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This Gun For Hire [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, Laird Cregar, Alan Ladd, Tully Marshall
  • Directors: Frank Tuttle
  • Producers: Richard Blumenthal
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Feb. 2007
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KJT7QO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,941 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Classic '40s noir starring Veronica Lake. A hit man, called Raven (Alan Ladd), is double-crossed by nightclub owner Willard Gates (Laird Cregar) who acts as a middleman for a traitorous industrialist Alvin Brewster (Tully Marshall). Traveling to Los Angeles to kill his way to the top of his betrayers, Raven meets up with Ellen Graham (Veronica Lake) a nightclub magician and singer. Graham's been enlisted by a senator to use Gates to find out who is making deals to manufacture poison gas for the Japanese. Ellen's fiancée Lt. Michael Crane (Robert Preston) tries as best he can to keep up, tracking Raven while wondering if his girlfriend has been kidnapped or is a willing accomplice.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bo on 30 Aug. 2004
Format: DVD
Shocking blonde Veronica Lake with the famous peek-a-boo hairdo covering her right eye and the equally diminutive Alan Ladd were Paramount's version of Warner's Bogart & Bacall. The poor man's Bogie & Bacall, as it were.
'This Gun for Hire', based on the Graham Greene classic 'A Gun for Sale', was always a favourite film noir of mine, even though Hollywood tried to make Greene's anti-hero more palatable by changing his hare-lip into a deformed wrist. It is still quite an astonishingly desillusioned look at society and man's chances at survival, and the film easily holds up with the greatest of Warner's classics of the time. This new (and first) DVD edition lovingly recreates the gorgeous B&W cinematography with wonderful texture to make the rain-wet streets and the chiaroscuro sink in.
Obviously, 'This Gun for Hire' is somewhat influenced by the fact that it was made during WW2, but the patriotism never takes the upper hand, as could have been feared. Ladd made his debut as the soft-spoken, tender killer with a soft spot for kittens, and Lake exudes Hollywood glamour times 100 as the cop girlfriend who helps out.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kentspur VINE VOICE on 7 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This Gun for Hire is famous as the film that launched Alan Ladd's career, but - in the extensive literature covering the film noir era - is not considered one of the top notch examples of the genre. I think this is unfair.

Unlike many more famous noirs (honourable exceptions here are The Killers and Double Indemnity), This Gun for Hire does not have an utterly incomprehensible plot, best ignored in favour of witty characters and effective lighting. Alan Ladd - as killer Philip Raven - is simply after revenge on the people who have double crossed him and, as such, he is reminiscent of Lee Marvin in the astonishing Point Blank. He is implacable and remorseless - unsmiling and laconic. In short, he's great. Star power pulses out of every frame. The opening sequence is rightly acclaimed and - second to The Killers - I think it is the best opening in noir. Raven is utterly unsympathetic - he slaps the maid around - but controlled and compelling. (And this thing was made in 1942!)

The only clunking piece of plot is when Raven happens to bump into Veronica lake on a train to LA as she is already involved with the men who have double crossed the killer. Lake was a strange actress and this is a strange character - dressed in a 'fishing' outfit for one of the two songs (she's a cabaret singer) that is so fetishist, it has to be seen to be believed - but she 'works' in this film and not just because she was short enough to pley with Ladd without him needing a box to stand on. Laird Cregar, as the baddie Gates - is astonishing. He's twenty-six. Watch the tilm and try and convince yourself of that. It's just another point of interest in this remarkable film.

Ultimately the reason this film is still available on DVD, nearly seventy years after it was made, is Alan Ladd's portrayal of Raven. It is one of the great film portrayals and was rightly 'homaged' by Alain Delon in Le Samourai. This film is not expensive, so buy it. It bears repeated viewing.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
This is a straight-forward, linear, quick-moving story based on a much more interesting book. But it's still an entertaining movie, and probably close to required viewing if you enjoy noir and/or Forties movies.

Raven (Alan Ladd) is a hired killer, evidently without remorse or nerves, who is paid to knock off a blackmailer. The blackmailer was trying to take to the cleaners a corrupt industrialist who was coincidentally helping the enemy. (This is during WWII.) However, Raven is paid in counterfeit bills on the assumption the police will catch him when he spends the money. He discovers the plot and decides to take out the guy who hired him and the fellow, the industrialist, who was behind it all.

The movie bills Veronica Lake and Robert Preston above the title, Laird Cregar just below the title, and Alan Ladd last in big type as "Introducing Alan Ladd." Some introduction; according to IMDb, Ladd had already appeared in more than 40 films in unbilled and minor parts.

This was Ladd's breakthrough movie and he's very good in it. I don't think he was much of an actor, but he had a lot of star presence, especially in the movies he made in the Forties. There was always something passive but potentially dangerous about him. His looks could have kept him in the pretty boy category, but for whatever reason didn't. Veronica Lake, for me, is something of an acquired taste, but for whatever reason she and Ladd made an effective pairing that was repeated several times. Laird Cregar played the heavy, and he was an interesting actor. Big and fleshy, he was something of a Raymond Burr type but more versatile. Robert Preston is seldom mentioned in regard to this movie and this must have ticked him off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: DVD
Phillip Raven is a hit man of no obvious moral fibre, he literally will kill anyone for the right price. After fulfilling a contract for the chocolate munching Willard Gates, he finds himself pursued by the law on account that he was paid by Gates with stolen money. Raven sets out for the ultimate revenge and dovetailing towards the explosive finale with him is sultry conjurer Ellen Graham and honest cop Michael Crane.

Based on the Graham Greene novel A Gun for Sale, this is not a straight out adaptation, the plot has been re-jigged with very impressive results. The most enlightening thing I found when reading up on the film was that the studio were so blown away by the efforts of Alan Ladd as Raven, they turned the script around to make him the film's chief axis, and boy what a smart move that was for this is Alan Ladd's show all the way.

Ladd plays Raven with brilliant icy veneer, he's cold and devoid of emotion, his only trip to anything resembling caring is an affinity to cats because in his own words, "cats don't need anyone, they are on their own, just like me", the result is one of the most unnerving killers put on to the 40s cinema screens. Veronica Lake is the stunning female of the piece, she glides through the picture with ease as Ellen, a character with her own issues, but thankfully she's integral outside of any sort of romantic plot, even though she is the only one who gets close enough to Raven to learn anything about what makes him tick. Robert Preston as Michael Crane was to be the film's focus but he becomes a mere side part thanks to Ladd's barnstorming show, and Laird Cregar is suitably shifty as Gates.

It's a fine film in its own right, it's tightly filmed, wonderfully scripted and contains a great noir ending, but ultimately it's all about the cold as death hit-man Raven, and the great performance by the man who played him. 8.5/10
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