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The Far Country
The Far Country
Actors: James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet, Walter Brennan, John McIntire
Director: Anthony Mann
Genres: Westerns
NR     2003     1hr 37min

No Description Available. Genre: Westerns Rating: NR Release Date: 27-FEB-2007 Media Type: DVD

     
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Movie Details

Actors: James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet, Walter Brennan, John McIntire
Director: Anthony Mann
Creators: William H. Daniels, Russell F. Schoengarth, Aaron Rosenberg, Borden Chase
Genres: Westerns
Sub-Genres: Westerns
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/06/2003
Original Release Date: 02/12/1955
Theatrical Release Date: 02/12/1955
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Angela F. from CHARLOTTESVLE, VA
Reviewed on 9/17/2010...
If you like a good old-fashioned Western with excellent acting, a good plot, and incredible scenery, then this is one for you. I swapped for it and it did not disappoint.

Movie Reviews

Another fine Anthony Mann-Jimmy Stewart Western
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 09/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the 1950s, Jimmy Stewart began his second career. In the 1930s and 1940s he had established himself as one of Hollywood's most likeable leading men, and had starred in a string of great comedies, many of them classics. After serving as a bomber pilot in Europe (one of the few Hollywood stars to do a full tour of duty in the field of battle), Stewart returned, but was not as a rule able to reduplicate his pre-war success, his only great films between 1946 and 1950 being the classic holiday film IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and the gritty Chicago detective film CALL NORTHSIDE 777. But beginning in 1950, Stewart teamed up with director Anthony Mann for a string of superb Westerns that surpass any group of Westerns ever made, with the exception of John Wayne's partnership with John Ford. While in his comedies Stewart had always been a good-hearted, solid, highly likeable gent, in these Westerns he usually was complex, haunted, driven, and as a rule somewhat anti-social. It was a dramatic change from his earlier films. Stewart was able to use these roles as a springboard back to other, sometimes even bigger roles, completely revitalizing his career, and establishing him as an actor capable of some darkly complex, varied roles.

THE FAR COUNTRY is the fourth collaboration between Stewart and Mann. It is not one of the finest films in the series, but that isn't because this isn't a very good film, but because the others were so exceptionally fine. As in most of these films, Mann is concerned to show men and women on the outer edge of Western expansion, struggling not merely with nature, but with the vagaries of human nature. The wildness of the settings always serves as not merely a backdrop but as a symbol of the struggles of human beings against one another. There is little admirable in the men who are involved in fulfilling Manifest Destiny; these are greedy, hard, cruel, capable, and vicious men, and the wise person trusts no one but oneself. But in each film, the smaller, dearer, more human virtues of love, forgiveness, and hope manage miraculously to win out. The frontier turns men into such rugged individuals that they become slightly less than human. These films invariably end with Stewart's character moving gradually and perceptibly towards humanity.

Mann was one of the directors who first broke out of the confining Hollywood back lots to film primarily on location. Unlike John Ford, who continually refilmed in Monument Valley, each Mann film would opt for a new locale: WINCHESTER 73 in Arizona, BEND IN THE RIVER near Mt. Hood another other locations in Oregon, THE NAKED SPUR in Colorado, THE MAN FROM LARIMIE in New Mexico, and this film in Jasper and Banff National Parks in Canada.

The quality of this cast can't be exaggerated. Stewart adds yet another stellar performance to his resume as Jeff Webster, a not-very-nice and profoundly self-interested individual trying to score big enough to get his own spread in Utah. Ruth Roman manages to hold her own with the mean, but she doesn't generate the onscreen charisma that a Barbara Stanwyck would have been able to in the same kind of role. John McIntire is suitably nasty as the film's chief villain. It is the supporting cast that makes the roster so outstanding. Was there some secret contract that every Western made in the fifties had to have either Walter Brennan, Jay C. Flippen, or Jack Elam in it? This one manages to find all three. When you add other veteran character actors like Henry Morgan you have a group of familiar and highly competent actors who managed carry off Mann's vision with great aplomb.

