20 February 1999 | stryker-5
Routine Western Action With Rock Hudson
"I'm sick of violence and force," says Ben Warren, the rich young rancher who is taking his fiancee Jennifer to California for their wedding. Like most Americans of his generation, he served in the Civil War and was disgusted by the slaughter. Now he is devoted to working his big spread and marrying his beautiful girl (played by Donna Reed).
Unfortunately, the barren South West is not remote enough from recent history. Men have crossed the Rockies to escape from the bitterness back East, but they have carried their violence westwards with them.
The film is the story of a stagecoach holdup which turns into an abduction, then a manhunt. Ben Warren (Rock Hudson) sets off after the bad guys who kidnapped his bride-to-be, and pursues them across the Arizona desert.
A standard horse opera, "Gun Fury" contains no more than the average complement of guns and precious little fury. There are absurdities in the storyline, like the holdup with fake cavalry escort, and the ease with which the 'good guys' recover from seemingly mortal harm (Ben is shot dead, apparently, but then gets up and carries on as if nothing happened, and Jess is almost dead from sunstroke but quickly rallies and rides after Slayton). The trade of Jennifer for Jess is silly, not least because Jess would never want to rejoin Slayton's gang.
One directorial quirk exhibited by Raoul Walsh is the way in which any character who throws something (knife, rock, pottery) has a victim's-point-of-view cutaway inserted. The viewer is, for an instant, seemingly the target of the missile. The purpose of this oddity is to exploit the 3-D format in which the film was originally shot.
The only other talking point is the presence of Lee Marvin and Neville Brand as bad guys in Slayton's gang.
Verdict - workmanlike western, but nothing special