This Gun for Hire (1942) 4.14/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 70
Genre: Film-Noir
Duration: 81 mins
Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Robert Preston

Frank Tuttle’s dark story starring Alan Ladd as its deeply anti-heroic central character would be a daring film for any era. Ladd plays Raven, a hired killer who in an attempt to get even with the men who double crossed him ends up exposing a conspiracy. Ladd is thoroughly menacing in the lead but still somehow manages to keep the audience on his side. His frequent on-screen partner Veronica Lake is also excellent as the blond bombshell who brings out his softer side (and she’s also responsible for some dazzling magic tricks during her nightclub act) and Robert Preston scores well as the detective on their trail. The best scenes are definitely those involving both Ladd and Lake but there are some wonderful twists and turns in the story that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. It gets a bit James Bondish towards the end, but This Gun for Hire is well worth a watch due to an interesting plot and Ladd’s excellent performance as the complicated hit man.

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