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A Bullet Is Waiting

A Bullet Is Waiting is a 1954 American Technicolor film noir crime film directed by John Farrow and starring Jean Simmons, Rory Calhoun, Stephen McNally and Brian Aherne.[1]

A Bullet Is Waiting
Directed byJohn Farrow
Produced byHoward Welsch
Screenplay byThames Williamson
Casey Robinson
StarringJean Simmons
Rory Calhoun
Stephen McNally
Brian Aherne
Music byDimitri Tiomkin
CinematographyFranz Planer
Edited byOtto Ludwig
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • September 4, 1954 (1954-09-04) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
82 minutes
CountryUnited States



A small plane carrying Frank Munson and a handcuffed prisoner, Ed Stone, crashes in the California wilderness. Ed knocks out Frank, unlocks the cuffs and flees, coming upon a woman called Cally tending to sheep, seemingly by herself in a remote cabin.

Frank follows and identifies himself as a Utah lawman who after tracking Ed for nearly two years finally caught up with him. Cally is hesitant to trust either stranger. She is an educated woman whose father, a former college professor, is living with her but is currently away.

As a torrential rain falls, Ed attempts to escape, but the passage is flooded. Cally tries to warn him, but pulls a knife when Ed tries to kiss her. At the cabin, Frank has no weapon and searches for a rifle Cally has hidden. Ed returns and, while trapped there during the storm, explains to Cally that he shot Frank's brother in self-defense, whereupon Frank had himself deputized but intends to kill him rather than bring him to justice.

Cally's father returns and is startled to find two men there. He hears their stories and, aware that his daughter is falling in love with Ed, offers him a chance to turn himself in to other authorities. With a gun in his hand and a single bullet in the chamber, Ed proves his intent by refusing to shoot Frank when he has the chance. He sets off to surrender himself to the actual police.



The film was to be the first in three movies starring Jean Simmons produced by Howard Welsch. He took over the contract Simmons had with RKO.[2] Filming started 3 December 1953.[3]

Welsh later sold the remaining two-film-commitment with Simmons to 20th Century Fox.[4]

In April 1954 Welsch signed a deal with Columbia to distribute the film.[5]


  1. ^ Sean Axmaker A Bullet is Waiting
  2. ^ GOETZ TO PRODUCE BIG-SCALE WESTERN: His Second Independent Film Will Star James Stewart in 'Dawn in the Sky' By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 25 Nov 1953: 18.
  3. ^ Drama: Three Simmons Pictures Planned; Ibsen's Works Augment Classic Trend Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 4 Dec 1953: B9.
  4. ^ Drama: Three Films on Slate for Lizabeth Scott; New Simmons Deal Closed Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 19 Jan 1954: B7.
  5. ^ Drama: 'Back Alley' Star Revel for Youth; 'Purple Mask' Held Right for Flynn Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 12 Apr 1954: B9.

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