Top positive review
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First Stewart/Mann Teaming a CLASSIC!
on June 15, 2003
Winchester '73 is one of the most enduring and popular films of James Stewart's career, for several reasons; it was the first of five teamings with brilliant, underrated director Anthony Mann, who retooled Stewart's drawling, 'aw-shucks' persona into a laconic, edgier, more flawed hero; it featured a brilliant cast, including Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally, John McIntyre, and, in VERY early appearances, Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis; visually, it is spectacular, one of the most beautiful Black and White films ever made, with deep-focus photography highlighting rugged Arizona settings that literally leap from the screen; and, most of all, it is a terrific variation of 'Cain and Abel', told through the premise of the search for a 'one-of-a-kind' rifle Stewart wins in a competition, then loses through treachery. It's the kind of film that offers new insights each time you view it, as the actions and motivations of 'good' brother Stewart and 'bad' brother McNally become better understood.
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!