Best of… Series – 1950 – Winchester ’73
This review contains spoilers.
My latest adventure down the path of Anthony Mann has led me to my favorite. Mann’s tale of revenge is almost a subtle as they come. We know throughout that James Stewart’s character is on the hunt for a man, and we decipher rather quickly that the man killed his father (though they never directly tell us that), but it’s not until the end that all the pieces fit and we discover the man is his brother. Speaking of Stewart, he might be my favorite classic western actor. Every conversation he is a part of has a sense of naturalism like few others can match. Though in Winchester ’73, his supporting cast is also fantastic. All the characters were interesting and the important sub-plots are probably what makes the revenge storyline so subtle.
The tone of this film is also great. Amongst the many gunfights there was still a sense of real calmness. There are many instances where things slow down and we’re able to experience the land, the people, and the sounds of their surroundings. It doesn’t hurt that the film’s score is used sparingly. If I had to pick a weakness, it would just be that too many characters happen to meet up or run into other characters who lead them to just the right person or information they’re seeking – in other words, too many conveniences. But they are mostly handled well so they don’t stick out as much of a flaw. 9.25/10