HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Yes, God, Yes
Five Graves to Cairo
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  Man from Laramie, The Ranch Of The Damned
Year: 1955
Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Crisp, Cathy O'Donnell, Alex Nicol, Aline MacMahon, Wallace Ford, Jack Elam, John War Eagle, James Millican, Gregg Barton, Boyd Stockman, Frank DeKova
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Will Lockhart (James Stewart) is leading a wagon train across Apache country and tells them to halt as he believes he has found an ideal place for them to stop for the night. Or at least he does until he dismounts and surveys the scene: the rocks have obscured the aftermath of carnage, with the burnt out remains of a Cavalry platoon apparent on the ground where the Indian tribe have attacked them. Sadly, this is much as Lockhart expected, and he agrees with his right hand man Charley (Wallace Ford) to move on to Coronado, the closest town and their destination; on arrival, he asks to see the boss, and is surprised when she is a woman, Barbara Waggoman (Cathy O'Donnell) who is not too pleased to learn he has brought her supplies...

All good things must come to an end, and The Man from Laramie was the final Western to be directed by Anthony Mann that starred James Stewart. They would make one more film together, the military flagwaver Strategic Air Command, but when set to team up once again on a Western it was Night Passage, which Mann felt was substandard and led to them falling out. Though Stewart asked his old collaborator to allow him to star in Man of the West, Mann had burned his bridges and refused, so Gary Cooper starred instead, and a what might have been question was left unanswered for good. Nevertheless, we had the five Westerns they did complete, and the debate goes on as to which was best.

At least most can agree that the two men never made a bad Western together, each deploying Mann's interest in the psychological aspects of morality, what drove people to compromise themselves and go after revenge or sadism or alternatively stand up for what was decent and take the high ground. As often, Stewart was playing a man with vengeance in his thoughts which was consuming him, but here things were a little different in that he didn't have some dark secret in his past he was making up for, and suffered no doubts that he was in the right, as the film did not either. The dilemma was rather whether he would go through with doling out the justice he righteously believed was his to administer.

Oddly, Lockhart's grudge was not against the Apache, who the story accepts as they are, a force of nature that only a fool would mess around with. Step forward one fool, Dave Waggoman (Alex Nicol), Barbara's cousin, who we learn has been selling rifles to the Indians, effectively playing with fire, though as ever with Mann events are complicated, here with Dave's father, the most successful rancher in the territory, Alec (Donald Crisp), who dotes after his son while realising that he is far from the man his father is. Indeed, Dave is practically a psychopath, prone to flying off the handle as Lockhart discovers when reluctant to leave he does Barbara a favour by collecting salt in his wagons, only to have Dave appear with his men in an outrage, setting fire to those wagons and shooting Lockhart's mules.

The power of seeing a man like James Stewart humiliated, who after all was a symbol of upstanding American citizens for generations of moviegoers, was not lost on Mann, who seemed to delight in undercutting that image. Here it is not personal mental anguish that leads Stewart's character down murky roads, it is others' weaknesses, and it happens twice here in two scenes that shocked nineteen-fifties audiences with their savagery. It's bad enough that he would be roped and dragged as his property is destroyed, but later Dave snaps once again and starts shooting at Lockhart, who is a better shot and hits him in the hand. Dave, considering he started it, is as petty as ever, but nasty with it, putting a bullet through his rival’s own hand in a tit for tat; Stewart's whimpering is disturbing to hear but it was sequences such as this that raised the stakes so that we were clear these men were battling for their souls, and whoever gave into the impulse of evil was going straight to Hell, living or otherwise. Couple that with stunning scenery as ably as ever captured by Mann's camera, and if The Man from Laramie was not the best of their works together, you could not go wrong with any of their Westerns. Music by George Duning; Frankie Laine sang the hit theme song.

[Eureka's Blu-ray has a handsomely restored print, a commentary, Kim Newman discussing the film in a featurette, and the trailer. There's also a booklet that has a rare interview with Mann inside.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2538 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: