Forty Guns

Director: Samuel Fuller
Year Released: 1957
Rating: 3.0

Unique pulp Western that could have come only from someone as forward-thinking and fiercely original as Sam Fuller: a wealthy land-owner with her own private army (the defiant, 'masculine' Barbara Stanwyck) goes against law enforcer Barry Sullivan and his two brothers, but there's a deeper undercurrent in their relationship that runs from love to hate and back again. The plot is involving and intricate - a few events caught me by surprise, which I find to be a good sign (I like an unpredictable screenplay) - and despite the occasional misstep or somewhat improbable leap in logic, it manages to get a lot accomplished with such a brief running time (and with such a fast-paced production schedule). Fuller's war and crime movies have gotten a lot of attention - The Big Red One and Pickup on South Street being two of his best - but this particular foray into the spurs and side arms genre is a rewarding oddity.