The film features a marvelous score, though curiously no one is credited with it. A search on the Internet revealed that four composers were responsible for it, including the great Henry Mancini, though the style isn't one a person normally associates with him. There is no way to know who was responsible for what in the score, but it is compelling throughout. Like with Mann's other Westerns, this is a glorious thing to watch. With the pristine Canadian locales, it possesses a visual exoticism that is rare in Hollywood Westerns. With such backgrounds as Jasper and Banff provided, the photography is gripping throughout. Unlike many other directors who would film a part of the film on location but much or even most in a Hollywood back lot, this film is clearly photographed in the field. It was an expensive way to make a film, but we today are the beneficiaries of their added efforts and expense.

This isn't the Mann-Stewart film that I would recommend most for the newcomer to their series. That would be either THE NAKED SPUR or THE MAN FROM LARAMIE, but all of these films are exceedingly fine, and all of them are important to the career of both men. No one who loves movies could find any of them disappointing.

The DVD is not stuffed with extras, but the print is decent, and the price is exceptionally reasonable."
I'm gonna hang you, but I'm gonna like you.
Steven Hellerstedt | 05/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some time back Humphrey Bogart was selected the number one male screen legend by the A.F.I. (American Film Institute or Asinine Film Idiots, take your pick.) Cary Grant came in second and James Stewart third. Without taking away anything from any of these fine actors, I think this is outrageous. I mean, how many light comedies was Bogart in? How many westerns was Grant in? In my opinion James Stewart was the greatest male film actor ever, and I'd knock Bogart all the way down to ninth place (between James Cagney and Spencer Tracy.) Then again, I've never thought CASABLANCA was "The Movie," so I suppose I'll never understand.
Now that I've got that out of my system.... James Stewart DID star in a number of westerns, and his best were made in collaboration with Anthony Mann. THE FAR COUNTRY may not be the best, but it's a strong entry. Stewart plays Jeff Webster, a loner who's only friend is Ben Tatum (Walter Brennan.) Mann works by throwing opposites in the air and watching what gravity does to them - Ben is domestic and social (he talks about settling down with Jeff on a small ranch in Utah), Jeff is anti-social and footloose.
THE FAR COUNTRY begins in the port of Seattle, where Jeff arrives with a herd of cattle intended for the beef hungry (and rich) gold country of Alaska. He also arrives with two fewer drivers than he began with - he shot them, we are told, because they left the drive and took his cattle with them. Watching Stewart's suspicious eyes narrow and his hand hover over his guns after he returns guns to the two remaining drivers ("Here. You've been waiting to use them for 500 miles.") you can tell that he's an effective enforcer of frontier justice.
Jeff and Ben meet an even more effective enforcer when they reach Skagway. Sheriff Gannon (John McIntire) is the only irredeemable character in the movie. Quick on the draw and cop, judge and jury in the wild frontier town of Skagway Gannon is totally corrupt. Stewart's two love interests, Good Girl Renee Vallon (Corinne Calvet) and Bad Girl Ronda Castle (Ruth Roman) round out the strong cast of major characters.
McIntire is delightfully wicked as the stove-pipe hat wearing hanging judge. Sheriff Gannon is motivated by greed and sadism, and McIntire plays him with gusto. Stewart explores the darker side with his customary intelligence and talent - Jeff Webster is a difficult role, and Stewart makes his journey from misanthropy to social consciousness utterly convincing. Roman is the beautiful saloon owner who may be redeemed by love. Calvet is the French gamin whose beauty (Calvet was a pin-up model in the late `40s and early `50s) is hidden beneath a wool stocking cap and behind a heavy flannel shirt.
Brennan, his upper dental plate out in this one, is the bridge between Jeff Webster and the rest of society. His sin is too much sociability. For my money, Brennan is a can't-miss actor. If he's in it, it's probably good.
The film was shot on location in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, and it looks magnificent.
If you're familiar only with the MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON/IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE/ HARVEY Jimmy Stewart, and you'd like to see him in an oater exploring the dark side, THE FAR COUNTRY is a good place to start. I recommended this one without qualifications."
No letterbox
Daniel C. Markel | 08/12/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Two points: DVD without letterbox is not worth owning.
Typical (good) J. Stewart western with scenery that deserves widescreen."