Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Stranger Wore a Gun

Now I know that even Randolph Scott can have an off day or, in this case, an off movie! The Stranger Wore a Gun is the kind of movie that has everything but quality in it.

It's also in 3-D; I never knew Westerns were made in that format. The 3-D effects are very obvious: guns pointing and shooting directly into the camera, other objects thrown toward the camera, rocks in the foreground and a fire that are clearly meant to be seen through 3-D glasses.

The first scenes in this 1953 movie show yet another version of Quantrill's raid on Lawrence. I suppose ninety years is not really that long a time after the event, which is why a number of movies from the mid-twentieth century depicted it.

Then the plot, such as it is, shifts to a riverboat and finally to Prescott, Arizona, where Scott's character, a former spy for Quantrill's Raiders, gets mixed up with a former Confederate soldier and the men who work for him, a gang of outlaws, and a stagecoach business, along with a mysterious woman from his past who's followed him to Prescott; there's lots of action but somehow the movie seems to drag.

There are numerous, though tenuous, connections to ASJ: The outlaw gang leader wears the strap to his hat in the same fashion as Clint Weaver in Stagecoach Seven; Scott's character wears a shirt that is similar to Kid's red lace-up shirt, except that in the movie here, Scott's shirt stays laced up; and the outlaw gang leader wears a blue polka-dot bandana like Pete did in some episodes.

But the most interesting connection for me was when some of the characters were shown playing faro. The sign on the outside of the saloon in The McCreedy Bust advertised faro but I'd never before seen people playing it, though I have played an online version of the game. Perhaps I would have liked The Stranger Wore a Gun more if I'd watched the whole movie in 3-D but since I didn't, I think only avid Randolph Scott fans will enjoy it.

Link to online faro (click on the link at the bottom of the main text page to play):