Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection (1950)

Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection (1950) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Due Out for Sale 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Overall Package

     Between 1948 and his untimely death in 1971 decorated war hero Audie Murphy made, by some counts, 44 feature films of which 33 were westerns. This Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection contains 13 of them, including his very first western role The Kid from Texas, made in 1950, and the closest he came to making a spaghetti western in The Texican (1966), his third last film. Even when playing an outlaw like Billy the Kid or Jessie James Murphy was always a nice guy and an honourable man, which was his usual persona if not accurate to the real life characters he played. But when the role suited him, Murphy was charismatic on screen and good to watch and these films showcase his development as an actor. While there are some indifferent films in this collection there are also some gems including Ride a Crooked Trail and Hell Bent for Leather that are well worth revisiting for good, old fashioned, western entertainment.

     The films in this collection have been sourced from a variety of places; some prints look great, others have artefacts or are in the incorrect aspect ratio. All audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. A couple of the films, those sourced from the Turner Classic Pictures library, have minor extras.

     Both of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection and the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II 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 collections, this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection is a good sampler of his work.

     The Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection was supplied for review by ViaVision 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 28, 2019
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

The Cimarron Kid (1952)

The Cimarron Kid (1952) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1952
Running Time 83:52
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Bud Boetticher
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Beverly Tyler
James Best
Yvette Duguay
John Hudson
Roy Roberts
Leif Erickson
David Wolfe
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


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 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Young Bill Doolin (Audie Murphy) is released from gaol on parole and given a train ticket to get home. But when the train he is travelling on is robbed by the Dalton gang, whom Bill used to associate with, Railway Detective Sam Swanson (David Wolfe) is convinced Bill was involved and determined to pin the robbery on him and to send him back to gaol. Given little choice Bill flees to the Dalton’s hideout just in time to join in their ill-fated bank robbery in Coffeyville Kansas where most of the gang are killed and only Bill and Bitter Creek Dalton (James Best) escape. The remnants of the gang including Bitter Creek’s girlfriend Rose (Yvette Duguay) and Dynamite Dick Dalton (John Hudson) seek shelter with sympathic rancher Pat Roberts (Roy Roberts) where Bill falls in love with Robert’s daughter Carrie (Beverly Tyler). The gang, now led by Bill Doolin / The Cimarron Kid embarks on a spree robbing banks and railroads, but possies led by Marshall John Sutton (Leif Erickson), who had previously been friends with Bill, and others financed by the railway relentlessly hunt the gang. With a large reward offered, people who previously had been friends with the Daltons could no longer be trusted. Bill, feeling time running out, plans one last major robbery so he could flee the country with Carrie. But, of course, we all know how one last big score often pans out.

     In the previous couple of years Audie Murphy had played famous outlaws Billy the Kid and Jessie James in different films. In The Cimarron Kid he plays another real life outlaw Bill Doolin. Unlike those other famous outlaws who appear in copious films, Bill Doolin is far less represented, only appearing in a couple of movies although he does feature in a song by US rock band The Eagles (Doolin-dalton from 1973). There is, however, a similarity in the way Murphy plays all three outlaws as basically decent people (“a good kid”) forced by circumstances in committing crimes. None of the portrayals would be historically accurate; they are far more Murphy’s persona than factual. Not that a western film needs to be factual, and indeed The Cimarron Kid is far more fiction than fact for while, for example, the disastrous raid by the gang on Coffeyville is real, Bill Doolin was not present.

     None of this would would not matter if The Cimarron Kid was a better film. There are some good action sequences such as the Coffeyville fight and the battle staged in a railway shunting yard with engines, steam and a turntable which is exciting and well-staged, but too often the film is slow and seems to drag with a lot of stilted dialogue. Only occasionally does it come close to building the sense that these doomed young men are on a dark path to death (as Carrie puts it to Bill) and, even worse, it becomes quite melodramatic, the happy ending a complete fabrication.

     It is noteworthy, however, that this was the first western directed by Bud Boetticher. Not too many years later between 1956 and 1960 Boetticher made seven westerns with star Randolph Scott that are classics of the genre including the fabulous Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station. Here Boetticher does not have a lot to work with in a script with limited characterisations but he still manages to add a few interesting camera angles. And talking about seven degrees of separation, Randolph Scott had also once played Bill Doolin in The Doolins of Oklahoma (1949)!

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The Cimarron Kid is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and 4x3.

     The old studio system certainly knew how to turn our beautiful looking films and The Cimarron Kid is no exception. Cinematographer Charles P. Boyle had been shooting films since 1925; he was nominated for an Oscar for Anchors Away (1945) but during the 1950s filmed a number of Technicolor westerns so he knew how to get beautiful looking vibrant yet natural colours and rich detail in both close-ups and wider framed shots. Blacks are solid, shadow detail good, contrast and brightness consistent, skin tones natural. I may have noticed a couple of slight blemishes but this is a lovely print of a film that is over 65 years old.

     No subtitles are provided.

