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cinemaspeak59

Winchester '73 (1950)

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I don't think I've seen Jimmy Stewart more handsomely rugged than in Winchester '73 (1950).  With his long sideburns and longer hair, and in his portrayal of cowboy Lin McAdam, Stewart is a man free of sentimentality.  Tiffany Vazquez, in her introduction, was correct in saying Director Anthony Mann stayed within the Western genre, and also added complexities.  Mann does touch all the Western tropes; the twilight shots of the landscape are a sight. But he also shows how the West, in its vastness, can be quite insular.

 

Stewart isn't terribly materialistic about his Winchester rifle. He skips having it engraved. The mission to bring his father's killer to justice takes precedent. Unlike Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally), Lin won't use the rifle for thrill killing. The most touching scenes are the quiet ones.  When Lin wakes up in the cavalry camp, his good buddy High-Spade Frankie Wilson (Millard Mitchell) smiles at him, and lovingly says "I made you coffee", capturing the bond between the two men.  The ending hints that, perhaps, the Shelley Winters character, Lola Manners, and Stewart's Lin McAdam, may have a future together.  If not, Lin and Frankie will do just fine.  

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I don't think I've seen Jimmy Stewart more handsomely rugged than in Winchester '73 (1950).  With his long sideburns and longer hair, and in his portrayal of cowboy Lin McAdam, Stewart is a man free of sentimentality.  Tiffany Vazquez, in her introduction, was correct in saying Director Anthony Mann stayed within the Western genre, and also added complexities.  Mann does touch all the Western tropes; the twilight shots of the landscape are a sight. But he also shows how the West, in its vastness, can be quite insular.

 

Stewart isn't terribly materialistic about his Winchester rifle. He skips having it engraved. The mission to bring his father's killer to justice takes precedent. Unlike Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally), Lin won't use the rifle for thrill killing. The most touching scenes are the quiet ones.  When Lin wakes up in the cavalry camp, his good buddy High-Spade Frankie Wilson (Millard Mitchell) smiles at him, and lovingly says "I made you coffee", capturing the bond between the two men.  The ending hints that, perhaps, the Shelley Winters character, Lola Manners, and Stewart's Lin McAdam, may have a future together.  If not, Lin and Frankie will do just fine.  

 

Excellent review. I think my favorite Mann western is MAN OF THE WEST.

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I don't think I've seen Jimmy Stewart more handsomely rugged than in Winchester '73 (1950).  With his long sideburns and longer hair, and in his portrayal of cowboy Lin McAdam, Stewart is a man free of sentimentality.  Tiffany Vazquez, in her introduction, was correct in saying Director Anthony Mann stayed within the Western genre, and also added complexities.  Mann does touch all the Western tropes; the twilight shots of the landscape are a sight. But he also shows how the West, in its vastness, can be quite insular.

 

Stewart isn't terribly materialistic about his Winchester rifle. He skips having it engraved. The mission to bring his father's killer to justice takes precedent. Unlike Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally), Lin won't use the rifle for thrill killing. The most touching scenes are the quiet ones.  When Lin wakes up in the cavalry camp, his good buddy High-Spade Frankie Wilson (Millard Mitchell) smiles at him, and lovingly says "I made you coffee", capturing the bond between the two men.  The ending hints that, perhaps, the Shelley Winters character, Lola Manners, and Stewart's Lin McAdam, may have a future together.  If not, Lin and Frankie will do just fine.  

 

Great write up;   This is the Stewart film that made me change my POV about him.   Yea,  I liked him but I wasn't really much of a fan of some of his early 'hick' (ah, shucks) persona type roles.      But in this Mann film (as well as others collaborations) the Stewart film persona is more well rounded and nuanced.     The film uses most of the standard themes (family dispute, buddy bonding,  gang of bad guys and possible double crossers,   clueless good guy killing,   good girl gang moll or not gal etc...   BUT none of these themes are pushed 'too much' but instead weaved into a very compelling film.

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It's always fun to see actors in something early in their careers.  For those seeing this for the first time, look for brief scenes with Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, and James Best.

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