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Left Handed Gun, the

Paul Newman , Lita Milan , Arthur Penn    Unrated   VHS Tape
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Gore Vidal...what do you expect? July 23 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I agree with Seaside, Ca. He's dead on and the Hamlet characterization couldnt be more accurate.
Is there some reason Hollywood cant get Billy the Kid right? This one was just as bad as Peckinpah's offering, and every bit the worst western of the 50's. Actually, I have no words. Read the guy below...apparently I'm the one that's traumatized.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Billy the Kid Goes Method July 15 2002
Format:VHS Tape
There is a moment in this heavily stylized western where a character, for no real reason, rolls around in the dirt moaning "You're not him! You're not him!". This scene could be a great metaphor for the entire film; because the movie is definitely NOT about the real Billy the Kid. This movie is about Paul Newman turning in a weirdly over-the-top performance and everyone else in the film looking on, aghast. True, there are some good scenes, and Newman has his good moments. He's intense, that's for sure, and also extremely funny, although not always intentionally, I suspect.
The plot concerns the adventures of Billy and his two pals as they avenge the death of a friend of Billy's. They ride around, they shoot people, Billy acts weird, they shoot more people, the law's on their tail, more shooting, Billy seduces the wife of a friend in a weird manner, some shooting, Billy gets caught, acts weird in jail, escapes, and dies weirdly. The highlight of the movie occurs when Billy interupts the wedding of his friend Pat Garrett, and after promising Pat he won't kill anyone "here" proceeds to kill someone a few feet away. Pat then begins stomping around in the mud yelling "My wedding's HERE! And HERE! And HEEEERRRRE!". It didn't make sense to me either.
Pat vows to bring Billy in for his long-overdue hanging, and so he does, only to experience post Billy-Arresting Depression.
Finally ending about twenty minutes later than it should, it's fair to say "The Left Handed Gun" left me pretty much speechless. I mean, it's AMLOST a good movie, but then something bizarre will happen, or the dialogue will get really strange, and it's derailed again. And poor Paul seems to think he's playing Hamlet or something; I seriously doubt Billy the Kid, or anyone in the Old West, was this full of angst.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!!! July 29 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I'm not really a western movie fan, but this one caught my attention completely. I believe that it was a very good movie. Paul Newman did a brilliant job playing "Billy the Kid." It had a great story and believable characters, which makes this movie a fantastic one.
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Format:VHS Tape
Paul Newman, still years away from the legend that he was to become, does a fine job in this heavily-glamorized account of the life of Billy the Kid. His famous blue eyes seem to possess an otherworldly glow in the black and white cinematography and his pouty expression fits perfectly with this melodramatic presentation.
This a typical misunderstood-youth-goes-bad film that probably fit the angst of 1950's teens who were themselves rebelling to the status quo with rock music. The fact that Newman's Kid travels with two other young men makes "Gun" a perfect reflection of the era.
Able support comes from co-stars John Dehner as Pat Garrett and Hurd Hatfield as pulpwriter who may have homoerotic designs on Kid. Even, James Best, who would be forever remembered for his role as the Sheriff on "The Dukes of Hazzard," does admirable as one of the Kids "boyz." Denver Pyle, also of "Dukes" has a memorable "turn" as one of Billy's victims.
Leonard Rosenman also contributes an excitingly robust score.
"The Left-handed Gun" is a rarity among the western genre: a Freudian horse opera.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Billy the Kid Goes Method July 15 2002
By CodeMaster Talon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
There is a moment in this heavily stylized western where a character, for no real reason, rolls around in the dirt moaning "You're not him! You're not him!". This scene could be a great metaphor for the entire film; because the movie is definitely NOT about the real Billy the Kid. This movie is about Paul Newman turning in a weirdly over-the-top performance and everyone else in the film looking on, aghast. True, there are some good scenes, and Newman has his good moments. He's intense, that's for sure, and also extremely funny, although not always intentionally, I suspect.

