Thursday, November 8, 2012

226. Winchester 73

Winchester 73
Directed by Anthony Mann

On the surface, this looks a really cliche western.  You got James Stewart as a reluctant hero, the flat bad guys, and the blond dame that is tougher than she looks.  However, this is actually a deeper movie that I thought it was going to be.  Which is good news for me because that means a longer blog post and more procrastination!

So this movie is basically about a gun.  The film follows the gun as it changes hands many times.  Kind of like the Ring of Power.  Everybody wants it, but only Frodo will be able to handle its power and bring it to Mount Doom.  Ahem.  I meant James Stewart.

It goes without saying that the acting is excellent.  The directing is pretty inspired too; of course, Ford will always be the champion Western director, but Anthony Mann does a good job too.  Wow, that sounded way more condescending than I wanted it to be.  He's good, all right?  Let's just move on.

Anyway, like I said at the beginning, there are plenty of cliches in this film.  However, cliches in westerns are part of the charm of the genre.  There are really great characters in this film.  This review sucks but watch it anyway.  What can I say?  I'm tired!

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Jimmy Stewart took a percentage of the profits from the film instead of the regular acting fee.  He was one of the first actors to do this and started a trend that would ultimately end the studio-actor relationship.

Saved Jimmy Stewart's career as he was worried he was being typecast as a wimp.


  1. Jimmy Stewart took on some awesome roles of flawed characters up through the fifties. He went a long way from being typecast. In Windchester ´73 he is pretty badass.

    1. Yes, but I can see where he is coming from as he is typically kind of vanilla.

  2. I found the format of the gun going from owner to owner, bringing death to each, condemning them for being undeserved, a little silly and contrived. But there were some interesting scenes and set pieces along the way.

    Sorry, but I just don't buy James Stewart as a cowboy. It works in an awkward kind of a way when he's supposed to be out of place for some reason or other, such as Destry Rides Again or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but ultimately he's just no John Wayne. To be fair, he's better at it than Wayne would be in Harvey.

    Talking of which, why isn't Harvey in this list??

    1. It's like the elder wand! Sorry, too nerdy of a reference? And agreed about James Stewart.