When the film was first shown to test audiences, there were titters in the crowd when Jimmy Stewart's name appeared in the credits. "Mr. Smith" in a western? Shooting people? Please. By the end of the film, the tittering was all done and Stewart had established himself as a viable western hero (although in truth the magic of these Mann/Stewart westerns is that the characters Stewart plays are hardly "heroic." They are usually driven, neurotic men, nearly shifty-eyed, with a mean streak a mile wide - bitter men, and always very, very angry and eager to kill.
The basic set-up of this film is beautifully simple: Jimmy Stewart has a prize rifle stolen from him, a Winchester Model 1973 (which at the time the film takes place was state-of-the-art in the world of firearms), and he spends the rest of the movie hunting the man that stole it.
The story unfolds, however, as the movie rolls quickly along to something much more complex, culminating in one of the finest shootouts in movie history. The two principal actors of the film, James Stewart and Stewart McNally, spent a great deal of time practicing with their rifles (in Stewart's case Mann often found him walking around the set with bleeding knuckles, the results of his hours of self-training working the classic lever-action Winchester). Their hard work paid of in a tremendous realism.Read more ›
The interview with Jimmy Stewart as he watches the film with the interviewer is interesting, but the "Winchester" DVD overall ranks as a *MAJOR* disappointment.
But Evil will not accept the results and steals the rifle. What follows then is a series of changes of hand for the "One of a Thousand" Winchester. From wily gun traders to Indian raiders to quick-draw outlaws, the gun's odyssey is followed in this classic western with the good brother (James Stewart) seeking not only to regain his treasure but to put an end to a lifelong obsession.
Shelly Winters comes along for the wild ride and look for Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson in very unpredictable cameo appearances.
Format: Black & White
Studio: Universal Studios
Video Release Date: May 6, 1992
James Stewart ... Lin McAdam
Shelley Winters ... Read more
Two greats, Anthony Mann and Jimmy Stewart, team up to deliver this two-fister about an obsessed man tracking a killer from his own past... Read more