The Gunfighter 11/21/20

The Criterion Collection

When Hollywood from time to time reinvented the western the results were sometimes sensationally good, as attested to by this superior neglected classic. We’d call it the first psychological western if the term weren’t so limiting. Gregory Peck once again proves how good he can be when well cast and he’s surrounded by fine characterizations, not typical oater walk-ons. The screenplay and direction are so pleasing that the downbeat finale isn’t a drawback — it doesn’t strain to enforce an irony, or to sell a deep-dish ‘author’s message.’ This one’s just a winner in all categories. Co-starring Helen Westcott, Millard Mitchell, Skip Homeier, Jean Parker, Karl Malden & Anthony Ross. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.