HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
   
 
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
   
 
  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 3557 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
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: