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The Tin Star (Widescreen)

Henry Fonda , Anthony Perkins , Anthony Mann    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 54.97
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Anthony Mann made some of the greatest Westerns of the 1950s, all in partnership with James Stewart. Perhaps needing to prove himself as his own man, in 1957 Mann dropped out of Night Passage to do this film. It's a rather schematic character study about a lawman-turned-bounty-hunter (Henry Fonda) who undertakes the professional shaping-up of an effete young sheriff (Anthony Perkins) too tentative to police the streets of his town. Those streets are compositionally present right outside the oversize window of the office where Perkins undergoes a lot of his soul-searching and arguments with Fonda. That's typical of the film--scrupulously designed, yet abstract to the point of dramatic aridity. The VistaVision black-and-white of cameraman Loyal Griggs (Oscar®-winner for Shane) is at once stark and glossy. Fonda's own reclamation as a social being is accomplished by way of a not-very-interesting subplot involving Betsy Palmer and a half-breed child played by Michel Ray. --Richard T. Jameson

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good but under-appreciated western. July 4 2004
Format:DVD
Henry Fonda was one of the greatest movie actors ever -- sometimes I think that he was THE greatest. Somehow Fonda managed to BE whomever he was playing, with no hint that he was acting, despite the wide variety of roles he played over his long career.
In The Tin Star Fonda is superb as an embittered ex-sheriff turned bounty hunter who scoffs at naive but dedicated Anthony Perkins, the newly-appointed sheriff in a town to which Fonda has come to collect the reward for an outlaw he has killed. While waiting in town for his reward money to arrive, Fonda reluctantly mentors Perkins in the art of being an effective sheriff and staying alive while doing it. There is a subplot involving Fonda's developing relationship with a widow (played by Betsy Palmer) and her half-Indian son. Although there is action in The Tin Star, the movie is primarily about the relationships among the principal characters and how they change each other. This is a very good western -- indeed a very good movie -- in every respect. But Fonda's role makes it outstanding. Please don't pass up this under-appreciated classic now that it's available on DVD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GOES AGAINST MANNs OWN FORMULA June 16 2004
Format:DVD
THE TIN STAR seems to go against Anthony Mann's own formula, not so much for its plot, but in its casting of the principal actor Henry Fonda as the catalyst that motivates young sheriff Anthony Perkins (and the film) to live up to the demands of the position. Fonda's casting and presence as the hero seems to make the role static and less complex when compared to what James Stewart could have brought to the role (Stewart was Mann's usual choice for the leading man in his Westerns). Fonda's character is one of a bounty hunter / ex-sheriff who appears to have no moral ambiguities, thus the apprenticeship of Perkins under Fonda's moral stalwartness brings a very straightforward relationship to these main characters. Visually the film also seems to be limited to the town rather than on the wide unclosed vistas of the open range. This claustrophobic effect seems to repress elements of this otherwise interesting screenplay. However, these are only observed peculiarities to Anthony Mann's usual style. This is still a tightly scripted and enticing Western. The showdown between Perkins and Neville Brand is excellently played out. Elmer Bernstein's early Western score is very absorbing and insightful to the film's narrative. I particularly like Henry Fonda's role and his performance in this film. This is a good Western.
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5.0 out of 5 stars heavy hard star May 17 2004
Format:VHS Tape
You can make easily a tin star by cutting that feeble metal from, for example, a fruit can. To carry it is more difficult. From outside the USA it seems public workers aren't so valued as private entrepreneurs.
But not all people serve to do business privately, and some have to choose public work. One of these tasks is being sheriff in old west. In this movie the figure of the sheriff as a public server is well seen: a man not very capable as I suppose were almost all, elected between the people of a small village, honest but without real skills to impose the law against dangerous bandits: So then, that famous tin star should weigh terribly. In contrast there is the gunman: he's very able with firearms but in this film shooting exhibitions pass to a secondary plane. The personage played by Henry Fonda basically knows his profession in full and furthermore, it remains in a slight dark the feeling that he doesn't value life too much, nor those of his preys nor his own, as he's a bitter, lonely, disillusioned man of and uncertain age with not much to lose. That quality, paradoxically, gives him an advantage in all fights owing to a quiet, indifferent mood the sheriff can't attain as he wants to live and hates troubles. The sheriff must risk against his will; the gunman afford these risks without much worry and all these isn't only a matter of mastery with the revolver. The two protagonists are very well chosen, contrasting the sober Fonda with the disquiet Perkins, but in the film at the end, the two men have changed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars THIS STAR SHINES MORE LIKE GOLD THAN TIN! May 17 2004
By Nix Pix
Format:DVD
Henry Fonda's career was never the same after "The Tin Star." Shedding the every man good guy persona that had made him so likeable on screen for so long, on this occasion Fonda's pretty cold, aloof and forboding as a lawman turned bounty hunter. Director, Anthony Mann's in-depth character study of the old west is made even more compelling by a startling performance from Anthony Perkins, as the too gentle for gunsmoke sheriff, to whom Fonda undertakes a shaping-up of.
THE TRANSFER: The VistaVision black-and-white picture elements are in reasonably good shape. Contrast and black levels are nicely balanced. Age related artifacts are present but do not distract. Digital anomalies are also present, but again, do not distract. The audio is mono but nicely balanced.
EXTRAS: Not on this disc!
BOTTOM LINE: "The Tin Star" is an above average western from a time when westerns were a dime a dozen. It's thoughtful and thought-provoking and well worth a second look on DVD!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Tin Star: A Badge is What You Make of It Dec 6 2003
Format:VHS Tape
In THE TIN STAR director Anthony Mann creates a western variation of the Grizzled Old Vet Teaching the Raw Rookie. This kind of film has built within it a pre-existing allure for the audience who will want to know if the rookie can learn what his mentor has to teach before crunch time. Henry Fonda is the veteran who used to be a sheriff before he turned to bounty hunting. Anthony Perkins is the green as grass newly appointed sheriff of a small western town who wants only to be good enough to be considered a permanent choice. In strolls Fonda looking for a bounty and what begins as a confrontation between established law and mercenary law soon morphs into a buddy movie. Each sees in the other either what he could be or what he once was. For a gunfighter movie, there is surprisingly little gunfighting. Most of the time, the audience gets a crash course in the finer points of being a peace officer. By the film's midpoint, Perkins wants to know why the Fonda character made the switch from a sanctioned badge to a hired gun. Fonda, as bounty hunter, tells a riveting tale of how a sheriff whom he once knew well (himself) needed money and had to catch a wanted man for the bounty only to find that when he was paid the money it was too late for the reward to be of any use.
The charm of THE TIN STAR is that it shows a character-driven western, a type that was not used again until Clint Eastwood revived the genre in his pre-DIRTY HARRY days. Fonda and Perkins bounce off each other in all the right ways. In supporting roles, Lee Van Cleef, Neville Brand, John McIntyre, and Betsy Palmer add their distinctive style to a beloved genre of the western. In the extended conversations between veteran and rookie, both learn that a badge has a value unconnected to its metallic composition. A true lawman will comport himself just as if the badge were pure gold. THE TIN STAR is a movie of pure gold.
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