Clay Lomax, a bank robber, gets out of jail after an 8 year sentence. He is looking after Sam Foley, the man who betrayed him. Knowing that, Foley hires three men to pay attention of Clay's steps. The things get complicated when Lomax, waiting to receive some money from his ex-lover, gets only the notice of her death and an 8 year old girl, sometimes very annoying, presumed to be his daughter.Written by
Michel Rudoy <email@example.com>
Worth Watching Just for Susan Tyrrell's Performance
I saw Shoot Out when it was first released and just watched it again a few days ago. It works best if you consider it as a sequel to "The Gunfighter" (1950), what would have happened to Peck's Johnny Ringo character had he survived and left his town rather than remain there with his wife and son.
Although the negative comments that have been posted are generally accurate, the film has several elements that make it worth watching. Imagine combining 'To Kill a Mockingbird' with 'One-Eyed Jacks' and you will have a pretty good idea of what this story is all about. Unfortunately Gregory Peck did not put Aticus Finch energy into the Clay Lomax character, and even though Dawn Lyn (Dodie from 'My Three Sons') is fine as the little girl-the idea just doesn't work. There is at least one story too many in this movie and it would take a great script to pull it together. But as someone has already mentioned this is not a great script and there are 1970's dialogue issues that periodically jar the viewer back to reality, making it impossible for this thing to ever really get going.
On the plus side Robert Lyons gives a nice 'really out there' performance as the wacko bad guy. Lyons was that era's Gary Oldham. Also the production designer did a good job on the overall feel of the film, there several absolutely great visuals (check out the shot of Dawn Lyn standing on the train station platform), and there is a very original non-formula climax. The production has excellent overall unity and someone really paid attention to continuity issues (watch how the progress of the water dripping on the cabin table is matched to the time sequence of the scene).
What stayed with me through the years and motivated me to watch this again was the first film performance of Susan Tyrrell, as the dumb but plucky saloon girl. She actually deserved a supporting actress nomination. Then she played dumb and plucky again in 'Fat City' and actually received a Supporting Actress Nomination. At the time I was convinced that she would be the next big female star. There was a young actress talent vacuum in the 1969-78 period and hack blonds like Candice Bergen and Cybill Sheppard got a lot of work-with very painful to watch results. That many of their parts did not go to Tyrell and to Elizabeth Hartman is an example of the Hollywood anti-meritocracy. So check out her performances and curse Hollywood for not recognizing her potential and giving her a lot more work.
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