Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The Man From Laramie (1955)
Okay, I've always liked Arthur Kennedy. I think the first thing I saw him in was Bend of the River way back in my youth, and I always looked for him after that. And he's at the top of his form in The Man from Laramie.
This was an okay Western. Not particularly great, but not bad either. I like Bend of the River better. Jimmy Stewart is always good, but his character was rather two-dimensional here. The only thing that elevated his role was Jimmy Stewart himself. Not so with Arthur Kennedy. He got the oh-so-lovely complex grey character, the one who wants to do right and tries, but he's got a temper, and he wants things now that he can't ever seem to get the honest way. So he strays a bit to the wrong side and tries to justify it to himself. He tries all the way to the end to make things come out right, and yet he never quite can. I loves loves loves him in this movie! I'd watch it again just for him. (He's also riding the prettiest buckskin.)
It made me realize yet again how important motivations are for me in liking a character (book or film), and how important it is that they stay true to themselves. Add in the layers of complexity and I'm sold.
Now I want to see Bend of the River again.