Man with the Gun (1955)

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    • Man with the Gun (1955)

      aka The Trouble Shooter



      Plot Summary
      A stranger comes to town looking for his estranged wife. He finds her running the local girls. He also finds a town and sheriff afraid of their own shadow, scared of a landowner they never see who rules through his rowdy sidekicks. The stranger is a town tamer by trade, and he accepts a $500 commission to sort things out.
      Written by Jeremy Perkins

      Robert Mitchum ... Clint Tollinger
      Jan Sterling ... Nelly Bain
      Karen Sharpe ... Stella Atkins
      Henry Hull ... Marshal Lee Sims
      Emile Meyer ... Saul Atkins
      John Lupton ... Jeff Castle
      Barbara Lawrence ... Ann Wakefield
      Ted de Corsia ... 'Frenchy' Lescaux (as Ted DeCorsia)
      Leo Gordon ... Ed Pinchot
      James Westerfield ... Mr. Zender
      Claude Akins ... Jim Reedy (uncredited)
      and many more...

      Richard Wilson

      Writing Credits
      N.B. Stone Jr. ... (story and screenplay) and
      Richard Wilson ... (story and screenplay)

      Samuel Goldwyn Jr. ... producer

      Alex North

      Lee Garmes ... director of photography

      Producing debut of Samuel Goldwyn Jr..

      Directorial debut of Richard Wilson.

      Film debut of Amzie Strickland.

      In one scene, Robert Mitchum walks across the street wearing a jacket. In the next shot (with no time lapse), the jacket has disappeared.

      Memorable Quotes

      Filming Locations
      Samuel Goldwyn Studios - 7200 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, California, USA
      Watch the Movie

      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Man with the Gun is a 1955 Western film starring Robert Mitchum.
      The film was released in the United Kingdom as The Trouble Shooter
      and is also sometimes entitled Deadly Peacemaker.
      The supporting cast includes Jan Sterling, Henry Hull, Barbara Lawrence, Leo Gordon, and Claude Akins.

      The black-and-white film, which opens with Gordon's character
      shooting a little boy's dog in front of the child, was photographed in standard Academy ratio,
      written by N. B. Stone Jr and Richard Wilson, and directed by Wilson.

      User Review

      An Old Plot Rides Again
      17 June 2013 | by James Hitchcock (Tunbridge Wells, England)

      james wrote:

      This is yet another film based upon one of the classic Western plots, the one about the fearless lawman or gunman who helps the inhabitants of a town or a group of homesteaders stand up against a gang of lawless desperadoes, often in the pay of a corrupt local rancher or other powerful business interests. I have come to think of this as the "Dodge City" plot, after one of the earliest well-known films to feature it, but there are many other examples, including "My Darling Clementine", "Gunfight at the OK Corral" and the various other retellings of the Wyatt Earp story, "Destry Rides Again", "Shane", "High Noon", Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo" (and its remakes) and several Clint Eastwood films such as "High Plains Drifter" and "Pale Rider".

      This film was originally released in the United Kingdom as "The Trouble Shooter", although when it turns up on British television these days it is generally referred to by its American title "Man with the Gun". (I understand that it is also sometimes known as "Deadly Peacemaker", making it a rare example of a film with three official titles). It is set in a nameless Western town which is being terrorised by a gang of gunmen hired by Dade Holman, a wealthy and powerful cattleman who hopes to force the local people out so he can acquire their property cheaply, and opens with a striking image of one of the bad guys shooting a little boy's dog in front of the child. The townspeople decide that enough is enough, and call in Clint Tollinger, a gun for hire with a reputation as a "town tamer". The film then narrates how Tollinger goes about his task. A complication is that Tollinger is the former lover (or possibly the former husband) of Nelly Bain, the manageress of the local "dance hall". This, in fact, appears to be a euphemism for the local brothel, but this is never spelt out clearly. Prostitution may have been a fact of life in the Old West, but in the fifties there were some facts of life which the censors insisted remain hidden from public view.

      Robert Mitchum made a number of Westerns throughout his career, although they were not always among his best films; he tended to be at his best in film noir, playing characters who were, if not outright villains like his Max Cady in "Cape Fear", at least morally ambiguous. He brings something of this quality to Tollinger, who is referred to as "the man in grey", the implication being that if he is not quite as black as the villains he is not as white as the driven snow either. Although he has been deputised by the town marshal, this is one film where the dividing line between an officially appointed lawman and a hired gun is a thin one. Tollinger has about him something of the ruthlessness which characterises his opponents, and his methods, such as setting fire to the town saloon, are not always ones which the law would sanction.

      The film does not, however, seriously call into question the "shoot first, ask questions later" philosophy of law enforcement in the way in which Michael Winner was later to do in his revisionist Western "Lawman". Tollinger may sometimes go over the top, but he is nevertheless the hero and his opponents are the bad guys. The film ends with the town well and truly tamed and the audience are left to conclude that peace and justice do indeed grow out of the barrel of a gun. In the fifties such a moral was not thought to be in any way exceptionable; indeed, it is a common philosophy in the cinema, and one not confined to the fifties or, for that matter, to Westerns. It is a philosophy which underlies just about every "tough cop" movie from "Dirty Harry" onwards, and most war films except those with an explicitly anti-war message.

      The trouble with "Man with a Gun", at least when seen from a modern perspective, is that it is likely to leave the viewer with a sense of déjà vu. In 1955 the "strong man with a gun" theme might have seemed slightly fresher than it does nowadays, but even then this film might have struck many people as an inferior imitation of "High Noon". Mitchum plays his part well, but none of the other acting contributions are particularly memorable, and this film is far from being the best on its particular theme; I would rate all those listed in my opening paragraph considerably higher. The basic plot became so well-known (and, indeed, such a cliché) that Mel Brooks chose it as the one to send up in his satirical spoof Western "Blazing Saddles". Richard Wilson's film strikes me as being the sort of thing that Brooks was aiming at. 6/10
      Best Wishes
      London- England