SHOOT OUT [1971] movie review

August 11, 2013 · Print This Article

So many westerns suffer from unfortunate, generic names. That is certainly true of SHOOT OUT [1971] starring Gregory Peck, which contained zero shoot outs. The title has nothing to do with the movie at all with Peck playing a recently released convict, Clay Lomax, who is surprised to find a young girl waiting for him at the train station instead of just an envelope of cash as he was expecting.

Gregory Peck is one of my favorite western actors, and he plays another great character here. Even though he is a bank robber, he seems to have some quality above all that so that you immediately forget he was just out of jail and only in there because he was shot in the back by his partner in crime, whom he is now bent on getting revenge upon. Thus, taking on a little girl, who may very well be his daughter, would put a big crimp on those plans. He tries to leave her with a number of people in town, but there are no takers.

Dawn Lyn plays the little girl, Decky, very well. She definitely seems like the kind of tough kid she would have to be to grow up and survive in Kansas City without a stable home. You know how these kinds of story lines go, tough man, sweet child, only she is not so sweet and he is willing to be less tough, as in telling her an amusing tale about a bird that can eat flapjacks in the air.

Lomax’s old partner is wise to him being released from prison and hires an absolute jackass to tail him, and only tail him, no shooting. He just wants to know when he gets close. Why he would hire such a fool is beyond me.

The pacing is great by director Henry Hathaway and the mountain scenery is as beautiful as it gets. All this is complemented with an effective score combining to make another hidden gem of a western.

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