30 October 2008 | hitchcockthelegend
You look very different with a gun.
Jim Larson (soon to be Ray Kincaid) is a thief, during his train transfer to prison his younger brother enacts an escape plan. The US Marshall who was holding him is killed in the commotion, while Jim's brother is fatally wounded. Making his way into a nearby town, Larson acquires a gun and a horse but is unable to leave the town as the sheriff has quarantined it till a delivery of wanted posters arrive, these of course will show the face of the wanted man, that man is of course Jim Larson. Whilst marking his time, Larson gets embroiled in a war between the sheriff and a tough rancher, Reed Williams, finding himself strangely on the good side of the law.
Fred MacMurray is not a name that instantly springs to mind when the talk turns to the Western genre, which is surprising, because although he hardly dominates in the genre pieces he did, he was more than capable of carrying a role in a few of the Westerns he starred in. Such is the case here as Jim Larson, thankfully putting a bit of gritty honesty into the picture and steering it safely to its intriguing conclusion. Face of a Fugitive is a very accomplished piece, not a film to linger long in the memory, but it's thematic redemptive heart is most assuredly of major interest, with the finale excellently fulfilling the shoot out fan's needs. James Coburn turns up in one of his first major roles and hints at what was to come later in his career, and a thumbs up for Alan Baxter who revels in bad guy duties as Reed Williams.
Tight and hugely enjoyable, Face of a Fugitive is one to catch if you are a Western genre fan. 6.5/10