When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janoth commits an act of murder at the height of passion, he cleverly begins to cover his tracks and frame an innocent man whose identity he doesn't ... See full summary »
Hit man Philip Raven, who's kind to children and cats, kills a blackmailer and is paid off by traitor Willard Gates in "hot" money. Meanwhile, pert entertainer Ellen Graham, girlfriend of police Lieut. Crane (who's after Raven) is enlisted by a Senate committee to help investigate Gates. Raven, seeking Gates for revenge, meets Ellen on the train; their relationship gradually evolves from that of killer and potential victim to an uneasy alliance against a common enemy. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. An immediate favorite among local television audiences, its initial telecast took place in Omaha Thursday 6 November 1958, where it launched the Paramount Film Library on KETV (Channel 7), followed by simultaneous showings Friday 9 January 1959 both in Philadelphia on WCAU (Channel 10) and in San Francisco on KPIX (Channel 5), by Los Angeles Saturday 17 January 1959 on KNXT (Channel 2), by New York City Sunday 1 February 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2), and by Chicago Sunday 8 February 1959 on WBBM (Channel 2). In Seattle it first aired 11 July 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), in Grand Rapids 7 August 1959 on WOOD (Channel 8), in Phoenix 6 November 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12), and in St. Louis Saturday 28 November 1959 on KMOX (Channel 4). It was released on DVD 6 July 2004 as part of the Universal Noir Collection, and since that time has also enjoyed occasional airings on cable TV on Turner Classic Movies. See more »
When Gates discovers Graham and Raven sleeping, on the train. Raven's head is on Graham's shoulder, but the next shot after the one of Gates retracing his steps shows them separated. See more »
Two of the most beautiful actors in film history, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake got together for the first time in this crime drama that also launched the former's career; a combined fact that in itself is enough to make this a must-see feature. Ladd is justly remembered as the star of Shane, the classic George Stevens' revision on the Western mythology, but his legacy remains overlooked beyond that great achievement. He could be a fine performer, against the average public opinion, and a film like This Gun for Hire proves his neglected status as one of Film Noir's prime antiheroes.
As witty as she's a long-haired blonde, Miss Lake has a sexiness and a childlike casualness about her that only underline her smartness. Her character is neither a typically passionate nor a bitchy femme fatale, and it's kind of a relief that we see the Ladd's character through her eyes ultimately. I can't remember another female role in the genre -- or any noiresque role for that matter -- of such a personal balance and empathy.
This is a Graham Greene movie that somehow looks more a Dashiell Hammett one*. Greene's concern with morality puts things in motion as it would do in The Third Man and Our Man in Havana, both films directed by Carol Reed. Lake apparently plays the angelic symbol of redemption to the fallen angel of her captor, a reminder of the peculiar Catholicism the novelist professed.
* Next to This Gun for Hire, Ladd and Lake did make a Hammett film: The Glass Key (1942).
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