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|Index||17 reviews in total|
Fast paced but unsatisfying Western, starring Audy Murphy in a role he
played more than once -- the tortured soul who wants to do the right thing,
even though everyone is against him.
Unfortunately, director Sidney Salknow presents us with a very simplistic plot and very two-dimensional characters. The film has the `small' look of a television episode, with overly neat and overly well-lite sets (even at night!).
Still, the basic idea is good. Murphy is enroute to his home town to face up to the citizens who think he murdered the two sons of a local rancher, despite the fact that it was self-defense. Before arriving at the town, Murphy runs into the gang of outlaws he used to ride with. He finds out that they plan to rob the bank and burn the town to the ground.
Murphy tries to warn the citizens, but their prejudice against him makes them reluctant to listen. But Sheriff James Best, an old friend of Murphy's, DOES believe, and he organizes the citizen to defend the town.
The plot does plenty of unexpected things on its way to a reasonably satisfying climax, giving the film some merit in spite of itself. Merry Anders, the love interest, plays a key role in the climax, redeeming her less than stellar performance in the rest of the film. If you love Westerns (like me) and you're prepared for mediocre acting and lackluster direction, you can have fun with this one. Think of it as an imaginative amateur film that was made on a shoestring budget, starring a popular war hero who succeeded in a second career as an actor.
On a personal note, Audy's `rig' (his gun and gun belt) is a whole lot more appealing and practical than those in most big-budget Westerns. And he doesn't wear it half-way to his knees! Western fans notice things like this. . .
Director Sidney Salkow made quite a few westerns over the course of his career, and the one thing they have in common is that none of them are particularly good. If you want to see why, then watch this picture. Salkow has no sense of pacing whatsoever (a trait even more evident in his "Sitting Bull" from 1954, which has to be among the most disjointed pictures ever made). Stuff happens, then nothing happens for a while, then stuff happens again, then nothing happens for a while again, and so on, and so on, and so on. That describes this picture pretty much to a T, and what's even worse is that, unlike many of Salkow's other westerns, this one actually has a cast of experienced western actors in roles both large and small: James Best, Frank Ferguson, Rex Holman, Rick Vallin, Frank Gerstle and Mort Mills, among others, have done good work in other westerns, and Audie Murphy is earnest as always, but there's not much they can do with this. They try hard, but Salkow's limp direction and the drivel they're forced to recite kill whatever small chances there may have been of making something out of nothing. Even though the plot is somewhat tired, good--or even halfway competent--writing could have made this picture at least watchable. The writing here is laughable hack work, just cliché piled on top of cliché, overheated dramatics, eye-rolling villainy--it seems more like a William S. Hart western from 1915 than an Audie Murphy western from 1964. The last part of the picture picks up a bit--"picks up" being a relative term, considering that virtually nothing has happened up to that point--when the outlaw gang attacks the town, but even that isn't in the least exciting. Salkow's tenuous skills as a filmmaker completely evaporate when the "action" starts (again, check out his 1954 "Sitting Bull") and this picture is no exception--a few desultory gunshots and a bad guy falls off his horse, another gunshot or two and a townsman falls down (it's hard to tell if it's because he was "shot" or if he just dropped from exhaustion--the outlaws and the townsmen in this picture have to be among the OLDEST people to engage in a gun battle in the history of westerns) and the same thing is pretty much repeated for the next eight or ten minutes. There's no sense of excitement, danger, or anything other than boredom. In the end, of course, everything works out exactly as you knew it would, but it's not really worth sitting through this dull, lumbering mess to have your suspicions confirmed.
It's your standard bad guy vs. good bad guy western. Clint Cooper
returns to the town that ran him off and reluctantly agrees to stay and
fight the coming horde of thieves. Though this is a very predictable
plot, it doesn't feature the huge leaps that are common in some
westerns from the era.
Watching this movie 41 years after it's release and judging it by today's standards isn't really fair. It is from a simpler time in history and as a result seems naive to us.
Today you would never see scenes that are supposed to occur at night happening in obvious sunlight. The melo-drama is passe. Everyone knows that gunshots are messy, except in old westerns. Having said all of that, fans of the genre and Audie Murphey will no doubt enjoy this film.
I also enjoyed watching James Best before his Dukes of Hazard days. While I am not one who thinks that his performances as Sheriff of Hazard County are un-noteworthy, this role really opened my eyes to his versatility and talent as an actor.
Dating from 1964, the latter Audie Murphy western is a routine B filler
littered with continuity errors (most notably, the church building in
which all the windows are dark from the outside but inside the lights
are on full pelt), stunt doubles and poor tactics (when attacking the
town the villains don't decide to use dynamite to destroy the barricade
until about half of them have been killed in a pointless full-frontal
attack). It does have a high body count and Ted De Corsia overacts
enjoyably in a role he previously played only 4 years before in Noose
for a Gunman. (this film is a remake of that from the same production
With these 1960s colour B westerns it is noticeable how ridiculously clean everything is. One guesses the film was shot on standard TV sets during the season break.
