Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Revenge Is Harder When You Have To Bring The Kids

So I was at my dad's for some of the holidays last week, which means older movies, and so here's Shoot Out. Clay (Gregory Peck) had robbed a bank, only to have his partner Sam shoot him in the back and leave him bleeding in front of the bank while escaping with the money. Clay spent 7 years in jail, and wants to settle things with Sam Foley. He needs money to convince a bartender to tell him where Sam is, and a lady in Kansas City is supposed to be holding some for him. The money arrives - attached to a small girl, the daughter of the now-deceased lady.

Clay heads towards his confrontation, little girl in tow. Problem being, they're being trailed by three goons (calling them gunfighters would be giving them too much credit) in the employ of Mr. Foley. The leader is called Bobby Jay, and he is a cruel, murdering swine with no concern for anyone but himself, who does have some skill with a gun, and enjoys proving it. Even with the other two being largely useless, he could be a real threat. Except he's a complete moron. He and Clay first cross paths in the hotel/cathouse where they're both visiting ladies, and when Bobby won't stop being noisy, Clay beats his ass easily, as well as his two partners. When they're trailing Clay and the girl, Clay sneaks up to their camp, beats their asses again, and steals their guns. You can believe they could be dangerous if they ever got the upper hand, because they're so indifferent at best, enthused at worst about causing pain, but they're just too dumb.

I didn't get to see the end so I unfortunately missed seeing Bobby Jay and Sam get their comeuppance. I felt bad for Alma (Susan Tyrell). She'd had a rough go of it as the lady Bobby Jay purchased some time with, and then he dragged her along after Clay. Clay yells at her at one point, like she's happy to be with the murdering idiot, but she went because she was terrified she'd be killed. Granted, Clay doesn't know that, and he's not so much of a good guy as to guarantee he'd care, but still, it felt unnecessary. I don't know if we're supposed to think that helped spur her on to try and stand up to Bobby later, but I don't think she was ever under any illusion what Bobby Jay was or if he actually cared about her. But she wanted to live, and there certainly wasn't anyone stepping up to come to her defense at the moment.

I'm guessing the kid was meant to keep the movie from being just another Western about a lone angry man pursuing revenge, but it didn't really work. I was only really interested in seeing Clay kill Bobby Jay, and finding out what would happen when he caught up with Sam. The child was an obstacle to that, so I didn't really care about her.


SallyP said...

I do love Gregory Peck... but I have trouble actually picturing him as a bad guy... or semi-bad guy.

CalvinPitt said...

He's almost too clean-cut for it, but he's very good at sounding stern. So maybe not evil, but sort of harsh and bossy.