The Man Behind the Gun
When I first rode into town a couple of days ago, Captain Roy (Philip Carey), you accused me of being a 'murderous traitor' who left the Army cause I killed a man in cold blood. What's more, you're lady-friend Lora (Patrice Wymore) thought I was a teacher. Where as my two pals presumed I would play along with their money-making shenanigans.
allow me to reassure you I'm none of these things. In actual fact I'm Major
Ransome Callicut (Randolph Scott). And our superiors back home have sent me here to Los
Angeles to investigate a very heinous crime. A crime
so heinous that it involves a dead Senator, an evil businessman, a Spanish
senorita, plus a ploy centered on land-snatch-rite's within the vicinity.
Still. That doesn't worry two army men like us, does it my friend? Crime and rivalry are nothing more than stock-in-trade for our dedicated profession. Especially if what next transpires all takes a run and jump when a Mexican bandit also decides to help us out. As a dead man starts walking - a Spanish singer does some talking - two ladies have a good old fight - and at the end of the day, a Major makes sure that everything turns out fairly alright.
[ NOT THE TRAILER, BUT A RELATED SONG INSTEAD ]
Suspenseful and funny. That's how I would define 'The Man Behind The Gun'. And one of the main reasons why I say this, is because these two elements were able to transform this film from being a fairly so-so adventure, to a more enjoyable and dynamic adventure.
Thankfully, half way through this picture -- when
finally revealed who he was -- the plot became far more clearer because he explained what
the first chunk of the story involved. And this -- in turn -- made me sit back
more comfortably in my seat and enjoy what was happening from then on in.
Yeah. No kidding, movie mates. As soon as the central narrative was better defined, it was as though a part of my brain clicked into gear and allowed me to laugh, gasp, and cheer along with the good guys whenever they managed to out smart the bad.
Personally speaking, I attribute this change to those two words I stated at the beginning of my review -- suspenseful and funny. Suspenseful -- because the overall story-line had a mysterious edge to it, which was greatly enhanced by some of the hair-raising stunts on offer. And funny -- because some of the supporting players who occupied the plot -- like the Mexican bandit and Randy's two side-kicks -- were genuinely quite funny on screen, particularly that sequence where one of them had to dress up as a lady so he could aide his buddy in outsmarting the villains.
Obviously the whole movie was held together by
character, who -- as always -- helped things plod along on its own merry way. Even
though I generally wasn't too keen on his love tryst with Patrice's character,
who I found was slightly young for our ever favorite leading man.
Overall I'd say 'The Man Behind The Gun' was an above average movie for its time. The story was mumbled in places. The actors were fairly fine to watch. And as push comes to shove, I can't wait to clamp my eyes on the next Randolph Scott film.
THE RATING: B-