Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director


USA, 1957 (MIFF 1994, Retrospectives)

Director: Samuel Fuller

In 1949, Samuel Fuller wrote and directed his first film, I Shot Jesse James. Nine years later, he wrote and directed his eleventh film and fourth Western, the incredible Forty Guns.

"Nutty" is the succinct description American critic Manny Faber offers for the films of Sam Fuller and it is a very apt delineation of Forty Guns. A story with inexplicable narrative drives, it alternately dredges up notions of the decline of the West, illicit inter-racial affairs, sibling rivalry and sexual jealousy.

The Bonnell brothers, Federal law enforcers, ride into Tombstone to serve a warrant for the arrest of a deputy in the service of land baroness Jessica Drummond (the brilliantly acid Barbara Stanwyck). They become implicated in the unlawful affairs of the Drummond Empire, and Jessica and the elder of the Bonnell Brothers, Griff, become romantically involved. Jessica's empire, alluded to in the film as having been built upon her sexual desires and domination of men, begins to crumble as their relationship blossoms.

Forty Guns is a remarkably inconsistent film, not one in keeping with the form, spirit and substance of the Western. Yet it gives rise to startling visual and aural excesses. The dialogue is loaded with double entendres and maddening paradoxes; and visually it sketches out and promotes a unique prescription for the audience's attention to seeing, compounded by shots like that through the barrel of a rifle, or savage cuts between long shots and close-ups.

Forty Guns is a film which brings to bear an immediate, sensuous, more conscious experience of film and the Western.

See also...


USA, 1981
From a story by Romain Gary White. Actress Julie Sawyer takes in a very attractive German Shepherd after having accidentally injured the dog with her car Julie grows very attached to the animal, and … More »

Bleeding Star

France, 1986
Recalling the mythic encounter between Ulysses and the Siren, a series of men become imprisoned by the projections of their own desires. "I felt that Fevre's sensitivity and imagination would bring t… More »


Germany, 1976
Wim Wenders' new film is a crime thriller, based on a novel 'Ripley's Game' by Patricia Highsmith, who wrote the book on which Strangers on a Train was based. Once again an innocent man is asked to k… More »


USA, 1990
Maverick: 1. An unbranded animal: esp: a motherless calf. 2. An independent individual who refuses to conform with his group. - Webster's Dictionary ... Upon receiving the American Film Institute's L… More »


USA, 1952
Hard-nosed editor Crawford takes over an ailing newspaper and uses a double murder to boost his tabloid's circulation. He then discovers that his hero worshipping cub reporter-protege (Derek) has mas… More »

© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

Site by MeccaMedialight. Powered by Textstem CMS.