The Hi-Lo Country
The Hi-Lo Country is a 1998 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-World War II New Mexico and is based on the Western novel by Max Evans.
|The Hi-Lo Country|
|Directed by||Stephen Frears|
|Written by||Walon Green|
|Based on||The Hi Lo Country|
by Max Evans
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Masahiro Hirakubo|
|Distributed by||Gramercy Pictures|
In post-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 corporate 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 Birk
- 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 Mrs. Matson
- 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
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 score by Carter Burwell, and the Western swing songs of Floyd Tillman, Vaughn Monroe, Eddy Arnold, Merle Travis, Tex Williams, and Hank Williams and sequence performances by Don Walser and Leon Rausch, were well 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
On December 18, 2012, Shout! Factory rereleased the film on DVD.
- Champlin, Charles (January 1, 1999). "Max Evans: Lone Writer of The Hi-Lo Country". Los Angeles Times.
- Graham, Bob (January 15, 1999). "Hi-Lo Cowboys at Home on the Range". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Holden Stephen (December 30, 1998). "Hi-Lo Country: Even Cowboys Get the Blues". The New York Times.
- "Berlinale: 1999 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- "The Hi-Lo Country". 18 December 2012 – via Amazon.