Kentucky Rifle (1955) starring Chill Wills, Lance Fuller, Cathy Downs, Sterling Holloway, Henry Hull, Jeanne Cagney, Jess Barker directed by Carl K. Hittleman Movie Review

Kentucky Rifle (1955)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Kentucky Rifle (1955) starring Chill Wills, Lance Fuller

Firing Blanks

As a wagon train journeys across country one of the wagons suffers a broken wheel and damaged axle right in the middle of Comanche country. With the wagon carrying a valuable shipment of Kentucky Rifles it can't be left so a group stay with it whilst the axle is repaired. But the Comanches discover what the wagon contains and will allow safe passage if they hand over the weapons. Whilst some believe they should trade for their safe passage Jason Clay (Lance Fuller) has a vested interest in the rifles getting to their destination on time and won't allow it.

"Kentucky Rifle" was written and directed by Carl K. Hittleman a name which probably means little to anyone these days but in his time he wrote, produced and directed a few movies with this being his first attempt at directing. Sadly his first attempt at directing a movie which he also produced ends up a weak western compared to other 50s westerns with mindless dialogue, uninteresting characters and not much better action.

The trouble for me with "Kentucky Rifle" is one which may not be anything to do with Hittleman as the version I got to watch looked like it was made on such inferior camera stock that many of the shots look blurred. It maybe a case that the years have taken their toll on the actual film stock but even so there are so many blurred shots especially on the location shoots which are filmed at Vasquez Rocks that at times it becomes difficult to see who is talking. In fact the shots on a sound stage are not much better either with it being obvious that the location has been switched.

But it isn't just the quality of the image which lets "Kentucky Rifle" down as the storyline itself is extremely derivative and features characters doing plenty of daft things to the point they are asking for trouble when they go off riding alone. Couple stupidity with stupid dialogue and characters who turn up the dial on the machismo and it is simply a cheesy western which struggles to keep you interested. Even the action is less than enthralling thanks to its obvious staging and poor editing.

What this all boils down to is that "Kentucky Rifle" is both an ordinary western with its derivative storyline but a poor one because of the look, the characters and the action. Basically "Kentucky Rifle" has become a movie which western fans will watch only to tick it off of their list rather than because they have a real desire to.