Van Heflin played second lead in a score of pictures over 3 decades. In this excellent western he gets to play the lead, and his performance is one of the greatest of his long career. He displays a completely believable fatherly range of emotion and makes the audience identify with his 'how the west was won' mentality. Phil Karlson's deft direction keeps the pacing of this picture very crisp and poignant. The settings and western scenes are also quite excellent. All of this has been said without mentioning Tab Hunter's taught performance, which is really the defining touch that makes this movie great. Surprisingly, Hunter was a teen idol especially developed by the movie studio to be just another screen image. He defied the studios by delivering this amazing performance as a wild and reckless young man growing up in the shadow of his father's hard nosed old western legacy, determined to leave his own stamp on the developing times in the west. Gunman's Walk may be the most underrated western in screen history. It almost feels like a real metaphor for the western motif, and the changing civilization that beckons just over the horizon.
Action / Western
Action / Western
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Widower Lee Hackett (Van Heflin),a cattle rancher who is a product of the old west, tries to bring up his two sons, Ed (Tab Hunter) and Davy (James Darren),in his image, but Ed is wild and unruly. The two brothers are both attracted to Clee Chouard (Kathryn Grant) but she prefers Davy. Ed's efforts to outshine his father and brother and everyone else lead him into a career of a gunfighter, and a confrontation with his father.
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