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Film / Black Patch

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Black Patch is a 1957 American Western film directed by Allen H. Miner and written by Leo Gordon, who also plays a supporting role. The film stars George Montgomery and Diane Brewster, and is the first film featuring a musical score by Jerry Goldsmith.

A New Mexico Town Marshal, Clay Morgan, known as 'Black Patch' since he had lost an eye in The American Civil War, takes his job seriously, especially after an old friend, Hank Danner, arrives in town with his wife, Helen, who formerly loved Morgan. Danner is suspected of a bank robbery and Morgan has to arrest him. Crooked saloon-owner, "Frenchy' De Vere, sees a chance to get the bank loot, and he helps Danner escape and then kills him. Morgan is accused of the killing but nothing is proved and the bank money remains missing. Carl, a young man who Danner had helped, goes to Helen, who also thinks Morgan killed her husband, and gets Danner's gun and starts practicing with it until he becomes the fastest gun in town, with one possible exception... Morgan, the man he intends to kill.



  • All of the Other Reindeer: It does not take much for the entire town to turn against town marshal Clay Morgan after he is accused of shooting Hank Danner In the Back while Danner was trying to escape.
  • Badass Baritone: Leo Gordon as Hank Danner has a deep, growly voice.
  • Broken-Window Warning: Flytrap throws a rock through Morgan's window in an attempt to goad the marshal to come out for a Showdown at High Noon.
  • Comforting the Widow: Carl takes up with a distraught Helen after Danner is killed.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Most of the town call Carl 'Flytrap' because one of his jobs is swatting flies in the hotel lobby.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Frenchy De Vere demonstrates that he has neutralized the shells in the gun by pointing it at his henchman Holman and pulling the trigger twice. When nothing happens, he starts laughing his head off. Holman laughs at first, out of nerves, but then sobers up and yells at him that it's not funny.
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  • Eyepatch of Power: Marshal Clay Morgan wears one to cover the eye he lost in the Civil War. In a touch of realism most movies skip, he is actually shown cleaning the eye socket under the patch.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: Flytrap and Holman do this when they stagger out of the saloon drunk. Marshal Clay Morgan comes up behind them and makes them drop their guns before they can draw on each other. Flytrap tries to use this as an excuse to push the marshal into a duel, but Clay just arrests them for being drunk and disorderly and makes them spend the night in the cells
  • Food Slap: Hank tosses his whiskey in Holman's face to blind him, and then immediately follows it with a punch to the face.
  • Frame-Up: Frenchy De Vere attempts to frame Morgan for murder by having Holman bust Danner out of jail and then shoot him in the back. However, Holman botches the job by killing Danner too close to the jail.
  • Inexperienced Killer: Young Gun Carl is determined to avenge Hank by killing Marshal Clay Morgan. However, while he is extremely skilled with a gun, he has never shot a man before.
  • In the Back: Holman shoots the escaping Danner twice in the back as part of the plan to frame Marshal Clay Morgan for murder.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Frenchy doctors the shells in the gun he provides Hank by dunking them in champagne to ruin the powder. This guarantees Hank will get shot and killed while trying to escape.
  • Lazy Mexican: Pedoline is a Mexican that Marshal Clay Morgan pays to clean the marshal's office, but who spends most of his time sleeping in one of the cells. Somewhat justified in that he ''very much prefers'' to keep away from his nagging wife.
  • Left Hanging: The truth about Danner's murder in it is revealed, but the movie ends with Clay leaving to confront Frenchie.
  • Love Triangle: Hank Danner's wife Helen used to be in love with Clay Morgan. When Hank is shot In the Back trying to escape from Clay's jail, Helen suspects Clay may have done it to Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • Named After the Injury: Clay Morgan is known as 'Black Patch' since he had lost an eye in The American Civil War.
  • Pet the Dog: Hank Danner defends Carl/Flytrap against a bullying townsman, apparently just because.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Carl attempts to force Clay Morgan into one. The marshal foils him by simply refusing to draw.
  • Person with the Clothing: Clay Morgan's nickname 'Black Patch' comes from the black Eyepatch of Power he wears.
  • Quick Draw: Carl trains himself to be one so he can confront Clay. The townsfolk think he's crazy, until he draws and empties his Colt Frontier (by fanning the hammer) faster than the Colonel, who already had his gun in his hand and was attempting to demonstrate how much faster the new double-action revolvers he is selling are.
  • The Sheriff: Black Patch is one of the few westerns to make clear the distinction between town marshal and sheriff. Clay Morgan is the town marshal and his authority is limited to the city limits of his town. Ben Maxton is the county sheriff, with authority across the whole county. He visits Clay because he is visiting all the town marshals to warn them to be on the lookout for an outlaw who robbed the bank in the county seat. Maxton is also the one to arrest Clay when he is accused of murder.
  • Tae Kwon Door: When Hank attempts to lock Clay's own cell, Clay shoves the steel barred door back in Hank's face before in can shut it.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: After Hank punches the barfly who was tormenting Carl, the bartender starts to pull a double-barrelled shotgun from under the bar. However, before he can raise it, Hank has drawn his pistol and is pointing it in the barkeep's face.
  • Wicked Cultured: Frenchy De Vere owns the saloon, and is implied to be the closest thing to a crime boss the town has. He dresses in fine European fashions, enjoys gourmet food and champagne, and plays the spinet extremely well. He is a complete contrast to his boorish and brutish enforcer Holman.
  • Woman Scorned: Frenchy decides that his mistress Kitty is getting too smart for her own good, and beats her up before throwing her out. What he forgets is that she knows every part of his plan and she goes directly to Helen Danner—the widow of the man he had murdered—and spills the beans.
  • Would Hit a Girl: After deciding she is getting too smart for her own good, Frenchy slaps his mistress Kitty around hard enough to blacken her eye.
  • Young Gun: Carl becomes this after Hank Danner is killed: taking Danner's gun and training himself until he becomes the fastest draw in town. The only thing he has yet to do is kill a man.