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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

Terrific western is a winner all the way down the line! Solidly directed by Russell Crouse with a tight screenplay by Crouse and Frank D. Gilroy (THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES), this unusual western deals with a respected shopkeeper (Glenn Ford) who doesn’t wear a gun and doesn’t drink but who harbors a dark, complex past that the town doesn’t know about. When his “secret” spills out, Hell comes to visit. I loved the way the story shoots down (no pun intended) all our traditional expectations. Ford is excellent as the tortured shopkeeper and even Jeanne Crain rises to the occasion as his spouse who finally takes a stand. Others in the cast include Broderick Crawford as a cold blooded gunman, Russ Tamblyn (there’s even a dance number inserted to showcase him) and Leif Erickson. The crisp B&W cinematography is by George F. Folsey (FORBIDDEN PLANET) and Andre Previn’s intense score hits all the right notes.

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