An average western emblazened by the use of 3D. 3.5 Stars

Raoul Walsh’s Gun Fury is a fairly standard western in most respects with its good guys versus bad guys and filled with all of the tropes of the genre.

Gun Fury (1953)
Released: 11 Nov 1953
Rated: APPROVED
Runtime: 83 min
Director: Raoul Walsh
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Cast: Rock Hudson, Donna Reed, Philip Carey, Roberta Haynes
Writer(s): Irving Wallace (screenplay), Roy Huggins (screenplay), Kathleen B. Granger (novel), George Granger (novel), Robert A. Granger (novel)
Plot: In Arizona, Frank Slayton's gang robs a stagecoach and kidnaps Ben Warren's fiancée, prompting Warren to pursue Slayton.
IMDB rating: 6.1
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: Twilight Time
Video Resolution: 1080P/MVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 22 Min.
Package Includes: 3D Blu-ray
Case Type: clear keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: All
Release Date: 09/19/2017
MSRP: $29.95

The Production: 3/5

Raoul Walsh’s Gun Fury is a fairly standard western in most respects with its good guys versus bad guys and filled with all of the tropes of the genre. But it has a fine cast and is helmed by one of Hollywood’s most underrated directors. What’s more, he has 3D at his disposal, and he uses it both with alacrity and effectiveness. In short, Gun Fury ends up being more than a sum of its parts.

California-bound peace-loving rancher Ben Warren (Rock Hudson) is shot and left for dead when a disenfranchised ex-Confederate, Frank Slayton (Phil Carey), kidnaps his bride-to-be Jennifer Ballard (Donna Reed) after he and his gang rob the stage of its hefty gold shipment. Once he’s revived, Ben sets out to rescue her. Along the way, he picks up Jess Burgess (Leo Gordon), a former member of Slayton’s gang who objected to the abduction of Jennifer, and Indian local Johash (Pat Hogan) who has his own score to settle with the outlaws. Together they embark on a dangerous chase to stop the wily Slayton as the gang heads toward the Mexican border and freedom.

Novelist Irving Wallace and longtime western writer Roy Huggins join forces to concoct the screenplay based on the novel Ten Against Caesar. There’s nothing particularly original in their narrative: we get the usual chases and holdups and shootouts, the continual betrayals, a jealous female embittered by her man’s taking up with another woman, and the final face-off between hero and villain. Along the way, we have to allow considerable dramatic license (the bad guys look at the shot Ben Warren and declare him dead even though he would have to be breathing to still be alive when he comes to later, Warren blindly trusts Slayton in a later maneuver even though he’s continually been proven to be a liar), but director Raoul Walsh keeps things moving at such a rapid clip (it’s basically a chase movie) and sustains the tension so well that we can skim over these lapses and just enjoy the beautiful location scenery and the inventive use of 3D. In addition to lots of forward projections, the 3D and Walsh’s use of non-anamorphic widescreen give additional expanse to the locations that afford this modest western more of an epic feel. And the mostly youthful cast are obviously enjoying getting to take center stage in their own film rather than supporting other big stars.

Rock Hudson’s law-abiding, peace-loving Ben Warren gives him a strong leading role with some flavor to it as he plays a man fed up with fighting and killing but who must put aside his principles and take up arms again to reclaim his love and battle for the life he wants. Donna Reed isn’t given much to do as the woman coveted by two men aside from finding ways to run away and being thwarted every time by her own inexperience in the wide open spaces. Phil Carey has a juicy villain’s role getting a couple of nicely-penned monologues bemoaning the lost graces of the pre-Civil War South and ignoring all entreaties by his men to give up the abducted woman (surprisingly, he has a loving woman waiting for him – Roberta Haynes’ fiery and furious Estella Morales – but he ditches her for the memories of past Southern charms which Jennifer offers). Leo Gordon also gets an excellent supporting role as Jess Burgess, right-hand man to Slayton whose disagreement with his boss over the abduction of the girl leads to their falling out. The teamwork he and Hudson’s Warren display through the central portion of the movie is one of the script’s interesting switches that actually works. Three other members of Slayton’s gang all get moments to strut their stuff, and they all do quite well: the young Lee Marvin as the reckless Blinky, Neville Brand as Blinky’s compadre Brazos, and Robert Herron’s Curly who tries to do the right thing by releasing Jennifer and pays the price for his betrayal.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: 5/5

The film’s original theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio is faithfully rendered in 1080p using the AVC (2D)/MVC (3D) codec. While sharpness and color densities in long shots sometimes appear a little lacking with some softness and color fading, there is plenty of detail and excellent color rendering in medium shots and especially close-ups. The grain structure seems to be solidly presented (those who like their images smooth will not be happy with the look of the movie), and black levels, though sometimes a bit inconsistent, are mostly quite inky and impressive. The image is certainly free from age-related artifacts like dirt and scratches. The movie has been divided into 24 chapters.

The 3D utilization is frankly superb with the expanses of the location work furthered even more by the use of the process. The main streets of the various towns which they visit look much wider in 3D, and hotel rooms and other interiors likewise seem much larger in scope through the use of this process. But the forward projections are what will delight 3D fans as a succession of objects come sailing forth from a rattlesnake strike to knife thrusts, and thrown crockery, logs, and rocks all projecting forward. A couple of point of view shots near the film’s beginning also put the viewer right into the scene, and when the shot is reversed and we see the stagecoach driver right in our faces, it’s a wonderfully composed 3D moment.

Audio: 4.5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix is pretty much what one would expect for a film from this period. Dialogue has been professionally recorded and is always discernible, mixed with surety with the background score and the atmospheric effects. There are no problems with age-related hiss, crackle, thumps, or flutter.