I was intrigued by the member of outlaw De Corsia's band who seemed to be at least 70 years old. This guy says nothing the whole time and must have been cast because he was a friend or relation of someone. His moment of fame comes when the outlaws lay siege to Murphy who is in a hotel. Throughout the sequence, this OAP stands next to De Corsia gurning, looking around for no obvious reason and pointing his gun at his boss.
The Quick Gun is directed by Sidney Salkow and written by Robert E.
Kent. It stars Audie Murphy, Merry Anders, James Best, Ted de Corsia,
Walter Sande and Rex Holman. A Techniscope/Technicolor production with
cinematography by Lester Shorr and music by Richard La Shelle.
1964 saw three Audie Murphy Westerns released, Bullet for a Badman was rather good, Apache Rifles was just above average and The Quick Gun was quite frankly poor. Which is a shame since the premise and double pronged dose of villainy showed good promise on the page. Plot essentially sees Murphy as Clint Cooper, a gunman returning to the town of Shelby two years after he had left because of killing two men. Although he was forced into the fight, many of the town denizens consider him an evil force, a problem since he is trying to get the whole town to understand that a gang of outlaws are on their way to pillage all and sundry. With the father of the two men killed by Cooper after his blood, the gang on their way and very much having Cooper in their sights since they know him well, Cooper has got it all to do to win the heart of the gal he loves and settle down in peace on his deceased father's ranch.
Of course it's a narrative tailor made for a Murphy character, defend the town against all hostilities whilst proving himself as a just man. But it never amounts to much more than a few half hearted up-tempo scenes. There are a number of villains for Cooper to deal with, but they are weakly performed by the actors, marking them out as unconvincing, with Walter Sande as Tom Morrison laughable as we are expected to believe his old and bulky frame can give a lithe Murphy a good fist fight. This is one of the many false things that dominate the picture, the fights are ultra slow, the stunt doubles all too obvious and the town of Shelby itself is one of the most unconvincing I have seen in a B Western. The interiors are all pristine and pretty, often looking like how someone would decorate a Wild West themed restaurant, badly artificial.
There's a decent sequence involving flames and as ever, Murphy is watchable and likable even in the most tawdry of Oaters, but this really smacks of unprofessionalism by those around him. Making it hard to recommend to anyone but the staunchest of Audie's fans. 5/10
This is the third time this story by Steve Fisher has been done. The first time was "Top Gun" starring Sterling Hayden done in 1955 in black and white, and then done again as "Noose for a Gunman" in 1960 starring Jim Davis, who later became Jock Ewing on "Dallas" (Ted DeCorsia even played the same role as in "The Quick Gun" with John Dehner taking the main villain role in "Top Gun"). All three are good if you like the old fashion type westerns, which I do. They were simple, your kids and grandkids could watch them, and they always had a good ending. Need more of them today. To me, Audie Murphy will always be a hero on the battlefield (The most decorated soldier in WWII including the medal of honor)and on the screen.
This movie should be a mandatory viewing for all students in the various theatrical curriculum in Universities. The directing is very, very poor (to say the least) having Murphy, Anders, and others perform in a stilted, confined manner. The "tough guy", Ted de Corsia, constantly overacts to the point of being obnoxious at times. Most of the extras look like they were recruited from the home for the aged just prior to filming, with some seemingly enjoying their first time as an actor/actress. What I find amazing is that at nights the entire "town" has more lighting then in any normal sunny day. The clothes everyone is wearing appears to have been cleaned and pressed just prior to that scenes filming. Perspiration drenched clothes are dry and well pressed in what is supposed to be the next scene a few minutes later. The close up camera work is OK, but there are far too many wide shots that don't fit the action of the time. Merry Anders is a beautiful person; but the outstanding hairdo could not possibly have been accomplished during the time frame the movie represents. And on and on and on Unbelievable!!! I like both Audie Murphy and Merry Anders very much as performers. They certainly didn't deserve to be displayed in this shoddy film. The movie could have been excellent, but it was just the opposite, I'm very sorry to comment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is basically the same story as the 1960 film, Noose for a Gunman. Same writers, Steve Fisher & Robert E. Kent. Same production co., Robert E. Kent Productions. Ted de Corsia even plays the leader of the gang of 'bad guys' in both films. I prefer Noose for a Gunman over The Quick Gun, it seems to play out better. Along with that, Noose for a Gunman has quite a few of the best character actors: Jim Davis, Barton MacLane, Leo Gordon, Harry Carey Jr.,Lane Chandler, John Hart & Kermit Maynard. Lyn Thomas plays the female interest in 'Noose'. Noose for a Gunman is filmed in beautiful black & white, while The Quick Gun was in color. There is only four years between the two films, which seems like a short period of time for a remake/re-telling of the same story. This is not a bad film, but you should see them both to get the 'Big Picture'.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With all due respect to Audie Murphy the war hero, I'm going to wind up
repeating myself here as in my other reviews of his films. He just
doesn't have the looks or charisma to appear in a Western, either as an
outlaw or a hero. And when the story itself isn't very exciting, the
end result leaves you with just a ho-hum experience.
