The Man From Laramie (1955)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Western  |   Release Date - Aug 31, 1955 (USA)  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Anthony Mann's final Western with James Stewart, and his first in Cinemascope, The Man from Laramie (1955) revisits the themes of earlier Mann/Stewart movies and pushes them to the extreme, while allowing Stewart to play a (slightly) less disturbed hero than in their other collaborations. In another superbly structured oater about men's inner wilderness, Stewart is once again a wandering loner. The King Lear-esque family conflict in which his Lockhart gets enmeshed confronts him with the violent fallout of the corruption of family ties (the kind of ties that his own quest to avenge the death of his brother seeks to honor) and with the most brutal physical torture inflicted on a Stewart/Mann hero. Mann exploits the widescreen frame to reveal the violence's visceral impact, as the psychotic son drags Lockhart through a fire and later shoots him through the hand, intensifying the action through Scope close-ups of Stewart's pain. Shot on location in New Mexico, the arid landscapes, particularly the infernal salt flats, match the anger driving Lockhart and the villains, while enhancing the sense of their inner torment. Even as Lockhart allows his conscience to prevail, Mann still sends him off alone at the conclusion, leaving his future uncertain.