The Left Handed Gun (1958)
Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 627
The Left Handed Gun was adapted by Gore Vidal from his own TV play, The Death of Billy the Kid. 33-year-old Paul Newman stars as 21-year-old William Bonney, the hotheaded gunslinger known as Billy the Kid. Avoiding the usual Hollywood glamourization of this controversial character, Newman portays Bonney pretty much as he was: an illiterate, homicidal cretin. Treated with kindness for the first time in his life by rancher Tunstall (Colin Keith-Johnston), Bonney becomes devoted to the rancher; in
May 7, 1958 Limited
Nov 14, 2006
Warner Bros. Pictures
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William 'Billy the K...
Paul L. Smith
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Penn's training in theater and live-TV drama (e.g. Playhouse 90) shows; the central performance is rehearsed into an anxious stir, every line matched to an actorly decision, a blocking cue.
The picture is a smart and exciting western paced by Paul Newman's intense portrayal.
Penn's first film, it is in many ways a key stage in the development of the Western.
Boasting a strong turn by Paul Newman as Billy the Kid, this disturbingly psychological, technically innovative deconstructive Western marks the impressive debut of Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde), signaling the beginning of the New American Cinema.
A close, inspired study of Ford and Nicholas Ray, and a decisive source of inspiration to Peckinpah, Malick, and Penn himself, who looked at it again and saw Bonnie and Clyde.
A good but disturbing psychological western, well directed by Penn and acted in a strangely fascinating style by Newman.
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