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 clear. The sounds of galloping horses, gunshots, explosions and steam engines have depth and were good for a mono audio. There is no credit for the music which is somewhat shrill and strident.

     There was no hiss or crackles.

    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” as an option.

R4 vs R1

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

     There have been a few releases of The Cimarron Kid, including one in Region 1 which shares a disc with The Texan (1938). In Australia the other listing is in the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     It is the script of The Cimarron Kid that lets the film down. One can ignore I guess the fact that this is a much fictionalised story based on real people and some real events, it is an entertainment after all. The Cimarron Kid is talky and melodramatic but when it gets into the action, especially the sequence in the railway marshalling yard, it is worth watching.

     The video is beautiful and audio fine. There are no extras.

     The Cimarron Kid 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)
Tuesday, October 15, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Gunpoint (1966)

Gunpoint (1966) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

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

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

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).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Hell Bent for Leather (1960)

Hell Bent for Leather (1960) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1960
Running Time 81:54
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By George Sherman
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Felicia Farr
Stephen McNally
Robert Middleton
Herbert Rudley
Jan Merlin
Case ?
RPI ? Music Irving Gertz
William Lava


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Hell Bent for Leather starts impressively: a tired, dusty man (Jan Merlin) carrying a fancy looking shotgun stumbles across a dry, rock strewn desert landscape. He comes across the camp of Clay (Audie Murphy) who gives the man water and offers food, but Clay is clubbed to the ground and the man steals his horse. Clay manages to get off of a shot, wounding the man who drops his shotgun; now it is Clay walking on foot through the desert carrying the dropped shotgun.

     Clay walks into an almost deserted small town and seeks to buy a horse. Most of the townspeople are at the funeral of a local family who were murdered by a killer named Travers but one recognises the shotgun carried by Clay as belonging to Travers and Clay is captured by townspeople led by Ambrose (Robert Middleton) and Perrick (Herbert Rudley). No-one actually knows what Travers looks like but they consider the shotgun conclusive evidence that this is Travers, no matter what Clay says, and they prepare for a lynching. At this point Marshall Deckett (Stephen McNally), a man who has been hunting Travers for months and knows what he looks like, turns up. For reasons of his own Deckett identifies Clay as Travers, even though he knows this is not true, and takes him away to Denver for trial and a hanging. Left in an impossible situation, Clay escapes and takes Janet (Felicia Farr) as a hostage. With Deckett and the posse hot on their trail Clay realises that to prove his innocence he needs to find Travers. Janet, once she is convinced that Clay is not Travers, is willing to help; if only they can get to Travers before Deckett gets to them.

     Hell Bent for Leather is a superior B western. It was mostly filmed on location on the wide rocky and desert vistas of the Lone Pine region of California and cinematographer Clifford Stine takes full advantage of the landscape with a number of widescreen shots featuring tiny human figures amid the harshness of the brown, dusty, rocky landscape (pause at 34:44 for a good example). Indeed, in its depiction of humans isolated in a hostile landscape Hell Bent for Leather reminds one of the B westerns Bud Boetticher was making with around this time with Randolph Scott that are classics of the genre including the fabulous Ride Lonesome and Comanche Station. Not that director George Sherman is in the same class as Boetticher, although he does a good job, and while Audie Murphy doesn’t have the presence of Randolph Scott his performance in Hell Bent for Leather is very good and he works well with Felicia Farr (who a few years previously had been in the original 3:10 to Yuma (1957)).

     Hell Bent for Leather is very entertaining. It includes some good sequences of slowly building tension, such as when Clay and Janet wait in the saloon anticipating the arrival of Travers, each person who enters increasing the tension. There are also galloping horses, shootouts, a lawman who is not quite what he seems, danger and a bit of romance.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Hell Bent for Leather is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is16x9 enhanced.

     Filmed in Cinemascope and Eastman colour Hell Bent for Leather takes full advantage of the rocky and desert vistas of the Lone Pine region of California with tiny human figures amid the harsh brown and dusty desert, or the brown and grey rock formations. Detail is strong and colours are dusty but natural, the exception being the very vivid red lipstick of Felicia Farr that looks incongruous. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, skin tones natural. I saw a few small marks and one vertical scratch but otherwise this is a nice presentation.

     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.

     Hell Bent for Leather was released with mono audio and I was surprised at how good this mono audio sounded. The galloping horses’ hooves had a nice resonance, the gunshots were loud and clear, there were good thunder and rain effects and the wind was constantly blowing. Dialogue is clean. The music by Irving Gertz and William Lava was rather strident!

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    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 only find Spanish, German and French stand-alone releases of Hell Bent for Leather. In Australia the film was part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     Hell Bent for Leather is a very entertaining B western typical of the late 50’s, early 60’s with a case of mistaken identity, a killer on the loose, gunplay, a chaste romance and a duplicitous villain. The Cinemascope presentation is stunning.

     The video is very good for 60 year old film, the audio is the original mono nicely rendered, no extras.

