DVD Review: Man of the West (Masters of Cinema)

Man of the West

Westerns are a much maligned cinematic genre, but once upon a time they were the Hollywood equivalent of modern action films. Today, we’re often left with the image of an overacting John Wayne swaggering round a town full of tumbleweed. However, there’s been some classic westerns over the years, with Once Upon a Time in the West, Unforgiven, High Noon, A Fistful of Dollars and The Searchers all amongst the zenith of cinema for their year of release. Gary Cooper starred in the above-mentioned High Noon, and as one of America’s most iconic actors at the time, took the lead role in Man of the West.

When reformed outlaw Link Jones (Gary Cooper) boards the train to deliver money on behalf of his local school, he never dreamt he’d end up once again with his old gang. But when his train gets ambushed he finds himself re-united with Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb) and his gang. He gets a frosty reception from the rest of the men, not least his cousin Coaley Tobin (Jack Lord). When Dock sets his sights on robbing the bank in Lassoo, Link volunteers for the job. However, he has his suspicions about the rest of the gang.

Man of the West is an impressive film which graced with a brilliant performance from Cooper. He oozes a surety, power and quiet menace. Director Anthony Mann has a strong track record, and as with Winchester ’73, he avoids cliches and makes a film which confounds expectations. It’s intelligently written and retains a lightness which belies the dark nature of some of the story. Man of the West is an intelligent and thoughtful Western with great acting and a refreshing plot.

Special Edition Features

New HD 1080p HD presentation of the film in its original aspect ratio
Optional English SDH for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Exclusive feature-length commentary by Glenn Kenny and Farran Nehme
Exclusive new 18-minute video interview with Douglas Pye
44-Page booklet with writing by Jean-Luc Godard, Robin Wood, a score of rare archival imagery, and more

Man of the West is released by Eureka as part of their Masters of Cinema Collection on March 23.

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