Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Olive Films - GUN THE MAN DOWN and THE QUIET GUN on Blu-ray ""

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Olive Films - GUN THE MAN DOWN and THE QUIET GUN on Blu-ray

GUN THE MAN DOWN (1956; Andrew V. McLaglen)
I love it when a movie cuts right to the chase. I also like it when a movie kicks of by "introducing" Angie Dickinson. GUN THE MAN DOWN does both. It opens with three thieves plotting to rob a bank. It literally starts almost mid-sentence. No opening music or credits even (not until after this scene). I always enjoy those well-worn "heist planning" scenes anyway (you know - the ones where one guy is pointing to a map of the target) so to have one right at the front is fun. Even the actual robbery itself is played out in a few shots with a couple guns shooting at camera. I love the economy of the storytelling. Also enjoyable are revenge stories in general. There's just this primal instinct in all of us to want to see injustice avenged - even outside the bounds of what the law would have found a suitable comeuppance. James Arness plays Rem Anderson here and he's the fella that gets left behind by his scumbag partners after their bank holdup. Not only do they leave him wounded (to be picked up by the authorities), but on top of that - they even drag his girl (Angie Dickinson) with them. Serious dick move. A lot of folks may recognize Arness for his longtime role on TV's GUNSMOKE, or any of the oodles of other westerns he made, but I know him from THEM (one of my favorites) and from THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (where he played the creature). He's a solid leading man and this is a solid revenge western. And any movie with a young Angie Dickinson is alright by me. I feel like her character here has a kinship with her "Feathers" character from RIO BRAVO (one of my favorite movies). It's almost like an prequel version of that character or something. And the movie has another direct tie to RIO BRAVO in that Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez has a small part too. Another neat thing that I noticed is that  the film is written by Burt Kennedy. Kennedy is responsible for some of the best Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott Westerns (THE TALL T, RIDE LONESOME, SEVEN MEN FROM NOW) and you can feel the hand of an assured and clever writer behind this story. Kennedy was great at these low-budget, stripped down tales of retribution. Also interesting is that this movie is a BATJAC production. BATJAC was John Wayne's production company, which was founded in the 1950s. Director Andrew V. McLaglen worked with John Wayne a lot. He would go on to direct some really solid Wayne films in the 60s like HELLFIGHTERS, CHISUM and CAHILL, U.S. MARSHALL.

GUN THE MAN DOWN can be purchased on Blu-ray here:

THE QUIET GUN (1957; William F. Claxton)
"Now shoot or shut up!"
Interestingly, this movie also features an actor who did tons of westerns, but also dabbled in a bit of science fiction genre work. That would be Forrest Tucker of course and he was in stuff like THE CRAWLING EYE and THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. I like him a lot in both of those films - though he seems more at home in a western like this. This movie also features the great Lee Van Cleef and since he's one of my very favorite actors, there's big points for that. The flick even opens with a short and sweet little standoff between Van Cleef and Tucker after the former has been harassing John Ford regular Hank Worden. It's a nice, subtle little exchange, but Lee Van Cleef is dynamite in this sorta thing so the tension runs high. All he needs is another actor that can hold their own against his badassery and Tucker does just fine as the town sheriff in this movie.
This movie came recommend from my friend Laura (of Laura's Misc Musings) who has turned me onto many a fine western film discovery. This one is a neat little story with some unexpected turns and it's well worth a look. Lots of law taken into civilian hands and we know that that means trouble. Also, a slightly RIO BRAVO-ish vibe to be found here too in spots and you know I can't get enough of that. Just a whole lot of people doing things on their own terms and the conflict that arises from it. Also a good running gag with the town undertaker and a solid climactic shootout. 
The movie was shot in lovely black and white 2.35 to and the Olive Films Blu-ray transfer looks nice.

THE QUIET GUN can be purchased on Blu-ray here:

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