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What truly makes this DVD an 'essential', though, is the bonus track...Described as an 'interview' with Stewart, it is actually an audio commentary that runs through the film, offering not only his reflections about the making of Winchester '73, but insights about his career, working with John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, and his great friends Henry Fonda and John Wayne, even a nice story about his long-time mount, Pie. Recorded several years ago for the laserdisc edition of Winchester '73, it provides a rare opportunity to hear a screen legend reminisce (and makes you wish Wayne and Fonda had lived long enough to have offered personal observations about THEIR classic films!)
This is a DVD NOT to be missed!
When the film was first shown to test audiences, there were titters in the crowd when Jimmy Stewart's name appeared in the credits. "Mr. Smith" in a western? Shooting people? Please. By the end of the film, the tittering was all done and Stewart had established himself as a viable western hero (although in truth the magic of these Mann/Stewart westerns is that the characters Stewart plays are hardly "heroic." They are usually driven, neurotic men, nearly shifty-eyed, with a mean streak a mile wide - bitter men, and always very, very angry and eager to kill.
The basic set-up of this film is beautifully simple: Jimmy Stewart has a prize rifle stolen from him, a Winchester Model 1873 (which at the time the film takes place was state-of-the-art in the world of firearms), and he spends the rest of the movie hunting the man that stole it.
The story unfolds, however, as the movie rolls quickly along to something much more complex, culminating in one of the finest shootouts in movie history. The two principal actors of the film, James Stewart and Stewart McNally, spent a great deal of time practicing with their rifles (in Stewart's case Mann often found him walking around the set with bleeding knuckles, the results of his hours of self-training working the classic lever-action Winchester). Their hard work paid of in a tremendous realism.Read more ›
Two greats, Anthony Mann and Jimmy Stewart, team up to deliver this two-fister about an obsessed man tracking a killer from his own past while his friend Millard Mitchell does his best to keep him from going over the edge. Shelly Winters does a nice turn as the poor gal. Stephen McNally is oily as the main bad guy, and Dan Duryea comes off like Johnny Udo (from the original Kiss Of Death) in chaps.
The story really heats up when Stewart wins a shooting contest in which Wyatt Earp officiates (watch for the postage stamp across the nickel - some heroic marskmanship here) and gets his prized Winchester rifle stolen for his trouble. The Winchester does a hot potato act between badmen and Indians (Rock Hudson shows up as a war chief, in a scene where Tony Curtis dons the blue wool as a cavalry buck), and finally winds up in a climactic, hair raising shootout in a jumble of rocks above the desert. You can FEEL the bullets whizzing by.
Especially love the scene where Lin encounters Waco Johnnie Dean (read: Johnny Udo)in a bar and displays a decided lack of patience for the young bad man's showboating... There aren't many places to find good old Jimmy Stewart coming off harder (but do try `Flight Of The Phoenix'...wow!).
PS - This DVD is a good buy - the print they used tends to be a little less than pristine here and there, but it has got a commentary track with Jimmy Stewart on it! How did they do this? It seems Jimmy might have been watching the Laserdisc. His anecdotes about the old studio system and incites into acting are great. Especially like the stories about his hat (used in various westerns for twenty years) and horse, Pie (same as above).
"Huh...this laser thing is very interesting..." Jimmy Stewart.
Great suprise. Great DVD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great western with an excellent plots with several twists and turns!Published 1 day ago by Richard Smith
I saw this movie when I was a kid. This was in the period when Jimmy Stewart played in oaters. He had started playing awkward younger brothers in romantic comedies. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Patrick L. Boyle
Poor quality video. Grainy and not sharp and crisp as it should have been. It may be that too many copies were made from too many copies of the original film. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Chorizo
Awesome classic movie with no concern for political correctness. Perfect!!Published 24 days ago by Amazon Customer
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