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The Left Handed Gun (1958)

Approved | | Western | 17 May 1958 (USA)
After his employer is murdered by rival cattlemen, a troubled and uneducated young cowboy vows revenge on the murderers,

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Congdon ...
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John Dierkes ...
McSween
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Hill (as Bob Anderson)
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Deputy Moon
Ainslie Pryor ...
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Paul Smith ...
Smith
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Pete Maxwell
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Storyline

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 <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

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All of a sudden, just for the kicks Billy would slip down to Mexico. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 May 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Billy the Kid  »

Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film originally was to have been made in 1956 with James Dean in the lead role. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Celsa: Stay here. They'll kill you!
Billy The Kid: They've been killin' me. Now I don't wait. I go first!
Celsa: What are you going to do?
Billy The Kid: I don't run. I don't hide. I go where I want. I DO what I want!
[He puts scarf around her neck and pulls her toward him in a provocative way]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'Silverado' (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
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User Reviews

Too Flat and Boring
26 January 2016 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

The Left handed Gun (1958)

** (out of 4)

William Bonney (Paul Newman) is the subject of this Western who seeks revenge for the death of a friend and becomes known as Billy the Kid. As he goes for his revenge the young gun slinger meets Pat Garrett (John Dehner) and the two strike up a friendship.

THE LEFT HANDED GUN wasn't one of the first attempts by Hollywood to tell the Billy the Kid story. Countless Westerns had been done on the infamous Bonney but this one here really doesn't work all that well. Of course, if one is interested in history then it's probably best that you really stay away from this as it's yet another sugar-coated version of the story that makes Bonney out to be a troubled but good guy.

I personally don't care on how historically accurate the story is. What I care about is the entertainment factor and I think that is quite low here. It's really too bad something better wasn't done with the story because you have some good elements scattered throughout but sadly, in the end, it all adds up to nothing. I thought the B&W cinematography was extremely good and I also thought we got a good score to listen to. Dehner really steals the show as Pat Garrett and I really loved the actor's outburst at the wedding.

You'd think that Billy the Kid would be a good role for Newman but he seems a tad bit lost in the setting. He gives a good performance but I think he probably would have been better served in another film. The character just never fully gets explored and the actor is left without too much to do. THE LEFT HANDED GUN will be worth watching if you're a die-hard fan of Newman but others should check out a different version of the story.


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