Five Guns West
Steven Hellerstedt | 08/15/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Five thugs are released from jail by the Confederacy during the waning days of the Civil War and promised lucre and freedom if they can recapture a traitor in Union custody and return him "dead or alive."
FIVE GUNS WEST is an early film from independent movie icon Roger Corman. It's a bit like a young DIRTY DOZEN made on the cheap and played in chaps. Cheap is the word for it, too. Reports have it that this tale of an ornery fistful of sociopaths was shot in 8 days and came in on a budget of $60,000.
A good hunk of that budget must have gone to the movie's star John Lund, who gave the film a somewhat familiar name to put over the title and... well, that's about it. The handsome, blonde Lund wasn't known for projecting much personality during his film career.
Their mission, to intercept a Union-army guarded stagecoach carrying the traitor, takes them through Indian country to a deserted town where the stage is scheduled to change horses. The only folk left in the town are a feeble old sot and his beautiful, perfectly coifed niece, played by Dorothy Malone. The appearance of Ms. Malone provides a catalyst for a new round of ground dynamics.
Corman's popularity eludes me. I admire him for his independent success, but his movies seem rushed and cheap, and FIVE GUNS WEST is no exception. For Roger Corman and die-hard Western fans only.
randall w. pretzer | corpus christi, texas United States | 12/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This western, directing debut of Roger Corman, pre-dates the Dirty Dozen by about 22 years and also Roger Cormans own 1964 film, The Secret Invasion. A group of criminals are pardoned and hired by the Confederate Government to intercept a Union Cargo Wagon and during the trip, the criminals try to form alliances with each other and what follows is a betrayel and a neat plot twist at the end. This is film is not very stylish or interesting in terms of its technical aspects. It is told in a straight-forward and unflinching manner. It is surprising also to find very little violence or action in this first Western by Corman. The plot, however, is what makes it interesting and worth watching. The opening scene introduces the five criminals and their crimes are listed as they are standing side by side. The Dirty Dozen starts off in exactly the same way and it may have lifted that scene from Five Guns West. The twist at the end could have pre-dated The Wild Geese and countless other movies. The climax proves that nothing is as it seems. Overall, it is a pretty tame exercise coming from Roger Corman. There is not an ounce of sex or excessive violence or even style but Roger Corman was not known for the quality of his films or even style but efficiency and an ability to mass produce low budget films for less than 2 dollars and no more than maybe 5,000 dollars. He also is known for starting the careers of such famed actors as Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Francis Ford Coppola. Even though this film is not what you would typically expect from Corman, it is well-worth seeing if anything just for the fact that the plot itself and premise seems to have been lifted by The Dirty Dozen 22 years later."
DO NOT EXPECT TOO MUCH
Kay's Husband | Virginia, U.S.A. | 07/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
As western fans, do not expect too much from this 1955 movie and you will not be let down. I grew up watching westerns in the 1950s and somehow had never seen this one, let alone heard of it. Saw it a short time back on Encore westerns, and if you stay with the beginning that seems to go nowhere, part way through the movie it does begin to go somewhere. Whether that 'somewhere' will be to your taste is a valid question.
Few reviews mention the group of 5 men traveling through Comanche Indian country with subsequent run in with at least one perimeter Comanche scout group. Though this is a low budget movie, definitely B class or less, there are few backlot or stage scenes, with most of the movie shot out-of-doors. That allows some fresh reality to the movie, whether by design or accident I do not know. I recognize the name 'Roger Corman' but have no feelings for the man one way or another, but the film he put together here is of some significance in that being a watcher of untold westerns, I have seen few if any similar to this one. And though I have the DVD of The Dirty Dozen on hand, do not see much similarity between the two movies.
If you stay with this movie you will be rewarded with a low budget, 1950s style B movie with few known stars and an uncertain plot of uncertain ending. But by movie's ending the general viewer will no doubt allow a 2 or 3 star rating to the film. And I am somewhat surprised no one mentions the small twist ending this film offers in John Lund's role.
While John Lund is not my idea of a western movie actor he does acquit himself very well here; and for my taste, Dorothy Malone is always worth watching. The 'Candy brothers' are both a few sandwiches shy of a picnic but that only lends zany, knife wielding fun to the movie, and Mike Connors, though billed in the credits as 'Touch' Connors, has a few ragged edges to his acting that had improved by the time of Mannix. So if you have nothing better to watch, try watching this one, not a bad movie but for me nothing above a 3 star one, and that may be stretching it just a wee bit.
Five Guns West
Jose A. M. Nolla | San Juan, PR Puerto Rico | 05/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Good story of The War Between the States west of the Mississippi River. Casting and plot development could have been better. There was a CSA Ranger outfit that operated from northwestern Texas into eastern New Mexico and southern Colorado which could have carried out the mission a lot better than convicts. But its good to see a story, seldon seen, of the war this far west."