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Friday, May 23, 2008

LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL (1959)

Unusually sharp looking (dig that VistaVision resolution) mid-budget Western mix-n-matches sturdy tropes from BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, HIGH NOON and 3:10 TO YUMA to tasty effect. BLACK ROCK megger John Sturges doesn’t oversell or over-bake this one which helps, as does the restrained but charismatic perfs from Kirk Douglas as the honest sheriff whose Indian wife has been raped & killed (the well wrought opening reel is basically a silent short and largely without dialogue), & Anthony Quinn as the big man in town whose only son is the perp. Fine assists from Earl Holliman as the sniveling son & especially Carolyn Jones as Quinn’s mistress (she gets to step out of her typical ‘kook’/beatnik mode) help wrap this up neater than a pin.

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