DVD and Blu-ray.
I watched the DVD version; it's a gorgeous print of this widescreen black and white Regalscope film from 20th Century-Fox. Western fans should make haste to snap this one up.
THE QUIET GUN echoes earlier films in the Western genre such as HIGH NOON (1952) and TOP GUN (1955). Tucker plays world-weary Sheriff Carl Brandon, an honorable man who sometimes seems to battle the unsupportive citizens of the town of Red Rock as much as he does the bad guys.
It seems that Ralph's estranged wife Teresa (Kathleen Crowley) has been away on an extended trip, and Ralph has a young Indian girl (Mara Corday) keeping house at his ranch. Hardy wants Carl to arrest Ralph for indecent behavior or some such thing. Meanwhile, Teresa happens to arrive back in town on the afternoon stage.
Carl, as it happens, is Ralph's best friend -- and Carl also harbors unspoken love for Teresa. Carl attempts to defend Ralph to the town's small-minded citizens but they're having none of it, and when Hardy goes out to Ralph's ranch to deliver a warrant and pulls a gun, Ralph shoots him dead. It may well have been self-defense, but now the town wants Ralph to hang.
Forrest Tucker continues to rise in my estimation; it took me a while to warm up to him, but performances in films such as CALIFORNIA PASSAGE (1950) and FLIGHT NURSE (1953) won me over. He's simply outstanding in this, tired and frustrated but a man who won't ever back down from doing what is right.
There's also a beautiful sequence near the end when Carl rounds up the town council and finds a way to appeal to their better instincts to help him hold off a lynch mob. He takes a gamble in that moment, with a nice payoff.
Davis, Van Cleef, and Worden offer strong support, all having moments of excellence. Worden plays his typical silly "character" but he's delightfully sweet as a man who proudly supports the sheriff come hell or high water. The cast also includes Tom Brown, Vince Barnett, Gerald Milton, and Edith Evanson.
William F. Claxton, who's more closely associated with directing TV Westerns such as BONANZA and THE HIGH CHAPPARAL. He did very good work on this film.
I especially liked the economical staging of a violent scene, which completely avoids being graphic yet has more dramatic impact than actually showing the event. It's a brilliant little "less is so much more" moment.
The movie was beautifully filmed by John Mescall. Though the company never went further on location than Iverson Ranch and Corriganville, it's a very good-looking Western film, shown off to great effect on the Olive Films disc.
As a side note, some of the film's publicity shots of Tucker and Corday together in romantic poses are completely baffling! No such thing occurs in the film.
Regular readers know I review a great many Westerns, and I enjoy most of them to varying degrees. Among those films, I thought THE QUIET GUN was something special. Highly recommended.