The Left-Handed Gun (1958)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film, Biopic [feature], Psychological Western, Revisionist Western  |   Release Date - May 7, 1958 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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The Left Handed Gun was adapted by Gore Vidal from his own TV play, The Death of Billy the Kid. 33-year-old Paul Newman stars as 21-year-old William Bonney, the hotheaded gunslinger known as Billy the Kid. Avoiding the usual Hollywood glamourization of this controversial character, Newman portays Bonney pretty much as he was: an illiterate, homicidal cretin. Treated with kindness for the first time in his life by rancher Tunstall (Colin Keith-Johnston), Bonney becomes devoted to the rancher; in fact, it is virtually a love affair. Soon after, however, Tunstall is killed, prompting Bonney to go on a murderous spree. In the end, Bonney must face down the other important father-figure in his life, Pat Garrett (John Dehner). In case anyone should miss the Freudian subtext in The Left Handed Gun, the closeups of Bonney fondling his six-shooter will make things crystal clear.

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Keywords

bad-guy, killing, murder, outlaw [Western], ranch, revenge