Thursday, August 8, 2013

Gun Street

Sometimes it’s hard to see how a movie got made, and Gun Street is one of those movies.  Opening with a shot of a deputy sheriff, played by John Clarke, practicing his fast draw—which isn’t anywhere near the caliber of Kid Curry’s—the sheriff of the unnamed town, played by James Brown, observes, “That fast draw business is over-rated.”  A good line, but from there, the movie goes downhill.

The plot of Gun Street revolves around an escaped convict by the name of Gary Wells who killed a guard during his getaway, and who now seems to be headed for his old hometown.  The audience gets his backstory as the sheriff, who grew up with the man, tells his deputy all about the dastardly fellow. 

Next we see the two lawmen visiting, in turn, the ex-wife of the criminal, who is married to the town doctor; a sister, married to a lout of a husband; and another sister, who runs a saloon.  There’s also an overbearing mayor and a scared witness from the trial that convicted Wells and sent him to prison for six years.  That allows the movie to show the audience a cross-section of how the townsfolk react to the news of the escape.

Gun Street—and I have no idea why the movie is named that, for there is no showdown on the main street, nor is there any gun play at all to speak of—then spends the rest of its time dithering over how to track down Wells, with the sheriff periodically stating how much he doesn’t want to be the sheriff anymore.  There are several scenes that show the sheriff and his deputy interacting with the townspeople and riding off to various locations as they endeavor to capture the escaped convict.

The only connection to ASJ that I could find was that in the ex-wife’s house and a sister’s house, there were “rope curtains,” similar to the one in the Porterville saloon in the Pilot.   Certainly, the sheriff in Gun Street was nothing like Lom Trevors (in any of his incarnations) or even any of the more comedic sheriffs in the show.  The only interesting feature of this movie was that there were telephones in the sheriff’s office and the doctor’s home, and when those people used them to communicate with each other, they did it so matter-of-factly it was obvious the instrument was no longer a novelty.

But overall, this 1961 black and white movie was more like a bad TV show than a feature length film.  Fortunately, Gun Street was only 67 minutes long.