The Gun Hawk is directed by Edward Ludwig and collectively written by Jo Heims, Richard Bernstein and Max Steeber. It stars Rory Calhoun, Rod Cameron, Ruta Lee, Rod Lauren, Morgan Woodward and Robert J. Wilke. Music is by Jimmy Haskell and cinematography by Paul Vogel.
Gunslinger Blaine Madden (Calhoun) is pursued by the law after a shoot out he was forced into results in him killing two men. With young protégée Reb Roan (Lauren) in tow, Madden makes his way to the town of Sanctuary, a place that ultimately holds the fate cards of the man known as El gavilán.
Still trying to reform the world Ben?
It's pretty stock formula on a thematic front, and for sure there's some creakiness in the script and from some of the actors around Calhoun, but there's a big pay off here. It's something of a rare little Western this one, out of Allied Artists it proves to be one of the better B Westerns from the company. The main interest value comes with the burgeoning relationship between the aged gunslinger and his hot headed punk companion. It's through this relationship that the finale gets its emotional wallop, something which lifts the picture out of the ordinary.
Sanctuary. If you kill there you have no place else to go.
On the outskirts of the relationship between Blaine and Reb there is the lawmen in pursuit, one is wise and has a soft spot for Madden, the other is angry and only sees death for Madden as a positive result. Into the mix comes Ruta Lee (ravishing in looks, staid in acting) as the love interest, though it's nice to report that this strand of the story never cloys and in fact enhances the Madden character arc. Robert J. Wilke and Lane Bradford file in for villain duties, with the former energetic and doing a nice line in brash outlaw who is destined for a fall.
Back off. BACK OFF!
In spite of being able to spot the obvious cheap aspects of the production, the tech credits are rather decent. There's some nice outdoor photography from the Bronson Canyon locale, set design is colourful and costuming is very pleasing. On the flip-side, though, Haskell's music becomes repetitious and therefore irritating, while the make-up department go over board for the key scene at the end. But with Calhoun turning in a very effective ghoulish performance and that finale of some great reward, The Gun Hawk is worthy of being better known and supported. 7/10
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?