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Critics reviews
Man of the West
Anthony Mann United States, 1958
It’s been knocked for casting the ten-years-younger Cobb as Cooper’s mentor, but Cobb and his grizzled, born-old demeanor (and the makeup) make it work. Sprawling California locations and character actor faces like Royal Dano’s paint in the rest of the color. You can see the heart of the movie in Cooper’s agonized expression, his bald pate visible under wispy gray plugs, standing over the henchman he just knocked out. In Mann’s Westerns, his men may be brave, but are never happy.
November 30, 2016
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You’ve outlived your kind and you’ve outlived your time, [Jones] sharply pronounces. In the context of the film, the remark is a bluntly effective bit of truth telling; as an unintentional reflection on Mann and the aims and ideologies behind a genre he so ably helped advance, it’s an affecting, melancholy metaphor.
November 28, 2014
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…Mann is canny enough to turn [the film’s] limitations to his advantage whenever he can, offering sly notations about Link’s physical discomfort on the train and using a long, tense scene inside the farmhouse to create claustrophobia before sending the characters outdoors for virtually the remainder of the picture. Once again, the hero is a dialectical contradiction, both regressing toward an unbearable past and making an anguished effort to break free from it…
June 05, 2002
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It is, moreover, more than an impression. He does reinvent. I repeat, reinvent; in other words, he both shows and demonstrates, innovates and copies, criticizes and creates. Man of the West, in short, is both course and discourse, or both beautiful landscapes and the explanation of this beauty, both the mystery of firearms and the secret of this mystery, both art and the theory of art.
February 01, 1959