Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Winchester '73 (1950)

Director Anthony Mann made some great film noirs in the 1940's, including T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948). After the war the film audience suddenly became more sophisticated (or jaded) and were not as accepting of the hero in the white hat riding in and saving the day.
Mann made a series of movie with James Stewart in the '50s that are among the best ever made, and really stand-up strongly today.

Mann and Stewart made five "psychological" Westerns that dealt with a flawed hero looking for revenge, violence and a deep seated rage looking to be quenched (Winchester '73 (1950), Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1953), The Man from Laramie (1955), The Far Country (1954)).
In Winchester '73 we find Lin McAdam (Stewart) searching for his brother and then for a rifle he won in a shooting match.

The movie has a little bit of everything with Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson overseeing a shooting match, Rock Hudson playing Young Bull and leading an Indian charge, noir star Dan Duryea as Waco  (Wacko) Johnny Dean, Shelly Winters as a reforming dance hall lady and in a very early role, Tony Curtis.

Mann and Stewart made some great movies together but this is one of the Western Greats.