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Winchester '73 (1950) - Westerns Collection 2011 [DVD]
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Dodge City, 1873. Cowboy Lin McAdam (James Stewart) wins a Winchester rifle in a shooting competition, only for it to be stolen by his opponent, his arch-enemy Dutch Henry Mann (Stephen McNally). McAdam sets off in pursuit of his adversary, determined to settle a feud that dates back many years.
Winchester '73 is the first in a remarkable string of five classic westerns that James Stewart made with Anthony Mann in the 1950s (followed by Bend of the River, The Man from Laramie, The Naked Spur, and The Far Country). It is also distinguished for having helped revive the Western at the box office, and for being the first film in which the star forsook a huge up-front salary in favor of a share of the profits--a strategy that made Stewart rich and forever changed the way that Hollywood does business. The movie itself is pretty darned impressive, too. Stewart traces a stolen Winchester rifle through several owners until he finds the man he's looking for. The final spectacular shootout in craggy, mountainous terrain is justly famous. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Produced by Aaron Rosenberg for Universal International. Fritz Lang had been originally earmarked as Director of WINCHESTER `73 but he wasn't available so Mann was chosen to direct his first Western. Robert L. Richards and Borden Chase wrote the screenplay from a story by Stuart N. Lake Beautifully shot in black & white with riders on the skyline images and night time campfire scenes reminiscent of John Ford's best work.
Lin McAdam (James Stewart) and his sidekick High-Spade Frankie Wilson (Millard Mitchell) ride into Dodge City on the trail of Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally). McAdam befriends dance hall girl Lola Manners (Shelley Winters) who is about to run out of town by Wyatt Earp (Will Geer). He then finds himself up against Dutch Henry Brown in a 4th of July Centennial shooting match for a one-in-a-thousand Winchester Rifle Model 1873. Lin McAdam wins the contest and is presented with The Prize Winchester by Wyatt Earp. On returning to his hotel room Stewart is bushwhacked by the runner up (Dutch Henry Brown) who steals the rifle and beats a hasty retreat of town.Read more ›
Stewart had built up an on screen persona of affability, likeableness and general do gooding. It must have been a bit of a surprise to the film goers of the time to see him here, playing much the same character but with the added dimension of being hell bent on a mission of vengeance. Lin McAdam is a generally nice guy, but he has a mission to complete, he must find and kill the man who shot his father. He is almost blind to all else. It's a step away from Stewart's usual character, and even bigger steps into the dark side of the human soul would follow in later films.
As well as the story of McAdam's mission of vengeance this film also follows a gun, the Wnchester 73 of the title. One in a thousand, this is a special gun and everyone covets it. By rights it belongs to McAdam after he won it in a shooting contest, but it gets stolen and passes through many hands until it is used against him in the final shootout. This allows the director to give us a series of vignettes built around the people that have the gun, giving us some fascinating characterisations.
There is a generally fine supporting cast to lift this another notch (the weak link is Rock Hudson's Apache warrior). Millard Mitchell puts in another great turn as the solid and dependable companion of McAdam (why he never became a leading man I'll never know, he provided many memorable supporting performances), Dan Duryea is a charming unhinged wildman and Shelley Winters is perfect as the lady of the piece.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
arrived on time another classic James Stewart western from the golden age of Hollywood westernsPublished 2 months ago by B Tyrrell
one of james stewarts great films, really enjoyed it, also arrived 2 days after purchase, extremely quick, thankyou.Published 7 months ago by ian hawkins
Not as described. Only 1 diskenclosed this was a poor copy . Not original.Published 17 months ago by LODZABOOKS
Classic movie. I am so pleased that I could get it for my father on DVD.Published 18 months ago by Book Worm