|Key Cast||James Stewart, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally, Millard Mitchell, Charles Drake, John McIntire, Will Geer, Jay C. Flippen, Rock Hudson|
|MPAA Rating||Not Rated|
|Film Type||Black and White|
James Stewart is a Driven Man in “Winchester ‘73”Winchester ’73 is credited with launching the western movie career of James Stewart. Before this film, James Stewart hadn’t starred in a western movie for 11 years (The previous one being “Destry Rides Again” which was released in 1939).
This cowboy western was pivotal to James Stewart’s film career because prior to making it, Stewart’s movie career was in a downward spiral. The phenomenal success of “Winchester ‘73” reversed this trend and re-ignited Stewart’s fame. This would lead to Stewart making more western movies with director Anthony Mann.
In “Winchester ’73,” James Stewart stars as Lin McAdam, a psychologically-fixated man who is determined to avenge his father’s death. When McAdam and his friend High Spade (Millard Mitchell) arrive in Dodge City, it looks like they are in town to compete in the sharpshooting contest for the Winchester ’73 rifle like everyone else. But they have another, hidden motive. McAdam’s believes that the man he is chasing, “Dutch Henry,” will come to the contest and then he can settle his score with him on the streets of Dodge City.
As expected, Dutch Henry does show up, but the two men can’t have a showdown in Dodge City. Local sheriff, Wyatt Earp, won’t let anyone carry a gun in town, so they’ll have to wait to have their fight after the rifle contest and outside of Dodge City.
Both men compete for the Winchester rifle. McAdam wins, but Dutch Henry figures out a way to steal the valuable rifle from him and escape town quickly with his gang.
The path of the men and the path of the rare Winchester ’73 rifle move across the Western desert, leaving victims along the way.
At some point, McAdam and Dutch Henry will have to face each other with guns.
• Jimmy Stewart helped to get “Winchester ‘73” made because he also agreed to do the film “Harvey.” The movies were sold to the studio as a package deal and of the two, the studio only expected “Harvey” to be a box-office hit. But, “Winchester ’73” became an unexpected hit for the studio, too, lauching James Stewart’s career in a new direction.
• To further help get the picture made, Jimmy Stewart also agreed to less money for his role in return for a percentage of the movie profits. This made James Stewart one of the first actors in Hollywood to share in the profits of a film. According to reports, Stewart wanted $200,000 to make “Winchester ’73.” By accepting to share in the profits of the western, (instead of getting the $200,000 up front), Stewart made $600,000 – three times as much – instead.
• “Winchester ‘73” was one of five Western movies that actor Jimmy Stewart and director Anthony Mann did together. They are:
Bend of the River
The Naked Spur
The Man from Laramie
The Far Country
• The Winchester 1873 rifle that is the center of this film was indeed a rare rifle. Winchester firearms only made 133 of these “One of a One Thousand” rifles in 1873.
• Two actors who would later become big Hollywood stars can be seen in early, small roles in “Winchester ‘73”. One is Tony Curtis who has a small role in the one of the Calvary unit scenes. The other is Rock Hudson who plays the Native American warrior “Young Bull.”
Winchester ’73 DVD
James Stewart stars in this classic cowboy western as a man who is determined to avenge his father’s death.
When he shows up for a contest to win a rare “Winchester ’73” rifle, his real motive is to catch the man he has been chasing for a long time.
The “Winchester ’73” and the fate of everyone who comes into contact with it become linked in this dramatic tale about the settling of a family score.
DVD Set - James Stewart: The Western Collection
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