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Shoot First (1953)
"Rough Shoot" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Crime, Thriller  |  15 May 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 188 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Robert Taine and his wife Cecily live in a village in England. While hunting on some land he has recently purchased, he shoots a load of buckshot at a man he thinks is... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Col. Robert Taine
Cecily Taine
Roland Culver ...
Marius Goring ...
Frank Lawton ...
Cyril Raymond ...
Karel Stepanek ...
David Hurst ...
Denis Lehrer ...
Laurence Naismith ...
Megs Jenkins ...
Mrs. Powell
Robert Dickens ...
Jack McNaughton ...
Inspector Matthews


U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Robert Taine and his wife Cecily live in a village in England. While hunting on some land he has recently purchased, he shoots a load of buckshot at a man he thinks is a poacher but, upon examination, he discovers the man is dead and believes,at first, he has killed him. With the police and the Secret Service chasing him, he trails a suspect to London and this leads him to an espionage gang. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Hits The Adventure Bullseye! (original USA print ad for "Shoot First") See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shoot First  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

How to hunt hares... and catch spies in stead !
28 December 2009 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

US Col. Robert Tanie lives with his wife in a cottage in rural England. While hunting on hares, he stumbles on someone he suspects being a poacher or a smuggler. Hoping to scare off the trespasser, he takes a shot at him, and sees the man fall down. Having used non lethal munition, he's very surprised to discover the man's actually dead. What he doesn't know is that the actual killer is a sniper, belonging to a spy ring. Later, he meets Sandorski, a Polish officer (you could describe him as something between Tarfu –see Sabotage agent- and Hercules Poirot). This Sandorski is working together with some British cloak and dagger people, that are keeping a close eye on some suspicious characters, who are also roaming around on the hunting grounds. Sandorski has discovered the presence of strong lights, that are intended to help a plane land in the darkness on these remote surroundings. It soon turns out some shady characters are expecting a mysterious plane with a passenger that clearly doesn't want to use more common ways to travel to the UK. Tanie and the Polish officer manage to change the position of landing lights, and "kidnap" the passenger. It turns out to be a scientist from the Eastern bloc, who wants to meet a communist spy in London.

The novel was by Geoffrey Household, the screenplay by nobody less than Eric Ambler. The action is more important than the psychology of the characters or the dialogs. The movie starts at a somewhat slow pace, but gradually, things are becoming more and more interesting, building up toward a nice climax in Madame Tussaud's. The movie is at times somewhat unnecessarily complex: the presence of a Polish officer with a cavalry sword (!) doesn't add much strength to the storyline. Also, it would have made more sense if Col. Tanie was enjoying retirement with his beautiful wife on the English countryside, so I was surprised to see him use a (US ?) uniform at times, which suggested he was not. And why would spies meet in Madame Tussaud's in stead of in a safe house ?

Still, it's certainly a nice little movie: although no A-stuff, certainly a better than average B-movie. Joel McCrea is alright as the not particularly bright Colonel, and Evelyn Keyes is well cast as his helpful but also curious and somewhat impatient wife. I'd rate it 7.5 to 8/10 However, if you want to see a much better UK spy movie from the same period, try to find High Treason.

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