I don't really want to be that critical of "The Quick Gun", as the premise was a decent one. Murphy's character Clint Cooper returns to the town of Shelby, Montana a couple of quick years after killing a pair of brothers in self defense. Apparently the citizens of Shelby were never in on that secret, or else Tom Morrison (Walter Sande), father of the dead men, did a pretty good job of keeping the murder angle alive. I guess it didn't help Clint's cause when he winds up killing Morrison and his nephew Rick (Rex Holman) in another throw down while the good folks of Shelby were preparing to defend themselves against the Spangler gang, intent on robbing the bank, ravaging the women and then burning it down for a night cap.
You know, I was thinking about something after Clint knocked off two of Spangler's (Ted de Corsia) henchmen in the early going. If only a couple more villains gave chase and caught up to him, Clint would have been toast. It's not like he had a real easy time with the first two.
The other thing that bothered me in a way was how quick and easy sheriff Scotty Grant was taken out by Spangler himself. James Best might not be the best character actor, but I always enjoy seeing him show up in a picture. In this one, he had the unenviable assignment of being engaged to Clint Cooper's former gal Helen Reed (Merry Anders), so they had to find a way for Clint to get back together with her without destroying the friendship between the two men. But having him gunned down was just a bit too convenient.
Oh well, if you're a Western movie junkie like me you'll give this one a go and move on I guess. If I had to come up with a recommendation for an Audie Murphy flick, try 1959's "No Name on the Bullet" for a better than average one. Of course there's always his real life story, one in which he plays himself in 1955's "To Hell and Back".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Last Man On Earth" director Sidney Salkow's "The Quick Gun" ranks
as one of Audie Murphy's lesser efforts. Nevertheless, western movie
fans may find it tolerably entertaining as a B-movie horse opera with
enough noisy gun play, clattering hoof beats, and dead bodies to
compensate for all its dusty clichés.
Audie plays Clint Cooper, a swift-shooting son of a six-gun who returns to the quiet frontier town of Shelby, two years after he shot it out with an influential rancher's two sons, to work the ranch that his deceased dad left him. Along the trail to Shelby, Clint runs into outlaw leader Jud Spangler and his gang of trigger-happy hard-cases. Spangler plans to raid Shelby, rob the bank brimming with cattle money, drink the town dry and carry off the women folk. When Clint and Jud (veteran tough guy Ted de Corsica of "Nevada Smith") tangle early on, we know half of everything that will transpire in this predictable but bloodthirsty oater.
It seems that Jud and Clint were old pals that are now on opposite ends of the gun barrel. Clint escapes from Jud's army of pistoleros and rides to Shelby to warn Sheriff Wade (James Best before "The Dukes of Hazzard"). Meanwhile, one of Clint's vengeful enemies Tom Morrison (pot-bellied Walter Sande of "Bad Day at Black Rock") wants to settle an old score between them. Clint gunned down two of Tom's sons before he rode out two years ago, and Tom refuses to let anything stand in his way when it comes to payback. At the same time, Sheriff Wade has herded all the women and children into the local church and the remaining townspeople have erected a barricade across Main Street and doused it with kerosene to discourage Spangler's gun-hands. Were that not enough drama, the town's schoolmarmHelen Reed (Merry Andrews of "Women of the Prehistoric Planet")plans to wed Wade until she lays eyes on Clint and second thoughts plague her.
The surprises are few and far between in "Utah Blaine" scenarist Robert E. Kent's saddle sore screenplay, but he serves up a passel of quotable dialogue. Surprises aren't what count here, it's the complications that give "The Quick Gun" its fleeting edge. As the townspeople are erecting the barricade, Tom and his nephew jump Clint in the barn and try to string him up. As a result, our hero is compelled to kill them. Wade arrives in time to disarm Clint and haul him off to jail, even when they need everything gun that they can lay their hands on. Unshaven Ted de Corsica is more obnoxious than intimidating, but he chews the scenery with such gusto that you actually look forward to seeing him. Murphy plays his usual,tight-lipped protagonist. Murphy's stuntman gets a good workout, especially in one scene when he leaps from a second-story balcony and hits the ground running.
Clocking in at a brisk 87 minutes, "The Quick Gun" doesn't wear out its welcome and a higher-than-average body count gives it more menace than most American oaters made 1964 typically had before the advent of the spaghetti western. Seasoned western director Sidney Salkow doesn't waste a lot of time getting around to the gun play. The ending has a "High Noon" quality to it.
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