     Hell Bent for Leather 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. 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)
Monday, November 04, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Joe Butterfly (1957)

Joe Butterfly (1957) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1957
Running Time 89:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jesse Hibbs
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Audie Murphy
George Nader
Keenan Wynn
Keiko Shima
John Agar
Charles McGraw
Fred Clark
Burgess Meredith
Eddie Firestone
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


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 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In the days immediately after Japan’s surrender in 1945 the staff of the army’s Yank Magazine including photographer Private Joe Woodley (Audie Murphy) and sergeants Ed Kennedy (George Nader), Dick Mason (John Agar) and Jim McNulty (Charles McGraw) are sent into Tokyo by their commanding officer Colonel E.E. Fuller (Fred Clark) and given three days to put together the last issue of the magazine. In Tokyo the team face not only a lack of office space to produce their magazine but also opposition from Henry Hathaway (Keenan Wynn), a war correspondent from the rival Trend Magazine, and interference from Colonel Fuller’s assistant Sergeant Oscar Hulick (Eddie Firestone). That is until the team run into Japanese wheeler dealer and black marketeer Joe Butterfly (Burgess Meredith) who gets them a deal to live in a large house with a Japanese family who are starving. The Japanese provide the space, the Americans provide the food for them and Joe Butterfly’s extended family while Woodley becomes smitten by the family’s daughter Chieko (Keiko Shima). All sorts of underhanded dealings and subterfuge ensue as the team try to meet their deadline while avoiding Hathaway, their own Colonel and the authorities.

     Joe Butterfly was directed by Jesse Hibbs who had previously helmed Murphy’s WW2 biopic To Hell and Back (1955) and would direct Murphy the following year in Ride a Crooked Trail (1958). Thereafter, however, he worked as a TV director with episodes of Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Rawhide and especially Perry Mason on his resume.

     Joe Butterfly was based on a stage play by Evan Wylie and Jack Ruge and is very much a comedy that is a product of its time. There is slapstick, mostly in connection with Keenan Wynn’s opposition correspondent character, quaint Japanese customs and cultural misunderstandings and an American actor Burgess Meredith (perhaps most familiar for playing the Penguin in the Batman TV series, although he did receive two best supporting Oscar nominations for The Day of the Locust (1975) and Rocky (1976)) here playing a stereotyped Japanese character with funny diction and toothy facial features. It was 1957 I suppose, but most of the film still feels wrong.

     It is easy to dismiss Joe Butterfly and indeed it has been basically forgotten. Audie Murphy may be one reason it survives but while he receives top billing he disappears from the plot for a lot of the time and the actual lead is George Nader’s Sergeant Ed Kennedy, who actually goes through a journey of coming to understand the Japanese people who a short time ago he had been fighting. And while there is a lot that is groan inducing about Joe Butterfly it is impossible to dislike the film because its ultimate message is about the need for the occupying US forces to show tolerance and understanding towards the Japanese people now that the war was over.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The original aspect ratio of Joe Butterfly was 2.35:1; the opening credits are in this ratio but the film itself is 1.33:1, in NTSC and not 16x9 enhanced.

     The print also has other issues. The opening titles flicker, the colours often look washed out, there are regular speckles and a couple of big marks (one at 55:34), and aliasing on coats. The film is quite soft and in the one night sequence, at the Japanese party, blacks are fine but shadow detail indistinct. Skin tones are okay, brightness and contrast vary occasionally.

     No subtitles are provided except where they automatically translate some Japanese dialogue.

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.

     This is not an action film. The dialogue is easy to understand while effects are limited to some building works and engines. There is no credit for the score which uses stock music including “catchy oriental” themes.

     There is no hiss or crackle.

     The lip synchronisation was fine.

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

Extras

     The silent menu only offers “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 one review of a Region 2 PAL release of Joe Butterfly, a DVD that has no extras, a range of artefacts but is 2.23:1 although not 16x9. I am not sure that actually improves the presentation though. In Australia the film was part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     The best one can say for Joe Butterfly as a comedy is that it was a product of its times. The film now just feels dated and somewhat cringe-worthy although the underlying message about tolerance and understanding is worthwhile. The film is hard to recommend, especially given the incorrect aspect ratio. The audio is fine.

     Joe Butterfly is included as a bonus in the 14 disc / 14 film set Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection of 14 movies made by Murphy between 1950 and 1966; all the rest are westerns. 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)
Wednesday, November 27, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Aspect ratio -

Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Kansas Raiders (1950)

Kansas Raiders (1950) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1950
Running Time 80:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ray Enright
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Marguerite Chapman
Brian Donlevy
Richard Long
Tony Curtis
James Best
Dewey Martin
Scott Brady
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In the middle of the American Civil War Jessie James (Audie Murphy), his brother Frank (Richard Long), Kit Dalton (Tony Curtis) and brothers Cole and James Younger (James Best, Dewey Martin) ride into Kansas to fight with the Confederate guerrillas led by Colonel William Quantrill (Brian Donlevy). The James’ home in Missouri had been destroyed, their parents killed, by Redleg Union guerrillas raiding along the border and Jessie and his companions join Quantrill to fight back. But in reality the guerrillas on both sides are equally blood-thirsty and murderous, more interested in killing civilians and looting than in fighting soldiers. Kate Clarke (Marguerite Chapman), a young woman who lives with Quantrill, tries to tell Jessie about the indiscriminate killing of civilians, something Jessie sees at first hand during his first raid which causes him to question his allegiance to Quantrill. But Quantrill has a vision and is a very persuasive man and when he promises that there will be no deaths of unarmed civilians in the future, Jessie believes him.

