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A Movie A Day: Quint sees Newman as Billy The Kid in THE LEFT HANDED GUN (1958)
I… can’t… read!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Today’s movie is THE LEFT HANDED GUN starring Paul Newman as Billy The Kid. This is notable for being Arthur Penn’s first film based on a Gore Vidal play and that’s about it. I don’t know what the hell Paul Newman was drinking/smoking/injecting throughout the filming of this picture, but he gives perhaps the most off-note performance I’ve ever seen. Of course, that’s still Paul Newman giving the performance so there’s still a level of charm to it (as compared with his buddies in the movie who just overact to a ridiculous extreme). Everybody knows the story of Billy The Kid and Pat Garrett, but this is perhaps the dullest version of that story I’ve ever seen. It got so bad that my buddy Rav and I ended up switching the dialogue track to French and turning on the English subtitles… and it made a huge difference. Suddenly the overacting was gone and the story became much more interesting, the performances playing so much better in my mind. So, I might not be able to claim a legitimate viewing of this film, but damn it… I still watched it from beginning to end, all 102 long, long, long minutes of it. The schedule for the next 7 days is: Saturday, June 28th: CALIGULA (1980) Sunday, June 29th: THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980) Monday, June 30th: THE GOOD FATHER (1987) Tuesday, July 1st: SHOCK TREATMENT (1981) Wednesday, July 2nd: FLASHBACK (1990) Thursday, July 3rd: KLUTE (1971) Friday, July 4th: ON GOLDEN POND (1982) Tomorrow we jump to a completely different movie, written by the originator of the play THE LEFT HANDED GUN was based on, the infamous debauchery-ridden CALIGULA. See you folks then. -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain

Readers Talkback
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  • June 27, 2008, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Still kickin Mori's ass on columns.

    by Lyghthouse


  • June 28, 2008, 12:40 a.m. CST

    didn't Mr. Newman

    by Stevie Grant

    once own a certain brewery? And, didn't a certain Mr. Newman admit to drinking a case a day on a certain talk-show? Regardless, Paul Newman is a badass and a legend: he was/made both Hud and Luke.

  • June 28, 2008, 7:49 a.m. CST

    actual footage of the Elephant man found

    by HypeEndsHere

    it was announced too late for the dvd though. check it out. it's a little grainy, but hey....

  • June 28, 2008, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Damn You MCMLXXVI

    by TheyCallMeMisterBay

    Damn You MCMLXXVI

  • June 28, 2008, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Cheap? and Tomorrow...

    by HyphenatedWords

    Hopefully the other films in the Newman set make it worthwhile. How much did you pay for it?<br> <br> So tomorrow is your first viewing of Caligula. Goodness. I hope you're watching the unleashed Bob Guccione decadance of the the original and not the neutered R-rated version. I saw a copy of of Caligula when I was in high school. I think it warped my sense of sexuality leading into adulthood. Seriously. The teen boy LOVED all the sexy parts (Teresa Ann Savoy is the cutest thing on earth), but the adult in me reviewing it thought, "What the hell am I watching?!"<br> <br> Two things. Malcolm McDowell gives a tour de force, no matter the opinion of the film. And... Something tells me parts of Roman life were more like this than we'd like to imagine.<br> <br> I think this mindset will help going into it. It's a tagline I saw on IMDb:<br> <br> What would you have done if you had been given absolute power of life and death over everybody else in the whole world?

  • June 28, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST

    McDowell Still Appalled by 'Caligula'

    by HyphenatedWords

    Oh, this is interesting... <br> <br> A Clockwork Orange star Malcolm McDowell is still appalled by the completed version of his controversial 1979 movie Caligula - because he didn't expect it to become an epic porn film. The British movie star appeared onscreen alongside Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole and Sir John Gielgud in what he hoped would be a film based on an excellent script by Gore Vidal. But Vidal insisted his name was removed from the credits when Penthouse boss and producer Bob Guccione put the film out two years after it was shot. McDowell recalls, "He shot all this hardcore footage two years after the film had been completed and then spliced it in. I mean, it was absurd, because the footage didn't even match much of the time. There would be a shot of me smiling, looking at what was supposed to be my horse or something, and then suddenly they'd cut to two lesbians making out. It was just awful. On the positive side, I got to work with Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud and Helen Mirren, but, needless to say, we were all pretty appalled by the final product."

  • June 28, 2008, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Hey, I liked this movie!

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • June 28, 2008, 9:09 a.m. CST

    I can't believe you never saw Cool Hand Luke

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    until a month ago, but glass houses and all I never saw Godfather until two years ago. By the way,Robinson Crusoe on Mars was a good flick for that sci-fi era. I'm interested in your forthcoming Elephant Man review as for some reason I've never seen it either even though I love John Hurt.

  • June 28, 2008, 10:24 a.m. CST

    where are all the Wall-E reviews?

    by BMacSmith

  • June 28, 2008, 12:36 p.m. CST

    McDowell said it all for me

    by filmfanatic1

    Quint: I don't see any point commenting on THE LEFT-HANDED GUN, because it was early in his and Arthur Penn's career, and it just doesn't work at any level. Too bad. But I saw CALIGULA on video years ago, and McDowell describes it perfectly. Guccione inserted a porn film into what could have been a good film with a great cast. What a greedy monster. You'll see what I mean when you see it.

  • June 28, 2008, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Keep up the good fight, Quint

    by Ace Hunter

    It's easy for some to criticize, but when you're watching and writing about a movie a day, I'm willing to give some slack on an entry that may be brief. I eagerly await your daily posts and you've been helping pad my Netflix cue. But be warned: you may need to enable the french soundtrack when you get to Flashback. Eeeeeyyyiiikkkkes!

  • June 28, 2008, 10:08 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    Give me a break, it's a bad movie. I didn't feel like wasting my time writing an indepth review of it. I said when I started this column that some titles I'll have more to talk about than others. And you haven't been playing close enough attention if you think these reviews are getting shorter as they go. The Sound of Music was one of my longer reviews and that's because I loved the movie. See how that works? The more I love it, the more I have to say about it... Weird...<BR><BR>Caligula's delayed a bit because I spent most of the day at a friend's kid's birthday party. Sitting down to watch it now and will write it up when I'm done.

  • June 29, 2008, 12:35 a.m. CST

    Quint - in your Caligula review

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    you have to reveal whether you rubbed one out, or at least got a semi at any point.

  • July 5, 2008, 11:03 p.m. CST



  • Sept. 18, 2009, 10:19 p.m. CST


    by Superponte

    How did you get through this movie....