The Man From Laramie Reviews
It was great to see how Stewart could expand his acting range like he did. With these Anthony Mann westerns, we got to see what an excellent actor Stewart was.
In this film, we are introduced to a King Lear scenario. In Shakespeare's Lear, a king is late in his reign and divides his kingdom among his daughters. As in Shakespeare, tragedy follows. We do have elements of that here. With it, we have Stewart seeking vengeance for those who sold repeating rifles to Indians who killed Stewart's brother.
The film is very well made, with an especially subtle score by George Duning, who scored many other westerns. The film has many good elements. But, it has the feel of having a script that was chipped together. There is a very good through line to the story, but we get a lot of Stewart refusing to leave town, but not telling anybody why. This gets repeated many times.
But, when the film gets to focusing on the matters at hand, it works, and the conclusion is very satisfying.
A man who wants to keep life simple and sell his cattle to the countryside is approached by a cattle baron's worker one day and forced to take matters in his own hands. The cattle baron takes notice and has his son and #1 employee try and recruit the stranger. The stranger instead works for his biggest rival. A feud of epic proportions is about to unfold.
"I always believe I belong where I am."
Anthony Mann, director of El Cid, Winchester '73, The Glenn Miller Story, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Tin Star, The Naked Spur, and The Far Country, delivers The Man from Laramie. The storyline for this picture is interesting and unfolds well with a slightly predictable ending. The cast delivers solid performances and includes James Stewart, Jack Elam, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, Cathy O'Donell, and Frank DeKova.
"We don't speak the same language."
This movie was recommended to me via Verizon Fios so I DVR'd this classic western. This was an above average addition that was worth a viewing. This isn't epic and far from Stewart's best film, but it is definitely worth a viewing and adding to your collection if you're a fan of the genre.
"I was expecting you."
Written by Philip Yordan and Frank Burt, the film is about a stranger who defies a local cattle baron and his sadistic son by working for one of his oldest rivals.
The father of the ranch of course knows nothing of his stupid spoiled kid Dave selling rifles to the Apaches. The father is played by Donald Crisp, of How Green Was My Valley fame, an Oscar best picture.
Against all odds, Stewart leaves most everyone important dead in the film. He rides off into the sunset despite falling in love with the widow of Dave. Come ask for me if you ever visit Laramie, he says to her at the end of the film.
A huge anticlimax to a long and suspense filled movie.
James Stewart is one of my favorites, but the more I see of Arthur Kennedy, the more I like.
A Satisfying Western
1 The Man from Laramie was one of the first Westerns to be filmed in CinemaScope to capture the vastness of the scenery. The film was also shot in Technicolor. This is the fifth and final Western collaboration between Anthony Mann and James Stewart.
James Stewart as Will Lockhart
Arthur Kennedy as Vic Hansbro
Donald Crisp as Alec Waggoman
Cathy O'Donnell as Barbara Waggoman
Alex Nicol as Dave Waggoman
Aline MacMahon as Kate Canady
Wallace Ford as Charley O'Leary
Jack Elam as Chris Boldt
James Millican as Tom Quigby
Frank DeKova as Padre
Eddy Waller as Dr. Selden (uncredited)
William Goetz Productions
August 31, 1955
$3.3 million (US)
Movie gradually opens with mild scene in the start, and look at the crafty work done on the set-designing of western town, it looks rather clean and furbished with both (I guess) dark hidden character of some of folks of the town. This film entirely captures the landscape-view, giving such a macabre sense of cinematography. All characters knew what the director was trying to get their capacity to enhance the charm of the movie.
If felt like it continued to get worse and worse throughout and there was no need for it to be longer than 90 minutes, even if only by 15.