THE LEFT-HANDED GUN (1958) B/W 102m dir: Arthur Penn
w/Paul Newman, Lita Milan, John Dehner, Hurd Hatfield, James Congdon, James Best, Colin Keith-Johnston, John Dierkes, Robert Anderson, Wally Brown
Newman plays Billy the Kid in this strikingly original and violent retelling of the myth.
From The Movie Guide: "A good but disturbing psychological western, well directed by Penn and acted in a strangely fascinating style by Newman. Penn demythologizes Billy the Kid, and Newman plays him more honestly than anyone else ever has. He was a slow-witted illiterate with a streak of sadistic bloodlust in him, fiercely loyal to his few friends and deadly to all who became his enemy. ... This first film by director Penn stems from Gore Vidal's wacky, self-serving teleplay, 'The Death of Billy the Kid,' which was helmed by Penn for TV in 1955. Penn toned down Vidal's portrait of the Kid as a rampant homosexual which reflected the author's interests perhaps more than the facts of history. Newman, as he had in SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, took a role here which was originally coveted by James Dean, who died prematurely in a car accident, but he does a masterful job in portraying the ruthless killer whose reputation existed only beyond the grave."