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The Far Country
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The Far Country More at IMDbPro »

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37 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

"… And I want that coffee ground."

7/10
Author: Righty-Sock (robertfrangie@hotmail.com) from Mexico
8 June 2008

Stewart is a Wyoming cattleman who dreams to make enough money to buy a small ranch in Utah ranch… His only real companion is his sidekick Ben Tatum, the great Walter Brennan… To accomplish that, they drive the cattle clear to Alaska and on to Dawson, in Canadian territory, where they sell them...

Along the way they meet the man who runs the gold-crazy town behind a dishonest lawman John McIntire... He attempts to steal them the herd... Later, in Dawson, McIntire and his gang reappear, this time interfering with Stewart's gold claim...

Captured by Mann's camera in the wonderful scenery of the Canadian Rockies, Stewart is a thoughtful loner forced into violence by his need to get rid of the treacherous actions of a corrupt entrepreneur robbing local miners of their claims…

In this entertaining, beautiful Western, Stewart has two leading ladies to struggle with: Ruth Roman, a bit too valuable to describe as a sexy woman resisting the worst vicissitudes of the territory and the more docile, the French Canadian girl Corinne Calvet who does create a nice portrait of a likable girl with the ability to form a judgment... In spontaneous manner, Stewart is lost between the ostentatious saloon owner and the wife-candidate...

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51 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Real star is the cinematography

10/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
4 March 2004

Jimmy Stewart and Anthony Mann teamed to do some of the best westerns ever made and this is one of the best.

The real star of the film however is the spectacular Canadian Rockies that serve as a backdrop for the story. Some of the best cinematography ever done in the history of film.

In all five of the westerns that Stewart and Mann did together the supporting roles were perfectly cast. No exception here, right down to parts that might only have a few lines, the characters are firmly etched with those lines.

Stewart is a cynical hard-bitten loner in this film whose only real friend is his sidekick Walter Brennan. It's Brennan's death at the hands of the villains that makes him want to finally free the gold settlement from the bad guys and incidentally redeem himself in the process.

John McIntire is the head villain of the piece and he was an under-appreciated actor with a vast range. He could play delightful old codgers, authority figures and in this case a particularly nasty and crafty villain.

One of the best westerns ever.

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22 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Is there something you want, Mr. Gannon?

8/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
19 November 2009

Cunningly interesting Western from a director who had few peers in the genre. Much like other Anthony Mann pictures, The Far Country blends a potent pot boiling story with an adroit knowing of impacting scenery. Both of which play out amongst some of Mann's peccadilloes like honour, integrity, betrayal and of course, death!

The story sees fortune hunting partners Jeff Webster {James Stewart} and Ben Tatum {Walter Brennan} travel to Oregon Territory with a herd of cattle. Aware of the blossoming gold-boom, they plan to make a tidy profit selling the cattle in a Klondike town. Arriving in Skagway they find self-appointed judge Mr. Gannon {John McIntire} ready to meet out justice to Webster on account of Webster having fractured the law, all be it with honest cause, along the way. In punishment Gannon takes the partners herd from them, but they steal them back and head across the Canadian border to Dawson-with Gannon and his men in hot pursuit. Here beautiful women and a meek and lawless town will fill out the destinies of all involved.

Interesting from start to finish, The Far Country benefits greatly from James Stewart's bubbling {anti} hero in waiting portrayal and Mann's slick direction of the tight Borden Chase script. The cinematography from William H. Daniels is superlative, tho not done any favours by current DVD prints, and the film has a few surprises and a "will he wont he?" core reeling the viewers in. Paying dividends on re-watches for hardened genre fans, it still remains something of an essential viewing for first timers venturing into the wonderful, yet dark, Western world of Anthony Mann and James Stewart. 8/10

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

If it looks good, you're halfway there. Stewart is great, the plot routine but excellently routine...

Author: secondtake from United States
31 August 2011

The Far Country (1954)

Anthony Mann and Jimmy Stewart made a few movies together, and one is a cool black and white affair, but this is one of his searing Technicolor productions. It almost has a comic flair even as the world is cut and splintered in the first twenty minutes until the real story begins--cattle driving in Alaska. Stewart of course plays a congenial sort, but his character Jeff Webster has a history of killing a couple men and having a little vengeance in his heart, and when he is coerced into this new job you know it isn't going to go smoothly.