     The promise, of course, means nothing when Quantrill’s Raiders sack the town of Lawrence, Kansas, with looting, burning and indiscriminate killings; to save a Union Captain from hanging Jessie shoots Quantrill’s second in command Bill Anderson (Scott Brady). After the burning of Lawrence the Union pours troops into the area to hunt down Quantrill and his men, forcing the group to disband. Jessie and his friends, however, stay with Quantrill and Kate, even after Quantrill is blinded in a fight with Union cavalry. On the run, and with the Union forces closing in, it is only a matter of time before they are surrounded.

     Shot in Technicolor in Utah and California by DP Irving Glassberg, Kansas Raiders looks spectacular for an almost 70 year old film. The production values are high; there is a large cast of extras on the screen, numerous shoot-outs and the destruction of Lawrence is impressive with only a hint of colourisation. Decorated war hero Audie Murphy is good as the confused and conflicted Jessie James and Brian Donlevy is excellent as the charismatic and persuasive Quantrill (although it should be noted that he is much older than the real Quantrill, who was only 27 when he was killed). Murphy and Marguerite Chapman share a couple of screen clinches and kisses but there is not a lot of chemistry in their romance. Tony Curtis had a small part in Murphy’s previous western Sierra and has a much bigger part in Kansas Raiders; his friendship with Murphy resulted in Murphy recommending that Curtis play him in To Hell and Back, the story of Murphy’s WW2 exploits, before Murphy ultimately played himself in that film.

     Kansas Raiders, released in 1950, directed by veteran Ray Enright whose career stretched back to the 1920s, is a fictional story based on real people and real events, such as the burning of Lawrence. It is disputed whether Jessie James ever rode with Quantrill, although his older brother Frank did, and Jessie certainly did not shoot “Bloody Bill” Anderson in Lawrence, Kansas. But the reality was that this “war” on the borders between irregulars on both sides was a brutal, dirty and nasty conflict by men more bent on murder and looting than a cause and this is shown in the film, or at least as much as a sanitized western made in 1950, rated PG here, can show.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Kansas Raiders is presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC. Rather unusually it is 16x9 enhanced.

     I was stunned at how good this 70 year old film looks. The Technicolor process has resulted in the beautiful rich colours of the sky, trees and fire effects and strong detail in both close-ups and wider framed shots. The night scenes were filmed day for night and have solid blacks and good shadow detail. Contrast and brightness is consistent, skin tones natural. Other than slight blur with motion against railings there are no obvious artefacts or marks.

     No subtitles are provided.

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 clear. The effects including galloping horses, gunshots and the burning buildings had depth and were very good for a mono audio. There is no credit for the music which is very generic and could have come from almost any western of the period.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    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” as an option.

R4 vs R1

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

     There have been a few releases of Kansas Raiders, including one in Region 1 which shares a disc with The Lawless Breed. In Australia the only other listing is in the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     It is doubtful that Jessie James was anything like he is played by Audie Murphy and Kansas Raiders is a sanitized, fictionalised story based on the dirty and brutal conflict between irregulars on the Kansas / Missouri border during the American Civil War. But looked at as a western adventure Kansas Raiders is fast moving and entertaining with a fabulous Technicolor print, lots of shootouts, galloping horses and good performances by Audie Murphy and Brian Donlevy.

     The video is beautiful and the audio fine. There are no extras.

     Kansas Raiders 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 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, October 10, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

The Kid from Texas (1950)

The Kid from Texas (1950) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Due Out for Sale 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1950
Running Time 74:53
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kurt Newman
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Gale Storm
Albert Dekker
Shepperd Strudwick
William Talman
Will Geer
Martin Garralaga
Robert Barrat
Dennis Heoy
Frank Wilcox
Case ?
RPI ? Music Milton Schwarzwald


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 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     1879: Lincoln County, New Mexico. A range war has erupted between big landowners Major Harper (Dennis Heoy) and Roger Jameson (Shepperd Strudwick), both using hired guns and hired lawmen. William Bonney (Audie Murphy), a young gunman on the run, arrives in Lincoln and is hired by Jameson to work on his ranch. There Jameson shows Bonney kindness and persuades him to start a new life without his guns. Bonney becomes infatuated with Irene Kain (Gale Storm), the much younger wife of Jameson’s lawyer and friend Alexander Kain (Albert Dekker). To try to stop the violence Governor Lew Wallace (Robert Barrat) forces a truce upon Harper and Jameson which is, however, broken by Harper’s gunman Minninger (William Talman) and a gang who shoot and kill Jameson. Bonney vows vengeance and takes up his guns encouraged by Kain who takes over Jameson’s ranch; the range war erupts again, and the legend of Billy the Kid develops.

