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The Left Handed Gun (1958)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,351 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 17 critic

After his employer is murdered by rival cattlemen, a troubled and uneducated young cowboy vows revenge on the murderers,

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Title: The Left Handed Gun (1958)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lita Milan ...
...
Hurd Hatfield ...
Moultrie
James Congdon ...
Charlie Boudre
...
Tom Folliard
Colin Keith-Johnston ...
John Dierkes ...
McSween
Robert Anderson ...
Hill (as Bob Anderson)
Wally Brown ...
Deputy Moon
Ainslie Pryor ...
Joe Grant
Martin Garralaga ...
Saval
...
Paul Smith ...
Smith
Nestor Paiva ...
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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

amnesty | sheriff | revenge | murder | death | See more »

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 September 1958 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Billy the Kid  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of "Tunstall" was based on a real person, John Henry Tunstall, an English immigrant who was murdered in 1878, aged 24 or 25 at time of death, under circumstances very similar to those portrayed in this film. However, in this, and every other film in which there's a portrayal of "Tunstall" [this film], "Henry Tunstall" [Chisum (1970)], or "John Tunstall" [Young Guns (1988)], not only is a different version of Tunstall's name used, but the actors portraying the Tunstall character have been double (or more) the age of the real life Tunstall at the time of his death. At the time of production of this film, Colin Keith-Johnston was approximately 61 years old; at the time of production of Chisum, Patric Knowles was approximately 58 years old; and at the time of production of Young Guns, Terence Stamp was approximately 49 years old. 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

Featured in Arthur Penn (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Written by Augustus Montague Toplady
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User Reviews

 
It Ain't Hud
27 June 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

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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