Gun Fury (1953)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Rock Hudson and Donna Reed in Gun Fury

A Cash & Carey Robbery

Here's an interesting fact about "Gun Fury", it was shot in 3D and trust me you can tell as stuff gets obviously thrown towards the camera, but director Raoul Walsh only had one eye and so ironically 3D didn't work for him. To be honest that fact is probably the most interesting thing about the movie as whilst having a solid storyline, solid performances and some solid action is it only another average western. And "Gun Fury" is just another average western because of the storyline which sees a young man going after a group of outlaws who kidnap his girlfriend during a stagecoach robbery; yes we are talking revenge western.

Having duped a group of passengers on a stagecoach into thinking he is just an innocent traveller, outlaw Frank Slayton (Philip Carey - Springfield Rifle) and his gang hold it up leaving Ben Warren (Rock Hudson - Bend of the River) for dead in the middle of nowhere and taking his fiancee Jennifer (Donna Reed - It's a Wonderful Life) with them. But it proves to be a mistake as Ben is by no means dead and sets out to save Jennifer and get his revenge on Frank, recruiting people to help him along the way.

Donna Reed and Philip Carey in Gun Fury

To be fair "Gun Fury" is a well written western as before it gets to the revenge part creates this elaborate set up of a group of passengers on a stagecoach and we have Mr. Hampton taking an interest in Jennifer Ballard whilst his associate tries to stop him from doing anything. It's not so much intriguing but sets up this element of Mr. Hampton being trouble and not even Jennifer's fiancee Ben will put him off from trying it on. And then we get the first twist, which to be honest is not much of a twist as Hampton and his associate are in fact the much feared outlaw Frank Slayton and Jess who are in disguise to hold up the stage coach. It seems almost too elaborate to be real but it does set up the main situation which sees Ben being left for dead in the desert and Slayton taking Jennifer hostage against Jess's wishes.

But the thing is that whilst the set up is good what follows on from there is pretty obvious as Ben goes after them and is joined by a few people along the way including Jess who falls foul of Slayton. At just 83 minutes "Gun Fury" is not long but with so much of it being just about Ben, Jess and a couple of others tracking down Slayton it does feel drawn out. It also doesn't help that at the same time it spoon feeds us everything so there is no need to have to think, and that combines with this drawn out tracking down element does make it dull.

Of course with this being a western it does build to the big action climax and there is a nice twist to this but again there isn't anything special. And that is the trouble as "Gun Fury" doesn't have anything to make it stand out, well other than the very obvious scenes which try to highlight the 3D elements as objects are thrown towards the camera. I doubt it was that impressive when it was released and it certainly isn't now.

But despite ending up a very run of the mill revenge western it is surprisingly well acted with Philip Carey in particular coming across as a very real villain as Frank Slayton. And Donna Reed is the epitome of loveliness as Jennifer, although other than smile and try and escape a few times doesn't have to do much. Where it is slightly wrong is with Rock Hudson as Ben as whilst he does come across as being angry and determined to get revenge in the scenes he shares with Donna Reed his attempts to show he is in love seem almost infantile as he skips along like a little lamb, over excited and slightly stupid looking.

What this all boils down to is that "Gun Fury" is like so many westerns of the 1950s, fun to watch but not in the slightest bit memorable. In many ways it is a movie for die hard fans of the western genre because it is so very ordinary.


LATEST REVIEWS