     A year or so later Governor Wallace brokers a peace deal and declares an amnesty for all those who had been involved in the war. Bonney, however, refuses the amnesty because he has not as yet caught up with everyone who had been involved in killing Jameson, especially Minninger. As a result he becomes a hunted fugitive with a price on his head, partially funded by Kain who now has disowned him. Billy is captured, tried for murder and sentenced to hang, but he escapes gaol shooting and killing Minninger in the process. But rather than leaving the area as his friends O’Fallon (Will Geer) and Morales (Martin Garralaga) urge, Billy stays because of his feelings for Irene. Of course, with Sheriff Pat Garrett (Frank Wilcox) on his trail, this will not end well for Billy the Kid.

     Over the years there has been no shortage of films featuring Billy the Kid; the first, King Vidor’s Billy the Kid (1930), was right at the advent of talkies. A diverse range of star names including Paul Newman, Val Kilmer, Robert Taylor, Emilio Estevez and Kris Kristofferson have played Billy on the big screen, enhancing or detracting from the legends about him. As portrayed by Murphy in The Kid from Texas, William Bonney is a polite and respectful young man, only embarking on his killings because the only man who had ever shown him compassion and understanding had been gunned down. His end, when it comes, was a result of his chaste love for a married woman. How much of this is accurate, and how much is mythological, is probably impossible to tell. However, it is likely this film is more reliable than films like Billy the Kid Verses Dracula from 1966!

     The Kid from Texas was directed by Kurt Newman. He had been making features since the early 1930’s, including three Tarzan films with Johnny Weissmuller, and later he made the original The Fly (1958). Shot in Technicolor The Kid from Texas looks good courtesy of veteran DP Charles Van Enger. He had been shooting films for 3 decades, including the silent The Last of the Mohicans (1920); a few afters after The Kid from Texas he moved almost exclusively into TV including shooting many of the episodes of Lassie.

     The Kid from Texas has the distinction of being Audie Murphy’s first, of many, westerns. He is, it must be said, still learning his craft and is stilted in his performance, although that could be said for most of the performances in this, essentially, B film. Some things about the film do feel dated, such as the stereotyped depiction of Mexicans and the “comic” sidekick, but with some nice looking Californian locations, Audie Murphy, lots of gunplay and galloping horses, The Kid from Texas has its moments.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The Kid from Texas is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC.

     Although not without its blemishes The Kid from Texas looks pretty good for a film going on 70 years old, the Technicolor process producing some beautiful rich colours, especially in the outdoor locations. Detail can be rather soft and there is a range of mostly small marks and colour splotches throughout the film. The most obvious is at 73:15, but nothing is too distracting. There is also some aliasing on checked shirts and occasional motion blur. The couple of night scenes were filmed day for night and have solid blacks and good shadow detail. Contrast and brightness are consistent, skin tones natural.

     No subtitles are provided.

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 clear and the horses’ hooves and gunshots are decent for a mono audio. There is some slight hiss in a couple of the quieter moments, but nothing serious. The music, credited to Milton Schwarzwald, was generic.

    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” as an option.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Kid from Texas is not exactly a high profile film. There are only some standalone releases from France and Italy listed. The only other listing is in the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     Although it has a good Technicolor print, gunplay, galloping horses and a chaste love story, the prime interest in The Kid from Texas, unless one is a collector of Billy the Kid films, is to watch Audie Murphy at the start of his illustrious career in his very first western.

     The video and audio are acceptable. There are no extras.

     The Kid from Texas 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)
Wednesday, October 02, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957)

Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1957
Running Time 90:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By James Neilson
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring James Stewart
Audie Murphy
Dan Duryea
Dianne Foster
Elaine Stewart
Brandon de Wilde
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Dimitri Tiomkin


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Grant McLaine (James Stewart) is a disgraced former railway trouble shooter who now earns a meagre living playing his accordion. When the gang led by Whitey Harbin (Dan Duryea) and The Utica Kid (Audie Murphy), who is Grant’s younger brother, rob trains carrying payrolls to the rail head three times in a row, leading to unrest at the railhead, railway boss Ben Kimball (Jay C Flippen) is persuaded by his wife Verna (Elaine Stewart), who is an old flame of Grant’s, to rehire Grant to secretly carry the payroll on the next run. On his way to meet Kimball, Grant saves a young boy, Joey (Brandon deWilde), who has run away from Whitey’s gang and also meets Charlie (Dianne Foster), a waitress and girlfriend of The Utica Kid. Grant and Joey are on the train when Whitey and the gang hold it up. When they don’t find the payroll, Whitey abducts Verna to hold for ransom. As Grant tracks the gang to get Verna back and to deliver the payroll, The Utica Kid must decide for himself just whose side he is on.