This is an odd story told with an odd tilt to it, and that's a good thing overall. And it's set in Alaska (near the Yukon), which gives it more of a frontier/prospecting feel than a standard Western. In addition to Walter Brennan who is his usual quirky best, the leading woman is Ruth Roman, who had a career something short of stardom, and she plays a tough but elegant frontier woman well. And there is a perky younger women (a French actress named Corinne Calvet), a kind of tomboy who has the hots for Webster. It doesn't quite work, but it's fun, and it's part of the series of conflicts all operating at the same time.

There are some small flaws you have to overlook, like the day for night that is more day than night (which is only emphasized by some brilliant night filming at the end of the movie, night for night done to perfection). But there is a bigger tension that keeps things really interesting, too. Two extremes of women after one singular guy--that's enough for any movie. And there is the sheriff and judge and power-monger in town who is ruthless with a laugh and cackle, and he makes a great villain.

I'm not interested in movies for their scenery, but it's worth noticing the amazing mountain country that is the setting here. There are also the standard moments that don't really add to the plot, but to the mood--some barroom singing, some riding through the scenery. But what really makes the movie is Stewart's role as an individualist, a man who is looking after himself first and last. Brennan acts as his conscience, reminding him to be a good guy, and Stewart, to his credit, listens.

Heroics come slowly in a Mann Western. You suspect Webster is a good person deep down, but his goodness has a slow coming out. And in a way, even by the end, the ambiguity is there--it's the good townspeople who rise up and get their justice.

A good movie, a very good Western.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Another Great Jimmy Stewart/Anthony Mann Western

9/10
Author: FightingWesterner from The Lonesome Prairie
10 January 2010

Cowboys James Stewart and Walter Brennan take their herd from Seattle to Alaska and on into Canada to stake a claim. Once there, they have to contend with seductive, shifty businesswoman Ruth Roman and ice-cold, happy-go-lucky villain James McIntire.

John Wayne may get talked about more, but his good pal Stewart made some excellent, hard-edged westerns too, some with the great director Anthony Mann. Frankly, I'd take this, with it's sturdy action sequences and fine melodrama, over North To Alaska any day!

The Far Country features some breathtaking scenery and cinematography that should definitely have been shot in widescreen.

Also, there's some strong support by the always reliable Brennan, Roman (who's great), the incredibly cute Corrine Calvet, and James McIntire, who plays one of my favorite types of bad guy, the kind that doesn't take himself too seriously.

This would make a great double-bill with another highly recommended Mann/Stewart northwest-set western, Bend Of The River.

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21 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

fairly good

4/10
Author: loydmooney from san francisco
13 May 2005

The five or so really good westerns that Mann made are unequaled as an ensemble in Hollywood. Even John Ford never made that many with so much quality. The curious thing about them all is how uneven they are. Ford's My Darling Clementine is worth about two and a half of any of them. Or at least two.

The real hero of them besides Mann and Stewart is Chase. Chase being responsible for the brilliant Red River. Chase wrote far country, bend of the river, and probably some others. But none of them are as finished as My Darling Clementine, but then very few films, western or otherwise are.

Each of the five films of Mann have huge gaps, or is it six, lets see. Bend, Far, Man of the West, Furies, Winchester 73, and yep, six, Naked Spur. Each have magnificent scene after magnificent scene, with fairly glaring lapses. Yet so does Red River, which is still the single greatest western ever made. So perfection isn't everything.

But The Far Country has huge, huge holes. It's mawkish, and really comes alive only when Stewart and Mc Entire are locking horns. The rest is pretty pedestrian, with the usual exception of Mann's camera. Mann's camera is a one man course in cinematography. It is about as good an eye as anybody who ever got behind a strip of moving film. It is almost never in the wrong place, never.

The Far Country has one amazing moment. And as usual it comes from Stewart. Nobody in the history of cinema ever received physical punishment with the authority of that man. He is absolutely amazing: look at him in Bend, Far, Winchester, and Man from Laramie: in Bend has been beaten up and is hanging by a thread so believably and with such boiling hatred he looks like somebody displaced from Dachau, in Far he is shot off a raft with such violence, it looks so convincing that you wince, and of course when he is dragged through the fire in Man, well you find yourself looking for the burn marks. What an actor. Not to mention the moment in Winchester when he is beaten up early in the hotel room, also as well as anybody ever did it.

But that was Mann's territory: look at Gary Cooper fighting with Jack Lord in Man of the West. As painful as any fight scene ever recorded. Cooper while not being quite as convincing as Stewart, nevertheless is somehow his equal in looking exhausted at the end of the fight. In short, nobody but nobody but nobody ever showed the human being in extremis as well as Mann.

What a great, great director.

See every western he ever made. They are his real monuments, even if all are scetchy. But so what. When he gets roaring with his great scenes they are as good as anybody, including Ford. And his six westerns as an ensemble are the best ever done by anyone, period.

