Man with the Gun (1955)

78 or 83-84 mins | Western | November 1955

Director:

Richard Wilson

Producer:

Samuel Goldwyn Jr.

Cinematographer:

Lee Garmes

Editor:

Gene Milford

Production Designer:

Hilyard Brown

Production Company:

Formosa Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Deadly Peacemaker , The Town Tamer and The Trouble Shooter . The filmmakers were forced to drop the title The Deadly Peacemaker when independent producer Hal Makelim, who intended to make a film called The Peacemaker , protested his prior registration of the title and his claim was upheld by the MPAA. Although Ted de Corsia's character is listed as "Rex Stang" by contemporary sources, he is called "Frenchy Lescoe" in the film. James Westerfield, who plays "Zender" in the film, is listed by contemporary sources as "Drummer," a frequently used nickname for traveling salesmen.
       Pre-production studio publicity and a 25 Feb 1955 HR news item includes child actors Peter Votrian, Rudy Lee, Paul Williams, Bobby Diamond and Barry Froner in the cast, and other HR news items add Rosemary Ace and Art La Forest , but their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed. Modern sources include Renie Riano in the cast but she was not identified in the viewed print.
       On 11 Oct 1955, HR noted that the picture was to have its world premiere in New Orleans on 28 Oct, but it has not been determined if that premiere was held. Man with the Gun marked the producing debut of Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., son of the renowned film producer. The picture also marked the directorial debut of writer Richard Wilson, who had previously worked as a film writer and producer. Wilson was under contract to Universal-International at the time of production. According to a 10 Feb 1954 HR news ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Deadly Peacemaker , The Town Tamer and The Trouble Shooter . The filmmakers were forced to drop the title The Deadly Peacemaker when independent producer Hal Makelim, who intended to make a film called The Peacemaker , protested his prior registration of the title and his claim was upheld by the MPAA. Although Ted de Corsia's character is listed as "Rex Stang" by contemporary sources, he is called "Frenchy Lescoe" in the film. James Westerfield, who plays "Zender" in the film, is listed by contemporary sources as "Drummer," a frequently used nickname for traveling salesmen.
       Pre-production studio publicity and a 25 Feb 1955 HR news item includes child actors Peter Votrian, Rudy Lee, Paul Williams, Bobby Diamond and Barry Froner in the cast, and other HR news items add Rosemary Ace and Art La Forest , but their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed. Modern sources include Renie Riano in the cast but she was not identified in the viewed print.
       On 11 Oct 1955, HR noted that the picture was to have its world premiere in New Orleans on 28 Oct, but it has not been determined if that premiere was held. Man with the Gun marked the producing debut of Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., son of the renowned film producer. The picture also marked the directorial debut of writer Richard Wilson, who had previously worked as a film writer and producer. Wilson was under contract to Universal-International at the time of production. According to a 10 Feb 1954 HR news item, Wilson purchased the story “The Deadly Peacemaker” and was “writing [the] screenplay for independent production this summer." The film marked the screen acting debut of radio and TV character actress Amzie Strickland.
       Man with a Gun received mostly positive reviews and several favorable comparisons to High Noon (see below). The HR reviewer commented about Man with a Gun : "Like The Ox-Bow Incident and High Noon , it is one of those rare westerns that can be classified as screen literature." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
22 Oct 1955.
---
Daily Variety
5 May 1955.
---
Daily Variety
10 Oct 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Oct 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 1955
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1955
p. 6, 15.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 1955
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 1955
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1955
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 1955
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1955
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1955
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1955
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 1955
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1955
p. 10.
Los Angeles Examiner
24 Jan 1955.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Dec 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Oct 55
p. 633.
New York Times
23 Dec 55
p. 14.
New Yorker
14 Jan 1956.
---
Time
5 Dec 1955.
---
Variety
12 Oct 55
p. 7.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and scr
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
Orch
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Deadly Peacemaker" by N. B. Stone, Jr. in The Saturday Evening Post (30 May 1955).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Deadly Peacemaker
The Town Tamer
The Trouble Shooter
Release Date:
November 1955
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 30 November 1955
Production Date:
28 February--early April 1955 at Samuel Goldwyn Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Formosa Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 October 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5845
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
78 or 83-84
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17526
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The citizens of the Western town of Sheridan City are under the constant threat of violence from powerful rancher Dade Holman, who controls the surrounding valley lands and is slowly taking over the town. One day, stranger Clint Tollinger comes to town and asks blacksmith Saul Atkins where he can find Nelly Bain. Nelly, Clint’s estranged wife, manages the dancing girls who work at the notorious Palace Saloon. After Nelly refuses to talk with Clint, he returns to Atkins’ livery stable. There he meets old acquaintence Doc Hughes, who explains to Atkins that Clint, a “town tamer,” is a renowned gunman who is hired to eradicate lawlessness. Atkins, the president of Sheridan City’s town council, considers hiring Clint, but Hughes urges caution, as Clint’s methods can be extreme. Meanwhile, in the valley, young farmer Jeff Castle is building a homestead on his legally acquired land. Holman, who does not want farmers in the valley, sends his henchmen, led by Ed Pinchot, to intimidate Jeff, but he scares them off by firing at them. In town, Jeff complains to Marshal Lee Sims, but the ineffectual Sims retorts that Holman has too many gunmen to be defeated. Jeff, who is engaged to Atkins’ daughter Stella, is determined to keep fighting and prove to Stella that he can provide for her. That night, Clint goes to Nelly’s office and asks about their daughter Beth, whom he has not seen since Nelly left him. Nelly, who loved Clint deeply but left him because of his dangerous occupation, will not answer. Later, at a town meeting, Atkins proposes hiring Clint, even though Jeff protests that he will do his fighting himself. After Jeff ... +


