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Marshal Wyatt Earp kills a couple of men of the Clanton-gang in a fight. In revenge Clanton's thugs kill the marshal's brother. Thus, Wyatt Earp starts to chase the killers together with his friend Doc Holliday.
A crusading reporter plans his own arrest and conviction for first degree murder, trying to show that the death sentence should be outlawed when based on circumstantial evidence alone, but his plan goes awry.
The wife of marshal Matt Morgan is raped and murdered. The killers leave behind a distinctive saddle, that Morgan recognises as belonging to his old friend Craig Belden, now cattle baron in the town of Gun Hill. Belden is sympathetic, until it transpires that one of the murderers is his own son Rick, whom he refuses to hand over. Morgan is determined to capture Rick and take him away by the 9.00 train; but he is trapped in the town alone, with Belden and all his men now looking to kill him. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Make the Extraordinarily Suspenseful visit to "Gun Hill"
Don't miss the beginning of this film. Not only is it essential to the whole picture, but it is also a great example of how a filmmaker can show a brutal crime without showing the details on-screen. In the opening, a brutal rape and murder occur; director John Sturges and the performers relay very effectively what happens, it's the horror in your mind.
Kirk Douglas stars, and he is riveting. My favorite of Mr. Douglas' scenes is when he describes a hanging to Earl Holliman - it's an "award-worthy" performance; but won none or few, no doubt. The others all perform amicably, too. After Douglas goes to Gun Hill, he sees old friend Anthony Quinn watch how Douglas and Mr. Quinn play their first scene and you'll see how good these two actors are.
You always have to suspend disbelief in film watching, and a western is a little different. Westerns have their own world, which you accept, or don't. I could not really accept Mr. Quinn and Earl Holliman as father and son, at first. I think it could have been helped if Quinn had done something different with his hair; he never seemed concerned about thinning or gray hair, so I can't fathom the hair it made him look younger than usual. After the movie went on, I decided to just accept that like I accept the rules you accept when you watch a western.
Besides, Quinn and Holliman are far to good to replace. Then, add Carolyn Jones... Now, I figured, at first, she would have the standard "look pretty and kiss the hero" role -- but, that was not so; actually, she was given a real good part and had a chance to perform a meaningful acting role. Ms. Jones showed she should have been given more good film roles.
So many westerns try build this suspense -- "Last Train from Gun Hill" should have you shaking in your cowboy boots.
********* Last Train from Gun Hill (1959) John Sturges ~ Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones, Earl Holliman
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