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Last Train From Gun Hill
Last Train From Gun Hill
Actors: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones, Earl Holliman, Brad Dexter
Director: John Sturges
Genres: Westerns, Classics, Drama, Special Interests, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 35min

Recognizing that wealthy cattle rancher Craig Belden's son, Rick, is one of his wife's killers, Morgan travels to Gun Hill to arrest him. Belden refuses to hand his son over, and Morgan is determined to capture Rick and t...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones, Earl Holliman, Brad Dexter
Director: John Sturges
Creators: Charles Lang, Hal B. Wallis, Paul Nathan, James Poe, Les Crutchfield
Genres: Westerns, Classics, Drama, Special Interests, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Classics, Drama, Child Safety & First Aid, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/09/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Movie Reviews

All aboard!!!
Paul Fogarty | LA, United States | 01/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The title, "Last Train From Gun Hill," tells you so much about this wonderful film; a race against time, a sense of impending doom, something bad's gonna happen... you betcha!

That this film, one of my favorites from the 50's, is based around a somewhat unlikely scenario, plus a monstrous coincidence that no bookie in Vegas would give you odds on, doesn't matter. These are just what Alfred Hitchcock used to call a "McGuffin," a device or prop about which to arrange the action, and let the characters play out their stories.

It stars two powerful actors at the very top of their form; Kirk Douglas as "Marshal Matt Morgan," and Anthony Quinn as "Craig Belden." Morgan is by the book, straight as an arrow, incorruptible, the very personification of moral rectitude, and Belden is a rancher of the old school, he's had to fight tooth and nail for everything he has. The two men are old friends from way-back, each as unbending and unforgiving, in their own way, as the other.

The third major player in this drama is "Rick Belden," Craig's son, superbly played by Earl Holliman, a character the polar-opposite of his father. A weakling, braggart, coward, and a boor, everything he has, from the clothes on his back, to the money in his pocket, to the "friends" who ride with him and buy him whisky, he has for one reason, and one reason only... his last name is Belden!

Director John Sturges doesn't waste any time in setting events in motion; a young Native American woman with a child beside her is riding a horse and buggy through the countryside. She passes three cowpokes making camp, they watch as she goes by, exchange knowing looks, then set off in pursuit, calling out that they just want a little fun as they surround the buggy.

Fearful for herself and her son, the young woman lashes out with a whip and cuts a gash in the cheek of the ringleader, then whips the horse into a gallop, which results in the buggy turning over. The cowboys close in with the ringleader nursing his cut face; the woman tells her son to go for help as she backs away...

The boy returns with help all right, the town Marshal, Matt Morgan! He calls the boy by his first name and searches desperately for the young woman, and you think to yourself, "My, but he's a conscientious Marshal!" And here's that unlikely scenario I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the young Indian woman and her son aren't just town residents, they're Mogan's wife and child!!!

And here comes that coincidence that would freak out the most hardened of Vegas bookies; after discovering his wife's body, Morgan, channeling his grief and rage into finding her rapists/murderers, for the first time examines the horse his son was riding. Sporting an expensive silver-tooled saddle, the horse wears the brand of his old friend... Craig Belden!!!

So, Morgan heads off to "Gun Hill," saddle in tow, to see his old friend. Their first scene together is superb, they share a drink and discuss old times, the way men do. Then Morgan drops his bombshell; Craig's saddle and horse were found at the scene of his wife's rape and murder, he also tells him the culprit will have a pretty good scar on his cheek from the buggy whip!

Craig is genuinely horrified, he saw the scar, and Rick laughed it off, saying it was just some "fun" with a saloon girl that got out of hand. Now he knows that his son is a rapist and a murderer... and because of his reaction, so does Morgan.

Belden begs Morgan to let it go, he's sorry, it must have been an accident, and Rick is his only son, all he has left after his wife died many years ago. Morgan won't, CAN'T, let it go, and you can tell that even if the victim had been a complete stranger to him, his reaction would be the same; this sets up the rest of the film, and the deadly conflict that will engulf all three men.

