A Shootist In 1950: “The Gunfighter”

Cover of "The Gunfighter [DVD]"

Cover of The Gunfighter [DVD]

The Gunfighter (1950) is a Western that resembles a theatrical drama in that its action is there but minimal.

Gregory Peck plays a no-longer-mean shooting ace pursued by the brothers of a man he killed in self-defense.  Henry King directed the film tidily and knowingly, and had a good editor in Barbara McLean.  Peck never stumbles as a troubled man, though Millard Mitchell is too stiff as a tough marshal.  Karl Malden proves his reliability in an early role.

This is King’s baby, but even more it is the baby of one William Bowers, who co-invented the story and co-authored the script.

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