The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

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moira finnie
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The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

Post by moira finnie »

This film featured a good, familiar cast of Western hands, such as Glenn Ford, Noah Beery, Jr., John Dehner, John Doucette, and even an effective Jeanne Crain, Rhys Williams & Allyn Joslyn. Their combined efforts and the interesting twists of the script by Frank Gilroy brought this odd little movie to life yesterday during Broderick Crawford's day in the sun on TCM. Crawford was, as always, fascinatingly gruffly, real and disturbingly brutal while portraying a deeply insecure man. Did anyone else find this movie interesting?

Two live wires were standouts in this cast: Virginia Gregg and Russ Tamblyn. Ms. Gregg, who specialized in her long career in playing shrewish women, really milked her hectoring scene with Ford for all it was worth! I expected the fuming Ford to tell her that it really didn't matter if her new dress was brown or blue, since the color would not make her less of a witch! Gregg, if you have any trouble placing her, may be more familiar from her numerous appearances in Dragnet episodes. Here's a picture of Virginia Gregg. Bet you'll be saying, "oh, that *%#@$!", when you see this:

Russ Tamblyn, as the incredibly agile lad who engaged in an acrobatic dance around a barn which incorporated shovels and springboards into his routine. This sequence was startling, and seemed to take place in an entirely different movie than this film. His eruption into a full blown dance was stunningly executed, and completely unrealistic, but all I can guess is that MGM said, "Hey, we have this dancing kid under contract, let's toss him into the barn dance sequence to pick up the pace of this flick!".

What a shame that Tamblyn didn't come along a bit earlier during the height of musicals at MGM. At least his exuberant skills found some expression in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, West Side Story, Tom Thumb and dramatically enlivened the original, brilliant Robert Wise version of The Haunting. I don't recall him dancing in the latter film, (though I believe that he did a handstand or two). I also enjoyed his dramatic appearances in such Westerns as The Last Hunt and the remake of Cimarron. Tamblyn also certainly made such guilty pleasures as Peyton Place and The Long Ships more enjoyable viewing for me too! He had a genuine mischievous expression and, when called for, quite alot of sensitivity in his acting.
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Post by knitwit45 »

Moira, I've been playing catch-up with the films I DVR'D this past week. One that I watched was"Deep in My Heart", mainly for the Ann Miller and Jane Powell sequences. Russ Tamblyn did a really funny turn as a young man with a clueless date. He was only on screen for maybe 3-4 minutes, but was very funny. His date was the girl from "The Music Man" who played Paul Ford's daughter.
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Post by movieman1957 »


This is a fine western. I love Ford's work here. You mention the scene about the dress. Well, I've had days like that so I know how he feels. The scene in the church (which always reminds me of "Blazing Saddles") is quite good as he tries to come to terms with his "gift" and his inability to use it.
Jeanne Crain does a nice job showing her love but also her used up patience for his attitude. How many other westerns give us a dance number?

I first saw Crawford in "Highway Patrol" (much later) and for some reason this movie makes me think of him there more than anything else. It must be a look about him.

I watch this one frequently.

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
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Re: The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

Post by Vienna »

Another favorite western for me. Ford's character is so interesting. He can't stop practising with the gun though he knows it is such a point of conflict with his wife, Jeanne Crain.
And finally ,he can't take it any more, hearing the men ,especially Allyn Joslyn, talk about a gunfight one of them witnessed. They laugh at him as he tries to explain how it would go down. He leaves briefly and returns with his gun belt loosely slung on his hip and shows them he really does know how to use a gun.
Then you have the intense character of Broderick Crawford who has to be the fastest draw and will face off with anyone who may challenge his supremacy. Almost by accident he hears about Glenn Ford's prowess and immediately he has to go up against him.
I always like John Dehner as Crawford's sidekick who knows he isn't as fast on the draw and tries not to rile Crawford, yet probably loathing him.
The ending is especially good and I think this western deserves more attention. A very good performance from Glenn Ford.
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Re: The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

Post by Rita Hayworth »

This movie was on today on TCM and believe me ... It was an excellent film of morals, judgment, and tolerance towards guns ... I find Glenn Ford's performance - very outstanding and Jeanne Craig as his wife Dora was superb. I was shocked by the ending of the movie ... I thought both of these men were dead - both killed by the own guns but Ford's character still lives and his own reputation as the Fastest Gun Alive got buried in the process. Well acted by all players involved and I loved the human side of the story and the 2 silver dollars as well. That segment was dramatic and has intensity of its own rights!

I just love this movie and I hope some of you here watched it ... like I did today.


Movie Trailer courtesy of Turner Classic Movies ...
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Re: The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

Post by RedRiver »

This is a fine, thoughtful western. Thoughtful as in, issues, morals and choices. It just happens to be a western, really. The story could take place anytime, anywhere. Well written, well played, fascinating from beginning to end. There should be more movies like this.
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