew him well. Again, having only died relatively recently, it is a major plus that so many who knew and worked with him are still alive. Too often, films about earlier directors (such as one I saw on Fritz Lang recently) seem so disconnected because the men died decades before.
Overall, a very nice film and I hope that the people who made this would consider doing a similar biography about Sam Fuller or some other director who is mostly recognized by "insiders" (note: among film snobs, loving Boetticher films, like Fuller's, is quite in vogue at this time).