The Gun Runners (1958)

“Hemingway-Hot Adventure!” In terms of film adaptations of Ernest Hemingway’s 1937 novel To Have and Have Not, The Gun Runners ranks well below established classics To Have and Have Not (1944) starring Humphrey Bogart and The Breaking Point (1950) starring John Garfield. However, this low-budget, Don Siegel-directed B-movie starring World War II hero Audie Murphy (The Red Badge of Courage) definitely has its moments and deserves at least a single viewing. Murphy portrays down-on-his-luck Key West charter boat captain “Sam Martin,” who gets entangled in a gun-running operation led by the sleazy “Hanagan” (Eddie Albert) during the Cuban Revolution. Everett Sloane (Citizen Kane) stars as “Harvey,” his drunken sidekick. Murphy simply fills the role, while Sloane is always entertaining as the addled boozer and Albert steals the show as the ruthless scumbag who uses and abuses everyone in his way (at one point he casually murders a Cuban soldier who wouldn’t accept his bribe). The cast includes Patricia Owens (Sayonara) as “Lucy Martin,” Gita Hall as Hanagan’s sexy Swedish girlfriend “Eva,” Jack Elam as “Arnold,” Richard Jaeckel as “Buzurki,” Lee Strasberg as “Rhett” and Peggy Maley as the “Blonde Barfly” who hangs out at Freddy’s Bar. Although the film, which was shot on location in Newport Beach, California, deals with potentially politically charged material, it refuses to take any political stance at all. Maley appeared in The Wild One (1953) as the chick “Mildred” who asks, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?” Johnny (Marlon Brando) replies, “Whadda you got?”

Leave a Reply

Close Menu