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  • This commentary is made in December 2006 and I see all the others so far were made in 2004. Having just watched this movie on cable's Western Channel, I guess it hasn't had much viewing since then. It is definitely a step above many Westerns of the era. We can credit not only good acting, but good writing as well. This story is from a novel by Lauran Paine who also wrote the novel used in 2003's Open Range with Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner. Norden and Lyon writes Quiet Gun (Law Man) to the screen. Since other commentaries provide the details of Quiet Gun, I'll just touch upon it lightly to say it is the story of a Sheriff (Tucker) who is friendly to a rancher (Jim Davis) whose wife (Kathleen Crowley) he has a "hankerin'for." However, the sheriff is an honorable man and tried to help Davis when he is accused of murder as he attempts to escape along with his half-breed Indian girlfriend, played by the ever lovely Mara Corday. I won't give away the rest, but it is an engaging story with all actresses and actors putting in fine performances. Both Kathleen Crowley and Mara Corday were there for more than their good looks. Hank Worden was always a favorite character actor for me since I saw him as Mose Harper in The Searchers. In fact he was in 14 movies with John Wayne. Although he often played an empty-headed part, he actually studied engineering at Stanford and Univ of Nevada before moving into entertainment. His presence added something special as he did in other films. The acting is a big part of the quality of this Western when you consider Corday, Crowley and "old Mose" Worden along with three top actors like Tucker, Davis and Lee Van Cleef. The rest of the cast filled out their parts as well. I'm not sure why this movie didn't become better known. If you like Westerns - see this one when you get the chance.
  • Twentieth Century Fox created a subsidiary in the mid 1950s to release films it deemed not good to enough to release under its banner. Regal Pictures, like Fox, released most of its films in wide screen, using "Regalscope," which appears technically indistinguishable from Cinemascope. Ironically, most of Regal's output was as good or better than the B movies from Fox. "The Quiet Gun" is no exception, with fine performances from Forrest Tucker and Jim Davis and some surprising plot twists which lift this movie from the humdrum. Tucker plays a sheriff who must reluctantly pursue his friend (Davis), after Davis kills a busybody "district attorney" in self defense. Mara Corday and Kathleen Crowley provide the eye candy and Hand Worden plays the comic relief in a role similar to that of Walter Brennan in "Rio Bravo".

    ENCORE's WESTERN CHANNEL shows the movie in full screen, which is a shame. Several effective scenes are undercut by the aspect ratio conversion. Still, "The Quiet Gun" is worth watching, if only to see Lee Van Cleef with a full set of hair. I rate it a "6".
  • `The Quiet Gun' is a rare sleeper in the Western genre. Though certainly not a great film, it is good enough to warrant a look. It is difficult to believe Forrest Tucker didn't have a bigger career than he did, since he shows us some pretty good work here. At the beginning he even delivers a memorable one-liner to the nonsensically aggressive Lee Van Cleef (bullying Hank Worden – named Sampson here, but playing Mose nonetheless) when Lee tells him to mind his own business. Casually revealing his badge, Tucker retorts `It is my business.' And so sets the tone for the remainder of the film.

    Tucker, as Sheriff Carl Brandon, is being pressured by the local powers-that-be to `do something' about a rancher (Jim Davis as Ralph Carpenter) allegedly living with an Indian woman (Mara Corday as Irene). Personally dead set against any notion of taking any action, and advising others to mind their own business as well, Brandon must strike his own way as the story progresses. His biggest foes, it turns out, are the officials of the town – one has criminal intentions, the others invoke hatred and the public will as mandates to fan the flames of what might have been a non-event otherwise.

    Director William F. Claxton certainly made his mark in subsequent years on the small screen. Most notably he directed many episodes of `Bonanza' but also had a hand in `The Rifleman', `Yancy Derringer', `Gunsmoke' and `High Chaparral'. His diversity is illustrated by having made one `Route 66' and four `Twilight Zone' episodes as well. But most definitely his horror opus `The Night of the Lepus' lives on in memory, now having not terrorized three generations of unsuspecting viewers. A nice one line review is attributed to Shane Burridge on Rotten Tomatoes (`A failure on every level').

    There is an underlying grim note to the proceedings in `The Quiet Gun'. Tucker hardly ever smiles, Lee Van Cleef smiles but no one feels comforted for it and the outcomes of several situations are unpredictably harsh. But there are enough plot developments of humorless persuasion, including a courtroom scene near the end, to cast the story in somber tones. But no preaching is ever heard; Claxton prefers to tell the tale and let you make your own conclusions, which is high art in Westerns of the Fifties.

    Rating: 3 Stars.
  • 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.
  • Far from simple minded, this film raises some moral questions in an intelligent way. Actually, fairly relevant for today. Oh, and there's a bit of unobtrusive humor, as well. The plot makes sense. The film moves along at a good pace and is neither too long or too short.