Thanks, Anthony.

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16 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Wild doings in gold rush Alaska

8/10
Author: edsevcik from United States
20 December 2006

A good film with--for its time--an intense, sprawling, rather dark story somewhat reminiscent of John Ford's "The Searchers" though not so brutal. The story starts fast and doesn't let up, with several scenes of really good dialog between (Stewart's) Jeff Webster, Ronda Castle and Sheriff Gannon. This film is in some ways reminiscent of "Bend of the River" (1952), also a Mann-Stewart work, but I found it far less sentimental and more interesting. There are a few caveats: a too-quickly wrapped up (and rather sentimental) ending; 24-year-old Corrine Calvert is not very convincing as a naive French teenager, and of course the film takes place in the Mythic West, a land of fable where the real laws of nations and physics don't apply. But these are trivial concerns. James Stewart is surprisingly good as a dark, disengaged man who thinks he cares for no one but himself, and the mountain scenery can't be beat. A fine Western costume drama.

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21 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Incredible Cinematography!

10/10
Author: kenandraf from Honolulu, Hawaii
25 September 2001

Classic drama/action western with incredible cinematography that is well ahead of it's time(1954). The production is very good and you can tell that it was done with pride and love.Unique peek into the American NORTHT WEST pioneers is very educational and entertaining.This movie is very under rated because most people do not like to see the reality that many "lawmen" during this particular time and place were very crooked/corrupt much like most developing countries today.The action sequences could have been more realistic though but still,this movie really covers most of the essentials.Not for an audience who wants only pure testoterone type westerns for this movie is more for those who have a sense of history and philosophy.......

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A loner with a past, a beautiful woman, a corrupt sheriff, and the greed for gold affecting all of them.

10/10
Author: clck2001 from United States
8 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This first-rate western tale of the gold rush brings great excitement, romance, and James Stewart to the screen. "The Far Country" is the only one out of all five Stewart-Mann westerns that is often overlooked. Stewart, yet again, puts a new look on the ever-present personalities he had in the five Stewart-Mann westerns. Jeff Webster (Stewart) is uncaring, always looking out for himself, which is why he is so surprised when people are nice and kindly to him. Ironically, he does wear a bell on his saddle that he will not ride without. This displays that he might just care for one person- his sidekick, Ben Tatum, played by Walter Brennan, since Tatum is the one that gave it to him. Mann, yet again, puts a new look on the ever present personalities he put into the five Stewart-Mann westerns. He displays violence, excitement, plot twists, romance, and corruption. The story is that Jeff and Ben, through a series of events, wind up in the get rich quick town of Dawson, along with gold partners Calvet and Flippen, and no-good but beautiful Roman and her hired men. They are unable to leave, because crooked sheriff Mr. Gannon (McIntire) and his "deputies" will hang them, since the only way out is through Skagway, which is Gannon's town. But, eventually, McIntire comes to them, but not to collect Stewart and/or his fine that he supposedly owes to the government. What is McIntire there for? He is there to cheat miners out of their claims and money. People are killed. A sheriff for Dawson is considered needed, and Calvet elects Stewart because he is good with a gun. Stewart, however, refuses the job, because he plans to get all the gold he can, and then pull out. He also refuses it because he does not like to help people, since law and order always gets somebody killed. So, Flippen is elected instead. A miner is killed because he tries to stand up to one of Gannon's men, a purely evil, mustachioed fancy gunman named Madden, who carries two guns, played by Wilke. Flippen attempts to arrest Madden and see that justice be done, but he cannot stand up to him, so he becomes the town drunk. A man named Yukon replaces Flippen. Stewart and Tatum start to pull out, but are ambushed by Gannon's men. Tatum is killed, and Stewart is wounded. Stewart finally realizes that he must do something, or Gannon will take over Dawson, set up his own rules, and it will become his town, just like Skagway. The audience also realizes what Stewart must do. Another thing that the audience realizes is that Stewart is the only thing that stands between the townspeople and Gannon. If Stewart leaves, Gannon would take over the town. If Stewart stays and keeps on not doing anything about it, the townspeople will be killed one by one mercilessly and uselessly. This is where a great scene occurs. Stewart walks into his cabin. He has a sling on his arm. For a few seconds, his gun, in the gunbelt, is hanging on a post beside his bed, the gun is close up, Stewart is in the background, just inside the door. He stares at it for a few seconds. He tosses the sling away. The sling lands on the back of a chair, and falls to the floor. This is symbolic, because he is throwing away his old life, which consisted of not caring about anybody but himself. He comes into his new life, of helping people when they need help. What ends the film is a guns-blazing, furious show of good against evil, and a genuinely feel-good feeling that everything will be alright.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

