• Gun Fury

    Released by: Twilight Time Releasing
    Released on: September 6th, 2017.
    Director: Raoul Walsh
    Cast: Rock Hudson, Donna Reed, Phil Carey, Lee Marvin, Roberta Haynes, Leo Gordon, Neville Brand, Pat Hogan
    Year: 1953
    Purchase From Screen Archives

    The Movie:

    Set shortly after the end of the Civil War, Gun Fury opens with a scene were a beautiful young bride to be named Jennifer Ballard (Donna Reed) is travelling by stage coach from Georgia to California to meet up with her fiancé. Here she strikes up a conversation with Frank Slayton (Phil Carey) and he clearly takes a liking to her. That night he invites her to dine with him, getting fairly insistent, much to the dismay of his travelling partner Jess Burgess (Leo Gordon). Jennifer is surprised when there’s a knock on her hotel room door and finds that her man, Ben Warren (Rock Hudson) couldn’t wait to see her any longer! They head down to the dining room where the conversation with Warren and Slayton gets a little tense.

    Nevertheless, the next morning everyone gets back in the stagecoach to finish the journey – at which point Slayton and Jess reveal their true colors – they’re bandits! They take the gold form the coach and Slayton decides that Jennifer is coming with him. Ben protests, and is shot for his efforts, though he doesn’t stay dead for long, he was only wounded. When he wakes up, he finds that Jess has been tied up and assaulted by Slayton who has made a run for the border with Jennifer in tow. The two men team up to catch him and save the day, and along the way form an alliance with Slayton’s Mexican mistress Estella Morales (Roberta Haynes) and a Native American named Johash (Pat Hogan)… both of whom have their own bone to pick with Slayton.

    The best part about this one? The cast. Rock Hudson makes for a fine lead here, full of classic movie star charm, the right kind of hero for the audience to cheer on to the big finish. He and Donna Reed don’t exactly set the screen ablaze but they make a fine couple, her girl next door persona making her a good choice for her part as well. Roberta Haynes isn’t always completely convincing as Slayton’s Mexican mistress but she puts herself into the part completely and really sells it. Leo Gordon is solid as ‘tough guy’ Jess Burgess while Pat Hogan is fine, if unremarkable, as Johash. Supporting work from Neville Brand and a young Lee Marvin (as Blinky!) is also noteworthy, Marvin in particular is quite good here if a bit underused. Phil Carey delivers the best performance of the lot, however. As Frank Slayton he’s a charming bastard of a man, using anyone and everyone around him to get what he wants when he wants it. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing to be sure, but Carey plays this part well.

    Co-written by Irving Wallace and Roy Huggins and directed by Raoul Walsh, Gun Fury was originally shot and shown in 3-D, something that’s obvious throughout the film even when viewing it in 2-D. Right from the opening shot we get some interesting footage of the stagecoach heading right at us and throughout the movie there are moments clearly intended to ‘leap off the screen’ (the most obvious example being when Roberta Haynes throws things at a predatory Lee Marvin and they all head straight towards the camera). Walsh keeps the action coming pretty steadily after the first twenty to thirty minutes (which is all set up). There are some impressive shoot-outs and good fights scenes, plenty of horseback chases and good production values too. The story may not be the most original to ever grave the silver screen, but it serves its purpose – it sets out to entertain, and it succeeds.


    Twilight Time brings Gun Fury to Blu-ray on a 50GB disc in both 3-D and 2-D versions. Without the hardware to view the 3-D version, this review will cover the 2-D option. The film is framed on the disc at 1.85.1 widescreen and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. There isn’t much print damage here at all, the picture is pretty clean, but grain is unusually course at times. The colors are inconsistent, sometimes looking quite nice and other times looking flat, faded and greyish. This could have to do with the fact that the movie was originally shot in 3-D? Either way, it looks a bit off in spits – but detail is pretty solid, sometimes very impressive actually and there are no issues with any compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction.

    The only audio option provided is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. No issues here, the audio sounds fine. Dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and the levels are properly balanced. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the score sounds pretty solid here, strong without burying the performers.

    The only extra on the disc, aside from an interactive Twilight Time catalogue and the requisite isolated score option, is the film’s original theatrical trailer. Menus and chapter stops are included and inside the Blu-ray case is a color booklet containing credits for the release as well as some well-written liner notes from essayist Julie Kirgo.

    The Final Word:

    Gun Fury is an entertaining western of the old fashioned ilk. It’s quick in its pacing, offering lots of excitement and plenty of colorful characters. The story is a bit on the pedestrian side but the cast makes up for that. This is a fun watch, fans of vintage American westerns take note.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!