The Fastest Gun Alive (1956) Movie Review

The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

 

Starring: Glenn Ford, Jeanne Crain, Broderick Crawford, Leif Erickson, Russ Tamblyn
Director: Russell Rouse
Release Date: 12 July 1956
Language: English
Length: 89 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis:

“Gunman gone good George and his wife Dora are trying to live a peaceful life. But George’s gunslinging ways are legendary – and attract the attention of other gunmen who feel up for a challenge. The couple moves to a new town in the hopes of finally finding a normal life. When George gets drunk and spills the beans, can he and Dora trust the townfolk to keep their secret? A Western with a message the whole family can enjoy.”  — Amazon.com

Review:

This is a surprisingly different and enjoyable Western movie in the classic style.  It is only available in black and white and features several recognizable faces, though I am not very familiar with the names (my dad assures me that these actors were very well known in their day so this would be a star-studded film).  It is filmed in the classic spaghetti-Western style, but the story is very unique.  Instead of a deadly gunslinger, we are dealing with a man who left his sharpshooting behind and is trying to live a normal life as a shopkeeper in a tiny town on the edge of the frontier.  He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t carry a gun and everyone in town thinks he is boring and kind of a wimp.  They soon learn that this could not be further from the truth as George Temple proves that he is an amazingly fast gunman.  Unfortunately, this is not a safe thing to be and there are many twists and turns that happen before the movie comes to a close.  I expected some of the plots twists, but there were others that were a bit surprising so the movie was really quite fun to watch.

The acting is quite good in this movie and I found everyone believable.  There is a wonderful dance number near the beginning of the movie that was unique, clever and delightful.  The story moves along at a pretty fast clip and the townspeople  all use their roles to keep the pace moving along and the action coming.  I thought that the soundtrack was a bit bombastic and is very typical for the time period, but I found it over-the-top and that the big crescendos kind of detracted from the film instead of adding to the tension.  I must say that I have never seen a Western quite like this and feel that this movie has been overlooked.  I have not seen it on TV before and it is pretty expensive on DVD so I don’t think that it is ever going to pull in a wide audience.  If you are looking for a movie that can be classified as a “classic Western” movie that features several surprises and an atypical hero, look no further than this little hidden gem.

Content:

This movie shows a gunslinger dying in a shootout, a bank robbery, shooting of civilians, some violence, and some threats by the villains.  There is nothing gory or explicit that is shown and this movie is shot in a classic, old-fashioned style so people just drop where they stand with no blood or anything.  Recommended for ages 8 and up.

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Filed under Adventure Movies, Classic Movies, Historical Movies, Westerns

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