29 July 2015 | morrisonhimself
Quick start to extremely well-acted western drama
Director William F. Claxton wastes no time in starting "The Quiet Gun," a modern-ish western with lots of story and dramatics and personal conflict, and not so much gun-play.
Excellent performers take a taut story and render it believable and exciting.
As a long-time fan of Forrest Tucker, I believe he has never given a better performance. He is smooth, controlled, even nuanced, and makes us, the audience, completely on the side of his character, Sheriff Carl Brandon.
Jim Davis plays his friend, Ralph Carpenter, who is lured into a ridiculous situation, certainly by Old West standards, but, remember, the city attorney is one of those blue-nosed Easterners, played very well by Lewis Martin (a really interesting name, considering that Jerry and Dean were at about the peak of their team effort).
(I do have to question, though, whether a city attorney would actually have any jurisdiction out in the ranch-lands, but that really isn't important. It's more important to accept the flow of the action, and question the script only afterward.)
Jim Davis, another of my favorites, is not on screen very much, even though he's third billed. But he is a strong presence when he is there.
Hank Worden gets a chance to shine, and he too shows himself to be more than a character: He's a character actor. Great performance by him.
The two women are pivotal to the story, especially the one played so beautifully by Mara Corday, but they are also not on screen much.
Of course we must mention Lee Van Cleef, who had a most fascinating career. His last years saw him as a major TV series star and a very highly paid movie performer, especially of Italian westerns. And he deserved every penny.
There is a relevant lesson in this story: The town council is composed of some rather rascally and self-aggrandizing men, not so foul or corrupt as, for example, the city councils of Los Angeles or Chicago, but enough power-lust is in them to create the conflict that finally results in several deaths.
Sheriff Brandon is savvy enough to know that some laws should not and can not be enforced, but the power-lusters and the busybodies over-rule him, resulting in the tragedies.
Even beyond some superb performances, especially by Forrest Tucker, this story is enough to grab an audience and leave us tense and torn, right until the end.
I highly recommend "The Quiet Gun," available at YouTube in a very good print but, alas, interrupted several times by intrusive -- though brief -- commercials.