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movies, Western

1955 | 16:9 | Color | Quality: Excellent

Sterling Hayden

Yvonne De Carlo

Zachary Scott


Sleazebag outlaw Ben Thompson (Guy Presscott) hatches a scheme to get revenge on a few lawmen who put him away in prison some time ago. He guns down marshal Fletcher (Lane Chandler) on the street of his town. Also on the list to be murdered is deputy Clay Hardin (Sterling Hayden), but Hardin turns the tables and instead guns down one of the henchmen. After Thompson and his gang escape, they continues their life of villainy which includes selling guns to the Apaches - but now Clay Hardin has a mission: to avenge the killing of the man who had rescued him from outlaw life. He sets out after the gang members through the Arizona countryside and picks them off one by one. Along the way Hardin picks up as traveling companions the beautiful and fiery Abby (Yvonne De Carlo) and cynical bounty hunter Reb Carleton (Zachary Scott). It's not a harmonious trio by any means, and a pressure cooker atmosphere is generated between the three of them as they head towards the finale where the Apache join the fray!

Veteran western B-movie director Lesley Selander has helmed more than his share of westerns. He got his start with cowboy hero Buck Jones in 1936 with "Ride 'Em Cowboy," and then later made a string of horse operas with William 'Hopalong Cassidy' Boyd. Most of them are forgettable unless you crave westerns, but the Sterling Hayden & Yvonne De Carlo oater "Shotgun" is above-average. Like the best Selander westerns, this Allied Artists release was lensed in picturesque Sedona, Arizona, and future Oscar nominated lenser Ellsworth Fredericks, who got his nod for "Sayonara," makes it worth looking at for not only the stunning scenery but the pictorial compositions. Interesting, veteran western actor Rory Calhoun helped pen the screenplay with Clark Reynolds, who had inked three episodes of Calhoun's CBS-TV sagebrusher series "The Texan." Reynolds also wrote the teleplays for seven other western series, including "Cheyenne" and "Tombstone Territory." Later, Reynolds wrote the screen story for the Sean Connery western "Shalako" as well as the Spaghetti western "A Man Called Gringo." Mind you, some dialogue is quotable. Says the villain, "When you know you're going to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite." Producer John C. Champion reportedly supplemented the Calhoun & Reynolds' screenplay. Later, Champion produced the Audie Murphy western "The Texican," which Lesley Selander directed with his customary workman-like style. The final encounter with Hayden and Presscott features something I've never seen before or since in a western, a duel with shotguns. Really unique and original

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