(1955)

The man you'll never forget!

Will Lockhart arrives in Coronado, an isolated town in New Mexico, in search of someone who sells rifles to the Apache tribe, finding himself unwillingly drawn into the convoluted life of a local ranching family whose members seem to have a lot to hide.

You Scum!
Will Lockhart (James Stewart) leaves his home in Laramie on a mission to find out who was responsible for selling repeating rifles to the Apaches who killed his brother. Landing in Coronado, New Mexico, he finds that most of the territory is owned and ruled by Alec Waggoman (Donald Crisp), a fierce patriarchal rancher with one loose cannon son, Dave (Alex Nicol) and another surrogate son, Vic Hansboro (Arthur Kennedy) running the Barb Ranch. As he digs deeper, Lockhart finds he is in the middle of two wars, one of which may eventually conclude his revenge fuelled mission.
The Man From Laramie is the last of the five Westerns that director Anthony Mann made with leading man James Stewart. The only one filmed in CinemaScope, it is a visually stylish picture that is full of brooding psychological themes and boasts great acting and a tight script. It's no secret that Mann, before his sad death, was looking to make a Western King Lear, The Man From Laramie serves as a delicious starter to what would have been the main course. With its family dilemmas and oedipal overtones, Mann's Western is very Shakespearian in tone. That its characters are sumptuously framed amongst a harsh dangerous landscape further fuels the psychological fire; with the landscapes (terrificly photographed by Charles Lang) providing a link to the characters emotional states. So many scenes linger long and hard in the memory (none of which I would dare to spoil for would be new viewers), so much so they each reward more upon subsequent revisits to the film. There's some minor quibbles down the pecking order; for instance Cathy O'Donnell as Barbara Waggoman is poor and contributes little to proceedings, but really it remains a quality piece of psychological work that barely gives us reason to scratch the itch.
Taut, tight and tragic is The Man From Laramie, brought to us courtesy from the dynamite partnership of Mann & Stewart. 9/10

William Goetz Productions, Columbia Pictures by Anthony Mann, Philip Yordan, Frank Burt, Thomas T. Flynn.
Stars: James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp.

Genres: Western

Keywords: arms smuggling apache nation family secrets mysterious man cattle ranch new mexico territory

08/31/1955

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