Anthony Mann’s Man of the West is one in a string of his 1950’s Western psycho-dramas, with Gary Cooper in the role usually reserved for Jimmy Stewart. The story is a run of the mill reformed gunslinger forced into one last job by his old gang. Anyone familiar with Cooper’s resume may have issue imagining him as a man that once committed awful crimes, but Mann made it work for Stewart and does here if less successfully. Co-starring Lee J. Cobb at his menacing best, and Julie London as singer Billie Ellis. London’s performance in a scene of sexual violence completely incongruous to 50’s cinema still resonates. The violence and internal turmoil drives a stock Western plot into far more interesting territory, in what critic Robin Wood called “Mann’s supreme achievement… It remains one of the great American films and one of the great films about America.”
Man of the West airs Saturday at 12:15PM on TCM
HBO kicks off the countdown to season five of Game of Thrones with a season one marathon. In what was probably the top to bottom best acted season, due in large part to Sean Bean and Mark Addey, watch the seeds of war sown between Houses Stark and Lannister . So go back to the good old days when Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark ruled the Seven Kingdoms, Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke’s performances weren’t one note (better dialogue please), most of the Stark children hadn’t hit puberty and in the pilot Peter Dinklage had blond hair.
Game of Thrones Season 1 begins Sunday at 10AM on HBO2