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Westerns [Universal 100th Anniversary] [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Winchester '73
  • Interview with James Stewart

Synopsis

Destry Rides Again
Tom Destry (James Stewart), son of a legendary frontier peacekeeper, doesn't believe in gunplay. Thus he becomes the object of widespread ridicule when he rides into the wide-open town of Bottleneck, the personal fiefdom of the crooked Kent (Brian Donlevy). His detractors laugh even louder when Destry signs on as deputy to drunken sheriff Wash Dimsdale (Charles Winninger). But the laughter subsides when Destry casually proves himself a crack shot, despite his abhorrence of firearms. Later, when saloon chanteuse Frenchy (Marlene Dietrich), Kent's gal, takes umbrage at Destry's indifferent reaction to her charms, she vows to make a fool of the new deputy. A huge moneymaker, Destry Rides Again served as a spectacular comeback for Marlene Dietrich, who two years earlier had been written off as "box office poison." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

High Plains Drifter
"Who are you?" the dwarf Mordecai (Billy Curtis) asks Clint Eastwood's Stranger at the end of Eastwood's 1973 western High Plains Drifter. "You know," he replies, before vanishing into the desert heat waves near California's Mono Lake. Adapting the amorally enigmatic and violent Man With No Name persona from his films with Sergio Leone, Eastwood's second film as director begins as his drifter emerges from that heat haze and rides into the odd lakefront settlement of Lago. Lago's residents are not particularly friendly, but once the Stranger shows his skills as a gunfighter, they beg him to defend them against a group of outlaws (led by Eastwood regular Geoffrey Lewis) who have a score to settle with the town. He agrees to train them in self-defense, but Mordecai and innkeeper's wife Sarah Belding (Verna Bloom) soon suspect that the Stranger has another, more personal agenda. By the time the Stranger makes the corrupt community paint their town red and re-name it "Hell," it is clear that he is not just another gunslinger. With its fragmented flashbacks and bizarre, austere locations, High Plains Drifter's stylistic eccentricity lends an air of unsettling eeriness to its revenge story, adding an uncanny slant to Eastwood's antiheroic westerner. Seminal western hero John Wayne was so offended by Eastwood's harshly revisionist view of a frontier town that he wrote to Eastwood, objecting that this was not what the spirit of the West was all about. Eastwood's audience, however, was not so put off, and an exhibitors' poll named Eastwood a top box-office draw for 1973. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

Winchester '73
Lin McAdam (James Stewart) and his friend High-Spade (Millard Mitchell) arrive in Dodge City for a shooting contest, in which the prize is a perfectly manufactured Winchester repeating rifle, referred to as "One of a Thousand" -- a gun so fine that Winchester won't sell it. Lin runs across Dutch Henry Brown (Stephen McNally) in a saloon and the two would kill each other right there but for the fact that town marshal Wyatt Earp (Will Geer) has everyone's guns. Lin wins the rifle in an extraordinary marksmanship match-up with Brown, but the latter steals the prize from him and sets out across the desert. Thus begins a battle of wits and nerves, and a pursuit to the death. The roots and raw psychological dimensions of that chase are only exposed gradually, across a story arc that includes references to Custer's Last Stand, run-ins with marauding Indians, a heroic stand with a a shady but well-intentioned grifter (Charles Drake), and a meeting with murderous sociopath named Waco Johnny Dean (Dan Duryea), plus a romantic encounter with a young, golden-hearted frontier woman (Shelley Winters). All of these story lines eventually get drawn together neatly and gracefully by director Anthony Mann, who balances the violence of the events with a lyrical, almost poetic visual language. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • James Stewart
    James Stewart - Tom Destry
  • Marlene Dietrich
    Marlene Dietrich - Frenchy
  • Charles Winninger
    Charles Winninger - Wash Dimsdale
  • Mischa Auer
    Mischa Auer - Boris Callahan
  • Brian Donlevy
    Brian Donlevy - Kent
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