     Although included in the Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection Night Passage is a James Stewart vehicle, Murphy (as well as Dan Duryea) only making an appearance around the 35 minute mark of the film. Indeed Night Passage was intended to be the sixth collaboration of Stewart and director Anthony Mann, working from a script by Borden Chase (who had scripted some of their earlier collaborations including Winchester ‘73 (1950) and Bend of the River (1952)) but Mann objected to both the script and the casting of Audie Murphy and refused to do the picture. Stewart, apparently, was keen on the role because he got to sing and play the accordion and he was disappointed by Mann’s refusal and Mann and Stewart never worked together again.

     Night Passage ended up being directed by James Neilson and certainly Universal made it a high profile release. It was filmed in Technicolor and in widescreen Technirama by cinematographer William Daniels, Oscar winner for The Naked City (1948), and the scenes of steam engines puffing along the tracks amid Colorado mountains, forests and streams are spectacular. The studio also commissioned a score by Dimitri Tiomkin, who had received numerous Oscar nominations in his time including for High Noon (1952) although not for Night Passage.

     Night Passage is not an action packed western. There are a couple of good set pieces, including the train robbery (the engine bursting through the water tower is a highlight) and the climax in an abandoned mine workings, but much of the film is quite dialogue heavy and when Stewart gets to play his accordion and sing the story grinds to a halt. However, Murphy is actually quite good and Stewart dependable as always although Dan Duryea, who was so good as another maniacal, but funny, character called Whitey in Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) with Murphy, is in Night Passage only one note maniacal and rather a disappointment. Such is the closeness of Hollywood, Duryea had also appeared with Stewart before, in Winchester ‘73. Another point of interest is young Brandon deWilde a few years after his Oscar nominated performance in Shane (1953).

     Despite the good cast and stunning scenery Night Passage is not a particularly good western as it is too slow moving, rather corny and moralising while the ending is all too predictable. Still, with the scenery plus Stewart and Murphy it is worth a look.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Night Passage is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Shot in Technicolor Night Passage has a rich colour palate with beautifully vivid blues, browns and greens. Wide shots of the steam engine in the mountains and forests are stunning and have strong detail, as do close-ups of Stewart’s face. Blacks are solid and shadow detail very good. There are only a few minor speckles although there is some colour variation, occasional blurred focus and some motion blur against mottled surfaces, such as tree leaves. Otherwise brightness and contrast was consistent, skin tones natural.

     English for the hearing impaired plus Spanish and French subtitles are provided.

     The layer change at 42:42 resulted in a noticeable jump.

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.

     There is a fair amount of dialogue and it is thankfully clear and easy to understand. The effects, such as the steam engine when it hits the water tower or the gunshots, have a nice depth. The score by Dimitri Tiomkin was lively.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    Lip synchronisation is fine.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (2:32)

R4 vs R1

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

     Night Passage has been released in the US as part of James Stewart collections. A previous PAL DVD release in Australia almost a couple of decades ago was reviewed on this site, the reviewer labelling the transfer a “lamentable mastering job”. More recently in Australia it was part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     Night Passage has its moments but it is slow moving and it is interesting to think what Anthony Mann might have done with it if he had stayed on board as director. A rather minor James Stewart western, here part of an Audie Murphy collection.

     The video and audio are fine. A trailer is the only extra.

     Night Passage 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, October 24, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958)

Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Introduction-Ben Mankiewicz Intro (1:25)
Gallery
More…-TCMdb Article
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1958
Running Time 88:04
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jesse Hibbs
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Gia Scala
Walter Matthau
Henry Silva
Joanna Moore
Eddie Little
Mary Field
Leo Gordon
Mort Mills
Frank Chase
Bill Walker
Case ?
RPI ? Music Stanley Wilson


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     As Ride a Crooked Trail starts fugitive bank robber Joe Maybe (Audie Murphy) is being chased by US Marshall Jim Noonan. Noonan is killed after accidentally falling over a precipice, so Joe takes his horse and rides into a nearby town where justice is delivered, somewhat precipitously, by Judge Kyle (Walter Matthau) and his shotgun. Kyle mistakes Joe for Marshall Noonan and insists that he stay as town Marshall, even providing Joe with a free house. Joe has his eye on robbing the town bank, so stays. Joe’s true identity is almost revealed when an old flame, Tessa Milotte (Gia Scala), arrives in town but Joe manages to convince Judge Kyle that Tessa is his wife and they set up house together. Tessa has really come to town to case the bank for her new lover, notorious outlaw Sam Teeler (Henry Silva), but is prepared to go along with Joe until Sam arrives. Indeed, their life becomes rather domestic when young Jimmy (Eddie Little), a ward of the court, and a cute dog move in with them. Kyle does have his suspicions about Joe and when Sam and his gang arrive in town Joe has to decide just which side of the law he is on.

     Ride a Crooked Trail was again directed by Jesse Hibbs who had worked with Murphy on Ride Clear of Diablo (1954), To Hell and Back (1955), Walk the Proud Land (1956) and Joe Butterfly (1957) but who soon afterwards became primarily a TV director with episodes of Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Rawhide and especially Perry Mason on his resume. By this time he and Murphy had a good working relationship and Murphy seems fully relaxed in his role. Murphy did not have a great range as an actor because, whether he played an outlaw such as Billy the Kid or a good guy, he always had the wholesome personality of a decent man and Ride a Crooked Trail is no different; one really does not have any doubts about the decision Joe will make at the end.

