Barbara Stanwyck in Forty Guns (dir. Samuel Fuller, 1957).
Gene Barry, Robert Dix, and Barry Sullivan.
Barbara Stanwyck's role in Forty Guns is in some ways similar to the part she played a few years earlier in Anthony Mann's The Furies: a gutsy frontier matriarch who rules her ranch with an iron (albeit nicely manicured) hand. In both films, she's the core of emotional energy--her presence is inimitably, passionately electric. She vies compellingly with Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar for the distinction of ultimate western dragon lady.
The plot here is almost shapeless. It's been about a month now since I watched it, and I couldn't tell you the storyline if my life depended on it. What I remember is Fuller's riveting staging, and the overall mood of psychological wryness translated into kinetic strings of sexually charged code-images. If Hitchcock had ever done a western, it might have resembled this, at least visually. (Wow--don't you wish Hitchcock had done a western?)
Labels: Samuel Fuller