Man of the West Screen 4 articles

Man of the West

1958

Man of the West Poster
  • 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.

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    Cahiers du cinéma: Jean-Luc Godard
    February 1959 | Godard on Godard (pp. 116-120)

    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.

  • ...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...

  • "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.

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