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JAMES STEWART WITH DONALD CRISP IN 'THE MAN FROM LARAMIE'

Title: THE MAN FROM LARAMIE Year: 1955 Rating: ****1/2

Within moments of Anthony Mann's THE MAN FROM LARAMIE, the old and new aspects of the beloved genre shift, and progress: opening with an old-fashion crooner singing about the title character and then, once we meet James Stewart's Will Lockhart, it's soon learned he's investigating the sale of repeating rifles to Apache Indians, causing his brother's death and leading to an edgy revenge plot popular in almost any Western to come...

And, although eventually revealed to be a Army officer, his agenda — having traveled from Laramie to the small town of Coronado — is like a film noir detective, making LARAMIE stand out from other Mann/Stewart Westerns along with a cerebral theme from William Shakespeare's fallen-monarch tragedy, King Lear...

Donald Crisp and Arthur Kennedy in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE with James Stewart

Which involves almost equally important characters to Stewart's lead in rancher/baron Donald Crisp as Alec Waggoman, whose spoiled, reckless, stubborn son Dave (Alex Nicol) is only partially countered by Arthur Kennedy's Vic, not only the fiance of token lass Cathy O'Donnell (with a soft spot for Stewart) but a dependable ranch hand whose like a son to the boss... only with limited freedom that he'd do practically anything to break from... 

Inevitably connecting with Stewart's lone investigation (aided only by scene-stealing small ranch owner Aline MacMahon and sidekick Wallace Ford), landing him in rousing trouble from fist-fights to gun-fights to getting locked-up in the town basically owned by the powerful yet ailing baron: igniting Stewart into action scenes providing mainstream appeal to an otherwise unique and slowburn, character-driven mystery/thriller in cowboy attire.

James Stewart in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE
James Stewart in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE
James Stewart in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE
Arthur Kennedy in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE
Donald Crisp in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE
James Stewart in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE
Arthur Kennedy in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE
James Stewart in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE with James Millican
Alex Nicol in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE


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