    Nicely acted in an understated way - particularly Forrest Tucker (far removed from his later "F-Troop" days). Old stand-by Hank Worden plays his usual eccentric character. The ominous Lee Van Cleef is also present. Definitely worth 80 minutes of your time.
  • adverts12 November 2004
    Forrest Tucker gives an interesting understated, "quiet" performance, Lee Van Cleef chews up the scenery, and the (usually unwelcome) comic relief works (surprisingly) well.

    Also, decent plot twists and neat little affectations - like Forrest Tucker always rolling cigarettes and his tobacco pouch hanging out of his jacket pocket.

    Highly recommended for lovers of: adult westerns B-Westerns 50s Westerns
  • hoodcsa16 July 2004
    "The Quiet Gun" is surprisingly harsh in its depiction of the average folk of an average western town. Average -- in this case -- translates to racist, violent and none-to-bright. Sheriff Carl Brandon has to stand up to assorted black hats (including the ubiquitous Lee Van Cleef) as well as the dunder-headed locals. Forrest Tucker is good as Brandon and Hank Worden adds his usual stumbling, bumbling hijinks as Samson, the town moron with a heart of gold. A lot of westerns would have let the townsfolk redeem themselves heroically at the end, but this movie sticks to its guns. In the final scene Brandon stands alone to face the villains. "The Quiet Gun" is a nasty little tale with the courage of its convictions.
  • The Quiet Gun was an understated and underrated little western from the B picture unit at 20th Century Fox. This film would have been a classic, but for parameters from the omnipresent Code that held its themes in check. An unclear script keeps it in B standards as well.

    The villains are saloon owner Tom Brown and henchman gunfighter Lee Van Cleef who want to get Jim Davis off his ranch so they can have use of it to graze some rustled cattle. Davis is estranged from his wife Kathleen Crowley and now living with a young Indian woman Mara Corday. Apparently there are some laws on the books regarding miscegenation and these two get town attorney Lewis Martin all filled with self righteous wrath as well as the rest of the town. When Martin goes out to serve papers on Davis he gets shot for his trouble and only after Martin goes for a rifle.

    Through all this town sheriff Forrest Tucker who is a friend of Davis smells more than self righteous wrath working here. It all gets resolved, but a lot of people die before it does.

    The Quiet Gun is representative of the adult westerns that were becoming more and more common on the big and small screen. Films like this with a B picture cast though would more likely be on the small screen. This could easily have been the plot of a Gunsmoke episode. It also hints at certain things that ten years later could have been frankly discussed.

    The film is a bit ahead of its time, but held in place by the Code to make it not as good as it could have been.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Miscegenation/ immorality is the theme of "Stagecoach to Fury" director William F. Claxton's dusty, little, black & white western "The Quiet Gun." This thoroughly conventional oater turns over rocks that most westerns during the 1950s might not have done. Immoral sex sets the plot of this concise oater into motion. Had Claxton and "Cattle Empire" scenarist Eric Norden left out the sex angle, "The Quiet Gun" would have been little more than a standard-issue B-western about land raiders. A well-dressed saloon entrepreneur, John Reilly (Tom Brown) wants the land belonging to a local rancher, Ralph Carpenter (Jim Davis of "Big Jake"), and he conspires with a reptilian gunslinger, Doug Sadler (Lee Van Cleef of "High Noon") to steal Carpenter's land. The city attorney, Steven Hardy (Lewis Martin), is from the east. He is properly outraged by the fact that Carpenter is a married man who is living in sin with a half-breed Indian maiden, Irene (Mara Corday of "The Gauntlet"), while his wife Teresa Carpenter (Kathleen Crowley of "The Phantom Stagecoach") was away.

    The impetuous Hardy rides out to Carpenter's ranch to arrest him. Things do not go well for the crusading lawyer. Carpenter kills Hardy when the latter appropriates a rifle. The rifle belonged to livery stable hand Samson (Hank Worden of "The Searchers") who had ridden out with the attorney to Carpenter's ranch. Sheriff Carl Brandon (Forrest Tucker of "Chism") knows Carpenter and tries to take him into custody. He sneaks up on him when Carpenter and Irene are bedded down in the middle of nowhere, but Irene distracts the lawman long enough for Carpenter to escape. By the time that Brandon corners him in the rocks, the town has sent a gang of horsemen out to lynch Carpenter. When Brandon tries to disarm them, they overpower him and knock him unconscious. When he recovers from the beating, the sheriff sees poor Ray dangling inertly from a tree branch. Brandon rides back to town and arrests all the men who participated in hanging Ray Carpenter. The city father intercedes on behalf of the prisoners, but Brandon tricks them into becoming his deputies. He does this was keep them from forcing him to release the lynch mob. Meanwhile, Ray's wife Teresa returns on the stagecoach and learns the awful truth. The judge sentences the lynch mob to three years apiece for their lawlessness. Later, after the trial, Brandon learns from Teresa who went out to her late husband's ranch that Irene has been killed. Brandon charges both Reilly and Sadler for her death. A gunfight on the main street occurs, and Brandon is wounded. Reilly and Sadler are not as lucky; Brandon guns both of them down. The only thing missing from this otherwise impressive little western is the closure of an ending. We see Teresa come out and check on Brandon's welfare. It is really too bad that Claxton and Norden didn't show us what happened after the shoot-out. Naturally, it would seem likely that Brandon and Teresa would be drawn to each other. After dealing with the treacherous town fathers, wouldn't it seem obvious that Brandon might have tossed his badge in the dirt like Gary Cooper did and ride out with Teresa to get her late husband's ranch going? Again, if this otherwise compelling oater suffers from anything it is the lack of an effective ending that would have provided answers for some questions.

