The Left-Handed Gun Review

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Adapted from a TV play by Gore Vidal, directed by Arthur Penn and starring Paul Newman at his most method-mad, this is a psychological Western that sets out, far more successfully than Young Guns, to explain Billy The Kid as an 1880s juvenile delinquent traumatised by the death of his father-figure into gunning down a bunch of humourless adults. Newman's performance is alternately irritating and compelling, which is perhaps a viable reading of the character, and there are very clever secondary appearances from Dehner as a sombre Pat Garrett and Hatfield as the gay southerner obsessed with turning the homicidal tearaway into a knight-like legend. Incidentally, the real Billy was right-handed, but the only picture ever taken of him was printed the wrong way round.