Forty Guns Reviews
The fact that there is not too much of the basic western aspects included makes 40 guns so likable, sure there all the stereotypical western aspects in it, but they are kept to the minimum, making the movie very approachable. There are the good guys and the bad, they fight it out and the best one gets the cake so to speak. 40 Guns is not an Oscar winning flick, but it is a damn good western nonetheless.
But this is Sam Fuller and nothing in a Sam Fuller Film is as simple as it looks.
Fuller uses the name of Griff here on Barry Sullivan as a US marshall in the Wyatt Earp mode ,brought in the clean up the town .
Barbara Stanwyck is great as the head of a ranch who maybe good or maybe bad ,again typical of Fuller to give his leads plenty of light and shade.
The film is packed with great moments including the fianl duel and a murder at a wedding which once again show how even when Fuller was working for a large studio ,he could still stamp his mark on the film he was directing.
A film which has many layers and one which reaps great reward
Fuller's dealing with a pretty conventional story, but his story telling is anything but. Fuller incorporates songs sung by characters on screen, sexual innuendoes, unique p.o.v shots, insane close-ups(shamelessly ripped off by leone) and unexpected violence. The most nuanced aspect of the film it's view on the death of the old west is purely Fuller especially with brilliant lines like when Barry Sullivan talking about how gunslinger's are becoming nothing but freaks, says more about the west dying than any Leone western.
Obviously I was pretty taken with the film just when you think you've seen everything the genre has to offer you discover a gem like Forty Guns. However the film still is not perfect it like much of Fuller's work is moe than slightly bogged down by censorship and it's pretty evident however Fuller was clever enough not to try to get around the censors he intentionally make the scene appear pasted on, which still allows the audience to feel what his vision wanted to encompass.
"She's a high ridin' woman with a whip . . .
But if someone could break her and take her whip away,
Someone big, someone strong, someone tall,
You may find that the woman with a whip
...is only a woman after all."
"Get a doctor. She'll live."