Top positive review
7 of 7 people found this helpful
on June 21, 2004
As others reviewers have noted, 1959's "No Name on the Bullet" is far from being a typical Audie Murphy western. Under Jack Arnold's expert direction, the focus here is on suspense and tension, rather than action. When gunman John Gant rides into town, most of the local citizens are justifiably nervous. Gant is a hired killer, and he seldom visits a town just to see the sights. Much of the film revolves around the questions--why is he here ? Who is he after ? Which of the town's citizens will die ? Since Gant isn't the talkative type, the suspense keeps building, not to mention the nervous paranoia of the townfolk.
As Gant, Murphy delivers a chilling performance. You never doubt that, behind that baby face and modest build, is a man not to be crossed ( by all accounts, in real life, as well as in movies ). He is not intimidated by anyone, not even a hostile crowd who thinks that, by sheer numbers, it can scare him away. As the town's doctor who tries to befriend Gant, Charles Drake delivers a strong performance as he comes to realize that he cannot distract the killer from his purpose.
Other fine supporting actors further add to the quality of the film--Whit Bissell, Karl Swenson, Warren Stevens and Virginia Grey. Apart from one climactic scene with Mr. Murphy, leading lady, Joan Evans ( not to be confused with the popular comedienne ), has little to do but make coffee for her "man", Charles Drake.
I found the ending to be memorable, and--for those of you who like action--there is gunplay at certain crucial parts of the movie.
The DVD has beautiful colour, is widescreen and mono sound. The only extra is the original trailer.
Audie Murphy made a lot of westerns in the 1950s and 60s. "No Name on the Bullet" is not the most action-packed, but it is certainly one of the most interesting, and features one of his best perfomances. If he is not yet represented in your western DVD collection, this is an excellent title to start with.