A superb Western, almost classical in its observance of the unities (clock-watching as obsessively as High Noon, it's an altogether tougher, bleaker film), and a ground-breaker in its day with its characterisation of Peck's notorious gunfighter Jimmy Ringo as a man just about over the hill, haunted by the dead weight of his reputation, the fear of loneliness, the certainty of dying at the hands of some fast-draw punk sneering 'He don't look so tough to me'. Riding into the small town where the wife and child he abandoned are living incognito, he insists on waiting in the saloon in the hope that she will agree to see him. The kids play hookey from school to gape open-mouthed; the bartender gleefully rubs his hands at the thought of the profits; indignant rustling from the good ladies of the town serve notice that an outlaw is unwelcome; and with assorted grudge-bearers already assembling, along with the aforesaid fast-draw punk, there is clearly no future for Johnny Ringo. Magnificently directed and shot (by Arthur Miller), flawlessly acted by Peck and a superb cast, governed by an almost Langian sense of fate, it's a film that has the true dimensions of tragedy.
Cast and crew
William Bowers, William Sellers
Gregory Peck Helen Westcott Millard Mitchell Jean Parker Karl Malden Skip Homeier Richard Jaeckel Mae Marsh