Gary Cooper just wants to hire a schoolteacher for his frontier town, but outlaw Lee J. Cobb has more murderous plans in mind.
Of course, it'll turn out Cooper's got a past he'd rather forget. And, of course, to save himself and Julie London from a gang of savage bandits he'll have to do what he hates the most: kill. We've seen plots like this before, so how come this time it feels so unsettling?
One of the great underrated westerns, Man of the West completes director Anthony Mann's (The Naked Spur, Winchester '73) merging of the west with the moral murkiness and psychological anxiety of film noir. Featuring one of Gary Cooper's most powerful performances and a gritty tone still unsettling to modern viewers, it's no wonder Jean-Luc Godard named it one of the best films of 1958.
Host Elliott Kalan and special guest The Daily Show writer Hallie Haglund will discuss the myth of the Western hero, the reality of the west and the chutzpah it takes to cast 57-year-old Gary Cooper as another man's nephew.
Director: Anthony Mann. 100 Min. 1958. 35mm.
Part of the series Closely Watched Films, hosted by Elliott Kalan.
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