The Fastest Gun Alive

z010613fastestgun_alivestill

THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE  rode into the mists of Old Westernburg not long after its 1956 run and rarely slaps leather these days, as once-sparkly star Glenn Ford has dimmed in moviegoers memory and will mostly draw a blank look from people under fifty.

This modestly produced ($1,383,000), decently directed (Russell Rouse), 89-minute suspense play did well enough ($3,535,000) competing against at least two dozen outdoorsy sagas that year, including another, rather better Ford saddle-up, Jubal.

1956-The-Fastest-Gun-Alive-Jeanne-Crain-and-Glen-Ford

Caught living a lie about being the quickest draw in the land, otherwise peaceful storekeep Glenn (married to pretty Jeanne Crain) has to wrestle with his conscience (Ford did well playing this sort of anguished type of fella) and the hopes of terrified townspeople when nutjob psycho bank robber Broderick Crawford and his grimy buddies (John Dehner and Noah Beery Jr.) show up to find out who’s really top gun, threatening to burn the whole town unless satisfaction finds its target.Crawford

Many familiar faces in support, including 22-year old Russ Tamblyn, getting pushed into bigger things that year (including the neat The Last Hunt ), although in this story he’s mostly there to do a fancy dance number (on shovels, yet).

The-Fastest-Gun-Alive-Russ-Tamblyn-shovel-dance

Crawford does his usual bellowing, with enough lung-force to knock peoples stetsons off, and he’s so burly (kindly put) that wags refer to this as The Fattest Gun Alive. He does get one of the better lines, after a bank clerk identifies him: “Vinnie Harold! I thought it was you“, sputters the clerk. Crawford calmly plugs him, tossing off “Now you can be positive! 

John Dehner  The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)Most entertaining performance comes from a drolly threatening  John Dehner, one of the most unsung and dependable character actors of the day. Between 1941 and 1988 he graced over 260 movies and TV episodes, as well as being a professional pianist and a former animator on both Fantasia and Bambi.

Cowering in the church, waiting for the lead to fly: Allyn Joslyn, Leif Erickson, J.M. Kerrigan, Virginia Gregg, Rhys Williams, John Doucette, Chubby Johnson, Paul Birch, John Dierkes, J.Pat O’Malley, Glenn Strange and Dub Taylor.   Now–draw!

BeeryDehnerCrawfordthe-fastest-gun-alive-10

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s