That’s a lot of gunfight in 8 minutes
Jeff Arnold’s West is currently having a mini-season reviewing Western short films, and we looked in recent days at The Gunfighter and The Dentist (click the links to read those). The Dentist was a 7-minute Michael Brian Rawlins film, and The Deputy, an earlier effort 14% longer (8 minutes) was also written and directed Mr Rawlins, and starred him as the eponymous assistant lawman too.
It has a bigger cast because it is basically an amusingly over-the-top choreographed fight scene, the deputy in question disposing of many thuggish bad guys.
A surly prisoner (not sure which actor) threatens a young deputy (who is hoping to get his shiny new badge soon but only gets his dad’s old one) and in reply the lawman twirls his pistol fancily, accompanied by those silly but obligatory phew-phew noises. He is not to be intimidated. The deputy’s boss, the mustachioed sheriff (Jerry Woods) unlocks the cell door and the sheriff and deputy escort the ne’er-do-well out onto the (rather nice) Western town street. There, the prisoner’s henchmen (or rather henchpersons, for one is a woman) attack them, and a lengthy (inasmuch as a short film permits of length) fight ensues. The sheriff is inclined to leave the combat to his assistant, perhaps on the principle of why keep a dog and bark yourself?
Fists, knives, guns, axes, a whip, even dynamite are all brought to bear. One long-haired hatchet man (Christopher Hokin) proves particularly recalcitrant. The gun-twirling expertise also proves useful. Stuntmen fall from rooftops or are kicked down stairs. It’s all go (briefly). One even tries to do in the deputy with a pocket derringer, so that sent the film up in my estimation. Finally, there’s a stand-off: the deputy must lower his gun to save the sheriff. Or must he?
Next time, another Rawlins short but this time an epic of a mighty 18 minutes runtime.