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 <>

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based on novel | See All (1) »


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


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Release Date:

15 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shoot First  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

ROUGH SHOOT (Robert Parrish, 1953) ***
7 February 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Like CIRCLE OF DANGER (1951; see my review elsewhere), this is a British thriller with a lightweight American lead, in this case Joel McCrea; also like that earlier Jacques Tourneur film, this has a decidedly Hitchcockian flavor to it (down to a Bernard Herrmann-esque score, though he would only team up with The Master three years later!) and is, in effect, a livelier example of its kind. Interestingly, both Ray Milland (star of DANGER) and McCrea would work for Hitchcock on DIAL 'M' FOR MURDER (1954) and FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940) respectively. The film under review is based on a Geoffrey Household novel and, like Fritz Lang's similarly-sourced MAN HUNT (1941), it centers around a hunting aficionado whose favorite pastime lands him in hot water; the screen adaptation was itself penned by celebrated crime novelist Eric Ambler.

Abetting McCrea in his struggle are understanding wife Evelyn Keyes (she had already portrayed her definitive noir role in 1951 courtesy of Joseph Losey's THE PROWLER), Polish military 'mental case' Herbert Lom (unusually a good guy despite his obvious ambivalence) and sympathetic British Intelligence man Roland Culver. Their antagonists, then, are first-rate marksman Marius Goring (from the afore-mentioned CIRCLE OF DANGER but in a less showy role), sinister chauffeur Karel Stepanek and mysterious Austrian female Patricia Laffan (equally enigmatic off-screen, since the promise she showed in the definitive 1951 version of QUO VADIS was never delivered upon!); curiously enough, her alcoholic and uncommitted (to the cause) husband here – played by Frank Lawton (from 1935's David COPPERFIELD) – basically disappears halfway through the proceedings!

The exciting action takes us from McCrea's shooting grounds (doubling as a night-time airfield for the villains' purposes) through an impersonation game to a perilous train journey to a notable climax at London's world-renowned "Madame Tussaud's" wax museum. Here, Goring startlingly blows himself up to safeguard the all-important documents that a typically meek defecting scientist had brought over with him from the other side. For the record, this was released in the U.S. as SHOOT FIRST, which is the name attached to the TCM-sourced copy I watched. One final thing: former actor and Oscar-winning editor Robert Parrish had graduated to the director's chair shortly before this, in 1951 – with two more noirs which I should be watching presently, namely CRY DANGER and THE MOB.

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