Four Guns to the Border (1954)
Nothing Can Lick Lolly
Ray Cully (Rory Calhoun) and his outlaw friends are heading to town to rob a bank with Cully's purpose to distract his old friend Sheriff Jim Flannery (Charles Drake) who having married Maggie (Nina Foch) has reformed his once wild ways. But before they get there Ray has become distracted by the flirtatious Lolly (Colleen Miller) the daughter of farmer Simon Bhumer (Walter Brennan) who whilst an old friend doesn't take to Cully and his daughter getting intimately acquainted. After the bank job Cully and the outlaws find themselves being hunted down by a posse but come across Simon and Lolly in danger from apaches and rather than escape go to their rescue.
There is one key thing I mentioned in that brief synopsis of "Four Guns to the Border" and that is that Maggie has tamed the once wild Jim Flannery and that is the theme of this 1950s western. And it is not just Jim's taming which provides the interest as there is also the relationship between Lolly and Ray. But their relationship is much more interesting and is steamy as they get intimate in ways you wouldn't necessarily expect from a 1950s western. It almost gets to the point of being erotic with the sensual scenes of Ray and Lolly getting to know each other in the rain and it is this side of the movie along with strong women which makes "Four Guns to the Border" memorable.
But "Four Guns to the Border" has other things going in its favour and it is a visually vibrant western with fantastic camera work and colouring. In fact the quality of the imagery, the wonderful backdrops, the shading of scenes and much more make this western, a b-western at that seem much more recent than it is. I could go on because even the most innocuous of scenes of a man leaning against a wall catches your attention because of the way the scene looks, the shadow resting behind him whilst further back a man stands at a bar looking and listening.
But what "Four Guns to the Border" really benefits from is a truly fantastic cast who seem to know that they are not starring in just another western. The old timers such as Walter Brennan and John McIntire bring wit and wisdom to their roles whilst you can sense things sizzling between Calhoun and Miller. Talking of Colleen Miller it has to be said that she electrifies every single scene she appears in with sexuality, flaunting herself, flirting, frolicking in a wet top or sucking provocatively on a candy stick. It seriously blows you away and it is not just about the look because she does just as good a job of bringing depth to her character.
What this all boils down to is that "Four Guns to the Border" is a western for western fans rather than fans of western action because it is all about the characters and their interactions rather than good guys and bad guys. But if you love westerns and have never watched "Four Guns to the Border" I seriously recommend it as not only is it different it is also beautiful.
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