As the commanding presence at the center of Samuel Fuller’s wild feminist western Forty Guns, the great Barbara Stanwyck taps into the tough, no-nonsense bearing she’d honed on-screen since the late twenties, playing the part of a corrupt rancher who has the whole of Tombstone, Arizona, under her thumb. The fifty-year-old Stanwyck’s career was on a downswing at the time she was hired by Fuller, who had recently returned to producing his films independently after making several features for Fox. But as Forty Guns proves, that’s certainly not because she was missing a beat. In the above clip, taken from a supplement on our new edition of Forty Guns, critic Imogen Sara Smith elaborates on what makes the imperious landowner Jessica Drummond the actor’s “last great film role.” Watch Smith discuss how Fuller’s film provides a sort of summation of the fierceness, resolve, and complex vulnerability that had defined the Double Indemnity and The Lady Eve star’s screen persona to date. The critic also zeroes in on some of the bold CinemaScope flourishes, including the sweeping vistas of Stanwyck’s hard-galloping entrance, that helped Fuller position his lead as the iron-fisted queen of her domain.
Charles Burnett Calls Forth the Ghosts of the Old World
In an interview program on our edition of To Sleep with Anger, the director and his actors discuss the African-American folkloric traditions at the heart of the film.
Liv Ullmann Recalls “Shattering” Moments on the Set of Shame
While working on Ingmar Bergman’s devastating antiwar film, the actress developed an emotionally intense chemistry with her costar Max von Sydow.
The Real-Life Rage That Fueled Lee Grant in In the Heat of the Night
In this excerpt from a new interview, the actor talks about how she channeled her political anger in the role of a distraught widow in Norman Jewison’s Oscar-winning crime drama.