Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Winchester '73 in 1950

I remembered seeing WINCHESTER '73 as a kid, at one of those Sunday matinees, when us '50s kids saw revivals of older movies (the 1942 costumer, Tyrone Power's SON OF FURY was another favourte), but had not seen it since. Catching it this week it is indeed a classic western, full of great moments and Anthony Mann certainly keeps us watching, as that gun is passed on from owner to owner and back to James Stewart, who won it initially. Stewart and Mann made a great series of westerns, some of which are classics of the genre: THE MAN FROM LARAMIE, THE FAR COUNTRY, THE NAKED SPUR, BEND OF THE RIVER etc. (I like Stewart's 1957 NIGHT PASSAGE too, though it not by Mann). Like Randolph Scott and Budd Boetticher they were a great time, and not just in westerns. (Mann also did that delicious Trash Classic I love: SERENADE in 1956 with Mario Lanza and Joan Fontaine, as well of course as epics like EL CID and FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, he created some great widescreen images.) 

In a marksmanship contest, Lin McAdam wins a prized Winchester rifle, which is immediately stolen by the runner-up, Dutch Henry Brown. This "story of a rifle" then follows McAdams' pursuit, and the rifle as it changes hands, until a final showdown and shoot-out on a rocky mountain precipice. 

Great set-pieces include the Indians attacking the cavalry troop (Tony Curtis, left, has a few moments here as a young trooper) while a pre-hunk Rock Hudson (above) is the Indian chief intent of warfare and getting those new guns for himself. 
Dan Duryea is splendidly repellent as usual, and Steve McNally provides a good final shoot-out with Stewart. Venal Charles Drake is travelling with saloon girl Shelley Winters and they have some good moments too, particularly when the Redskins attack.  Jay C. Flippen and John McIntrye are good support too. 
This remains one western one can enjoy anytime, it would probably get shown more often if it had been in colour. 

1 comment:

  1. Do you know of an old black and white thriller movie where a bad guy is hiding in a grandfather clock? Thanks!