The plot concerns the adventures of Billy and his two pals as they avenge the death of a friend of Billy's. They ride around, they shoot people, Billy acts weird, they shoot more people, the law's on their tail, more shooting, Billy seduces the wife of a friend in a weird manner, some shooting, Billy gets caught, acts weird in jail, escapes, and dies weirdly. The highlight of the movie occurs when Billy interupts the wedding of his friend Pat Garrett, and after promising Pat he won't kill anyone "here" proceeds to kill someone a few feet away. Pat then begins stomping around in the mud yelling "My wedding's HERE! And HERE! And HEEEERRRRE!". It didn't make sense to me either.

Pat vows to bring Billy in for his long-overdue hanging, and so he does, only to experience post Billy-Arresting Depression. Finally ending about twenty minutes later than it should, it's fair to say "The Left Handed Gun" left me pretty much speechless. I mean, it's ALMOST a good movie, but then something bizarre will happen, or the dialogue will get really strange, and it's derailed again. And poor Paul seems to think he's playing Hamlet or something; I seriously doubt Billy the Kid, or anyone in the Old West, was this full of angst.

To be fair, I must mention I saw this movie with my sister at 3 in the morning, so my view may be a bit warped. Plus my sister said she liked it, but she did look a bit traumatized. View at your own risk.
(If you do see it, watch out for the scene where "Moon" dies, nose flattened against a window pane. Kinda funny.)
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May be Historically Inaccurate but a Helluva Good Film July 31 2000
By Reginald D. Garrard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Paul Newman, still years away from the legend that he was to become, does a fine job in this heavily-glamorized account of the life of Billy the Kid. His famous blue eyes seem to possess an otherworldly glow in the black and white cinematography and his pouty expression fits perfectly with this melodramatic presentation.
This a typical misunderstood-youth-goes-bad film that probably fit the angst of 1950's teens who were themselves rebelling to the status quo with rock music. The fact that Newman's Kid travels with two other young men makes "Gun" a perfect reflection of the era.
Able support comes from co-stars John Dehner as Pat Garrett and Hurd Hatfield as pulpwriter who may have homoerotic designs on Kid. Even, James Best, who would be forever remembered for his role as the Sheriff on "The Dukes of Hazzard," does admirable as one of the Kids "boyz." Denver Pyle, also of "Dukes" has a memorable "turn" as one of Billy's victims.
Leonard Rosenman also contributes an excitingly robust score.
"The Left-handed Gun" is a rarity among the western genre: a Freudian horse opera.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!!! July 29 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
I'm not really a western movie fan, but this one caught my attention completely. I believe that it was a very good movie. Paul Newman did a brilliant job playing "Billy the Kid." It had a great story and believable characters, which makes this movie a fantastic one.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical western July 23 2006
By Bomojaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Paul Newman stars as Billy the Kid, only this Kid has psychological overtones. Depicted as being generous though with a self-destructive streak (all part of the Kid's legend), Newman goes a bit off his rocker when his older and respected mentor/father-figure Turnstall (played by Colin Keith-Johnston) is murdered, and he avenges his death. Four men were involved in the murder, and Newman kills two of them before the other two begin chasing him. Friends of his manage to kill the third man, but Billy gets the fourth at Pat Garrett's wedding celebration. Garrett (John Dehner) then goes after Billy and kills him.

Director Arthur Penn depicts Billy truly as an adolescent (the real Billy the Kid died at the age of 21), and portrays him more as a troubled young man than a desperate killer. Turnstall was an important anchor in Billy's character and when he's killed Billy loses his one guiding force. Billy is at times whiny and impulsive, at other times almost cuddly - everything you'd expect from a teenager with little life experience - and Newman plays that role well. It's not your typical western and asks the viewer to see the characters, especially Newman, beyond the surface level of tough-guy cowboy with an itchy trigger finger. Dehner as Garrett is particularly good here. Worth a watch.
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