     It does not hurt that Ride a Crooked Trail is another western written by Borden Chase, writer of Red River (1948), Winchester ‘73 (1950) and Bend of the River (1952) among others. Some of the dialogue and innuendo between Murphy and the beautiful and feisty Gia Scala, who later in her short career appeared in The Guns of Navarone (1961), is delightful. Indeed, the cast of Ride a Crooked Trail is uniformly excellent with a manic Walter Matthau chewing the scenery as he munches on his cigar and the always sinister, yet charismatic Henry Silva, a man who was born to play villains. Also of note in the cast is Joanna Moore, mother of Tatum O’Neal, as a saloon girl.

     Although there are a couple of good action sequences, Ride a Crooked Trail it is not really a full on action western. Ride a Crooked Trail is, however, a fun example of family friendly mid-50’s westerns, a light-hearted, entertaining western with some sly dialogue, a scene chomping Walter Matthau, a feisty leading lady, a good villain, gunplay, Audie Murphy, a young boy and a dog.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Ride a Crooked Trail is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is16x9 enhanced.

     Other than a few scenes on the open prairie and the chase at the end of the film, Ride a Crooked Trail takes place in a good looking town set complete with a river, a paddlewheel steamer and a steam engine as the rail head arrives in town. Filmed in Cinemascope and Eastman colour, other than a couple of shots of the herd on the plain that look soft the print is strong and firm with beautiful rich colours. Blacks are solid and as the night shooting was day for night shadow detail is firm. There is a little bit of motion blur against railings but I did not see any marks.

     No subtitles are provided.

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 clear. The sounds of galloping horses and gunshots had nice depth for a mono audio. There is no credit for the music which is somewhat generic.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    Lip synchronisation is generally fine except for a few lines by Gia Scala.

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

Extras

Ben Mankiewicz Intro (1:25)

     More an intro to Murphy with a bit on Ride a Crooked Trail.

Stills Gallery

     Divided into five separate sections, the stills advance automatically or by using the remote. Silent. The sections are:

TCMdb Article

     Five silent text screens from the Turner Classic Movies database about Ride a Crooked Trail.

R4 vs R1

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

     Ride a Crooked Trail has been released in the US as part of an Audie Murphy collection and here in Australia as a standalone DVD that the reviewer on this site noted was in excellent condition and did include the film’s trailer. The film was also part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     Ride a Crooked Trail is a light hearted, very entertaining western with a great cast including Murphy, Walter Matthau and henry Silva, a feisty leading lady, a case of mistaken identity, a kid and a bit with a dog. What’s not to like?

     The video is very good for 60 year old film, the audio is the original mono. The extras are minimal, but there are some.

     Ride a Crooked Trail 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. The film also received a decent standalone release in Australia a decade ago. 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)
Saturday, October 26, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Ride Clear of Diablo (1954)

Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Introduction-Ben Mankiewicz Intro (1:38)
Gallery
Production Notes-TCMdb Article
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1954
Running Time 80:53
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jesse Hibbs
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Susan Cabot
Dan Duryea
Abbe Lane
Paul Birch
William Pullen
Russell Johnson
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


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 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Railway surveyor Clay O’Mara (Audie Murphy) returns home to Santiago after he receives a telegram from lawyer Tom Meredith (William Pullen) saying that his father and brother have been killed by cattle rustlers. Clay is bent on vengeance and visits Sheriff Kenyon (Paul Birch) for information. What Clay does not know and what we have already seen is that while saloon girl Kate (Abbe Lane) had kept Clay’s father’s two cowhands in town Sheriff Kenyon, Tom Meredith and Jed Ringer (Russell Johnson) had stolen the cattle and that it was Meredith who had shot Clay’s father and brother.

     Sheriff Kenyon suggests to Clay that notorious outlaw Whitey Kincade (Dan Duryea) may have been responsible; Clay is deputised and sent off to the nearby town of Diablo where Kenyon and Meredith expect Whitey will kill him. However, Clay proves to be a very fast draw indeed and captures Whitey, who of course had nothing to do with the death of Clay’s family, although he has a good idea who it was. Indeed Whitey, despite his better judgment, becomes quite fond of Clay and drops some hints which Clay misses. For catching Whitey Clay becomes a bit of a town hero and manages to fall in love with Kenyon’s niece Laurie (Susan Cabot). Kenyon and Meredith come up with a series of plans to get Clay killed, which fail, partly because Whitey, who has been set free after Jed lies to the jury, watches his back and guides him towards the real killers. Then, as thieves fall out after Jed betrays the other two over a shipment of silver, Clay and Laurie find out the truth and a final shootout looms.

