Sunday, June 30, 2013

TWO-GUN LADY (1955)

If the movie TWO-GUN LADY were as good as its poster I'd love it. Sadly, it's not even half as good as the poster.

The film was just another dashed off ten cent oater that came and went without anyone taking notice. It's mostly notable today because it stars Peggie (spelled with a Y here) Castle, Marie Windsor, and William Talman--all excellent film noir stars. Its notable qualities end there, however, because none of these charismatic and capable actors get to do much.

Castle is the lady of the title, a sharp-shooter whose trying to track down her father's killer. Windsor plays the harpy who's in her way, and Talman plays the lawman Castle eventually falls in love with.

When William Talman is your romantic leading man you're in trouble. Talman is most famous today for playing Perry Mason's hapless legal opponent, the DA Hamilton Burger, but he's better known to noir fans as the deranged pyscho of a half dozen fifties thrillers, most memorably in Ida Lupino's THE HITCH-HIKER. He was a fine actor and a striking screen presence, but watching him suck in his gut and try to play a love scene with beautiful Peggie Castle is just painful. (Maybe it was painful for him as well. He looks miserable.)

For me the biggest sin here is that the film is so flaccid and uninspired. Look at the that poster again. It promises a firecracker leading lady kicking ass and looking good doing it. Peggie Castle was a wonderful actress, but she's miscast as a woman of passion. She was a cool screen presence rather than a hot one. Of course, she could have been excellent a killer coldly seeking revenge, but the film doesn't even consider that possibility. Instead, what we get is one boring expository scene after another, with a poorly done action sequence thrown in occasionally.



     

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