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Man with the Gun
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Man with the Gun More at IMDbPro »

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31 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Solid western with enjoyably dark undertones

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
11 December 2005

Clint Tollinger arrives in a small western town looking for his estranged wife, who left him and now runs the local show saloon. His presence is greeting by suspicion but when the town leaders discover the nature of Tollinger's business they propose that they employ him to clean up the town of the problem of Dade Holman's violent influence. The solution may be just as bad as the problem but they take the risk.

With a nice dark character with a lot of anger and pain in the front of the film this western is enjoyable tough. Although the plot is fairly typical of a western b-movie, the tone and edge to it means that it comes over as much more. The basic story sees Tollinger taking on the rule of Holman but it has undercurrents of pain and anger as the lead confronts his wife. We meet Tollinger as a gentle, quiet man but gradually we see him to be violent, heartless and full of bitterness; it is solid development that is at the heart of the film's dark tone. Of course it still follows the genre traditions and will appeal to fans of such while also having enough else going on to make it differ from the Technicolor westerns of the same period.

Wilson is responsible for the dark tone as both writer and director; shot is stark black and white he frames some interesting shots and is not afraid to be aggressive or shocking considering the period. Mitchum takes to his character well and always seemed to enjoy the darker more complex characters that some of his westerns would serve him up with. Sterling does well with her firm character until near the end where she becomes more of a genre staple. Support behind these two is roundly good but the film is very much Mitchum's and he knows it.

Overall it is a solid western that gradually gets down to just going where you expect it to. However for the vast majority it has a dark tone and feel to it that makes it much more interesting and more likely to appeal beyond the limitations of those that like the colourful b-movie westerns of the period.

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27 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Dark, intense, violent, brilliant Mitchum Western.

9/10
Author: Alice Liddel (-darragh@excite.com) from dublin, ireland
17 August 2001

there should be a sub-genre in the Western called 'the Robert Mitchum Western'. Mitchum's brilliant, idiosyncratic, usually undervalued Westerns import his film noir persona to etch some compellingly dark character sketches, and bring an elegiac world-weariness more familiar from the films of Sam Peckinpah. 'Man with the gun' is one of his best. Directed by Orson Welles protege Richard Wilson, it is a stark, monochrome beauty, full of chilling silhouettes and terrifying outbursts of savage violence, as Mitchum comes to tame a town terrorised by a monopolist with a private army. Mitchum's regression from soft-spoken stranger to deranged murderer, with a host of dark emotions in between, is a marvel of expressive, physical acting.

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20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Man With The Gun

Author: mhrabovsky1-1 from michigan
8 February 2007

There are westerns and there are westerns with many actors and then there is a Robert Mitchum western....in this film Mitchum plays a no nonsense, hard as nails character as a so called "town tamer"....he follows his estranged wife played coldly by Jan Sterling as she is the madame of a group of dance hall girls...Mitchum wants to make amends with his ex-wife Sterling but she is cold as ice toward him. Mitchum accepts the job as a combo sheriff and "town tamer" and then manages to shoot up the whole place and fight with anyone who gets in his way....he does not believe in taking any so called prisoners. Along the way Mitchum defends a local young man and his wife who are being terrorized by the local hoodlum who runs the town from his distant ranch. The town council soon gets very wary of Mitchum and wants to see him kicked out of the job...Mitchum in his normal, cold and calculating way tells the town to take a hike - that he wants to continue in his job. Check out a very young Angie Dickinson who plays a dance hall girl...must have been one of her first roles. In the end a good gun fighting scene with a set up dance hall girl and a town misfit played by Leo Gordon who along with the local kingpin rancher tries to wipe out Mitchum. Mitchum handles this role like a pro - cold and calculating, always looking over his shoulder for the next confrontation. One is never far away. A very young Karen Sharpe has a good role as a young housewife infatuated with Mitchum. In the end Mitchum is shot up and winds up in the arms of his estranged wife Sterling. Solid western, very enjoyable....Mitchum up to top standards as a hard charging sheriff. One of Mitchum's best B westerns.

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20 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Mitchum is hired to clean up the town.

