108. Forty Guns (1957)
Leonard Maltin's Rating :
Should be :
IMDB Rating : 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 100% with crtics, 65% with audience
Rotten Tomato Movie Info: Cult hero Samuel Fuller wrote and directed this visually inventive western, which didn't fare well with American audiences but earned a potent reputation with European cineastes. Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck) is a despotic landowner who, with a posse of hired guns, has made herself the law of Cochise County, Arizona, with the weak-willed sheriff Ned Logan (Dean Jagger) knuckling under to her demands. One day, Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan), a one-time gunfighter turned United States Marshall, arrives with his brothers Wes (Gene Barry) and Chico (Robert Dix) to restore democratic law and order to Cochise County. Griff soon tangles with Drummond's brother Brockie (John Ericson), though Jessica is attracted to the new lawman, and Griff finds love with female gunsmith Louvenia Spangler (Eve Brent). Griff and Louvenia marry, but on their wedding day, Brockie murders Wes, and Griff, who takes pride in the fact that he has never fired his gun since becoming a marshal, must now break his vow of non-violence. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Leonard says in his review : "Florid, wildly dramatic Sam Fuller Western with Stanwyck as self-appointed land baroness of Tombstone Territory - until Marshall Sullivan shows up."
Griff Bonnell: "I don't figure the job is my size"
Jessica Drummond: "It could be any size you wanted it to be. I'm not interested in you, Mr. Bonell. It's your trademark. May I feel it."
Griff Bonnell: "Uh-uh."
Jessica Drummond: "Just curious."
Griff Bonnell: "It might go off in your face."
Jessica Drummond: "I'll take a chance."
The movie stars Barbara Stanwyck and Barry Sullivan but it is really Sam Fuller who is the star. This is a movie that is like Johnny Guitar meets Wyatt Earp and somehow it works, Jessica Drummond (Stanwyk) has forty hired guns that she rides around with, and she uses them to protect her brother Brockie.
Griff Bonnell and his brothers in an Arizona town. He is a reformed gunslinger, now working for the Attorney General's office, looking to arrest the town deputy for mail robbery. After the sheriff gets shot a reluctant Griff Bonnell (Sullivan) stops Brookie from shooting up the town. Jessica wants to hire Griff as the sheriff but he isn't interested.
When Griff and Jessica get stuck in a twister, they hole up together in a shack, and they get pretty close. Jessica tells Griff how she got to where she is. Jessica wants Griff to settle down and join up with her.
The sheriff is looking to set up an ambush on Griff. Griff puts his younger brother Chico on a stage for California. Grif and his brother then head in to the ambush. Just when it looks like Griff is in trouble Chico returns and saves the day. Wes is getting married, and then Griff plans on taking off. Then the corrupt ex-sheriff tries to shoot Griff, because he is in love with Jessica, but Griff stops him.
Jessica then makes her play for Griff and Griff gives in. On Wes' wedding day Brockie tries to shoot Griff but kills Wes instead. Jessica tries to get Brockie off, but can't do it. Brockie tries to escape using Jessica as a shield, but Griff shoots wounding Jessica to get her out of the way. He then proceeds to kill Brockie. Griff then says: "Get a doctor, she'll live" as he walks away.
As Griff heads out of town Jessica chases after the man who killed her brother and wounded her. A great ending to a really different movie.
A really good Western, maybe a great one. It is certainly not a 2 1/2 star movie.