Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week 130: Five Guns West
Like some others, I regret that Roger Corman stopped directing to focus solely on producing. But having helmed as many films as he did in a short time (he’ll have me beat no matter how hard I try) and made several B-movie classics, I understand why he made have handed the torch over to other directors. This Western of his has been on my list for a while.
On paper, it probably sounds more epic than it is, with five criminals hired by the Confederacy to travel as fast as they can to stop a man whose actions may effect the war. However, Corman crafts the film in a very simple way. It’s clear that he shot in relatively the same location, choosing to focus on the power dynamic between the outlaws in lots of camp scenes, simple riding moments, and a second half that takes place entirely on a ranch property. All of this would work beautifully but there are two missing elements: 1. The script isn’t very smart; the dialog often obvious. 2. The actors aren’t good enough to create much intrigue.
Even Dorothy Malone, who usually sizzles off the screen, isn’t given much to do here. It’s too bad that the usual sensationalism from a Corman picture isn’t evident here. Everyone, even the king of the Bs, misses sometimes.
Watched on Tubi.