Douglas, Quinn and Holliman all give excellent performances. Douglas is superb playing conflicted characters, and there's a key scene where Morgan's seething hatred of Rick explodes into physical violence. You see the internal struggle as Morgan fights to choke down his emotions, to stop himself from taking the man's life with his bare hands, and instead coldly describes what's going to happen to Rick when they put a rope around his neck and hang him.

Quinn has a role he can similarly sink his teeth into, and he does! Although less sympathetic a character than Morgan, Craig is a man you can almost feel sorry for. Proud of all he has achieved, and desperately wanting to be proud of his only son and heir, he knows Rick is a weakling and a coward, just as he knows he's partly to blame. When he faces Rick for the first time after discovering the truth, there's an electric tension in the air; Rick approaches his father, ready with more lies and evasions, and Craig turns his back and walks away. He's holding a pair of heavy work gloves, and you half expect him to turn and lash out at his son in disgust and despair.

Holliman has a thankless task, Rick has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and he plays the part to the hilt. Whining, wheedling, lying and bullying, this is a character you can love to hate! There's also a terrific supporting performance from Carolyn Jones, TV's original "Morticia Addams," as "Linda," Craig's - sometimes abused?! -girlfriend.

Even with its somewhat contrived set-up, this is still a film I can recommend highly; Sturges and his stars do a first class job!
Superb Kirk Douglas Western - His Best
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 06/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Kirk Douglas and director John Sturges had worked together in 1957's The Gunfight at The OK Corral, and Douglas and frequent co-star Burt Lancaster had made a memorable Wyatt Earp/Doc Holliday pair.

So when the pair reteamed for 1959's Last Train From Gun Hill, it stood to reason that it would be at least a good film. Well, it's a great film, Douglas' best Western, and one of the great Westerns in the great Western movie heyday in the 50's.

Douglas plays Matt Morgan, a town marshal whose Indian wife is raped and murdered by a young hoodlum from the town of Gun Hill. Morgan finds out that the punk is the son of Gun Hill's owner and boss Craig Belden. Morgan and Belden were saddle pals in the past, and Belden once saved Morgan's life. When Morgan sees that Belden is going to protect his son, Morgan overpowers the son, and holds up with him in a hotel, planing to take the son to justice on the last train out that evening.

This movies has everything-great performances, a great script, and a aura of suspense that is sometimes nerve wracking. Last Train From Gun Hill is a must for every Western movie collector."
Enjoyable but Unmemorable
Westley | Stuck in my head | 04/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Last Train from Gun Hill" is a solid Western released in 1959. Kirk Douglas stars as Matt Morgan, a Marshal in a small western town (the movie was filmed in Arizona). He's married to a beautiful Native American woman (the movie uses the terms of the time and calls her a "squaw"), who is raped and murdered. He determines to find out who killed her, with only one clue - a saddle inscribed with initials. He turns to one of his best friends, Anthony Quinn (Craig Belden), for help. He eventually discovers who the guilty parties are, which leads to a number of complications for the main characters.

You get about what you'd expect from a Western from this era - a few gun fights, somewhat wooden dialogue, and a general lack of realism. Fortunately, the movie is buoyed considerably by the presence of Douglas and Quinn; Carolyn Jones is also quite good as Quinn's confused, rebellious girlfriend. Director John Sturges had done better work before this movie (Bad Day at Black Rock, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) and would go on to do better work in the future (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape). In fact, he was nominated for an Academy Award in 1955 for Best Director for "Bad Day at Black Rock." However, overall, I enjoyed "Last Train from Gun Hill," even if I'm unlikely to remember it for more than a week.
Looking For Revenge in Gun Hill
R. Webb | u.s.a. | 10/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Another John Sturges classic western as we see Kirk Douglas as a marshal seeking revenge for the senseless slaying of his wife as the bloody trail leads to a best friend from the past who would be the great Anthony Quinn,Quinn is a head honcho rancher with alot on his mind trying to raise his son the way he wants him to be,meanwhile the marshal is persistent and determined to set the record straight at any odds or lengths to find the ruthless killer,and the people in town do everything they can to stand in the way,a good solid western with two elite actors,a Paramount DVD,16x9 widescreen,no extras."