Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Regards: Last Train From Gun Hill (1959)

In yet another excellent John Sturges western, Last Train from Gun Hill ('59) reunites Kirk Douglas with the pop-Western stylist in this hazy, poignant revenge tale.

Douglas plays Matt Morgan, a Sheriff stricken by tragedy after the rape and murder of his Native American wife. A saddle from the perpetrator's horse reveals his identity - the son of Matt's best of old friends, Craig Belden (Anthony Quinn).

The film deftly mixes Sturges' pension for widescreen splendor, the thin bond between family and friendship and the futility of law and order through small-town hysteria. In the latter sense, Last Train From Gun Hill readily recalls 3:10 to Yuma and Sturges' own Bad Day at Black Rock. It's one taut, protean piece of entertainment. [B+]

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