Colt .45 (1950)
Double Crossed Pistols
Indian has ways to make prisoners talk - Walking Bear
Great Scott, no I am not on about the performance of Randolph Scott in 50s western "Colt .45" but about the storyline because it is one of the most convoluted western movies I have come across even for the 50s. This is a western which almost feels like it is being written on the fly with someone suddenly suggesting throwing in this or that to add another unbelievable twist probably in the hope of drawing things out a bit longer. That is the thing "Colt .45" only lasts 74 minutes but seems to pack more twists in than an epic western and it doesn't mean it's good.
Travelling gun salesman Steve Farrell (Randolph Scott - Return of the Badmen) finds himself in jail when killer Jason Brett (Zachary Scott) steals a pair of the Colt .45s he is selling and suggests they were in cahoots as he flees the scene. It means that after 4 months of stewing in a cell Farrell wants revenge, he wants his guns back and he isn't going to stop till he gets them. It first leads him to befriend an Indian Chief Walking Bear (Chief Thundercloud) when Steve saves his life but also to prevent a stagecoach robbery by Brett and his gang. But it also puts Steve in even more danger as having driven the Stage to town and found himself deputised quickly discovers he can trust no one as Brett has a lot of people in his pocket.
I tell you what having written that synopsis I have barely skimmed the surface of this seemingly standard western which has killers, a stagecoach, Indians and of course the upright Randolph Scott. I could have gone on because this movie has betrayal, lies, double crosses, switching allegiance and a lot else which really is rather ironic because it doesn't take a genius to work out how this movie is going to end. Yes I do mean that how many westerns from the 50s do you know where the hero didn't save the day and get the girl by the time the words "The End" appeared on screen.
The trouble is that "Colt .45" for all its back and forth is not really that good and it seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors for what is a very ordinary story. So yes the fact that Steve finds himself stitched up a few times, wrongly accused for crimes is entertaining but beyond that it is all quite processional. In fact even the action which ranges from your standard gunfights to action on a speeding stagecoach seems just as processional.
I wish I could give you something which made "Colt .45" better than ordinary but unfortunately I can't even when it comes to the acting. Whilst this is by no means Randolph Scott's worst western he does seem to be on autopilot, stand upright, give a tight lipped smile and take the moral high ground when it comes to killing. Ruth Roman, Lloyd Bridges and Zachary Scott are no better and unfortunately everything feels like the actors are delivering their lines with little belief other than the fact they know they will get paid for doing so.
What this all boils down to is that "Colt .45" is really just another 1950s western with cliche characters, action and situations. But it is one of the messiest and convoluted westerns I have watched as it crams as many double crosses and betrayals into 74 minutes than many movies achieve in 120.
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