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They Gave Him a Gun (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 7 May 1937 (USA)
Jimmy is drafted and ends up in Fred's troop on his way to Europe. Jimmy becomes vicious with his gun, wins a medal, and weds Fred's nurse girlfriend, Rose. Back home years later, Rose ... See full summary »

Director:

(as W.S. Van Dyke II)

Writers:

(book) (as William Joyce Cowen), | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Fred P. Willis
... Rose Duffy
... James 'Jimmy' Davis
Edgar Dearing ... Sgt. Meadowlark
... Saxe (as Mary Lou Treen)
... Laro
... Judge
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Storyline

Jimmy is drafted and ends up in Fred's troop on his way to Europe. Jimmy becomes vicious with his gun, wins a medal, and weds Fred's nurse girlfriend, Rose. Back home years later, Rose discovers Jimmy is a gangster, has him arrested, and finds a job in Fred's circus as Jimmy escapes, determined to kill Fred. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

7 May 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

On lui donna un fusil  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the movie, the rifle range scene was for real. The studio probably had help from the U.S. Government. See more »

Goofs

(at around 33 mins) As Saxe hands Rose a list of casualties with Fred on it, in the very next scene the list magically has disappeared from her hands. See more »

Quotes

Fred P. Willis: Jimmy, how did you ever get in this racket?
James 'Jimmy' Davis: [Cynical] What did you want me to be, a fifteen buck a week bookkeep?
Fred P. Willis: Well, this is sure a clean way of making a living.
James 'Jimmy' Davis: [laughs] You're forgetting they got medals for us in 1918.
Fred P. Willis: Yeah, and a kiss from a French general but this isn't the same.
James 'Jimmy' Davis: Yeah, that's a fact. Some of those German boys I wiped out were good guys. Around here, they're nothing but a bunch of hopped up monkeys.
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Soundtracks

I Don't Want to Get Well
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by Franchot Tone to nurse Gladys George
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User Reviews

 
Hero And Killer
2 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

Sandwiched in between San Francisco and Captains Courageous two of Spencer Tracy's greatest parts is this very curious film about war and the effects it has on some people. They Gave Him A Gun stars Spencer Tracy and Franchot Tone in the only film they ever made together and Gladys George as the woman who loves them both.

Tracy and Tone are a couple of World War I draftees, Tone is a weak character who almost goes over the hill in boot camp, but Tracy stops him. Tracy is still playing the lovable blowhard, younger Wallace Beery type that MGM envisioned for him when they signed him away from Fox.

Over at the front Tone gets an opportunity and takes it when during a fight he manages to get to a church tower that peers down on a German machine gun nest. He's learned to shoot by now and he does a Sergeant York. But Alvin C. York was never changed by the war the way Tone has.

Wounded in the fight Tone convalesces at a hospital with Gladys George looking out for him. Tracy goes AWOL himself to visit his pal and he and George get something going. Later on when Tracy is reported missing in action, Tone and George marry. Tracy's brokenhearted when he comes back and learns of the marriage, but takes sit in stride.

The rest of the film is dealing with Tone applying the the wartime skills he's learned to the gangster trade. He's a hit-man now and George doesn't really know what he does for a living. I think you can figure the rest out.

The part of the film that gave me some trouble is that I can't believe Gladys George couldn't figure it out. She's a street smart girl, her part is very much like the one she played in The Roaring Twenties opposite James Cagney.

Speaking of The Roaring Twenties, Humphrey Bogart's character development there is similar to Tone's although he was not the central character of the movie. In fact there are elements of They Gave Him A Gun that are to be found in Taxi Driver and in Clint Eastwood's classic, The Unforgiven.

The World War I battle sequences are very well staged by director Woody Van Dyke. For some reason Leonard Maltin panned this film, I think it's a lot better than he gave it credit.


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