Five Guns West (1955)

This was Roger Corman’s directorial debut and was a good indication of his ability to produce a brisk formula movie although it is also clear that the Western was not his real forte and that it was not until he turned to genres more suited to the youth exploitation market that he really found his niche.It is not without significance that in The Variety Book of Movie Lists neither Joe Dante or Martin Scorsese who contribute “Best of Roger Corman” lists mention any of his Westerns . The movie under review here is a version of the theme he returned to in a Second World War setting in The Secret Invasion and was used by Robert Aldrich for the bigger budget extravaganza The Dirty Dozen-this time given an American civil war setting.Five men are recruited from the criminal element to rescue confederate gold and apprehend a traitor.One is not however what he seems .The group is riven by internal tensions especially when waiting for the stage bringing their prey to a way station inhabited by Dorothy Malone and James Stone as her alcoholic and cowardly uncle .The group disintegrates and turns on their leader as played by John Lund

Good performances especially by Paul Birch(not the Lambchop and solo alternative country genius)as the grizzled veteran J.C