Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Winchester '73 
Winchester ’73 was the first of several memorable collaborations between Anthony Mann and James Stewart in the so-called genre of psychological Westerns, and what a great start to their journey this was! This fervently-paced muscular Western had Stewart playing Lin McAdam, a deeply conflicted drifter and a crack-shot who is trotting around on his horse with a loyal friend of his with the sole motive of avenging his father’s death. And his nemesis happens to be another crack-shot by the name of Dutch Henry Brown – who also happens to be his half-brother. The movie starts with a competition held at Dodge City in order to find the winner of a “One in a Thousand” Winchester ’73 rifle. Lin wins the target-shooting duel, only for Dutch to steal it on his way out of the town. And thus starts a fascinating journey for the prized gun through a plethora of hands, as also a maniacal and nerve-racking pursuit by Lin through the harsh and treacherous terrains in order to seek vengeance and closure. The film might not boast of spectacular performances as such; nonetheless, there are a couple of interesting turns in it – most notably by Dan Duryea as a psychotic outlaw. But acting-wise, the movie belongs to Stewart for his restrained portrayal of a seemingly mild-mannered man who is nevertheless willing to go to extreme lengths of insanity – both physiologically and psychologically, in order to kill Dutch and get his rifle back. The movie, by the way, is filled with the kind of archetypes that this iconic genre’s aficionados of are so in love with.
Director: Anthony Mann
Genre: Western/Psychological Western