8/10
Author: alexandre michel liberman (tmwest) from S. Paulo, Brazil
20 July 2002

Very good western.This was the first time writer Richard Wilson directed a film, also this was a first for Samuel Goldwyn Junior as a producer. It is a pleasure to see a very young and pretty Angie Dickinson as a saloon girl. Robert Mitchum comes to this town dominated by outlaws and is hired as a town tamer, but people are worried that he will go too far, also about the harm that he will do to the town´s businesses. There are some similarities in the story with "Warlock" which was made in 1959. This film keeps a very fast and exciting pace, it really keeps you on the edge.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Robert Mitchum is......Man With The Gun.

7/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
5 December 2008

Clint Tollinger arrives in a small town looking for his estranged wife and news of his daughter, tho he finds her, the chance of any sort of reconciliation is very slim. Whilst here, the sheriff and the important townsfolk learn of Tollinger's reputation as a pistol specialist town tamer. As they are living in fear of a mysterious landowner who is stripping the town from them bit by bit, they hold a meeting that chooses to hire Tollinger to rid the town of it's unsavoury elements.

Man With The Gun seems to be either a forgotten piece or a vastly under seen one, at the time of me writing this, it has just over 200 votes and a paltry 9 user comments written for it on IMDb. It's a shame on either score because although the production values scream out that this is a B movie Western, this is a fine entry in the Western genre. That the piece takes on a rather standard plot theme of an harangued town turning to an avenging dark angel, probably hasn't done the film any favours over the years, I myself read the synopsis and thought it's just another in the line of similarly themed pictures. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find a darkly dramatic picture boasting many enjoyable moments, both technically and as a functioning story.

Robert Mitchum is in the lead as Tollinger, perfectly cast, he strides thru the picture like some brooding menace. We often talk about the screen presence that John Wayne and Charlton Heston had (justifiably of course), Mitchum is right up there with the best of them. One sequence here sees him standing in the shadows at the back of a room as a meeting takes place, we don't see his face, but we can feel that piercing brood staring out at us! The rest of the cast are also very much in Mitchum's shadow, so really it's solely with the big man that the film's acting credentials are high, perhaps it's unfair to single out Ted de Corsia for a kick, but Man With The Gun's minor failings are with its villains, and sadly de Corsia is lacking any sort of villainesque menace. The score from Alex North is excellently layered (fans of Spartacus will certainly be pricking their ears up) and the cinematography from Lee Garmes is highly impressive when one realises that the majority of this picture was shot on the studio lot.

Directed and co-written by first time director Richard Wilson, Man With The Gun holds few surprises for the genre, but it's dark in tone, violent and above all else, highly watchable. 7.5/10

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Tollinger the Town Tamer

6/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
25 September 2006

In Man With the Gun Robert Mitchum plays Clint Tollinger, a man who hires his gun out to clean out lawless towns in the west of which there seems to be a never ending supply. But he comes to this particular town in search of his estranged wife, Jan Sterling who since she left him has taken up the occupation as Madam of the local bordello. Of course the girls which include Barbara Lawrence and the still unknown Angie Dickinson are still called dance hall girls, but the Code was slowly cracking.

It's by chance he gets drawn into the town politics involving a big cattle baron who runs roughshod over every thing and every one in the general vicinity. The town council hires him to clean out the place of gunmen and sheriff Henry Hull makes it official by making him his deputy and giving him a free hand as per Mitchum's terms. The results ain't pretty.

Mitchum's a grim, bitter man heading the cast of a grim and bitter western. Part of his bitterness is the estrangement between him and Sterling. There's quite a history behind it as the movie shows.

Man With a Gun is a good western, but I have to say I was let down by the climatic gunfight at the end. It takes place on a deserted town street while most of the cast is at a town council meeting. James Westerfield plays a part similar to J. Edward Bromberg's role in Jesse James. He sets up a nasty ambush for Mitchum. But I think the plan fell flat in the writing. If Mitchum didn't suspect he was being set up before he did with gunman Leo Gordon following him, he was not the smart guy we'd been led to believe.

Of course if you want to see what I'm talking about then by all means see Man With a Gun.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

We need that guy right here and now!

7/10
Author: Gary170459 from Derby, UK
29 April 2007

I don't remember ever seeing this one before tonight, probably the title sounded so ordinary it kept passing me by. But it is a well crafted b Western, with an interestingly brooding storyline complemented by acting veering from the good to corny.

