Forty Guns (1957)

76 or 79-80 mins | Western | September 1957

Director:

Samuel Fuller

Writer:

Samuel Fuller

Producer:

Samuel Fuller

Cinematographer:

Joseph Biroc

Editor:

Gene Fowler Jr.

Production Designer:

John Mansbridge

Production Company:

Globe Enterprises, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this picture was Woman with a Whip . In the onscreen credits, Samuel Fuller's credit reads "Written, produced-directed by Samuel Fuller." The onscreen credits read "Songs sung by Jidge Carroll." Although Eve Brent's onscreen cast credit reads "and introducing Eve Brent," she had appeared in several earlier films under the name "Jean Ann Lewis." Forty Guns marked the first time she was billed as Brent. A 1953 HR news item notes that Philip Dunne was initially to produce this film. The Var review misspells the character played by Robert Dix as "Chica."
       According to an Apr 1957 HR news item, backgrounds were filmed in Arizona. In an interview reprinted in a modern source, Fuller stated that in the original ending of the film, "Griff" shoots and kills Jessica after "Brockie" takes her hostage. According to Fuller, Twentieth Century-Fox forced him to change the ending to the one in which Griff wounds Jessica and then kills ... More Less

The working title of this picture was Woman with a Whip . In the onscreen credits, Samuel Fuller's credit reads "Written, produced-directed by Samuel Fuller." The onscreen credits read "Songs sung by Jidge Carroll." Although Eve Brent's onscreen cast credit reads "and introducing Eve Brent," she had appeared in several earlier films under the name "Jean Ann Lewis." Forty Guns marked the first time she was billed as Brent. A 1953 HR news item notes that Philip Dunne was initially to produce this film. The Var review misspells the character played by Robert Dix as "Chica."
       According to an Apr 1957 HR news item, backgrounds were filmed in Arizona. In an interview reprinted in a modern source, Fuller stated that in the original ending of the film, "Griff" shoots and kills Jessica after "Brockie" takes her hostage. According to Fuller, Twentieth Century-Fox forced him to change the ending to the one in which Griff wounds Jessica and then kills Brockie. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Sep 1957.
---
Daily Variety
13 Sep 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
24 Sep 57
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 53
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 57
p. 2, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 57
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 57
p. 3.
Variety
18 Sep 57
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opt eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
SONGS
"High Ridin' Woman," words and music by Harold Adamson and Harry Sukman
"God Has His Arms Around Me," words and music by Victor Young and Harold Adamson.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Woman with a Whip
Release Date:
September 1957
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 September 1957
Production Date:
15 April--early May 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 August 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9069
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
76 or 79-80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Griff Bonnell, an ex-gunslinger now working for the U.S. Attorney General, rides into the town of Tombstone, Arizona, his old friend, Marshal John Chisolm, begs him for help in handling Brockie Drummond. Brockie, a vicious young punk, is the brother of Jessica Drummond, the iron-willed woman who rules the territory. Griff, who has come with his two brothers, Wes and Chico, to arrest fugitive Howard Swain, advises the nearly blind Chisolm to resign and seek medical attention. After the drunken Brockie shoots Chisolm in cold blood and then cackles with glee, however, Griff faces down Brockie with impunity and pummels him unconscious. Wes, who backs Griff as his second gun, is attracted to Louvenia Spanger, the tough-talking, voluptuous daughter of the town's gunsmith, while Chico, the youngest brother who aspires to join the team as third gun, protests about being sent to live on his parents' farm in California. Soon after, Jessica gallops into town and brusquely demands to see the man who assaulted her brother. Ned Logan, the town's ineffectual sheriff who has been bought by Jessica, then meekly releases Brockie from jail. On the ride back to the ranch, Jessica chastises her brother for his irresponsible behavior and demands he turn his guns over to her. In town, meanwhile, sparks fly between Louvenia and Wes when she measures him for a new rifle. At the Drummonds' Dragoons Ranch that night, Jessica is having a dinner party for Logan and her army of forty when Griff arrives with a warrant to arrest Swain, one of her minions, for mail robbery. After ordering Swain to leave peaceably with ... +


