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Winchester 73

Mar 16, 2016 

Winchester 73, yes, that's 1873! I've always had a love of westerns, the older the better although some of the more modern ones also deserve a watch, as long as they keep true to the genre. It's also important they research the period and do justice to the props and costumes as well as the language.

James Stewart

This classic 1950s western stars James Stewart, Shelly Winters, Dan Duryea, Stephen McNally with Tony Curtis and Rock Hudson in minor roles.

"It follows the journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another, it parallels a cowboy's search for a murderous fugitive." - IMDB

Jimmy

I've loved this western since I was a child, the scenes that stayed with me were those of the amazing shooting competition, the prize? A one-in-a-thousand Winchester Model 1873.

It was known as the gun that won the west, although this was most likely a marketing claim, it was a remarkably popular model that was still being made in the 1920s.

Bigger, better and newer models were made since 1873 but this was the one people wanted hanging on their walls. Hollywood also loved it, movie studios bought thousands of them in the days when the western drew people in by the droves, both in the theatres and on the TV screens.

Even movies set in the 1860s and earlier featured this model. When the authenticity consultants protested this model hadn't been invented yet, the producers would reply: nobody would know that, a rifle is a rifle!

Winchester closeup

This fun little video clip features Jolly Joe in action with his Winchester 73, although it's not an original, it's made true to the original specifications under license from Winchester Repeating Arms. An original in good condition commands quite a price among collectors.

There's another purpose to this video, it's an illustration of what can be done by good planning and clever editing. Only one camera set on a tripod was used. All the scenes were filmed separately, mostly out of sequence, then cut and re-arranged to tell the story.

The classic western music is clipped from the beginning credits, and the black and white footage of course is the first few seconds of the movie.

I often take groups of young people out into the wild and I use this video as an example for the more creative ones interested in making a scene!

Did you spot the two Indians wearing hats?
 
Would you like to hear some music?