Gunsmoke (1953) – Movie reReview

gunsmoke-movie-poster-1953-1020199995Audie Murphy and Susan Cabot, who collaborated at least two other times, in Duel at Silver Creek and Ride Clear of Diablo, are the leads in this lightweight but thoroughly well-made and entertaining movie. Also in it is Charles Drake, the white knight to Audie’s black knight in No Name on the Bullet. All of those are extremely good movies. Just about all of Audie’s works are on the + side of B or at least the – side of A.

This one is an easy A if you ask me.

So, this one is about a young gun, Reb Kittridge, drifting into Billings after having made a quick and escape from Johnson County. He’s got a job lined up in Billings, but the situation grows rapidly murky when someone takes a potshot at him before he even gets into town, he meets the daughter of his presumptive target, Rita Saxon (Cabot), and then declines a gunfight with Old Man Saxon (since he hasn’t actually been formally hired yet.) This sort of behavior endears him greatly to Old Man Saxon–who used to be a hellraiser himself, and remembers what it was like to be a young gun who wants out and just needs a leg up…

Anyhow, the bad guy wants the Saxon ranch; Saxon doesn’t want to sell; Kittridge kind of wants to be done with this whole gunslinging business, blah blah blah…so Saxon “loses” his ranch to Reb in a game of cards (“complete with morgage,” heh.)

So now, the burden of the plot is on Audie to get his cattle to market by hook or by crook, with Telford (the bad guy) breathing down his neck and Rita’s bushwacking fiance also causing trouble. Also, Reb’s erstwhile friends have now become business rivals and are now trying to murder him. Better yet, the Saxon ranch genuinely is in a peck of trouble, mortgaged, facing a tight deadline, and low on men and beef both (“That’s your problem, son.” Hehhh.) Oh yeah, and there isn’t even enough money to make payroll for all the men who are about to quit, HAH.

And even better still, Miss Saxon is not at all pleased with the change of management in her home.

And so the fun begins…

– It’s actually kind of a bad look to be picking a fight with a man six inches shorter than you, Curly…
– That being said, Audie (briefly) going berserk on some stuntmen is a definite highlight.
– Rita in some really 50s’ underwear and an incredibly pointy bustier, is also, as Kittridge points out, also worth looking at. I mean…corsets, man. Just…corsets.
– Old Man Saxon has a pretty good role, fatherly, calm, and stalwart…but also slyly running the whole show from the back seat the whole damn time.

There really isn’t all that much more to say about this movie, other than it’s well-written, is acted with distinction and great prowess, moves quickly, is fun and occasionally, genuinely clever. It’s a credit to its genre and you ought to give it a watch.

Rated: See ya round, Johnny.

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9 thoughts on “Gunsmoke (1953) – Movie reReview

  1. Audie is a draw, though not really as an actor; it’s less “going to see a movie to watch an actor perform” than “going to the zoo to see the tiger.” Let’s point the camera at possibly the most legitimately dangerous (in a good way, not in a Klaus Kinski way) man in Hollywood and let him do his thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Audie didn’t have great range, true; but he was consistently good at what he was good at; sometimes he exceeded expectations; his movies were consistently good and sometimes excellent. Maybe not what the auteur would consider excellent, but solid, well-made, entertaining, wholesome, adventuresome. Good stuff that is a credit to its genre.

      Now, I haven’t worked my way through the *entirety* of his filmography, but I have seen more than the average person and this has been my consistent impression.

      I hope this comment doesn’t come across as too combative. I spent the morning arguing with a little old lady and the rest of my day has been….a little skewed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, not at all. Actually didn’t mean it as a comment on his acting abilities at all (I haven’t seen enough of his films to judge of it), more of just my own reaction to his presence in a film.

        (And I’m the guy who will always defend Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor, so I feel where you’re coming from)

        Liked by 1 person

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