The Stranger Wore a Gun (1953)
Some Stag3D Western Action
Having once been a spy for the Quantrill's raiders during the Civil War, Jeff Travis (Randolph Scott) has decided to turn over a new leaf of life after realising he was wrong to trust Quantrill, except his notoriety for being a Quantrill spy follows him around like a bad smell. After running in to an old friend, Jules Mourret (George Macready), Jeff takes a job on the stage line which Mourret is planning to rob of a gold delivery. When Mourret and his gang kill a friend Jeff feels that he has no choice but to bring in Mourret himself.
If you are looking for a western as a basis for judging all other westerns by then "The Stranger Wore a Gun" could be just that movie as it is as middle of the western road as you can get. There is nothing wrong with it but then there is nothing stand out about it either and is quite simply so ordinary that before the movie is over you are forgetting how it started despite not being that long. That doesn't sound much of a compliment but it isn't a criticism either just the simple fact that "The Stranger Wore a Gun" is ordinary.
So how ordinary am I talking about? Well I am pretty sure I have seen Randolph Scott wearing exactly the same clothes in another western and change the details slightly and I know I have seen Scott in another western with the same storyline. I could go on because George Macready plays a regular sort of bad guy and whilst both Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine feature in the cast list this is from early on in their careers when they would be cast as bad guys in a supporting role.
But here is the one stand out thing I can tell you about "The Stranger Wore a Gun"; it was originally filmed in 3D. Unfortunately I have only ever seen the flat 2D version but by the definition of the image and some beautiful location shots with scenes which are obviously choreographed to pop out of the screen I would imagine that the 3D version of "The Stranger Wore a Gun" was an exciting movie, much more than the 2D version.
What this all boils down to is that in its 2D format "The Stranger Wore a Gun" is a completely middle of the road Randolph Scott western which ends up familiar and forgettable. But with some scenes clearly designed to showcase the then 3D technology it does have an image quality superior to many a western of its era.
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