    Altogether, "The Quiet Gun" (not sure what this enigmatic title refers to) is a diamond in the rough. The black & white photography is stark and the compositions are interesting. I liked it those little realistic touches, such as when Forrest Tucker dismounted from his horse, he loosened the cinch holding the saddle on his horse. Later, when he came back to ride out, he tightened the cinch. In the courtroom scene, you can see one window opened because you know it would be hot in that room.
  • To tell you the truth, I really wasn't expecting much out of this picture. William F. Claxton was an undistinguished director. Regal Films was 20th Century-Fox's low-rent "B" unit, and I didn't know anything about writer Eric Norden's work. The main reason I watched it was because it had three of my favorite western actors--Forrest Tucker, Jim Davis and Lee Van Cleef.

    Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a well-written, tightly directed, extremely well acted, solid little "B" western with a lot to recommend it. Norden's script is thoughtful and thought-provoking, showing the consequences of mob rule and how "morality" can be manipulated by those who neither have it nor care anything about it. Tucker, who had a tendency to be blustery, gives a very controlled, sympathetic performance as a sheriff whose love for his friend's wife conflicts with his duty as a lawman. and has to go up against a town which is basically one big lynch mob. Davis actually doesn't have all that much screen time, but as always makes the most of what he has. Claxton's direction is tight and controlled, and there are several plot twists that are nicely handled.

    A surprising, intelligent, well-made little "B" western, it's not full of gun-blazing action--although there is some--but is a good story told well. Highly recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a great find, a sleeper of the B western genre where a moral judgment is passed on supposed law abiding folk who play God and pay the price for judging their fellow man. "Dallas's" Jim Davis is separated from his wife and living "in sin" with a native American woman. The horrified townsfolk take it upon themselves to turn moral judgment into legal action, and the unfortunate legal eagle who must do their dirty work is accidentally killed. It's up to local sheriff Forrest Tucker to get Davis into protective custody, but violence begats violence, leading to more brutal homicides and a trial with the town supporting the wrong-doers over the protector of justice.

    Quite surprised and delighted by this discovery, I compare it to other great films that warn of the dangers of gossip and sticking your nose in your neighbor's private business that harms no one. The one that comes to mind instantly is the Jane Wyman/Rock Hudson soap opera "All That Heaven Allows", and this really gives a parallel by putting the issue of judgmentalism into a violent, western setting. Lee Van Cleef is the film's main heavy, with Mara Corday the judged mistress who seems to have been n set up for other crimes as well. Thwys where the film gets a bit off track. But the conclusion provides a very important moral, with judge Everett Glass gives it good to the perpetrators of the sinister activities, condemning the non-violent to a private jail of their own karma. Now that's what I call justice.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The eminent, mad Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote of UFOs that there was something out there, but what it was, was a mystery. As such they permitted us to project our own thoughts and emotions onto them. They provided us with a kind of Rorschach ink blot test. We could interpret them according to our social values.

    Many routine Westerns provided us with the same opportunities. The Westerns generally stuck with the conventions -- a clip on the jaw and the recipient is unconscious for as long as the plot requires. But within that framework we could explore our problems in model form. It's like playing around with a toy instead of facing the real thing.

    For instance, it might not be such a hot idea to deal directly with racism. Why bleed the box office returns from the traditional South? But, hey, Indians can serve as stand-ins for African-Americans, as in "The Searchers" (1956). Movies designed for audiences with the Great Depression fresh in mind could use "big business" as the heavy. We could even win the Vietnam war with Rambo. This movie, "The Quiet Gun" (a generic title if there ever was one) explores social issues common to the late 1950s -- divorce, adultery, prudery, racism, lynching, conformity, gossip, and the impartiality of the justice system. No African-Americans, though, just a "half-breed" Indian.

    It's not a bad little film, though it does seem almost flamboyantly dated now. (Living in sin?) Forrest Tucker is a professional and competent actor and it shows. Lee Van Cleef, of the ophidian eyes, is what he is. Jim Davis plays a somewhat sympathetic victim for a change. Some of the minor parts are just terrible. What were the town fathers in real life -- the producers' uncles or something? It's inexpensively shot on a ranch set. No spectacular vistas here. And it's in black and white, which isn't necessarily bad. If the script lacks sparkle, and if Hank Worden replays his goofy dumb role yet again, the movie still is watchable and has something to offer us, as if it had been recently exhumed from a time capsule.

    Not at all terrible.
  • Forest Tucker makes this rather predictable Western watchable because he takes on half the town. One must stretch their suspension of disbelief for this one, but it is fun to watch.