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Forty Guns [DVD] [1957]

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson, Gene Barry
  • Directors: Samuel Fuller
  • Producers: Samuel Fuller
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Aug. 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002HSDTG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,169 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Samuel Fuller writes and directs this classic western starring Barbara Stanwyck. The story follows authoritarian rancher Jessica Drummond (Stanwyck), who rules the town of Tombstone in Cochise County, Arizona, with her private posse of forty hired guns, brushing aside the spineless sheriff Ned Logan (Dean Jagger). However, when non-violent lawman Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan) arrives to restore law and order to the county, Jessica finds her emotions interfering with business for the first time as she falls passionately in love with the newcomer.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First, yes, this edition of "Forty Guns" is in widescreen, but there's something odd about widescreen in Black and White, and it's not really a format Fuller took to until the brilliant "The Big Red One" The Big Red One - The Reconstruction (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1980].

Second, Fuller was a victim of regime change at the studio, and had a happy ending forced on him at the end. It is very unsatisfactory, and there were no Director's Cuts in those days.

Stanwyck is the nominal star, but it has to be said that she is not the main character and her ballsiness is comparatively subdued. The main character is Griff (Barry Sullivan), who is trying to give up the gunman's life, but placed in a situation where he has to shoot, and shoot his love as well. This is classic Fuller territory, direct from his ambivalence about his WW2 experiences. However, the final shootout feels rushed, and not nearly as operatic as Mr F was capable of on a good day.

There are three brilliant sequences which are pure Fuller. The trap for Griff set up by the corrupt sheriff, all agonised close-ups and weird angles; a furious tornado which looks pretty damn real and has 50-year-old Stanwyck doing her own stunt as her horse bolts with her foot caught in the stirrup; and a romance scene between brother Chico and Rio, the local gunsmith. A woman gunsmith? Pinned down the sights of a shotgun? ("I've never kissed a gunsmith before.." - "Any recoil?") Only in Fuller....

One thing which distinguishes the movie is its up-front sexuality and relentless innuendo. "Can I touch it?" says cattle queen Babs. "It might go off in your face.." replies Griff/Barry.
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Format: DVD
First thing's first; as another reviewer has mentioned, this DVD is in fact presented in the full widescreen 2.35:1 ratio. The film itself is a wonderful Western which is stylishly filmed and quirkily written and acted. It's a brilliant, wonderfully individualistic film which repays repeat viewings. Barbara Stanwyck is typically excellent and Barry Sullivan is highly effective in his role. Give it a chance and even if you don't like it much first time around, give it a second viewing as it improves greatly. Primarily recommended for Western aficonados, Sam Fuller enthusiasts and general B-Movie fans.
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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 April 2010
Format: DVD
Sam Fuller's films are hard to ignore. They are as bold as brass and are right in your face. His abrasive, raw emotional style assails the senses. In true auteur tradition he wrote, directed and produced this impressive little B western which was made in just over a week. An astonishing achievement it should be said! The film is a rather flamboyant mix of the delirious excesses of "Johnny Guitar"(54) and the more stylised "My Darling Clementine"(46). It is the sort of film you either love, or you hate. There is no in between. I fall on the love it side!

Fuller is clearly influenced by the famous "Gunfight at the OK Corral". Three brothers led by Barry Sullivan arrive at a small Arizona town. They are peace officers sent by the government to effect the arrest of a man employed by the magnificent Barbara Stanwyck. The man happens to be one of her "Forty Guns" who hold the territory in thrall. Sullivan plays Wyatt Earp to Stanwyck's Old Man Clanton. A much more attractive Old Man Clanton than that played by Walter Brennan in "My Darling Clementine", I might add. The brothers even wear the same clothes as the Earp's did. After the shooting of the town marshall the brothers become involved in restoring law and order and head to an inevitable showdown with Stanwyck's wild brother, played by a remarkably James Dean looking John Ericson.

The film contains a number of startling, eye opening scenes that influenced Fuller's younger European contemporaries. There is the famous gunfight scene where Sullivan walks his adversary down, using his mere physical presence to avoid violence, which he studiously tries to avoid. Then there is the rifle framing scene of Eve Brent which Godard copied in "A Bout de Souffle"(60).
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Format: DVD
Sam Fuller’s 1957 western remains (particularly for its time) one of the genre’s most visually interesting (and frequently spectacular) creations. The writer-director’s visual sense is on constant display here (whether it be via the notable long takes, crane shots, stunning framing or lingering close-ups) and Fuller’s eye for detail is brought to vivid life via Joseph Biroc’s superb black-and-white cinematography – which, as in the case of Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (of whose visuals Forty Guns at times reminds me), seems to fit particularly well with Fuller’s conceptualisation.

In the main, Fuller also does an impressive job in marshalling his cast with what was (no doubt) a relatively limited budget, allowing him to cast Barbara Stanwyck as the temperamental ('I was born upset’) and passionate landowner Jessica Drummond, who 'rules’ Cochise county with a rod of iron, supported by her (abundant) titular 'employees’. To be honest, given that Fuller’s film runs to barely 80 minutes, he probably tries to fit too much narrative in, but still manages to construct plenty of memorable set-pieces and to explore his themes of corruption, duplicity and brotherly bonding as Barry Sullivan’s gunfighter (and prosecutor) Griff Bonnell (with brothers Gene Barry’s Wes and 'rookie’ Robert Dix’s Chico in tow) rides into town looking to arrest one of Drummond’s crew. Sullivan is solidly impressive as the calm, uncompromising, at times blasé, enforcer – his two-handers with Stanwyck are full of understated tension – whilst (the normally dependable) Dean Jagger also does well as the conspiring local sheriff, Ned Logan.
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