They don’t make ‘em like they used to. Making its UK Blu-ray debut comes Henry King’s hidden gem Western The Gunfighter, starring Gregory Peck as an infamous outlaw riding into a small town trying to find peace after a lifetime of notoriety. With a wonderfully simple story and charming performances, this one is an absolute must for anyone craving some old-school escapism.
At a very tight 85 mins, The Gunfighter is a short and sweet mini-masterpiece boasting all the hallmarks of the genre and a winning performance from the impeccably handsome and velvet-voiced Peck. He is astoundingly good here, injecting warmth and heart into a dark character who simply wants to put his past behind him.
A supporting cast including Millard Mitchell as the town’s Marshal and Skip Homeier as a volatile young wannabe outlaw are excellent, but this is Peck’s film through and through – even if the studio hated his moustache. The story goes that the head of production at Fox, Spyros P. Skouras, was out of town when the film’s production began and by the time he got back, so much of the film had been shot that it was too late to order Peck to shave it off and re-shoot. After the film underperformed at the box office, Skouras reportedly said, “that mustache cost us millions.”
Arriving on Blu-ray with a sparkling transfer and original mono audio, the film looks and sounds sublime, while an insightful introduction from Repo Man director Alex Cox offers a heartfelt tribute. The Gunfighter is one of those films that feels like a warm, cosy blanket. It’s totally unchallenging and comforting, harking back to the glory days of the Hollywood Western.
THE GUNFIGHTER is available now on Blu-ray from Signal One Entertainment