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Forty Guns (1957)

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, more...
Director: Samuel Fuller, Samuel Fuller
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Genre: Westerns
Running Time: 79 min.
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Cult hero Samuel Fuller wrote and directed this visually inventive western, which didn't fare well with American audiences but earned a potent reputation with European cineastes. Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck) is a despotic landowner who, with a posse of hired guns, has made herself the law of Cochise County, Arizona, with the weak-willed sheriff Ned Logan (Dean Jagger) knuckling under to her demands. One day, Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan), a one-time gunfighter turned United States Marshall, arrives with his brothers Wes (Gene Barry) and Chico (Robert Dix) to restore democratic law and order to Cochise County. Griff soon tangles with Drummond's brother Brockie (John Ericson), though Jessica is attracted to the new lawman, and Griff finds love with female gunsmith Louvenia Spangler (Eve Brent). Griff and Louvenia marry, but on their wedding day, Brockie murders Wes, and Griff, who takes pride in the fact that he has never fired his gun since becoming a marshal, must now break his vow of non-violence. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Sam, the Softie by talltale May 29, 2005 - 3:37 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Sam Fuller's FORTY GUNS, with its crisp and glorious black-and-white Cinemascope photography and iconic characters and performances, is quite a treat today--very possibly more so than upon its release back in 1957. Barbara Stanwyck, well into her middle age, put everything she had into this unusual good girl/bad girl role. And that's a lot. Interestingly, the story/screenplay seems unusually pared down (the movie's around 80 minutes long), thus making its points (and its characters) even more representational than most of the already heavily-symbolic Western genre.

Fortunately, the cast (from Stanwyck to Barry Sullivan, John Ericson, Dean Jagger, Gene Barry and the rest) handles its chores with smarts and finesse. As certain critics have noted, Fuller did some surprising (for that time) things with camera angles and such, which gives the film an added lift. There's also a nice taste of this director's strong sense of right, wrong and how politics, economics and justice can sort themselves out when leavened with some humanity. Mostly though, it's sheer pleasure to watch Barbara go through her paces, right up to the wonderful end. Who knew Sam could be such an "old softie"?!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.92)
25 Votes
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