The Hi-Lo Country
|The Hi-Lo Country|
|Directed by||Stephen Frears|
|Produced by||Tim Bevan
Barbara De Fina
|Written by||Walon Green (screenplay)
Max Evans (novel)
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Masahiro Hirakubo|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures
|Running time||114 minutes|
The Hi-Lo Country is a 1998 classic American Western-drama film directed by Stephen Frears, starring Billy Crudup, Penélope Cruz, Woody Harrelson, Cole Hauser, Sam Elliott, Patricia Arquette, Enrique Castillo, and Katy Jurado. It is set in post-WWII New Mexico and is based on the novel by Western author Max Evans.
Just after World War II best friends Big Boy Matson (Woody Harrelson) and Pete Calder (Billy Crudup) return home to find half of their town employed by cattle baron Jim Ed Love (Sam Elliott). Hanging on to the mythic ideals of the American West Big Boy and Pete team up with an old time rancher Hoover Young (James Gammon) to raise cattle the cowboy way and life in Hi-Lo, New Mexico becomes a volatile powder keg.
The fuse is lit when Mona (Patricia Arquette), the wife of Jim Ed's foreman, begins a heated affair with Big Boy. Pete's past longings for Mona resurface with his discovery of the affair and the bond of friendship becomes sorely tested. Ultimately, Pete and Big Boy's friendship will be decided by the extent of their yearnings for the same woman, while Hi-Lo awaits the outcome of the explosive run-ins between Jim Ed Love and two proud cowboys.
- Billy Crudup as Pete Calder
- Woody Harrelson as Big Boy Matson
- Patricia Arquette as Mona
- Penélope Cruz as Josepha O'Neil
- Cole Hauser as Little Boy Matson
- Sam Elliott as Jim Ed Love
- James Gammon as Hoover Young
- Enrique Castillo as Levi Gomez
- Katy Jurado as Meesa, the Mexican witch
- Darren Burrows as Billy Harte
- Jacob Vargas as Delfino Mondragon
- Robert Knott as Jack Couffer
- John Diehl as Les Birk
- Bob Tallman as Himself
- Lane Smith as Steve Shaw
- Rosaleen Linehan as Big Boy's Mother
- Rose Maddox as Big Boy's Grandmother
- Leon Rausch as Band Singer
- Don Walser as Band Singer
- Marty Stuart as Band Singer
- Chris O'Connell as Band Singer
- Connie Smith as Band Singer
The movie was filmed on location in Bernal, New Mexico, Cerrillos, New Mexico, Galisteo, New Mexico, Espanola, New Mexico, Las Vegas, New Mexico, San Jose, New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Pritchett, Colorado.
The film was regarded by critics and film festivals as an example of the "classic" Western movie genre. Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle said, "The traditional settings of Westerns are honored: the saloon, the dance hall, the rodeo, the cattle drive, the snowstorm. Hi-Lo is not only the name of the high-country flatlands where the story takes place, it is also a poker game, and that Western cliche is given a good spin, too."
The sweeping score by Carter Burwell, and the Western swing songs of Floyd Tillman, Vaughn Monroe, Eddie Arnold, Merle Travis, Tex Williams, Hank Williams and sequence performances by Don Walser and Leon Rausch, were very highly regarded.
- Winner Silver Bear for Best Director (Stephen Frears) - 49th Berlin International Film Festival.
- Nominated Golden Bear Award - Berlin International Film Festival
- Nominated Best Actress (Penélope Cruz) - ALMA Awards
- Nominated Best Actress (Katy Jurado) - ALMA Awards
- Nominated Best Supporting Actor (Enrique Castillo) - ALMA Awards
- Winner Best Breakthrough Performance (Billy Crudup) - National Board of Review
- Winner Bronze Wrangler Award (Best Motion Picture of the year) - Western Heritage Awards
- Winner Best Screenplay - Drama (Walon Green) - Western Writers of America
- Charles Champlin, "Max Evans: Lone Writer of The Hi-Lo Country" Los Angeles Times, Jan. 1, 1999. http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jan/01/entertainment/ca-59415
- Bob Graham, "Hi-Lo Cowboys at Home on the Range" San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 15, 1999. http://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/Hi-Lo-Cowboys-at-Home-on-the-Range-Harrelson-2951762.php
- Bob Graham "Hi-Lo Cowboys at Home on the Range" San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 15, 1999. http://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/Hi-Lo-Cowboys-at-Home-on-the-Range-Harrelson-2951762.php
- Stephen Holden, "Hi-Lo Country: Even Cowboys Get the Blues" Dec. 30, 1998 New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/123098country-film-review.html
- "Berlinale: 1999 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- The Hi-Lo Country at the Internet Movie Database
- The Hi-Lo Country at Box Office Mojo
- The Hi-Lo Country at Rotten Tomatoes