MAN WITH THE GUN (aka: DEADLY PEACEMAKER)
(director/writer: Richard Wilson; screenwriter: from a story by N.B. Stone Jr. and Richard Wilson; cinematographer: Lee Garmes; editor: Gene Milford; music: Alex North; cast: Robert Mitchum (Clint Tollinger), Jan Sterling (Nelly Bain), Karen Sharpe (Stella Atkins), Emile Meyer (Saul Atkins), Henry Hull (Marshal Lee Sims), John Lupton (Jeff Castle), Joe Barry (Dade Holman), Ted De Corsia (‘Frenchy’ Lescaux), Leo Gordon (Ed Pinchot), James Westerfield (Mr. Zender), Claude Akins (Jim Reedy), Florenz Ames (Doc Hughes), Robert Osterloh (Virg Trotter), Jay Adler (Cal); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Samuel Goldwyn Jr.; MGM; 1955)
“Well-crafted, well-acted and solid Western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Screenwriter and former Orson Welles associate Richard Wilson (“Al Capone”/”Invitation to a Gunfighter”) comes up big in his debut as a director in this well-crafted, well-acted and solid Western. It’s also the debut of Goldwyn Jr., the son of producer Samuel Goldwyn. This was the first film Robert Mitchum made after leaving RKO. He’s at the top of his game, as he plays the role of ‘town-tamer’–a man operating close to the edge of sanity. His methods of law enforcement call for no rules or interference, as he comes into a town that has no ‘law and order’ and cleans it up the way he sees fit.
Here Mitchum plays Clint Tollinger, who rides into dusty Sheridan City to try and win back his estranged wife Nelly Bain (Jan Sterling) and find out what happened to his young daughter. They split three years ago because she tired of being tied to a gunslinger and is now a business woman who is in charge of the dance hall gals at the Palace Hotel. Nelly turns her back on him, but Clint stays when the locals are fed up with land-grabber Dade Holman, a fat man who never comes into town but stays protected by his boys at his ranch, running things in town. At a town council meeting blacksmith Saul Atkins convinces them of the hire. Saul’s daughter Stella is engaged to the proud Jeff Castle, who is being run off his property by Dade’s goons–the future home for the couple –and is willing to fight Dade’s gang without any help.
Soon after the hire Clint’s rough ways and excessive use of force riles the locals, as he kills a number of Dade’s gang and burns down his Palace Hotel. Clint has become obsessed with guns ever since his unarmed dad was gunned down, but has become weary of being a hired gun and sincerely wants to get back with Nelly and rid himself of his inner demons. It leads to an exciting climactic gunfight scene, that has Clint fight his way out of a trap cleverly laid by Dade.
REVIEWED ON 8/15/2007 GRADE: B+