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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2004
This is a dark, beautifully photographed western, and -as with all James Stewart movies- one can count on his solid, convincing and totally affable acting. The same could be said about most performances (Donald Crisp and Arthur Kennedy), however there is an evident miscast with the characters of Dave (the foreman) and Barbara (the dismal woman interest). Unlike most films of the genre, the "Man from Laramie" is at its best when filming the psychological tensions and conflicts between characters, rather than action sequences. Columbia did a fine job transferring the film to DVD format, while the extras are Ok, but nothing we haven't seen before. All in all a must buy for anyone who cares about westerns, Stewart, or both.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2005
"The Man From Laramie" is a great example of the psychological westerns that were popular in the 1950s. Jimmy Stewart plays Will Lockhart, an army Captain who goes undercover to learn who sold rifles to the Apaches, which were then used to kill his brother when a cavalry patrol was ambushed. Lockhart delivers supplies to storekeeper Barbara Waggoman (Cathy O'Donnell) in the isolated town of Coronado, deep in Apache country in New Mexico. He also meets her uncle Alec (Donald Crisp), a wealthy, arrogant cattle baron who is basically a decent man and who loves his worthless son Dave (Alex Nicol). The old man is going blind and is worried that a man will come and kill his son. Trying to reign in the psychopathic Dave is the ranch foreman, Vic (Arthur Kennedy), who is sort of an adopted son to Alec and engaged to Barbara. Of course, the answer to Lockhart's quest is to be found in this tortured family and a lot of people are going to have to die before his obsession finally ends.
This 1955 film, the last Western Stewart did with directed Anthony Mann, owes as much to Shakespeare's King Lear as it does to Freudian psychology. It also features one of the most violent sequences you would find in a Western (for that time) when Dave and his ranch hands roust Lockhart's wagon train loaded with salt. They rope Lockhart, drag him through a fire, burn his wagons and start shooting his mules. Only the arrival of Vic stops Dave from killing Lockhart, setting the stage for his involvement with the Waggomans. The performances by the cast and excellent, with Stewart, Crip and Kennedy are especially good and the film has the additional virtue of having been filmed on location near Sante Fe. "The Man From Laramie" is one of the darkest Westerns, what you might consider the "Unforgiven" of its day.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The last of the collaborations between James Stewart and director Anthony Mann (unless you count the few days Mann worked on Night Passage before falling out with his star), The Man From Laramie is the most ambitious even if it isn't always completely successful. On one level it's a standard revenge Western, with Stewart looking for the gunrunners who caused his brother's death, but his hunt takes in rancher Donald Crisp's powerful but dysfunctional dynasty and its divisions as well, and its through them that the film moves into almost mythically tragic territory. With foreman and almost adopted son Arthur Kennedy devotedly but thanklessly running the ranch for him and constantly trying to protect the old man from the feckless stupidity and sadism of his natural son Alex Nicol it soon becomes clear that not all the bad guys are that bad. Indeed, everything Kennedy does wrong is done out of the best motives that are constantly thwarted, turning what could easily have been a stereotypical villain into a genuinely tragic figure as he realises the man he regards as a second father sees him only as a mere employee (interestingly, James Gray used this same character arc for Joaquin Phoenix's character in The Yards). Even Crisp's autocrat is tormented by recurring dreams of a stranger riding in to destroy his family as he slowly goes blind, believing Stewart to be a virtual horseman of the apocalypse.

Along with the tormented and frustrated characters it's also surprisingly violent for its day. While it wasn't unusual for Stewart's characters to carry their own stigmata in Mann's Westerns (in Bend of the River he even hides a scar on his neck from a botched lynching), here he really suffers as he's beaten up, dragged across salt flats and through a fire and then shot in the hand in one scene alone, all of which only serves to fuel his hatred more until the affable character we met at the film's beginning has become a distant memory. In many ways it reverses the usual journey Mann put Stewart through in their Westerns: rather than going from bitterness to reluctant hero, here he starts out `nice to everybody' (as the very out-of-keeping title song puts it) to end the film all but consumed by rage.

