The Fastest Gun Alive (1956)

89 or 91 mins | Western | 6 July 1956

Director:

Russell Rouse

Producer:

Clarence Greene

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Merrill Pye

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title for the film was The Last Notch , the same title as the hour-long teleplay on which it was based. The television version starred Jeff Morrow and Richard Jaeckel and was directed by Alex Segal. The 20 Jun 1956 HR review of the film notes that it was released in widescreen, but did not specify a format. Modern sources add Kermit Maynard and Ray Jones to the ... More Less

The working title for the film was The Last Notch , the same title as the hour-long teleplay on which it was based. The television version starred Jeff Morrow and Richard Jaeckel and was directed by Alex Segal. The 20 Jun 1956 HR review of the film notes that it was released in widescreen, but did not specify a format. Modern sources add Kermit Maynard and Ray Jones to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
1 May 56
pp. 294-5, 318-19.
Box Office
23 Jun 1956.
---
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1955.
---
Daily Variety
20 Jun 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Jun 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 1956
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 1956
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 1956
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1956
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 56
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
20 Jun 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Jun 56
p. 945.
New York Times
13 Jul 56
p. 23.
Time
20 Jul 1956.
---
Variety
20 Jun 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
MUSIC
DANCE
Russ Tamblyn's number staged by
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the teleplay "The Last Notch" by Frank D. Gilroy (ABC, 7 Apr 1954).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Last Notch
Release Date:
6 July 1956
Production Date:
early January--early February 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 June 1956
Copyright Number:
LP6622
Physical Properties:
Sound
Perspecta Sound, Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89 or 91
Length(in feet):
8,019
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17971
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Driven to prove that he is the "fastest gun alive," outlaw Vinnie Harold rides to Silver Rapids to challenge Clint Fallon, who is rumored to have the fastest draw. After Fallon dies in the match, news of Harold’s lightning speed spreads to nearby Cross Creek. There, townsmen Eric Doolittle, Harvey Maxwell, Lou Glover and others gossip about the Silver Rapids duel while peaceful shopkeeper George Temple becomes increasingly aggravated by their chatter. One evening at a town dance, George is again angered when Harvey, Fred Fenwick, Doc Jennings and others drunkenly boast about working with their hands, insinuating that George is a lesser man for being a shopkeeper. George’s pregnant wife Dora, who senses his growing resentment, warns him not to spoil their life in Cross Creek and then alludes to the many times that they have been forced to leave other towns because of George's behavior. When Kevin McGovern, an eye witness to the Silver Rapid’s duel, holds court at the store to recount the tale, a frustrated George orders the men from the store, snaps at customer Rose Tibbs and finally leaves for the saloon where the normally temperate man orders a drink, shocking the townsmen as they continue debating who is the fastest gun in history. When Harvey chides him, George suddenly turns on the men, criticizing them for their inexpertness in handling a gun. George then gives several of the men a lesson in how to wear a gun for an easy draw and quick kill and announces that he, in fact, is the "fastest gun alive." When the townsmen refuse to give George a gun so he can prove his skill, George retrieves his ... +


