4.5 Stars
Year Released: 1957
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 79 minutes
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As part of the Dialogues series, where a director discusses a favourite film that influenced them in some way, Finnish filmmaker Mika Kaurismaki introduced Samuel Fuller’s genre bending western, Forty Guns (1957). Shot in glorious black and white Cinemascope in under 10 days, Fuller’s film is a crazy mish mash of genres. All of the western iconography is present: guns, horses, and cowboy hats, but Fuller messes with convention by blending elements of the melodrama, the comedy, and the musical whenever he feels like it. This sudden juxtaposition of different genres is surprisingly effective. Forty Guns is a wild tale about a black leather-clad cattle baroness (Barbara Stanwyck) who locks horns with a gruff, no-nonsense lawman (Barry Sullivan). The dialogue is liberally sprinkled with sexually-charged double entrendes that are hilariously dated. As with all of Fuller’s films there is never a dull moment. He knew how to tell a good story that kept you engaged and entertained from beginning to end. It doesn’t hurt that he flips many of the western cliches on their head in the process. Brilliant stuff.

Posted on September 28, 1998 in Reviews by

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