When Griff Bonnell, an ex-gunslinger now working for the U.S. Attorney General, rides into the town of Tombstone, Arizona, his old friend, Marshal John Chisolm, begs him for help in handling Brockie Drummond. Brockie, a vicious young punk, is the brother of Jessica Drummond, the iron-willed woman who rules the territory. Griff, who has come with his two brothers, Wes and Chico, to arrest fugitive Howard Swain, advises the nearly blind Chisolm to resign and seek medical attention. After the drunken Brockie shoots Chisolm in cold blood and then cackles with glee, however, Griff faces down Brockie with impunity and pummels him unconscious. Wes, who backs Griff as his second gun, is attracted to Louvenia Spanger, the tough-talking, voluptuous daughter of the town's gunsmith, while Chico, the youngest brother who aspires to join the team as third gun, protests about being sent to live on his parents' farm in California. Soon after, Jessica gallops into town and brusquely demands to see the man who assaulted her brother. Ned Logan, the town's ineffectual sheriff who has been bought by Jessica, then meekly releases Brockie from jail. On the ride back to the ranch, Jessica chastises her brother for his irresponsible behavior and demands he turn his guns over to her. In town, meanwhile, sparks fly between Louvenia and Wes when she measures him for a new rifle. At the Drummonds' Dragoons Ranch that night, Jessica is having a dinner party for Logan and her army of forty when Griff arrives with a warrant to arrest Swain, one of her minions, for mail robbery. After ordering Swain to leave peaceably with Griff, Jessica dismisses the others and then admires Griff's gun and offers him Logan's job. Later, in town, Chico, rebellious over being forced to lead the life of a farmer, gets drunk, prompting Griff to declare that the life of a hired gun is soon to become an anachronism. When the jailed Swain informs Logan that he plans to blackmail Jessica unless she arranges for his release, Logan turns his back and smiles smugly as a bullet hurls through the cell window and kills Swain. After pulling the bullet out of Swain's back, Wes shows it to Louvenia, who surmises that it was fired by Charlie Savage, the best shot in the territory. Afterward, Logan tells Jessica that he arranged for Swain's death to save her, and she coldly observes that he has just hanged himself. Soon after, Griff comes to Jessica's ranch in search of Swain and Jessica offers to help him. As they scour the range, a violent cyclone strikes, uprooting trees and blackening the air all around. Thrown from her panicked horse, Jessica is dragged along the ground until Griff comes to her rescue. In the calm following the storm, Jessica recounts how she was forced to forge her independence early in childhood. When Griff recalls shooting his way across the country, Jessica replies that the frontier is finished and asks him to throw in with her. Later, in town, Logan and Savage plot to ambush and kill Griff in Undertakers' Alley. After the brothers put Chico on the California-bound stage, Wes tells Griff that he plans to marry Louvenia and settle down as the new town marshal. Once the stage pulls out, Logan has one of his stooges lure Griff into the alley, where Savage takes aim from his upstairs hotel room. Just as Savage is about to fire, Chico, who has jumped onto the stage, bursts into Savage's room and shoots him, thus saving Griff's life. When Brockie puts Savage's body on display in the undertaker's window, flanked by signs accusing the Bonnell brothers of murder, Griff rides to Jessica's ranch to warn her about curbing her brother. Their discussion is interrupted when Logan fires at Griff and then claims he was only trying to protect Jessica, with whom he has fallen in love. In response, Jessica writes Logan a check and then callously dismisses him. As Griff and Jessica passionately embrace, Griff hears thudding coming from the adjacent room and finds Logan's lifeless body, dangling from the end of a noose. Some time later, Wes and Louvenia are married, and as Griff bends over to kiss the bride, a shot rings out from Brockie's gun, killing Wes. While Louvenia buries her husband, Griff tracks down and apprehends Brockie. Dispirited, Jessica turns over her ranch to the county in return for immunity against all charges. On the day of Brockie's execution, Jessica visits her brother in jail, and he demands that she buy his freedom. After Jessica dispassionately replies that he is going to hang, Brockie pulls a gun from the deputy's holster, then takes Jessica hostage and uses her as a shield to escape. When Brockie dares Griff to shoot, Griff takes deliberate aim and wounds Jessica. After Brockie drops his sister's limp body, Griff brutally empties his pistol into Brockie, thus ending his ten-year record of not killing a man. Some time later, Griff visits Chico, now the town marshal, and tells him that he is going to California. When Chico suggests that Griff ask the now recovered Jessica to join him, Griff replies that she will never forgive him for slaying her brother. As Griff drives his wagon out of town, however, Jessica sees him and follows. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.