Special Features: 2.5/5

Isolated Score Track: presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono

Theatrical Trailer (2:10, 2D/3D HD): nice to have the trailer in both formats just like the film itself.

Six-Page Booklet: contains a color and some tinted stills, original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s appreciation for the film and especially its director.

Overall: 3.5/5

Twilight Time’s fantastic release of Raoul Walsh’s Gun Fury adds yet another Golden Age 3D film to avid viewer collections. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested in purchasing it should go to either www.twilighttimemovies.com or www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.

Published by

Matt Hough

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Robin9

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Thanks for the review.

I have to question your description of Raoul Walsh as "one of Hollywood’s most underrated directors" by asking: underrated by whom? Certainly not by film buffs of my generation. Raoul Walsh was generally recognised by us as being in the same very high league as Victor Fleming and Michael Curtiz; versatile masters who could handle any genre and get good results including really good performances from actors and actresses who previously had not distinguished themselves.
 

Malcolm R

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Thanks for the review.

I have to question your description of Raoul Walsh as "one of Hollywood’s most underrated directors" by asking: underrated by whom? Certainly not by film buffs of my generation. Raoul Walsh was generally recognised by us as being in the same very high league as Victor Fleming and Michael Curtiz; versatile masters who could handle any genre and get good results including really good performances from actors and actresses who previously had not distinguished themselves.
I think the key there is "film buffs". As a casual film fan, I would recognize the names Fleming and Curtiz in a conversation. I wouldn't recognize Walsh.
 
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Robin9

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You're probably right.

In a way, I envy you. You still have the chance to discover the vast and varied Raoul Walsh filmography. It's a very distinguished body of work. White Heat would be a good starting point.
 

Rob W

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Your reviews says this is 1:85 but that screen grab appears to be a solid 1:33.... can you clear this up for us, please ?
 

Mike Ballew

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Interesting fact: Raoul Walsh, like fellow 3-D directors Andre De Toth and Herbert L. Strock, had sight in only one eye.

Lee Marvin makes an interesting remark in an interview I saw on YouTube. He mentions appearing in three 3-D movies--The Stranger Wore a Gun, Gun Fury, and Gorilla at Large--then laughs that none of those three directors had binocular vision.

This of course raises a question: Was Gorilla director Harmon Jones blind in one eye? Or was Marvin misremembering?
 

Randy Korstick

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I was never a big fan of this particular western. I thought it was just okay so I'm looking forward to finally watching it in 3-D.
Yes its a very run of the mill western but entertaining for western fans. I can image the biggest draw would be the 3D. I had planned to get a 3D tv when my current tv from 2014 dies or is starting to go out. That probably/hopefully wont be for 3-4 years yet. I have been stock piling some 3D films on Blu Ray. I will probably wait for a sale on this title. The big issue is will I still be able to get a 3D TV in 3-4 years. I am hoping they start adding the option to 4K tvs in 2019.
 

Robert Crawford

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Yes its a very run of the mill western but entertaining for western fans. I can image the biggest draw would be the 3D. I had planned to get a 3D tv when my current tv from 2014 dies or is starting to go out. That probably/hopefully wont be for 3-4 years yet. I have been stock piling some 3D films on Blu Ray. I will probably wait for a sale on this title. The big issue is will I still be able to get a 3D TV in 3-4 years. I am hoping they start adding the option to 4K tvs in 2019.
There is a general feeling that's not going to happen with panels. Projectors might be your only option.

https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/posts/4526505/
 

bob kaplan

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I'm not a fan of the Western but I really enjoy 3D. GUN FURY is a great little piece with big stars in big spaces doing a little acting. The 3D made this opus totally enjoyable as I looked at the distant wide open spaces and the close ups of the gun barrels and tossing rocks....(pun intended--with or without the capital R). Ms. Reed never does reach the emotional state shown on the cover of the disc (which really doesn't look an awful lot like her), but she is there with her beautiful eyes. The 3D really accentuates the rocky nature of the trails and open lands...and thus I really felt sorry for the horse and the stuff they must have had to go through to make the movie. There is a bit of stereotyping to make you feel uncomfortable...Mexicans, Indians, women, and men.....those were the days and thanks goodness they are over...Great little disc and a good time...and super 3D!
 
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Clayking38

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I'm not sure what is meant by a "standard" Western. I saw this some years ago during a 3D festival in Suffern, NY. Bob Furmanek was involved, and the presentation was flawless. I remember it being an action-packed entertaining film with some tremendous 3D effects. One stands out: a shot looking forward atop a stagecoach driver's seat, and then a reverse angle. I can't wait to see this again. And yes, I'm also concerned about being able to see 3D blu-rays when my set eventually needs to be replaced. How much can the added circuity cost for a passive system in a 4K set?. Not every house has the layout to use a projector.
 

Konstantinos

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I wonder if any filter is missing on the bluray, given the fact that it was restored to 3d.

here in the dvd the scene looks like it is night, while in the bluray it looks like day.
I don't remember the film, to see if it's implied what part of day it is.
http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&a=0&d1=10830&d2=10829&s1=105822&s2=105832&i=5&l=0

(the rest of the comparisons seem consistent, that's why i thought something might be missing)

I can recall a similar thing in Conan the Barbarian, where the bluray seemed to miss a night filter.
 

Tino

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Just watched it. Entertaining enough. I certainly wouldn’t call it action packed tho. 3-D was fine.

Although there is one shot that for some reason isn’t in 3D. It’s at about the 12 minute mark with Hudson and Reed at the dinner table. It’s about a 5 second shot. Curious.