the irresistible loner

8/10
Author: weezeralfalfa from United States
12 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is mostly a story about the growing relationship between Jeff Webster(Jimmy Stewart) and Ronda Castle(Ruth Roman). She takes an instant liking to Jeff in a brief encounter on the deck of the steamer to Skagway, and a longer look when he hides in her cabin while authorities seek him on a charge of murder. They find out they have some things in common besides an animal attraction. Neither trusts a member of the opposite sex, apparently because both have been married to spouses who cheated on them. Gradually, they learn to trust each other, as they journey from Skagway to Dawson. But Ronda clearly has close dealings with corrupt sheriff Gannon and engages in some shady practices in her Castle saloon in Skagway. She eventually has to decide between Gannon and Jeff. Meanwhile, Rene, a young naive French woman also takes an immediate liking to Jeff, but only gets insulting brush offs in return. Yet, she sticks with him in his travels from Skagway to Dawson and his activities around Dawson. Along with Ronda, she nurses him back to health after Jeff is left for dead by Gannon's gunslingers at his gold claim. Walter Brennan, as Ben, serves as Jeff's long time sidekick. He doesn't have a meaty role, but serves to soften Jeff's hard edges. His demise symbolically opens the door for a woman companion replacement for Jeff.

John McIntire(as Sheriff Gannon) makes probably the most charismatic evil town boss you will ever see on film, oozing charm and humor to go along with his bullying. Evidently, he sees something of himself in Jeff, repeatedly declaring that he's going to like him. He makes a believable incarnation of the infamous Soapy Smith, who spent his last years in Skagway, as one of the premier con men of his times.

Jeff is the quintessential antihero, a loner(except for companion Ben), who doesn't want to stick his neck out for others, even when he knows he is the one right man for the job. In this respect, he closely resemble's Burt Lancaster's character in "Vera Cruz", for example. Thus, Jeff not only turns down the job of marshall of Dawson, he is convinced to leave Dawson after Gannon's gang move in with clear intentions of taking over everyone's insufficiently legal gold claims, while disposing of some miners and suggesting that the rest make a hurried exit from Dawson. Even Ronda suggests that she and Jeff make a hurried exit from Dawson while they are still alive. Then, Jeff has a sudden change of heart, apparently still nursing desire for revenge for the shooting of Ben and himself. He changes from anti-hero to hero in leading the expulsion of Gannon's gang from Dawson. In this respect, he differs from Lancaster's character, who never reforms(But is Jeff truly changed, or just handing out revenge for wrongs committed against his own interests?)

The main problem I see with the plot is the 2 principle women. Clearly, Ronda is groomed as the right woman to tame Jeff. Although she is clearly characterized as a "bad" girl, Jeff has a checkered recent past himself, having shot at least 5 men in the US or Yukon, and having stolen his cattle back from Gannon. Ironically, soon after Jeff changes from anti-hero to hero, Rhonda makes a similar change in running into the street to warn Jeff of Gannon's impending ambush. She dies as a result and Jeff asks her why she didn't just look out for herself(his supposedly just abandoned creed!).

It's clear that Corine Calvert, as Renee, just doesn't make a credible substitute for the dead Ronda, in Jeff's mind. Yet, the apparent implication of the parting scene is that they get together, even though Jeff never visibly gives her a kiss or hug. Her image as a good, if naive, young woman is somewhat compromised by her job in Rhonda's saloon of bumping miners weighting their gold dust, pushing the spilled dust on the floor and recovering it later. I'm also very unclear about her relationship with Rube Morris, a middle aged miner who followers her around and works a claim with her.(He's not her father).

Another problem is the amateurish handling of the gun fight between Jeff and Gannon's gang. If Gannon had any skill at all with a pistol, he should have killed or seriously wounded Jeff under that boardwalk, before Jeff did the same to him. And how did Jeff's badly shot up right hand suddenly become well enough to shoot a pistol with apparent ease? I also wonder what Jeff and friends did to help save the avalanche victims. They were much too far away to pull them out alive from under the snow. And why weren't most of Ronda's pack horses and mules also buried by the avalanche?

You will see a host of probably nameless but familiar faces among the miners and Gannon's gang. The sequences shot in the Canadian Rockies provide a breathtaking backdrop to the action. All-in-all, a very entertaining western, with most of the major flaws concentrated at the end. No doubt, this film takes some great liberties with history and geography, especially, the part taking place in the Canadian Yukon, which was in fact much tamer than the US Skagway.

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