Rocky Graziano is building a career in crime, when he's finally caught and arrested. In jail, he is undisciplined, always getting into trouble. When he gets out after many years he has ... See full summary »
Up and coming, young lawyer Anthony Lawrence faces several ethical and emotional dilemmas as he climbs the Philadelphia social ladder. His personal and professional skills are tested as he ... See full summary »
William Bonney - Billy the Kid - gets a job with a cattleman known as 'The Englishman,' and is befriended by the peaceful, religious man. But when a crooked sheriff and his men murder the Englishman because he plans to supply the local Army fort with his beef, Billy decides to avenge the death by killing the four men responsible, throwing the lives of everyone around him - Tom and Charlie, two hands he worked with; Pat Garrett, who is about to be married; and the kindly Mexican couple who take him in when he's in trouble - into turmoil, and endangering the General Amnesty set up by Governor Wallace to bring peace to the New Mexico Territory. Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
The sets for the town of Medaro were actually left over from Warners' 1939 epic Juarez (1939). Although they were in state of great disrepair, parts of them were salvaged for use in "The Left-Handed Gun." See more »
The "Englishman" describes his origins as from Ayrshire, a county in South West Scotland. In that case he would be a Scot and not English. See more »
Billy The Kid:
They had me dead! That amnesty - that's for THEM! For Moon and hill and Grant! They walk around! I'm buried! They put dimes on my eyes!
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I wonder what the mature Paul Newman thought of this early movie performance. Of course, 'mature' is a relative term since he's already 33 here, well beyond the 'kid' range. In my little book, it's the most mannered and misdirected acting of his long and distinguished career. It's almost like he's working at an excess of James Dean. That wouldn't be surprising since the screenplay's Billy comes across as more misunderstood youth than cold-blooded killer. I guess this is the first of director Penn's efforts at rehabilitating notorious American outlaws, leading up to the glossy Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
The movie itself is pretty good, the open range locations even looking like eastern New Mexico, while Penn uses them to good effect. But it's really James Best as the ill-fated henchman Tom who steals the film. His supporting role manages a certain poignancy that should have come from Billy, but doesn't. With the right breaks, I think Best could have carved a real niche in films. Speaking of supporting players, with the exception of the cartoonish Moultrie (Hatfield), they appear recruited from the many TV Westerns of the day, especially the familiar Denver Pyle and the classy John Dehner.
Penn establishes himself here as a moviemaker to watch with a number of nice touches having Pyle squint into the sun just before the fateful moment, the lone boot left standing in the road, and others. I'm kind of sorry that the baby-faced Audie Murphy didn't get a shot at Billy's role. Visually, he's perfect. Plus, surprisingly for that boyish appearance, he could do a killer-stare to make you believe he killed 100 Germans during the war. Also, Murphy could have made that key facedown scene with Joe Bell (Pryor) as genuinely chilling as it should be. For whatever the charming Newman's considerable skills, being downright mean is not one of them. Anyway the movie remains an interesting entry on the road to 1960's-style rebellious movie-making.
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