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Under the Gun (1951)

Approved | | Film-Noir | 1989 (USA)
When a cunning, unscrupulous mobster is sentenced to a Florida prison farm, he launches a deadly escape plan.

Director:

Ted Tetzlaff (uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Richard Conte ... Bert Galvin (uncredited)
Royal Dano ... Sam Nugent (uncredited)
Dabbs Greer ... Stoner (uncredited)
Sam Jaffe ... Samuel Gower (uncredited)
Gregg Martell Gregg Martell ... Nero (uncredited)
John McIntire ... Sheriff Bill Langley (uncredited)
Phillip Pine ... Gandy (uncredited)
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Arthur Sherbourne (uncredited)
Shepperd Strudwick ... Milo Bragg (uncredited)
Richard Taber Richard Taber ... Five Shot (uncredited)
Audrey Totter ... Ruth Williams (uncredited)
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Storyline

When a cunning, unscrupulous mobster is sentenced to a Florida prison farm, he launches a deadly escape plan.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Story of a prison farm that gave a convict a gun...and gave him a pardon if he used it!

Genres:

Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Morte Aponta a Sua Arma See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
The surprising Ted Tetzlaff directs Conte, Totter in offbeat prison-farm noir
9 February 2003 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

Those persistent rumors about Ida Lupino's being bald as a bean may have been fueled in part by Under The Gun, in which Audrey Totter appears to be wearing Lupino's old hair. Totter's a diva in a `Miama' nightclub in whom mobster Richard Conte takes both a professional and personal interest. En route by car back to New York, Conte takes care of some unfinished business by murdering a man but is arrested and stands trial. Despite herself, Totter finds she cannot commit perjury (`You just weren't worth the lies,' she later tells Conte). So he pulls a 20-year sentence at a prison farm in the deep South, where the concept of parole is unknown.

And the most interesting and accomplished part of Under The Gun - most of the movie, in fact - takes place at the prison farm. Conte thinks he can escape by bribing a hated `trusty' (Royal Dano), an inmate who earns special privileges by standing watch with a shotgun when the men go on work details. But Conte's buddy in the next bunk (Sam Jaffe) explains the finer points of the penal code in Dixie: If a trusty kills a prisoner trying to escape, he earns early release.

Conte, however, is as Machiavellian as he is ruthless. He coaxes a simple-minded inmate to make a break for it; Dano kills the gullible fool and secures release. Trigger-happy Conte becomes the next trusty, itching for his bid for freedom. Impatient, he makes Jaffe a grisly offer: If he tries to escape under Conte's gun, Conte will make a payoff to Jaffe's wife and children....

Ted Tetzlaff, the director, handles the ironies and ambiguities in the plot adroitly. A former cinematographer, he worked in and around the noir cycle, sometimes routinely (as in A Dangerous Profession and Gambling House), but in a couple of tries quite amazingly: Riffraff and The Window. Under The Gun lies somewhere in the middle, hobbled by a lame ending. But at least Totter, as the target for Conte's revenge, shows up again for the close. Even as a brunette, she's always worth watching.


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