As usual, there's admirable economy in the writing - there's a lot of plot and several key characters but it manages bring them all over and incorporate an almost mystical sense of tragic destiny without seeming rushed or contrived, offering a satisfying Western with some substance. It's also the closest Mann ever got to his long cherished Western version of King Lear that he was finally preparing when he died during the shooting of A Dandy in Aspic. The only one of the Mann-Stewart films together to be shot in Scope, Mann uses it superbly, and not just in the mountain location shots. Check out the beautiful establishing shot of the town on Sunday evening, the Mexicans and Indians heading for church on one side of the frame while on the other the white townsfolk drink and gamble. Thankfully that's preserved in Columbia's widescreen DVD, though the only extra is a clumsily cropped trailer introduced by Stewart on the film's set.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Columbia Pictures Corporation presents "THE MAN FROM LARAMIE" (1955) (104 min/Color) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --Will Lockhart (James Stewart) is obsessed with finding the man who sold automatic rifles to the Apaches, resulting in the death of his brother --- Will enters the town of Coronado, NM, ruled by the blind and aging patriarch Alec Waggoman (Donald Crisp) --- Unaware that he is trespassing on Waggoman's land, he finds himself accosted by Alec's psychopathic son, Dave (Alex Nicol), who brutally beats Will and is ready to kill him --- But Will is rescued at the last minute by Waggoman's adopted son, Vic Hansbro (Arthur Kennedy) --- Will finds that Waggoman has become increasingly concerned over who will inherit his vast empire.

A brilliant psychological Western reminiscent of Shakespeare's King Lear.

James Stewart & Anthony Mann: their 5 westerns together from 1950 to 1955, rewrote the cowboy story for the big screen - their's were tough, psychological though lyric masterpieces of western cinema - beautifully photographed and expertly written stories with intriguing characters and realistic action - a blueprint for westerns of the 50s (and embraced by Budd Boetticher & Randolph Scott in their excellent collaborations in the late 1950s - see the Randolph Scott section of this website)

This, The Man From Laramie (1955) was the fifth and last of this quintet of Stewart / Mann westerns - preceded by Winchester '73 (1950), Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1954) & The Far Country (1954).
Under the production staff of:
Anthony Mann [Director]
Philip Yordan [Screenwriter]
Frank Burt [Screenwriter]
Thomas T. Flynn [Saturday Evening Post story]
William Goetz [Producer]
George Duning [Original Film Music]
Charles Lang [Cinematographer]
William A. Lyon [Film Editor]

BIOS:
1. Anthony Mann [aka: Emil Anton Bundesmann] - [Director]
Date of Birth: 30 June 1906 - San Diego, California
Date of Death: 29 April 1967 - Berlin, Germany

2. James Stewart
Date of Birth: 20 May 1908 - Indiana, Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 2 July 1997 - Los Angeles, California

the cast includes:
James Stewart - Will Lockhart
Arthur Kennedy - Vic Hansbro
Donald Crisp - Alec Waggoman
Cathy O'Donnell - Barbara Waggoman
Alex Nicol - Dave Waggoman
Aline MacMahon - Kate Canady
Wallace Ford - Charley O'Leary
Jack Elam - Chris Boldt
John War Eagle - Frank Darrah

