review for Three Hours to Kill on AllMovie

Three Hours to Kill (1954)
by Craig Butler review

Three Hours to Kill is a taut little Western that, if not a great film, still deserves to be better known than it is. As in most traditional Westerns, there's a strict moral code that pervades Kill; in this instance, it's the importance of a man's "good name" and the defense of his character. The Dana Andrews character could easily have started his life over and lived it happily in a town many miles away. After all, in the Old West, there was land, and plenty of it. But his character can't live a lie; he must clear his name, even if he has to risk his life to do so. That Andrews plays this with an underlying sense of anger makes his character that much richer and more human. Indeed, it's Andrews' performance that really raises Kill a slight notch above average; it's a tough, compelling turn that allows the actor to carry the picture on his own. He gets help from the excellent supporting cast, as well as from a good, well-crafted screenplay and suitably simple direction. Ultimately, though, it's Andrews that makes Three Hours to Kill stand out from many other Westerns of the period.