Thursday, Nov 2020
Director: Henry King
Screenwriters: William Bowers, Andre De Toth, Nunnally Johnson, & William Sellers from William Bowers Story
Length: 84 mins.
Released: 1950 B & W

the gunfighter posterPeck plays Jimmy Ringo, said to be the fastest -- faster than Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday -- gun in the West, in the Southwest during the 1880s. The movie opens with Ringo being challenged in a saloon by a cocky kid who tries to make his reputation by outdrawing the fastest gun. Ringo outdraws him, of course, by a long shot, and the kids 3 brothers come after him. Ringo is confronted by his reputation wherever he goes. Everyone wants to bring him down to make their own name or avenge the life of someone they think Ringo killed. When we meet him, Ringo has made and cemented his awesome Rep., but he's older (35!) and has tired of vindicating his tough name. Ringo wants to settle down and looks for the girl he left behind. As he tries to negotiate a situation with her, and his estranged son, the 3 brothers keep coming, so the movie hold sort of a clock-ticking High Noon tension.

The movie features some great showdowns and Peck, I think, is quite good as Ringo, showing a fine, volatile mixture of toughness and tenderness. "...here I am, 35, and I don't even own a watch," he laments, as he looks back on wasted life gaining the only fame the West will offer a man. The movie also has some significant female roles: Ringo's estranged schoolteacher-wife, and the town's flock of women, shocked at the attention Ringo gets and insisting to the Marshall that he be run out of town to preserve their civility and morality. We sense throughout that Ringo's days are numbered, that his past will catch up with him, that eventually some young gun will beat him. We come to like Ringo and we don't want this to happen. . . .

This is a good western, well acted and well filmed. Very definitely a Must See and quite possibly a Classic.

--Jed

Cast:

  • Gregory Peck ....Jimmie Ringo
  • Helen Westcott .... Peggy Walsh(Ringo)
  • Millard Mitchell.... Marshal Mark Strett
  • Jean Parker ...Molly, Singer at Palace Bar
  • Karl Malden....Mac, Proprietor Palace Bar
  • Skip Homeier....Hunt Bromley
  • Anthony Ross...Charlie Norris, Deputy
  • Verna Felton.... Mrs. August Pennyfeather
  • Ellen Corby... Mrs. Devlin
  • Richard Jaeckel .... Eddie
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