Carbine Williams

Overview

The tougher postwar screen image of James Stewart is given a good workout in the fact-based Carbine Williams. In 1952, the world at large knew Marsh Williams as the developer of the US Army's M-1 carbine rifle. The film builds up to this event by detailing Williams' previous existence as a bootlegger and embittered prison inmate, sentenced to 30 years at hard labor for killing a revenue agent. After enduring the rigors of chain-gang life and solitary confinement, Williams Stewart gets his mind off his troubles by...
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Overview

The tougher postwar screen image of James Stewart is given a good workout in the fact-based Carbine Williams. In 1952, the world at large knew Marsh Williams as the developer of the US Army's M-1 carbine rifle. The film builds up to this event by detailing Williams' previous existence as a bootlegger and embittered prison inmate, sentenced to 30 years at hard labor for killing a revenue agent. After enduring the rigors of chain-gang life and solitary confinement, Williams Stewart gets his mind off his troubles by dreaming up a new type of automatic-gun piston. He is encouraged in this endeavor by prison warden H. T. Peoples Wendell Corey, previously Williams' bitterest enemy. As Williams continues to develop his innovative weaponry notions, his wife Maggie Jean Hagen and Warden Peoples try to overcome penal bureaucracy to win a pardon for Williams. Some TV prints of Carbine Williams have been colorized by computer; despite this artistically offensive practice, the strong dramatic and human values of the story still shine.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
On the surface, a film about the man who created the M-1 carbine rifle doesn't sound too promising, but Carbine Williams turns out to be a good little picture. Carbine's story has a lot of natural drama in it, dealing as it does with a poor rural man, murder, and a long prison sentence. But what makes the story stand out a bit is the character of Carbine, a man who is in his own way exceedingly honest, very proud, conflicted, brooding and filled with deep feelings toward his wife. It's a strong role, and it turns out to be a perfect vehicle for Jimmy Stewart. By 1952, Jimmy Stewart was well into the "recreation" of Jimmy Stewart. No longer someone who was interested in simple "good guy" roles that took advantage of only one aspect of his talent, he had been playing more complicated roles in which a layer of darkness was always underneath the surface. He has a field day with Carbine, pumping real blood into this character and making him live and breathe as no other actor could have done. There's also a strong performance from Wendell Corey as his respectful nemesis, as well as a subtler but equally important turn from wife Jean Hagen. Throw in Richard Thorpe's surprisingly effective direction and the result is an intriguing and affecting film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/23/2009
  • UPC: 883316126318
  • Original Release: 1952
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: B&W / Full Frame
  • Time: 1:33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 17,919

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart Marsh Williams
Jean Hagen Maggie Williams
Wendell Corey Capt. H.T. Peeples
Carl Benton Reid Claude Williams
Paul Stewart "Dutch" Kruger
Otto Hulett Mobley
Rhys Williams Redwick Karson
Herbert Heyes Lionel Daniels
James Arness Leon Williams
Porter Hall Sam Markley
Fay Roope District Attorney
Ralph Dumke Andrew White
Leif Erickson Feder
Henry Corden Bill Stockton
Frank Richards Truex
Howard Petrie Sheriff
Stuart Randall Tom Venner
Dan Riss Jesse Rimmer
Bobby Hyatt David Williams
Bob Alden Messenger
Willis B. Bouchey Mitchell
Marshall Bradford
Harry V. Cheshire Judge
Sam Flint
Robert Foulk Torchy
James Harrison Trusty
Nolan Leary
Bert LeBaron
Emile G. Meyer Head Guard
Fiona O'Shiel Mrs. Rimmer
George Pembroke Board Member
Richard Reeves Guard
Duke York
Marlene Lyden Mary Eloise Williams
Jon Gardner Mac Williams
Erik Nielsen Child at Wedding
Lillian Culver Mrs. Laura Williams
Tony Epper
Technical Credits
Richard Thorpe Director
Art Cohn Screenwriter
Armand Deutsch Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Eddie Imazu Art Director
Newell P. Kimlin Editor
William C. Mellor Cinematographer
Conrad Salinger Score Composer
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