The Man Behind the Gun Cover Don't turn around, my friend. Please don't turn around. Cause if you do, you might catch a glimpse of that 82 minute movie made in 1953. Yeah. That's right. That one Directed by Felix Feist; and Starring: Randolph Scott, Patrice Wymore, with Dick Wesson. You have been duly warned.

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.

But no, Roy! Please 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.


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.

The Man Behind the Gun Foreign Film Poster
But hey! Don't get me wrong. Not everything about this flick was all flowers and roses, folks. From my point of view the first half of it was slightly confusing to follow. And I blame this on its random and sporadic nature, that didn't have enough clarity to define what the basic premise actually was. I mean, was it about Randolph's character being hounded by the army? Was it about a Senator's evident death? Or was it about a money-making scheme instigated by two of Randy's cronies?

Thankfully, half way through this picture -- when Randolph 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 Randolph's 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. 

The Man Behind the Gun Funny Film Poster

The Man Behind the Gun Starring Randolph Scott
But to be honest with you, my friends, that was my only slight gripe within the scheme of things. Where as these are your ever humble filmic-facts. (1) 'Warner Brothers' first released this production in America on the 31st of January, 1953, and eventually clawed back two million dollars at the box office. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Tavern Rebels' in France; 'Legionaries Bandit' in Sweden, and during pre-production, it was given the working title, 'Man with a Gun'. (3) The majority of this movie was shot on location within the American state of California. Most notably, Bell Ranch, in Santa Susana. (4) Robert Buckner, who originally wrote the screenplay for this flick, also penned such popular television series as 'Bonanza', 'The Name Of The Game', plus 'The Wackiest Ship in the Army'. (5) Some the firearms showcased in this movie were manufactured during the period of the American Civil War. Such as the 'Colt single-action Army revolver' which was mass-produced between the years, 1861 to 1865. However, this tale was set in the 1850's. Ops! Continuity glitch. (6) The tagline used to promote this picture, was, 'An Easy-Going Gent with Deadly Guns... and a Reputation to Match!'. (7) Something else about this film you might have noticed is that it borrowed two sections of footage from two other films. This includes the 1945 Errol Flynn romantic-adventure, 'San Antonio', as well as the 1952 Gregory Peck nautical-drama, 'Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.'. (8) After this movie drew its curtains, Randolph Scott starred in the western, 'The Stranger Wore a Gun'; Patrice Wymore starred in the musical, 'She's Back on Broadway'; and Dick Wesson starred in the romance, 'The Desert Song'.

The Man Behind the Gun Starring Randolph Scott and Patrice Wymore

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.

Nuff said.


THE MAN BEHIND THE GUN (1953) THE MAN BEHIND THE GUN (1953) Reviewed by David Andrews on July 31, 2014 Rating: 5
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