Gunslinger (1956)

Gunslinger (1956)

“There’s one thing I mustn’t forget, and that’s that we’re sworn enemies, you and I — all the moonlight in heaven can’t change that.”

After her husband is murdered, a woman (Beverly Garland) takes his place as sheriff of Greasewood City. Soon she’s caught up in a nefarious plot involving a greedy dancehall owner (Allison Hayes) and a hitman (John Ireland).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Dick Miller Films
  • Hitmen
  • John Ireland Films
  • Roger Corman Films
  • Sheriffs
  • Star-Crossed Lovers
  • Strong Females
  • Westerns

Roger Corman’s penchant for spending as little time and money as possible while churning out passable entertainment occasionally yielded unexpected cult hits, such as The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) (made in just two days) or A Bucket of Blood (1959). Just as often, however, his films show ample, unfortunate evidence of his slapdash approach — and Gunslinger is one of these instances. Despite a relatively intriguing premise (the idea of a female sheriff in the Old West has promise):

this movie is simply a mish-mash of poor acting, sloppy continuity and editing, and a convoluted storyline. Whatever pathos could have been generated between Garland’s character and the hitman she falls in love with (Ireland) is sublimated into silliness.

Even MST3K’s spoofing can’t (doesn’t) turn this clunker into enjoyable viewing.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The (unintentionally) humorous final shoot-out

Must See?
No. This is definitely one of Corman’s less successful low-budget outings, and isn’t worth spending time on.


One thought on “Gunslinger (1956)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see. I didn’t watch the MST3K version; I took it straight (as it were).

    Though there’s no argument that this is a sub-par movie, I wouldn’t say it’s as bad as the assessment here implies (i.e., re: the acting, etc.). In the first 30 minutes or so, you can get the feeling it was made by a group of people who saw one western – once – and thought to themselves, ‘ We can do this, how hard can it be?’

    And then, strangely, it does start getting a little better. Even though it’s still very ordinary (in a tv sort of way), it becomes somewhat engaging. (Garland, in particular, helps…a little…due to her sense of conviction.)

    But things do, indeed, turn silly as this thing wraps up. Some unintentionally funny moments rise up…and the final shootout is indeed “humorous”. It’s almost like a parody of the finale of the also-unintentionally-funny ‘Duel in the Sun’.

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