Critics say that, in partnership with director Anthony Mann James Stewart helped change the very nature of the western. For this film fan the late, great Jimmy Stewart always played the great Jimmy Stewart, decent, amiable and vulnerable, with a hard streak of violence that made him someone not to cross, and he did it all so believably.
For this he was the perfect choice to star in a number of notable 1950s westerns directed by Anthony Mann, which included The Man From Laramie in 1955, a revenge story where Stewart comes to isolated Coronado looking for the man who supplied guns to the Apache Indians and sparked a massacre of young Cavalry soldiers, including his young brother. Early on Stewart meets his man without knowing it when he tangles with a ranching family who run the town, with one of them growing into his love interest and played by the demurely lovely Cathy O’Donnell, 32 at the time, who tragically died 15 years later.
Other notable players are Donald Crisp as the tough but fair head of the ranching family, who is losing his sight as well as control of his empire thanks to two vicious and ambitious employees, one his sadistic son and the other the ranch foreman who want to take over, these played by Alex Nichol and Arthur Kennedy.
The Man From Laramie was released by Eureka Entertainment in December and in a Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD edition as part of their Masters of Cinema series. Special features include a new audio commentary by film critic Adrian Martin, a new video interview with critic and novelist Kim Newman and a 32-page booklet featuring a new essay by Phillip Kemp and an interview with director Anthony Mann.