Gunslinger (1956)

The first script by Mark Hanna (The Amazing Colossal Man) and the second from Charles B. Griffith (Death Race 2000), Gunslinger is one of the few times that director Roger Corman found himself going over schedule.

Corman may have claimed that Gunslinger could have bee “one of the worst experiences of my life” and Allison Hayes may have wanted to leave the film during shooting — she broke her arm slipping in mud and Corman still shot close-ups while she was waiting for the ambulance, but at least star Beverly Garland enjoyed herself. In the book Beverly Garland: Her Life and Career, she said, “I think I was the first woman to play a marshal in a movie western. Roger would often cast against type in those days. I could never resist a plum role like a lady marshal in a genre that would never have considered such a gender reversal like that before.”

She played Rose Hood, who has become the marshall of Oracle, Texas after her husband is killed. Erica Page (Allison Hayes), the owner of a saloon — man, this town was woke early — gets into a fight with our heroine because she doesn’t want to close at 3 AM. To get back at her, Erica hires a killer to murder the temporary marshall.

Seriously, this movie totally goes wild by the end with nearly every character killed off. Corman said, “My Texas distributor arrived in the city where I was filming and asked me how it was going. I told him that I thought that it was good but that there was too much violence and passion, and he answered, “Roger, I’ve been in this business for forty years, and you’ve been in it for just two. Let me tell you that no one has ever made a film with too much passion and violence.” So I pressed on. Everyone was dying. At the end of the film half of the city was dead.”

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