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Five Guns West

USA 1955
produced by
Roger Corman for Palo Alto/American Releasing Corporation (later AIP)
directed by Roger Corman
starring John Lund, Dorothy Malone, Touch Connors (= Mike Connors), R. Wright Campbell, Jonathan Haze, Paul Birch, James Stone, Jack Ingram, Larry Thor, Jack Bohrer, Lionel C.Place, William Taylor, James Sikking
written by R.Wright Campbell, music by Buddy Bregman

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The American Civil War: To keep traitor Jethro (Jack Ingram) from defecting to the Union - and taking a large amount of gold with him -, the Confederate army pardons five cutthroats under the condition that they will hold up the stagecoach which Jethro takes to the other side. The cutthroats however are a motley crew, the young, psychopathic hothead Billy Candy (Jonathan Haze), his older, calmer brother John (R.Wright Campbell), who looks after Billy but can get just as violent and dangerous, the clean-shaven cardshark Hale (Touch Connors), the oldtimer J.C. (Paul Birch), and their leader Govern (John Lund), who in comparison to them seems to be almost a righteous man. Even on their way to the spot they plan their hold-up, the men clash more than once, with the situation not made any easier by the fact they are travelling through Comanche country, and the Comanches are far from peacceful these days, and when they finally arrive at the spot, a stagecoach relay station, the situation is not made any better by the presence of a woman, Shalee (Dorothy Malone), who's running the station with her uncle Mime (James Stone) - and our gang of cutthroats hasn't seen a woman, much less a beautiful one, in quite some time, them having all spent the last years in prison ... and Govern makes it his responibility to guard her (and tender romance of course develops).

The situation gets ever more tense ... until the stagecoach arrives, guarded by some Union soldiers, and for a short time, the five men seem to work as one, and the hold-up as such goes swiftly - until Jethro the traitor confesses he doesn't have the gold (30.000 Dollars) on him but has hidden it somewhere in California. Now the Candy brothers, Hale and J.C. want to abandon their plans of helping the Confederates and just kidnap Jethro to take them to the gold, but Govern - who to noone's real surprise now turns out to be a Confederate sergeant - manages to snatch Jethro away from them and hide in the relay station, where he is helped by uncle Mime and Shalee, righteous people who know a righteous man when they see one.

In the final shoot-out - which in part takes place beneath the relay station -, Govern manages to shoot the Candys and Hale, only J.C., able to know a losing battle when he sees one, gets away even before the shooting starts.

Order is restored, with Govern in the end promising Shalee to return to her once his mission is fulfilled and the war is over ...


Roger Corman's first film as a director is an economically made B-Western from a time when the era of the classic B-Westerns was over - which is why this film doesn't have a glorious hero in the lead but 5 cutthroats thrown away by fate, and why this film has some noirish undertones. (By the way, the concept of characters thrown together by fate and clashing with each other is a plot device Corman would use again and again in various genres, see for example The Day the World Ended.)

In all, Five Guns West is certainly no great Western in the John Ford-mold, but it's a gritty, straightforward Western drama, made on the cheap for sure, but delivering good entertainment at the same time.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD