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    The Gunfighter

    20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . B&W . 81 mins . PG . PAL


    Jimmy Ringo, played here by an effectively-ageing Gregory Peck (who looks a lot younger eight years later in The Big Country), is a gunfighter who has run out of room.

    He's faster than Wyatt Earp and deadlier than anyone else around. But the life of a gunslinger is remorseless. He can't settle down. In every bar he walks into, there's a young punk who thinks Jimmy Ringo doesn't look so tough, and wants to prove it.

    Now, all Jimmy Ringo wants to do is visit the town where, years earlier, his wife and young son settled. See how they are. See if it's possible to forget the life of a gunslinger and settle down.

    But will they let him? The Town Marshall, Mark Strett (Millard Mitchell) is a former gunslinger himself, and an old friend. The friendship is still firm. But as Marshall, Mark just wants to see his old friend out of town as fast as can be managed.

    And while he tries to arrange a new and peaceful life, Jimmy Ringo is being pursued by brothers of a young punk he killed in another town. And even in this town, there's yet another wet-behind-the-ears punk Hunt Bromley (Skip Homeier), just waiting to claim his scalp.

    That's enough of the plot. This film is widely regarded as a classic, and it opens well, in a way which promises to progress into an adult psychological study of character and fate.

    But as we progress, we move ever closer to cliche-land, until towards the end almost every move, every line of dialogue can be anticipated.

    It might have seemed very 'adult' in 1950, but this classic Western has aged badly. Save your money for Gregory Peck's great excursion into the genre eight years later, when he starred in a film forever potent, the The Big Country.

    The acting is rather mixed. Gregory Peck is, of course, excellent, but the honours are stolen by Millard Marshall as his friend, Marshall Mark Strett. You might remember Millard as the Head of Studio in Singin' in the Rain. Gregory's wife Peggy is played in a drab, lacklustre way by Peggy Westcott, and the rest of the cast are basically phoning their roles in.


    This black and white print is in excellent condition for its age.

    There is a slight moire pattern evident in the opening minute or two, as a lone horseman rides across shifting patterns in desert sand. But after that, there is only the occasional fleck or scratch to remind us that this is a vintage film.

    Contrasts are beautifully defined - lighting highlights just gleam against black. This is a Fox film which is right up to the standards set by the DVD transfer leader in this field, Warner Bros.


    The two-channel mono audio is clear, with good presence in dialogue and the limited effects.

    There is some background noise evident in quieter moments; the audio channel has not been scrubbed back quite as heavily as on some transfers. But this is never severe enough to prevent enjoyable viewing.


    There are no extra features of any kind.


    If you're a fan of the Western genre, I'd suggest rental only. One viewing will likely prove enough.

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      And I quote...
    "Can gunslinger Jimmy Ringo find a place to rest? Not while his reputation precedes him everywhere he goes."
    - Anthony Clarke
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