GUNMAN’S WALK—-solid, unpretentious little 1958 western deserves rescue from obscurity. A variation on the Cain & Abel theme, this has two sons of greatly different temperament, raised by an arrogant, unyielding rancher. Smartly directed by Phil Karlson, running a trim 97 minutes, it’s handsomely photographed by Charles Lawton Jr. on locations in Arizona, including the Baboquivari Mountains.
Van Heflin plays the rough-edged father, Tab Hunter the quick-tempered, bigoted older brother, James Darren the younger, a gentle and quiet fellow. Push will come to shove. The three leads work well together, and Hunter has one of his best roles here, quite good playing against his usual squeaky-clean persona.
Frank Nugent’s script makes telling observations on outdated ethics, race prejudice, gun justice and family psychology, none of it preachy or sappy. Good show. With Kathryn Grant, Robert F. Simon, Mickey Shaughnessy, Edward Platt, Paul Birch, Ray Teal, Bert Convy and Will Wright. It came in 78th for the year.