Robert Mitchum slopes into wide open town looking for his wife and news of their daughter, and stays for a time as town-tamer. As usual the good business folk have mixed emotions - they want to get rid of the baddies but like the business they bring. It still applies: relax drink and gambling laws and encourage the industries but pretend to deplore the seedy effects it can have on ordinary people. What's fascinating about this film is Mitchum's cynically intense portrayal in going about cleaning the town of baddies, and the townsfolk's acceptance that his violent methods were the only ones. Favourite bit: the sudden demise of 2 of the baddies in the Red Dog saloon. The firing of the main saloon bordered on nasty, but it was an effective way to combat the spread of poison.

Overall a very good film with its only fault tending to be a little hokeyness - not so good for Do-Gooders who would probably prefer a lifetime of negotiation with Evil rather than end it.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Town tamer

8/10
Author: TrevorAclea from London, England
20 October 2008

Man With the Gun is pretty much forgotten now, but caused a minor storm of media interest back in 1955 when Robert Mitchum turned down both Jett Rink in Giant (which had actually been written for him and which was subsequently substantially reworked) and Charles Laughton's intended version of The Naked and the Dead to make it instead. Despite some obvious production problems and some harsh lighting that occasionally renders both Mitch and Jan Sterling in unflattering tones, it's a terrific dark western that more than stands comparison with his earlier Blood on the Moon as his 'town tamer' sets to work on a town that never had the chance to grow up before getting run down by the local badmen before turning out to – possibly – be almost as bad as the men he dispatches. Certainly his way of dealing with news of a death in the family – burning a saloon to the ground and goading its manager into trying to kill him – doesn't inspire much confidence in his stability. As well as a good script and a surprisingly good supporting turn from the usually irritating but here well cast Henry Hull, it also boasts a strikingly good early Alex North score, which even includes an early workout for one of his tormented emotional cues that would later turn up in Spartacus.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Compelling tale of a drifter hired by townspeople to protect them from revenge-seeking outlaws

7/10
Author: ma-cortes
28 October 2009

In the Old west there are always the men who live breathe violence and the women who hold their breath. A famous ¨town tamer¨ named Clit Tollinger(Robert Mitchum) comes hired by the citizens to rid the gunslingers ( Leo Genn, Claude Atkins, among others), Baronland's hoodlums. There he meets the blacksmith (Emile Meyer) , his daughter (Karen Sharpe), her boyfriend(John Lupton), the marshal(Henry Hull) and the Saloon owner (Ted De Corsia). Clint as lawman is appointed deputy to bring peace and puts some cartels saying the following : ¨ Warning , wearing of guns or other weapons in town is banned. Check all hardware at the marshal's office ¨. Clint finds his ex-girlfriend, a local madame (Jan Sterling) in charge of the Saloon girls( Angie Dickinson, Barbara Lawrence, among them). But the town council afraid the raw methods carried out by Clint . At the end the kingpin landowner appears and attempts to murder Tollinger with his own hands.

This is a tremendously exciting story of a sheriff-for-hire who had only one more killing to go. It begins as a slow-moving Western but follows to surprise us with dark characters and solid plot. The tale is almost grim , a pacifier comes to a town just in time to make sure its citizenry but later the events get worse . The highlights are the burning at Saloon and the climatic showdown at the ending. Phenomenal and great role for Robert Mitchum as avenger angel and bitter gunfighter, he's the whole show. Vivid and lively musical score by Alex North (Spartacus, Cleopatra), Atmospheric cinematography in black and white by Lee Garmes. The motion picture is stunningly realized by Richard Wilson (Al Capone , Three in Attic) who made good Western as ¨Invitation to a gunfighter and ¨Zane Grey¨ episodes. Watchable results for this offbeat Western.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An OK Western

6/10
Author: huwdj from Wales, UK
1 June 2013

This is an OK film. Yes, each cliché arrives on schedule, each caricature is present and correct, mostly with the recognisable face of a character actor you cannot quite name. Never mind, this is a western. Generally speaking most westerns conform to a formula that pretty much approximates a morality play. Whatever the ingredients good, in the form of a rugged individual, will overcome bad. The women may be innocent and young, world weary and embittered or careworn and wise (or desperate) but most, will love with the hero and one will ride off with him. Robert Mitchum, 'The Town Tamer', is as effective as always. Jan Sterling with the severely styled makeup and hairdo, over sized eyes and turned down mouth is oddly beautiful. Angie Dickinson is strikingly pretty in a small part. The fat baddie appears in child size buggy and duly meets his fate along with and his evil henchman. There are no surprises but it's a satisfying film for a lazy afternoon.

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