HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
   
 
Newest Articles
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Man of the West The Way We Were
Year: 1958
Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Gary Cooper, Julie London, Lee J. Cobb, Arthur O'Connell, Jack Lord, John Dehner, Royal Dano, Robert J. Wilke
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Link Jones (Gary Cooper) rides into town carrying a large sum of money in his bag and encounters a man coming out of the saloon with a ladder who is about to replace the sign outside his establishment to show that their singer has been changed. Their previous employee, Billie Ellis (Julie London) walks out at that second and bids the place a farewell, then goes over to the railway station to catch her train. Link is going for that train as well, and is nervous about it as it will be the first time he has ever travelled that way, but as he stands on the platform waiting for it to draw up, the local sheriff accosts him - doesn't he know him from somewhere...?

For some Man of the West was the great James Stewart/Anthony Mann Western that never was, as Stewart had dearly wanted the lead role but due to a falling out it was given to the older Cooper instead, giving rise to complaints that Coop was inapproriate for it due to his advancing years. It's true he is unconvincing as far as his weathered features went in a part obviously designed for a younger man, but actually this was more effective than was often given credit for, as Link is meant to be a man with a dark and long ago past which he has so far successfully escaped from, or has until that fateful journey is interrupted by bandits.

Not only that, but they are outlaws who Link knows, having grown up with them and run with their gang, committing any number of atrocities against a society doing its best to outgrow such evildoers. Once he has been thrown off the carriage he was on along with Billie and a gambler she knows, Beasley (Arthur O'Connell), they strike out for the nearest town, but happen across the isolated home of the gang, led by Link's elderly but powerful uncle, Dock Tobin (a savage Lee J. Cobb giving it his all). Dock is delighted to see him, believing at first that his nephew has returned to the fold, but his men are less convinced, and Link's despicable cousin Coaley (future Hawaii Five-0 star Jack Lord) does his worst to rile the newcomer.

The question here is whether Link really has moved on, or if proximity to these lowlifes will have him headed back to his old ways no matter how much he tries to resist. Of all the Hollywood Westerns of this decade, this is one with a strong atmosphere of barely suppressed violence, and you find yourself sitting out the tense dialogue exchanges to see when they will erupt into brutality. Any one of Dock's gang could kill Link and his companions at any time, and they have a mind to rape Billie as well, leaving an uncomfortable tone to what was far from welcomed by the public in its day. The poor opinion of this was down to the aforementioned suitability of Cooper, but seeing it now it could have been that Man of the West sets out to disturb.

Quite unlike most of its peers, and there are scenes in this which stick in the mind and not because of any benevolent air. It may end on a note of hope, but only one which indicates that you should count the blessings of civilisation and not take too much for granted. The part where Billie is forced to strip while Link is held at knifepoint by is infamous in its ability to make the audience squirm, but there is more than that, and the film is cruel enough to allow her to be raped after we think the danger has passed. Link may get his revenge on Coaley by subjecting him to an extended beating and humiliation, yet we get no satisfaction from it as we see the character has begun to regress to his previous lifestyle, and it disgusts him. Then there's the gunfight that the story ends on, containing some of the loneliest and bleakest deaths of the genre; this was powerful and provocative, and can be regarded now as the cult classic it is. Music by Leigh Harline.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3975 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: