The Gunfighter (H. King, 1950)

The Gunfighter (Henry King, 1950)

Gregory Peck is great, as is Millard Mitchell – playing old friends as naturally as you can. The major theme of man vs. myth (and the accompanying constant background noise of the growing crowd giving a layer of claustrophobia) and the idea of surviving with a constant target on your back is interesting as well. But the main story – rebel working to reunite with his ex-wife and son – plays on for far too long as he gets continuous mixed signals about whether she will meet with him or not. It almost felt like a one-act play the way Peck kept flirting with leaving the saloon (the film’s main set piece) always to find himself right back inside, and it made for a slightly uncinematic experience. Overall, it’s a fine watch with its high points, but it didn’t pull me in to the time period and setting as much as my favorite westerns do.  7.5/10

the gunfighter

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