I just rented GUN FURY...and this was my first viewing. I've recently become interested in '50's Westerns since I find that era both prolific and diverse. Themes of violence, sex, racism range from cartoon and casual to adult and thought provoking during this period. This film lies somewhere in between. For the most part it's well thought out...and actually spends more time with the villain (Frank Slayton...a thief, murderer, sadist and rapist...well played by Philip Carey) then the hero...a young, pretty good Rock Hudson (as Ben Warren). Warren is a man who...after surviving the Civil War wants to marry (his betrothed is the beautiful Donna Reed...as Jennifer Ballard); settle in California and work his ranch with his wife by his side. He's learned the main lesson of war...that peace is to be cherished and doesn't go armed...since he no longer looks nor expects a fight.
Slayton's gang robs the stagecoach Ben and Jennifer are traveling in...Ben's shot and left for dead...and Jennifer is kidnapped by Frank Slayton...who over the objections of his gang...wants to take her into Mexico and make her his woman. Capable Western character actors... Ben Gordon, Lee Marvin and Neville Brand are among the gang members. They're made up of former Southern soldiers who've refused to accept defeat; nor wish to conform to civilian life.
Ben pursues...and the action follows him and Tom Burgress (Gordon) who's betrayed by Slayton trying to catch the outlaws. Ben and Burgress ask for help in ensuing towns...to no avail and that's the only part of the script that wavered for me. How a pack of outlaws...who've made off with a payroll and killed a stage driver have no law hot on their trail...just 3 men ...an Indian joins them later...after Slayton for various reasons.
(Spoiler warning)Slayton is despicable...he waits until he has Jennifer to himself in a border town he frequents...gets the local hussies to clean the road dust off her...dresses in a dress of his choosing...then, since he knows he's never going to have her willingly...forces himself on her.
Right and Hudson do prevail in an action packed and believable conclusion.
The occasional things coming right at the camera (it's a 3D movie) as usual look odd...but the exteriors are beautiful...and Raoul Walsh's direction is capable, as always. I rated it a 7...it's well paced, holds interest and not a bad Saturday afternoon.
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