Sunday, August 07, 2005

DVD: Forty Guns (1957)

Further proof that you can never go wrong with a Samuel Fuller picture. Barbara Stanwyck stars as an Arizona ranching baroness who dresses in black and rides a white horse. She never goes anywhere without a whip and her army of the title desperadoes. They even dine together at the longest table in the southwest, which no doubt had to be shipped in by train and assembled in sections. Ideal for entertaining.

The movie also includes a twister; a swooning, romantic shot of a man’s true love framed through the barrel of his gun; a stark funeral scene filmed with the austerity of a Mario Bava horror film that gives way to a heartbreaking hymn, and dialogue like the following:

Gene Barry, to the beautiful blonde who has just, ahem, adjusted his rifle: I never kissed a gunsmith before.

Beautiful blonde gunsmith: Any recoil?

All that, and it’s only eighty minutes long. Sam knew how to get the job done.

Miscellaneous: Link

I violently disagree with Joseph Epstein on the work of Hammett, Chandler, and Cain, and I don’t buy his contention about the artistic merit of writers “who cashed in their chips for better money in movies.” But what he has to say in this Commentary article on three recent film books, his own experiences with Hollywood and the current state of the culture is worth reading.