Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gun Street (1961)

Saw a 1961 movie called Gun Street. Sort of a poor man's High Noon. An escaped killer is coming back to town and the sheriff is bracing himself. But, while High Noon was an allegory about McCarthyism, Gun Street had the sheriff berating the jurors for sentencing the guy to life in prison instead of executing him.

"He'll be in town pretty soon," the mayor says, "if he isn't already, and the townspeople are going to wonder what you're going to do about this."

"The townspeople?" the sheriff says. "Go find those twelve townspeople on the jury who should have taken his rotten, stinkin' life and they didn't. Go find those townspeople and ask them what they're going to do now that he's killed again!"

The escaped killer had killed a prison guard by running him over with a wagon, but I don't think he should be blamed for that. It was a horse and wagon, not a car. It can't stop on a dime. You'd have to struggle to put on the foot brake at the same time trying to control the horses. Why didn't the guard get out of the way? How fast could a horse-drawn wagon have been going?

The sheriff seemed like kind of a jerk. He allows a husband to beat his wife in order to get information out of her and he seems to be in a bad mood all the time. 

I don't know when the story was set, but the sheriff had a crank telephone in his office. It might have been more interesting if he had conducted more of his investigation by phone. And they should have given him a Luger.

It had everything I hate about westerns. Ugly people in ugly clothes living in an ugly town. The rich people had ugly furniture. It had a fight which consisted of two guys punching each other again and again. There was no shooting in it which was just as well since everyone had the same gun and it would have been boring. We find out that the sheriff's greatest ambition in life is to own a farm.

Only thing that could have saved it is if they had broadly hinted that the sheriff and the escaped killer had once been lovers, that the killer ended their relationship which is why the sheriff was so mad. Like in Ben Hur.

"Go on! Say it! He was my boyfriend!"

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