Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Gun Glory (1957)

GUN GLORY stars one of my favorite actors, Stewart Granger, as Tom Early, a gunslinger who's tired of wandering and would like to settle down at last with his wife and son. Early returns to the family ranch to discover his wife has passed on. Tom Jr. (Steve Rowland) is wary after his father's extended absence but invites him to stay.

The Early men settle into ranching life with the help of Jo (Rhonda Fleming), who becomes their housekeeper. Trouble arises when some cattlemen threaten to stampede their herd through the town and the neighboring farms and ranches. The townspeople, who have looked down on Tom, find themselves in need of his leadership and gun skills.

GUN GLORY is a fine, well-made Western which I found much more entertaining than some reviews led me to expect. (Is it just me, or is Leonard Maltin particularly hard on Westerns?) Granger is always a charismatic screen presence; I've seen him in many action films and very much enjoyed seeing him in a Western. He is well matched with Fleming. The story is nothing particularly original, but it's a nicely made film which is beautifully shot in CinemaScope.

Chill Wills has a good role as an understanding preacher who is one of the few townspeople to openly welcome Tom's return. The supporting cast includes James Gregory, Jacques Aubuchon, and Arch Johnson.

Part of the film was shot on the MGM backlot -- viewers will recognize the store and surrounding Western street from films such as SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954) and THE FASTEST GUN ALIVE (1956) -- but the movie also has a nice outdoorsy feel, with some lovely locations shown off to good advantage on the wide screen.

GUN GLORY was directed by Roy Rowland. Rowland's son Steve played Tom Jr. The film runs 89 minutes.

GUN GLORY can be seen on VHS. It's also part of the library at Turner Classic Movies.

The trailer can be viewed here.

February 2010 Update: This film is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive.

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