Gunpoint (1966) (NTSC)

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Released 9-Oct-2019

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1966
Running Time 82:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Earl Bellamy
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Audie Murphy
Joan Staley
Warren Stevens
Denver Pyle
Edgar Buchanan
Nick Dennis
David Macklin
Morgan Woodward
Case ?
RPI ? Music Hans J Salter


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Colorado in the 1880s is terrorised by a gang led by Drago (Morgan Woodward) who kill, rob and pillage before escaping over the border into New Mexico where the Colorado law cannot touch him. In a final effort to save their town’s solvency, businesses in Lodgepole, which straddles the Colorado / New Mexico border, try to bring in a shipment of money by train. Sheriff of Lodgepole Chad Lucas (Audie Murphy) and his deputy Cap Hold (Denver Pyle) ride out to meet the train. But Cap is in league with Drago; he shoots Chad and Drago’s men rob the train, taking the money across the border into New Mexico where the prosperous Nate Harlan (Warren Stevens) runs a popular saloon and has just brought his fiancée, the beautiful Uvalde (Joan Staley), into town. Chad, who was only wounded, returns to Lodgepole and is determined, law or no law, to catch Drago so he crosses into New Mexico and enters Nate’s saloon; Drago and his men are in the saloon but it quickly becomes apparent that Chad and Uvalde have known each other in the past.

     Drago and his men escape, taking Uvalde and the money with them. Chad puts a posse together that includes Cap, Nicos (Nick Dennis) and Mark (David Macklin) and sets off in pursuit across Apache country where they are joined by Nate, who wants Uvalde back. They face an attack by Apaches, betrayals within their ranks, a run in with horse trappers led by Bull (Edgar Buchanan), stampedes and rock falls before the survivors catch up with Drago where the money, and the heart of Uvalde, are the prize.

     Gunpoint was directed by journeyman director Earl Bellamy whose resume is almost exclusively TV movies and episodes of TV shows including McHale’s Navy, Get Smart, Starsky and Hutch and Mod Squad. He keeps the plot, and the action, rolling along helped by good performances from Murphy, who when roles are within his range is quite effective, Warren Steven, who gives some nuance to a role that could be one note although we always know who is going to get the girl, and the familiar, grizzled face of Edgar Buchanan who in his 174 listed appearances played lots of judges, although not here.

     Released in 1966, Gunpoint is an old fashioned traditional western showing almost no influence of the Sergio Leone “Dollars” films that were released in 1964 and 1965. The hero is a good guy, the music of Hans J Salter is generic, there are no extreme close-ups or unusual camera angles; the only possible influence of the spaghetti westerns could be a couple of moments when the shooter and the man being shot were in the same frame! Mostly, however, in line with traditional American westerns, they were not.

     Gunpoint is a traditional western, the plot the standard of a posse pursuing outlaws, but it is a pretty good one with galloping horses, an Indian attack, betrayals, shootouts, fist fights and some spectacular scenery (Utah standing in for New Mexico).

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Gunpoint was released in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Unfortunately, this presentation is 1.33:1, in NTSC and is not16x9 enhanced.

     As well as the aspect ratio there are a number of issues with the print. The Technicolor colours are rich and natural with good reds and yellows of the desert and the rock formations, blue sky and green desert scrubs while skin tones are natural. However, this is a soft print especially in wide shots and there are a range of colour fluctuations, frequent small speckles and some larger ones (such as 4:12), smears (33:53), fleeting vertical scratches and reel change markers (55:37). The print is never unwatchable, but the artefacts are noticeable. Filmed day for night blacks are solid and shadow detail good.

     No subtitles are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps.

     Dialogue is clean. The sounds of galloping horses and gunshots were reasonable and the explosions boom satisfactorily. The score is by Hans J. Salter, who in his career received 6 Oscar nominations, including for It Started with Eve (1941), without winning. His score for Gunpoint could have been one reused from any number of 1950 / 60s westerns.

     There was no hiss or crackle although there are some changes in sound levels with some scene changes.

    Lip synchronisation is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Nothing. The silent menu offers only “Play”.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I can find references to French and Spanish Region 2 standalone DVDs of Gunpoint plus another where it is included in an Audie Murphy four film collection. In Australia the film was part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     With Gunpoint we are getting into Audie Murphy’s final few films. He has put on a bit of flesh but still moves and rides well and when a role suits his range, as it does in Gunpoint, he remains a charismatic and very watchable star. Gunpoint is a tradition western, with a tradition western plot of a posse pursuing outlaws across the Badlands of Apache territory, but it does it well and is an entertaining western adventure.

     The video is watchable although in the wrong aspect ratio, with a range of artefacts and not 16x9, the audio is the original mono. No extras.

     Gunpoint is included in the 14 disc / 14 film set Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. The 14 movies, made by Murphy between 1950 and 1966, are all westerns except for the army comedy Joe Butterfly. The Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection is made up from the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection and the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II. Both of these individual Man of the West Collection packs have been released previously. But if you are a fan of westerns or a fan of Audie Murphy and don’t have those two earlier collections, this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection is a good buy.

     The Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection was supplied for review by Via Vision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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