I don't come from anywhere...
arca20 | 07/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some men arrive with provisions for a store, most of them will return from whence they came. One man, portrayed by James Stewart, may have come from Laramie but its not his home and does not intend to return until he finds out who supplied the rifles to the Apache - rifles which were used to kill a cavalry troop, among them his brother.His quest brings him into conflict with a local landowner who has dreamt that a man would one day come to kill his son. Is it the man from Laramie?James Stewart and Anthony Mann made some great films together - this was the last, and by no means the least. I have said it before and I'll say it again - James Stewart was the finest actor ever and this film features another fine performance.The DVD transfer (anamorphic) is excellent - picture quality and sound are excellent. My only complaint is the lack of features. Trailers for the other Stewart/Mann films at least would have been a worthy addition."
The summit of an absolutely superb series of Westerns
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 04/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the reasons that Jimmy Stewart is one of the truly great movie stars in Hollywood history was his ability to reinvent himself. Early in his career, he excelled as a light comedian, though he could expand that into more complex comedic roles such as MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. But mainly, he was nice. He was never mean, never rough, never rugged. But in the 1950s he was wonderfully utilized in differing ways by two very different directors: Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Mann. The latter in particular offered Stewart roles that would be the darkest, most complex of his career. When we think of the great actor of the 1950s, Stewart is not usually the first actor of whom we think, but the fact is that from 1950 with the films WINCHESTER 73 (with Mann), BROKEN ARROW, and HARVEY (for which he received an Oscar nomination) to 1959 with ANATOMY OF A MURDER, Stewart was the most prolific star of the decade, with a resume that no other actor can match. Not least his success depended on the string of eight films he made with Anthony Mann: WINCHESTER 73, BEND OF THE RIVER, THE NAKED SPUR, THUNDER BAY, THE GLENN MILLER STORY, THE FAR COUNTRY, STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, and THE MAN FROM LARAMIE. The five Westerns of this collaboration stand comparison with any series of Westerns ever made, excluding only those of John Ford and John Wayne.
THE MAN FROM LARAMIE is probably the finest Western that Stewart and Mann made together, though it gets serious competition from THE NAKED SPUR. Unlike Clint Eastwood, who pretty much played variations on the Man With No Name even in Westerns in which his character had a name, each of Stewart's Western characters are strikingly different from one another. Howard Kemp in THE NAKED SPUR is a man so obsessed in his task that he borders on insanity. Will Lockhart in THE MAN FROM LARAMIE, while angry, is self-contained, deliberate, and calculating. He is a man on a mission-a U.S. Army captain going undercover to learn who was selling repeating rifles to the Apaches who ambushed a squad of soldiers, one of whom was his brother. Unlike Howard Kemp, Will Lockhart is the epitome of sanity. And unlike some of his other roles under Mann, Stewart's Lockhart is never driven to action by his circumstances. In BEND IN THE RIVER and THE FAR COUNTRY, Stewart's characters respond to trouble, but they don't seek it out. Lockhart knew he was stepping into trouble from the start.
One of the reasons that THE MAN FROM LARAMIE is so outstanding is the presence both of a very strong cast (with a couple of notable exceptions) and finely conceived characters. Next to Stewart's Lockhart, Arthur Kennedy's Vic Hansboro is marvelous as an almost tragic figure-the foreman of a huge ranch who is the glue who holds everything together, but knows that the irresponsible, incompetent, hotheaded son of the owner is destined to inherit all. He is in an impossible situation, and this is brought out by a series of accidents that he finds himself in the middle of. Always good in anything he was in, this is one of the finest roles of Kennedy's career. The other stellar performance is by the always reliable and enormously versatile Donald Crisp as cattle mogul Alec Waggoman. I love his role because Waggoman is never reduced to a one-dimensional stereotype. Unfortunately, the film is brought down somewhat by the lackluster Cathy O'Donnell as the film's love interest and by Alex Nicol. Although he was memorable in two powerful scenes in which he first ropes Jimmy Stewart after burning his wagons and shooting his mules and then later shoots him in the hand after his men holds him, he overall lacks any kind of subtlety in his performance. Had the film had a more gifted actor in the role, this would have been an even better film.
Like all of the Stewart-Mann Westerns, this one was filmed on location, though each film sports a different one. THE MAN FROM LARAMIE was primarily shot around Santa Fe and Taos, and one of the joys of each of these films is the unique look the locations create.
On a negative note, the dreadful song that graces the beginning and end of the film stands as one of the worst in the history of the Hollywood Western. One can only speculate what led to the selection of this song as the theme.
Turner Classic Movies has a series called The Essentials, a series dedicated to some of the finest films in the history of American cinema. If a similar series were created for the Western, all five of the Stewart-Mann films would be included. And of that series, THE MAN FROM LARAMIE might be the finest of the bunch."
Deserves more attention
Ghenghis | Monvolia | 12/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hard to believe I missed this jewel before. Just an outstanding collaboration by Stewart/Mann. I really don't see the brutality here that so many people are quick to scream these days, and who cares about King Lear? This is just a great Western in the classic sense. Jimmy Stewart was always his best in the "I'm gonna get you sucka'" role and he is terrific here. The story outweighs some casting issues but you won't care. Cathy O'Donnell is exactly like Stewart describes her..."beautiful", a fragile genuine treasure. The DVD transfer is nothing but spectacular. I've never seen colors like this anywhere and there's plenty of scenery to "wow" at. Amazing actually but that's an Anthony Mann trademark. Just jumped into my top five all time list. 5 mules, still standing."
A Great Farewell to a Phenomenal Partnership
bruce hutton | MESA, AZ United States | 08/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the 1950's, James Stewart and director Anthony Mann made eight films together, including five westerns. The first was "Winchester '73", the last was "The Man From Laramie". Every film was a masterpiece. There was always a throughline of theme and plot, and Stewart's character was always a loner with a mean streak who is brought back from the brink by the love of a good woman...or something similar to that...but it didn't matter. These five movies are among the best of the western genre, and "The Man From Laramie" stands tall as one of Stewart's greatest performances.
Stewart comes to a small New Mexico town, ostensibly to deliver goods to the general store, but he's actually an undercover Cavalry officer in search of the man or men who sold the local Apache a load of rifles, which were then used to massacre a Cavalry platoon, among them Stewart's younger brother. His investigation brings him in contact with the town's patriarch and his psychotic son (see "King Lear" and the more recent "Road to Perdition"), and while it seems Stewart is getting sidetracked he's actually on the right road, heading inexorably toward the brutal truth and the vicious need for revenge in his own soul.
Anthony Mann was a major director, he gets great performances from all his actors and the scenery in his movies is always breathtaking. With a great actor like Stewart working (and working hard) for him, Mann could explore the darker aspects of the American western, he could go places the brilliant but "straight" John Ford never thought of going. And Stewart, in dire need to tarnish his All-American Boy routine which was growing old fast, dug into these roles with a gusto actors like DeNiro and Brando would have been afraid to muster. These films made up one of the great collaborations between director and star of all time; and they went out with a bang, a classic confrontation between hard men who know more about their guns and their horses than they'll ever know about themselves that must be on the short list of anybody who wants to swim in the deep and warm waters of the Western."