The citizens of the Western town of Sheridan City are under the constant threat of violence from powerful rancher Dade Holman, who controls the surrounding valley lands and is slowly taking over the town. One day, stranger Clint Tollinger comes to town and asks blacksmith Saul Atkins where he can find Nelly Bain. Nelly, Clint’s estranged wife, manages the dancing girls who work at the notorious Palace Saloon. After Nelly refuses to talk with Clint, he returns to Atkins’ livery stable. There he meets old acquaintence Doc Hughes, who explains to Atkins that Clint, a “town tamer,” is a renowned gunman who is hired to eradicate lawlessness. Atkins, the president of Sheridan City’s town council, considers hiring Clint, but Hughes urges caution, as Clint’s methods can be extreme. Meanwhile, in the valley, young farmer Jeff Castle is building a homestead on his legally acquired land. Holman, who does not want farmers in the valley, sends his henchmen, led by Ed Pinchot, to intimidate Jeff, but he scares them off by firing at them. In town, Jeff complains to Marshal Lee Sims, but the ineffectual Sims retorts that Holman has too many gunmen to be defeated. Jeff, who is engaged to Atkins’ daughter Stella, is determined to keep fighting and prove to Stella that he can provide for her. That night, Clint goes to Nelly’s office and asks about their daughter Beth, whom he has not seen since Nelly left him. Nelly, who loved Clint deeply but left him because of his dangerous occupation, will not answer. Later, at a town meeting, Atkins proposes hiring Clint, even though Jeff protests that he will do his fighting himself. After Jeff storms out, he is shot in the shoulder by one of Holman’s gunmen. The townsmen hire Clint when news comes that Jeff’s home is on fire, and the next day, Sims deputizes Clint. Sims tells him about Holman, an obese, wily man who has not left his ranch in several years, preferring to surround his stronghold with gunfighters. Clint then visits Stella and Atkins to inquire about Jeff, and Stella asks him if the culprits would have shot Jeff if he had not fired at them earlier. Clint tells Stella the story of a man he once knew who hated guns and would not allow them in the house, but despite his nonviolence, was killed by “land-grabbers” while his young son watched. Clint then goes to Virg Trotter’s bar and orders Fred and Cy Harkness, two of Holman’s gunmen, to leave town. Clint continues patrolling the town by visiting the Palace, which is run by Frenchy Lescoe, one of Holman’s cohorts. Clint informs Lescoe that from now on, there will be no wearing of weapons within town limits, and orders him to surrender his bowie knife. After leaving the Palace, Clint finds the Harkness brothers still in town and shoots them, much to everyone’s astonishment. The townspeople worry that the violence will increase, and soon, in response to Clint’s ban against weapons, four of Holman’s men come after him. Clint outdraws two of the men, after which the remaining two ride off. A week later, Clint institutes a midnight curfew, which infuriates Lescoe. That night, Clint attends a town social and asks Jeff, who is recuperating from his wound, to wait before working on his homestead again, as he wants to keep the “battlefield” in town, where he can control it, instead of in the valley. Jeff stubbornly insists that he never asked for Clint’s help, however, and Clint leaves. The next day, Jeff leaves town to work on his land, and Clint tells an anxious Stella that Jeff is old enough to take care of himself. Soon after, Pinchot and another Holman rider arrive and inform Clint that they caught Jeff “trespassing” and are holding him at the ranch, from which Clint can retrieve him. Knowing that he will be killed if he goes to the ranch, Clint instead arrests the two men for wearing guns. A few hours later, Trotter and other businessmen complain to Clint that he is putting them at risk of a siege by Holman’s gunmen, but Clint ignores their demand that he free Pinchot. Later, a group of Holman’s riders show up, accompanied by Jeff, and Clint exchanges Pinchot and the other henchman for Jeff. That night, Clint again visits Nelly, who, despite her bitterness about his work, cannot blame Clint for his attachment to gun law, as she knows that he was the young boy who saw his pacifist father murdered. As the couple quarrels, Nelly reveals that Beth died three years ago, during the first, difficult winter after they had left Clint. Wild with grief, Clint goes to the Palace, where he antagonizes Lescoe by starting a fire. Clint kills Lescoe after the saloon owner tries to knife him, and the townspeople then unsuccessfully attempt to douse the flames. Fortunately, no other structures are burned, although in the morning, many people are grumbling about Clint’s seemingly erratic actions. The town council pleads with Atkins to fire Clint, but Atkins defends him, stating that he may have reasons they cannot understand. The council decides to meet that afternoon to settle the matter, and Atkins warns Clint that he will be fired. Soon after, as Nelly is escorting one of her girls to the stagecoach, she learns that a traveling salesman who spoke earlier with Ann Wakefield, another of her dancers, is actually Zender, Holman’s lawyer. Realizing that Holman is plotting to kill Clint while the townsmen are at their meeting, Nelly warns Stella to watch for the missing Clint while she searches for him. Stella is distracted by Jeff’s return from his homestead, however, as his shoulder wound has re-opened. Meanwhile, Holman rides into town in a buggy, shadowed by Pinchot. Ann, who was told by Zender that Clint was attracted to her, innocently detains Clint on the street, and Pinchot attempts to shoot him. Clint kills Pinchot first, and Jeff, alerted by the noise, spots Holman, who is leveling a rifle at Clint. Jeff yells that Holman “is his,” and Clint, knowing that the younger man needs to prove his manhood, allows Jeff to shoot Holman, even though Holman wounds Clint before Jeff kills him. Nelly rushes to Clint, who has been shot in the shoulder and, comforted by his joke that there must be an easier way to make a living, assures him that they will find it together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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