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Author Topic: Gunman's Walk (1958)  (Read 107 times)
Spikeopath
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« on: April 26, 2017, 02:22:47 AM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051690/reference

I'm A Runaway.

Rancher and old school westerner Lee Hackett is determined to mould his two sons in his own tough gun-fighting image. Something that backfires when his eldest boy, Ed, becomes a murderer.

Gunman's Walk on plot synopsis and summaries sounds like your standard B Western fare, and certainly the theme of parental influence is nothing new. But Phil Karlson's film, adapted from Ric Hardman's story, has many things going for it to keep it from being mundane and used solely as a time filler. It fuses together multiple issues, parenting, prejudice and ignorance during a time of change in the old Wild West, it's central character, Lee Hackett (Van Heflin), is seen as the link between old and new.

He has primarily lived his life as a shooter and killer of Indians, something that he is not totally committed to shaking off, but here he is now, a most respected and feared member of the community, faced with his two sons both taking different paths. One, Ed (Tab Hunter), is full of bile and gun slinging machismo, represents the old West. The other, Davy (James Darren), doesn't need a gun to feel like a man, his affection for half Indian Clee Chouard (Kathryn Grant) clearly gives a point of reference to the new West. It gives us two sides of the coin with one Lee Hackett perched firmly on the fence, to which Van Heflin gives an emotionally driven standout performance.

I wouldn't say that Gunman's Walk is undervalued as such (its director most definitely is though), it's possibly more like it's been tarred with that old saying brush called "B Western", a saying that unfortunately some use as being derogatory. Whilst if the truth be told the support to Heflin is rather flat (both Hunter & Darren are average at best). But some average support acting can't stop Gunman's Walk from being an intelligent and potent genre piece. I mean if only for Heflin and the catchy central song, "I'm A Runaway", then you should see this, but as it is, if you give it your undivided attention you hopefully will find it's really rather good and clever. 7/10

Viewed via UK cable.

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