Driven to prove that he is the "fastest gun alive," outlaw Vinnie Harold rides to Silver Rapids to challenge Clint Fallon, who is rumored to have the fastest draw. After Fallon dies in the match, news of Harold’s lightning speed spreads to nearby Cross Creek. There, townsmen Eric Doolittle, Harvey Maxwell, Lou Glover and others gossip about the Silver Rapids duel while peaceful shopkeeper George Temple becomes increasingly aggravated by their chatter. One evening at a town dance, George is again angered when Harvey, Fred Fenwick, Doc Jennings and others drunkenly boast about working with their hands, insinuating that George is a lesser man for being a shopkeeper. George’s pregnant wife Dora, who senses his growing resentment, warns him not to spoil their life in Cross Creek and then alludes to the many times that they have been forced to leave other towns because of George's behavior. When Kevin McGovern, an eye witness to the Silver Rapid’s duel, holds court at the store to recount the tale, a frustrated George orders the men from the store, snaps at customer Rose Tibbs and finally leaves for the saloon where the normally temperate man orders a drink, shocking the townsmen as they continue debating who is the fastest gun in history. When Harvey chides him, George suddenly turns on the men, criticizing them for their inexpertness in handling a gun. George then gives several of the men a lesson in how to wear a gun for an easy draw and quick kill and announces that he, in fact, is the "fastest gun alive." When the townsmen refuse to give George a gun so he can prove his skill, George retrieves his gun, hidden in the store, while Dora reminds him that he promised to throw the weapon away long ago. Out on the main street, George asks two men to throw silver dollars into the air simultaneously so he can shoot them. When both coins land on the ground with perfect holes through their centers, everyone is aghast. Feeling he needs to give Harvey further proof, George asks him drop his mug full of beer at will as a target. When George easily shatters the glass before it hits the ground, everyone agrees that George is the fastest gun. Meanwhile in Yellow Fork, Harold and his cohorts, Taylor Swope and Dink Wells, kill sheriff Bill Toledo's brother while robbing the town bank. Determined to avenge his brother's death, Toledo and his posse follow the fleeing robbers. Back in Cross Creek, George packs his bags while an unwilling Dora tells him to settle the old score that keeps them running. Soon after, as Harold, Swope and Wells approach Cross Creek to steal fresh horses, George enters the church with his gun during Sunday morning service and hands the weapon to the reverend, promising never to use it again. He explains to the congregation that when news of his skill spreads, vicious gunslingers from far and wide will come to Cross Creek to compete and thus ruin the town. When the Reverend suggests that the town can keep a secret, George asks how many have already written letters about yesterday's event. After half the congregation raises their hand, George asks Dora to leave with him and she agrees, but Lou argues that they cannot afford to lose George, a generous, law-abiding citizen. The entire congregation then swears one by one to keep the secret, but Dora reminds George that he has not told them the entire truth. Meanwhile, when Harold, Swope and Wells find young Bobby Tibbs playing in the saloon and tell him that Harold is the fastest gun, the boy pulls out George's silver dollars from his pocket and recounts the previous day's event. While the whole town continues to take their vows at church, Brian Tibbs finds his son with the men in the saloon, where Harold demands to know the name of the gunslinger Bobby praises. When Brian explains he took an oath of secrecy, Swope threatens him with a gun but Harold shoots the gun from his hand. Alerted by the gunshot, the townspeople rush to the steps of the church, where Swope tells them his onerous and unpredictable boss wants to meet the so-called fastest gun. When the townspeople ask him to defend the town, George refuses. Back at the saloon, an obsessed Harold loses patience and orders Swope to tell the townspeople he will burn down Cross Creek unless they name the man in five minutes. After hearing the warning, the townspeople watch as Wells pours kerosine on their homes and businesses. With all of their livelihoods at stake, Harvey and Lou suggest George should fight. A fearful George explains that he is the son of Kelby, a famous sheriff and skilled gunman who taught him everything he knew. Although George became even better than his father, he has never drawn his gun against another man. After his father was killed, George chose to flee instead of fight. Prompted by Wells’ lit torch, Lou yells to the outlaws that their man will soon come out and then takes the gun from the podium himself, knowing that to draw against the killer will mean his certain death. George stops him and takes his gun. Fearing the approaching posse, Wells flees on horseback while Swope attempts to take his share of the robbery, but Harold challenges him to draw his gun and Swope leaves empty-handed. Harold then walks down the main street and challenges George. Later, Toledo rides into town with both Swope and Wells’ dead bodies and watches as the townspeople cover two graves. They tell Toledo that although George Kelby was the fastest gun alive, he died in the draw. Soon after, George, still very much alive, tells his wife that he buried his gun in the empty coffin as they walk back into town to continue their life in Cross Creek, where their secret is safe. +

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

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