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 104 min on DVD ~ Sony Pictures ~ (02/15/2000)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This Western about a mystery man (Jimmy Stewart) seeking to discover who was responsible for his brother's death is magnificently shot in glorious Technicolor, and the wide screen aspect preserves the stunning panoramic views of the countryside which were shot in Cinemascope.The action is typical of the genre, but Anthony Mann directs it superbly, with Jimmy Stewart and Arthur Kennedy giving the performances of their lives. Donald Crisp is also very convincing as the long-widowed and arrogant cattle baron, with Alex Nicol playing his sadistic son, Dave, who is very nasty to our beloved Jimmy. Nicol's good looks are played down, and he skilfully transforms himself into a snarling beast who is also a pathetic daddy's boy. The only parts of the movie I did not enjoy were the famous 'explosive confrontations' between Stewart and Nicol, where the graphic violence is allowed to go on for far too long. If some time had been saved here, we might have been given a better idea of why 'young' Dave (pushing forty) was allowed to become such a monster - being spoiled by his mummy isn't quite good enough. As it turns out, Dave is not the ultimate Baddie, who is a much more subtle piece of work, and there is an 'intensely satisfying' and breathtaking ending. (Yes, this movie really delivers what it says on the packet.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2010
James Stewart's career went through a rocky patch after World War II, his Capra heroes and moral crusaders struggling to stay afloat in a changing world until he ended up playing second fiddle to Spencer Tracy and Joan Fontaine in a couple of potboilers. It was the Western that turned things round, a genre he'd visited only once before in the Thirties for a tragi-comedy about a lawman who never carries a gun. A tougher harsher Stewart emerged in the notably pro-Indian BROKEN ARROW for Delmer Daves, and a splendidly fruitful collaboration with Anthony Mann which gave us the unvarnished, starkly episodic WINCHESTER '73, the sheer adventurousness and communal bustle of BEND OF THE RIVER and THE FAR COUNTRY, and that wonderfully edgy and cross-purposing quintet in THE NAKED SPUR. I love these movies for their abiding freshness and sense of exploring, qualities I find somewhat diminished in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE. For both men it was their first film in CinemaScope and handsome though it be to behold it tends to emphasise the fact that the script-elements here, from a different writing-source, are as ring-fenced in familiarity as Alec Waggoman's vast spread - the stubborn old cattle-baron, the jealously warring 'sons', the bad-guy selling guns to the Apaches. We've seen it all before in other people's pictures and would continue to do so. The critics seemed most excited about the 'new' violence - Stewart getting shot through the hand while under constraint. But take a look-see, pardners, at CORONER CREEK, a Randolph Scott programmer also from Columbia and made about seven years earlier in which Randy has his gun-hand mashed, equally harrowingly, by Forrest Tucker and the boys from the bunkhouse. CORONER has no critical reputation and is largely forgotten except on Sunday afternoons when shown by Five. It has too much plot and too many characters for its size to deal with satisfactorily but it's well-shot and well worth watching.
As for LARAMIE, it's still a good and vigorous show with Stewart grittily in command and solid support from Donald Crisp as the rancher who's losing his sight and the priceless Arthur Kennedy as the sneaky-snaky foreman. Charles Lang did the visuals and in the U.K. a certain Jimmy Young had a big big hit with the title-song. But I still vastly prefer in every way the earlier entries in the partnership. And it's significant, I think, that when Mann moved on to even bigger screens in the Sixties with historical epics full of cardboard characters - and his LARAMIE writer - he seemed to lose his way completely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2010
The Man form Laramie is a very good Western starring James Stewart as a man seeking revenge for the death of his brother who arrives in a frontier town dominated by ranching and the threat of Indians which is full of potential suspects. James Stewart as usual gives a very good performance playing a mysterious stranger motivated by revenge which in many ways is a very different role form the caricatured perception of him. Although at times it is a little dated it is still a very good film.
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on 28 September 2014
The Man from Laramie is a man on a mission. To find out who is selling repeating rifles to the Apache's. It is a good story, there is plenty of action with short interludes of romance. Enough to hold one's attention. The film itself appears to have been digitally remastered, there are plenty of white sharpening lines around figures. The quality of the transfer is good but. Many of these older films were projected onto the cinema screen using a very bright ultra violet light, this burned into the shadows and gave plenty of detail. This detail is lost on the smaller TV screens. the dark shadows become muggy and dull, little separation. Ideally, if possible during the transfer, the shadows should be fine-tuned and opened up slightly. Then the viewing of these older films would be much more pleasing. This DVD was one of a boxed set called: 'Greatest Westerns'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 May 2010
The Stewart/Mann team excelled themselves in this film.The supporting characters were particularly well drawn,espescially Alex Nichol as a real bad baddie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2014
Another good film from James Stewart, picture and sound quality are very good and good acting from all concerned.
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