Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Gunfighter-1950

The Gunfighter directed by Henry King has the lead role of Jimmy Ringo played by the noted Western actor Gregory Peck. I am not going to describe the plot but here is the shortened synopsis from IMDB;

"Notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo rides into town to find his true love, who doesn't want to see him. He hasn't come looking for trouble, but trouble finds him around every corner."

The Gunfighter is an extremely interesting piece of the Western genre as it doesn't meet the typical subjects within the Western when it comes to its protagonist Jimmy Ringo. Ringo is a hero to many and an enemy to the same amount. What makes this film so fantastic is it's chronological realism and it's use of high octane drama, not gunslinging per se, but the use of high tension and time restraint. 

The New York Times (NYT) review of The Gunfighter put Ringo's character into a very revealing light 

'But the uncommon thing about him is that he hates to shoot. He is trying, in fact, to shun trouble in the most determined way. Only the young, foolish "squirts" in every bar-room won't let him pursue his peaceful way. They want to out-draw the famous "bad man."' 

I couldn't have put Ringo's character into better words myself. The NYT review appear to have the same view as I on Ringo and it is a sort of empathy with the character that leads to sympathy for him and that I believe is the effect the King was trying to get through to the audience and it was so effectively done by Peck as Ringo. 

This isnt to say you simply forget about what Ringo had done in the past but you can see (or feel if you have become that empathetic with the character) that Ringo is a changed man and simply wants to put things straight with his estranged wife and son. 

I struggled to find many critic reviews on The Gunfighter but from the ones I was able to find (mostly a couple of lines long) they all showed a an almost gratefulness to Peck and the way he played the character wrote 'He gives it great sympathy and a type of rugged individualism that makes it real.' Speaking about Peck. I do completely agree Peck played the role with great consideration and truly put a great film into the Astonishing category.

I have more points to discuss in the meeting such as what makes a Western? and why is The Gunfighter so different but still so similar? 

source IMDB:
source Variety review:
source NYT review: 
source image:

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