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: Gunman's Walk (1958)  ( 561 )

« : April 26, 2017, 01:22:47 AM »

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.


« #1 : December 19, 2017, 08:04:12 PM »

I saw this movie earlier this year on TCM.  Let me say first that its hard to find this film.  I found a source at a website called "classicmoviesetc."  If its not Amazon, Criterion, etc. i will not order it, lol.  The film stars Van Heflin and Tab Hunter.  Its basically about a rancher ( Heflin) who has two sons going in opposite directions.  Van Heflin plays a tough character in this one. The plot is very tight, so i will not say too much to prevent spoilers.  This is a fantastic western. Why its not in distribution at Amazon, etc. is beyond me. Its a must watch if you can catch it.  Amazon DOES have a streaming version on starz.

Cinematography- 1.5 filmed in Technicolor and Cinemascope

Musical Score - 1

Acting- 2 Tab Hunter and Van Heflin were both superb in this film

Plot- 2 very good. I love tight scripts.

Direction-2 Very well done. Phil Karlson's direction was superb.  The script, camera work, acting, set pieces, everything was very well done.

8.5 out of 10

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« #2 : December 20, 2017, 03:29:04 AM »

merged topic there was already a post about it. O0

« : December 20, 2017, 03:31:37 AM cigar joe »

"When you feel that rope tighten on your neck you can feel the devil bite your ass"!

« #3 : December 20, 2017, 03:03:03 PM »

merged topic there was already a post about it. O0

Thats cool.  I figured there HAD to be a thread already about this film. Its a great western...

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« #4 : December 29, 2017, 02:08:23 PM »

The problem with Gunman's Walk (1958) is that other westerns from the time period handled the 'bad seed son' subject matter better: The Man From Laramie and Last Train from Gun Hill - there might be something else I'm forgetting.

The first act or half is well done, it's just there's not enough plot to justify a ~90 minute runtime. There needed to be close to 20 mins chopped off or the characters needed to be on some type of journey instead of the movie being town bound with zero conflict for basically the final two acts.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, it has some soul and this is one of Heflin's better performances in a western. Visually, it's on point with Phil Karlson and Charles Lawton Jr. doing what you'd expect them to do. With that said, instead of the momentum building, it crumbles and by act three you're sort of just waiting for this to end. And that's a shame because it's a well made movie.

7.5/10 or C+

The casting of James Darren was odd to say the least. He just doesn't look right in a western and he looked more "half breed" than Kathryn Grant, who played a half Sioux character. I was distracted to the point where I was wondering how a potential "half breed" twist was going to play out, since it wouldn't make sense in the story.

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« #5 : December 30, 2017, 03:35:02 AM »

The problem with Gunman's Walk (1958) is that other westerns from the time period handled the 'bad seed son' subject matter better: The Man From Laramie and Last Train from Gun Hill - there might be something else I'm forgetting.

For me all 3 are more or less on the same level. Around 7/10

Last Train from Gun Hill is surprisingly a bit less good than it should be considering director and story, and The Man From Laramie is for me the weakest of the Mann/Stewart westerns.

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