Winchester '73

Director: Anthony Mann
Year Released: 1950
Rating: 3.0

Fascinating Western follows around the haunted title rifle - it's called "One in a Thousand" on account of its rare perfection - that keeps changing hands from outlaw to outlaw: everyone that possesses it - apart from its rightful owner (James Stewart) befalls a violent death. My own problem with Westerns has always been the deeply troubled relationship with the Native Americans and the celebrated racism inherent in the genre, but this one is curious because the Indian chief is played by none other than Rock Hudson (!) doing the laughable broken-syllable delivery stereotypical of those characters - to be fair, though, the White Americans are just as despicable. There is only one woman in the movie (Shelley Winters) and she, like the rifle, changes hands: good guns, good whiskey and good women were apparently hard to find (what a horrible time it was). Stewart shows a ruthless side here that he didn't get the chance to bring out often, and I have to admit he's good at it.