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Friday, October 4, 2013

Gunslinger (1956)

After the town's sheriff (William Schallert) is killed, his widow (Beverly Garland) takes over as sheriff until the new marshal arrives. The town's saloon owner (Allison Hayes, ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN) hires an out of town gunfighter (John Ireland) to kill her but he finds himself unexpectedly attracted to his target. This low budget oater was shot in a week by director Roger Corman. Despite its slap dash approach, it's an interesting pre-feminist (though I'm sure it wasn't intended as such) look at a strong and determined woman who steps up to the plate when the men in the town turn away. Garland's Rose is no rose (pun intended). When she gets into a barroom scrap with Hayes, she doesn't scratch and claw, she punches! One can't make a case for it as some kind of an undiscovered gem but it holds together a lot better than its humble cost (when someone gets punched against a wall, the whole wall quivers) would indicate. If there were any sense of artistry to the film, one might think that the film's finale was a homage to DUEL IN THE SUN but it lacks that film's extravagant sense of style. With Corman regulars Dick Miller and Jonathan Haze (LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS).

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