MovieChat Forums > North West Frontier (1959) Discussion > 'You can't depress that gun any more'

'You can't depress that gun any more'


When Van Leyden is firing the Maxim into the carriage, it is firing so high that everyone can take cover on the floor and not be hit, including Scott, who crawls along the floor and shouts "it's no good Van Leyden, you can't depress that gun any more". Is this cinematic license, or does a Maxim not fire when pointed downwards? Seems a bit unlikely to me.

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There certainly seemed to be artistic licence in some sense, considering that they were using the gun to fire at the assailants below them for much of the film. You'd think that it would be designed to fire from a high vantage. It still seems less fanciful than leaving a loaded machine gun alone in a room with a prisoner, though.

~.~
There were three of us in this marriage
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It was mentioned before they set off and broke through the gate that the gun's movement was knackered and they hadn't had time to fix it.

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It's not that the gun would not function while pointed any lower, it's that the tripod mount that holds the gun won't physically allow the gun to tilt (point) any lower than the level that was just above Scott's head as he crawls towards Van Leyden. That's why at the very last Van Leyden stands up and attempts to jerk the whole assembly (gun & tripod) upwards (up at the rear & down at the muzzle end). It was at that point that Scott reaches up and knocks the gun away from being pointed at him and attacks Van Leyden. There were many different types of mounts for these machine guns. Some of these mounts were fixed movement types while other were user-adjustable depending on what your surroundings were. For instance, when mounted on the rear cockpit of an old biplane type aircraft, you could restrict the movement of the gun as not to not allow the gun's muzzle to be pointed at the pilot's head or (in the opposite direction) the tail of the plane. So.... restricted movement is actually a reasonable possibility. 👍

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