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Dual Role for Barry!

6/10
Author: (bsmith5552@rogers.com) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
6 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Gunfire" is yet another film about the James Boys. This one takes place after Jesse's assassination and focuses on Frank. Producer/star Don Barry plays a dual role, that of Frank James and his look-a-like Bat Fenton. The film, which runs a scant 59 minutes, was produced by Barry's company for release by Lippert Pictures.

Mundy (Claude Stroud), a former member of the James gang, drops in on Frank James (Barry), who has "found the Lord" and is living in peace on a small ranch. Mundy is riding with an outlaw, Bat Fenton (Barry again) who resembles James except for James' beard.

The two outlaws decide to trade on the similarity of Fenton's appearance to that of Frank James, and commit a series of robberies and blame them on James. Frank meanwhile learns that the Ford Brothers are in town from Mundy and plans to go after them to avenge Jesse's death.

In town, Sheriff John Kelly guns down Bob Ford (Roger Anderson) just as Fenton and Mundy are riding in to meet up with other members of their gang. At Charley Ford's (Gaylord "Steve" Pendleton) cabin, Fenton persuades him to join the gang and set up Frank James before seeking his revenge on the sheriff.

The gang commits several holdups with Fenton making sure that he is recognized as Frank James. Sheriff Kelly believes in Frank however, and the two plot to trap the gang and expose the impostor. After learning the location of the gang from saloon owner Dan Simons, Frank and the sheriff form a posse and....................................

Don Barry had starred in the Republic serial "The Adventures of Red Ryder" (1940) based on the popular comic strip character. For the rest of his days at Republic, he was billed as Don "Red" Barry, a nickname that he was apparently not fond of. When he left Republic he dropped the "Red" and was thereafter billed as either Don Barry or Donald Barry. Following his last starring role in "Jesse James Women" (1954) he played various supporting roles, on both sides of the law right up to his death by suicide in 1980.

Robert Lowery had just finished starring as Batman in the Columbia serial "Batman and Robin". Initially a lead or second lead in "B" programmers, he too enjoyed a long career as a character actor.

Pamela Blake is the token heroine Cynthy and Wally Vernon provides the comic relief as the whiskey swilling Clem.

Barry's double performance showcased his talents as an actor for which he didn't get the credit he deserved.

Entertaining "B" western.

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