In the western frontier town of Cross Creek storekeeper George Temple is a polite and soft spoken man with a secret past.When three bank robbers on the lam stop in town to change horses George Temple's past comes back to haunt him.
Whenever it becomes known how good he is with guns, ex-gunman George and his wife Dora have to flee the town, in fear of all the gunmen who might want to challenge him. Unfortunately he again spills his secret when he's drunk. All citizens swear to keep his secret and support him to give up his guns forever -- but a boy tells the story to a gang of wanted criminals. Their leader threatens to burn down the whole town, if he doesn't duel him.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
In a TCM introduction of Gilda (1944), Alec Baldwin confessed his admiration for Glenn Ford's performance in this movie. See more »
(at around 1 min) Where the posse is debating how to proceed, contrails are clearly visible in the sky. See more »
[Throwing some coins up by the Saloon]
My name is Harold! Vinnie Harold! The moneys to get him a Headstone, to say he was killed by the fastest gun there is.
That's not so.
There's a faster gun then yours.
Who carries it?
You'll find out.
Who carries it?
You'll find out when you least expect it. In a place where'd you'd never expect it.
[Waving his hand in front of his face]
You couldn't see me draw! How can you say anyones faster? How can you say anyones faster?
Because there always is! No...
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First, lets get criticism of reality out of the way. Not only does this movie perpetuate the myth of the fast gun, it expands on it, making gun duels into some sort of sporting event! The idea of a fast draw was a dime novelist invention of the 19th century. So was the notion that gunfighters were proud of how many men they'd killed that they'd cut notches into their sixguns. The idea that they'd travel miles out of their way to seek out another reputed fast gun, fight a duel for no gain except to be known as the fastest gun is laughable. Yet this was the main theme of other movies like "The Gunfighter" starring Gregory Peck and the plot of many TV westerns in the 1950s and 1960s. Gunfighters might have competed for speed and accuracy if offered monetary prizes and if they were shooting at targets rather each other. They certainly wouldn't have competed for free knowing that one or both gunfighters would end up dead.
No one's mentioned another deviation from western reality in this movie; the large number of overweight people! I'm not troubled by a fat, middle aged man like Broderick Crawford playing a skilled gunslinger. Fat men, even old men can be skilled with a sixgun. I found it amusing that no only Crawford, but many of the men in town were fat! if you've looked at old photos of the time, you see very few fat people.
All that said, I loved the movie. Sure, it perpetuates western myths; so what? Most movies do that. How about movies with happy endings? As a cynic once said, a movie with a happy ending just means the movie ended too soon! This movie is well acted by all concerned. Even the three bank robbers are very different from one another. Crawford is the most dangerous of the three; a real nutjob. When he discovers there's a fast gun in town, he decides having a duel to prove who's the fastest is more important than escaping from a posse! Dehner is the most realistic; completely untrustworthy. Notice how he pockets some of the loot at the bank holdup. If you turn your back on him long enough for him to put a hole in it, there'll be a hole in it! Noah Beery seems like a friendly, happy go lucky cowpoke who just fell in with bad companions. The early scene in the general store was funny and rang true to anyone who's ever worked in retailing. Jeanne Crain is fine as a wife married to a deeply flawed man. We've seen this sort of wife before, married to a drug addict or a compulsive gambler or a man who pretends to be more than he is. In this movie, the long suffering wife is married to a closeted coward who has a drinking problem, has lied to her, and longs to be seen as more than an insignificant storekeeper. I must be the only one who enjoyed Russ Tamblyn's athletic barn dance. Sure, it's a tad unrealistic; where did his character learn to dance like that in that little town? With that talent, his character should've been touring the country on vaudeville! Still it was a good scene. I'm sure that people in the old west set aside time to have fun. I've always enjoyed any movie where Russ Tamblyn shows up. I liked that the townspeople were shown as being annoying but funny and nice at the same time. Unlike "High Noon" where the marshal is left to face the bad guys alone, in this movie the entire town supports Glenn Ford. Speaking of Glenn Ford; what a fine performance he delivers here. In real life, Ford served as a Marine in WW II as well as Vietnam. I'm sure he knew fear first hand, yet not allow the fear to paralyze you. Like an onion, he slowly peels back the different layers of his character; living a life of quiet desperation, skilled with a gun, living with the fact that he's a coward. Worst of all, he's married to a woman who loves him despite knowing all his flaws and whom he loves, yet doubting if he deserves her love. The ability to convey several emotions at the same time is the mark of a good actor, and Ford delivers all that here. It's this performance that elevates the movie.
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