     Ride Clear of Diablo was directed by Jesse Hibbs. He would later also direct Murphy in To Hell and Back (1955), Joe Butterfly (1957) and Ride a Crooked Trail (1958) but was thereafter a TV director with episodes of Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Rawhide and especially Perry Mason on his resume. Ride Clear of Diablo is a rather standard revenge story with double crosses galore, but what sets it apart from other westerns of the period is some delicious and very funny dialogue (some laugh out loud funny) and the interplay between Murphy and a manic Dan Duryea. Indeed Duryea is a hoot and steals every scene he is in playing off against the more straight-laced Murphy. By now Murphy was gaining experience as an actor although at this stage of his career his films still work better where there is a solid supporting actor, such as Brian Donlevy in Kansas Raiders (1950), and here the juxtaposition of acting styles works perfectly; Murphy even breaks out in a smile occasionally. It also helps that the petite Susan Cabot (who had already worked with Murphy in The Duel at Silver Creek (1952) and Gunsmoke (1953)) and Murphy look good together and make an engaging couple.

     While there are shootouts, chases at the gallop and gunplay in Ride Clear of Diablo it is not really a full on action western. But with some wonderful funny dialogue, dastardly, conniving and duplicitous villains, a pretty love interest, a delightful Dan Duryea having ball of a time and an in form Audie Murphy, Ride Clear of Diablo is a gem and a very entertaining western indeed.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Ride Clear of Diablo is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and 4x3.

     Shot in Technicolor by cinematographer Irving Glassberg, the colours of Ride Clear of Diablo are rich with beautifully vivid blues and greens. Long shots on the prairie do look a bit soft but the sound stage scenes such as the night time social or the shootout in the mine shaft are sharp with solid blacks and good shadow detail. There are, however, copious instances of speckles throughout the film, some scratches, blurring in frames and some changes in brightness as well as motion blur. Nothing is too large or distracting, but the artefacts are there and certainly this films is not in as good a shape as some of the other films in the Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection.

     No subtitles are provided.

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 clear. The sounds of galloping horses and gunshots as well as dripping water in the mine shaft were good for a mono audio. There is no credit for the music which is somewhat generic.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    Lip synchronisation is fine.

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

Extras

Ben Mankiewicz Intro (1:38)

     More an intro to Murphy than Ride Clear of Diablo.

Stills Gallery

     Divided into five separate sections, with an introductory screen for each section, the stills advance automatically or by using the remote. Silent. The sections are:

TCMdb Article

     Five silent text screens from the Turner Classic Movies database about Ride Clear of Diablo.

R4 vs R1

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

     There have been a number of releases of Ride Clear of Diablo over the years either as stand alone or in collections; details of any extras are scarce. In Australia the only other listing is in the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     Ride Clear of Diablo is very much a western of its period; a Saturday afternoon entertainment gem with humour, duplicitous villains, gunplay, a love interest, galloping horses andDan Duryea and Audie Murphy in good form. What’s not to enjoy!

     The video could be better and audio is acceptable. The extras are minimal, but there are some.

     Ride Clear of Diablo 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)
Monday, October 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Classification - REPLY POSTED

Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Showdown (1963)

Showdown (1963) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1963
Running Time 78:45
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By R.G. Springsteen
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Kathleen Crowley
Charles Drake
Harold J Stone
L.Q. Jones
Strother Martin
Case ?
RPI ? Music Hans J. Salter


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Chris Foster (Audie Murphy) and Bert Pickett (Charles Drake) drift into a town that is so tiny it does not have a gaol. Instead, miscreants are chained by the neck to a post in the main street. Bert tells Chris about a girl named Estelle whom he intends to send money to, if he wins any, that is. Instead, Bert gets drunk and starts a fight in the saloon and the result is that both he and Chris are chained to the post at the same time as infamous outlaw Lavelle (Harold J Stone) and some of his gang who have just been caught by the town Marshall. Overnight, Lavelle and his men escape and Bert and Chris, still with chains around their necks, end up with the gang.

     During the escape Bert picks up bonds worth $12,000 which he tries to use as a bargaining chip with Lavelle to get free. In a rather convoluted set of circumstances, Bert manages to send the money to Estelle; Chris, with an escort of Lavelle’s men, is sent to get the money back from Estelle while Bert remains a captive. When Chris finds Estelle (Kathleen Crowley) she is not the sweet innocent depicted by Bert but a saloon girl who, with the windfall, is leaving town and has no intention of giving Chris the money. Chris needs to lose Lavelle’s man and persuade Estelle to relinquish the money to save Bert. Neither is going to be easy.

     Showdown was directed by R.G. Springsteen, a journeyman B director with 98 credits in a range of genres including war, westerns and crime. Showdown is probably an indicator of how the star status, and budget, of Audie Murphy’s films had changed in a few years; many of his previous films had been shot in Cinemascope and Technicolor, but to save money Showdown was shot in black and white in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio. It was reported that Murphy was not impressed; not that he had much choice.

     The set-up for Showdown is interesting and unusual and Murphy actually plays a character with a harder edge that usual and he does it pretty well; indeed, with scenes of men chained around the neck the film also has a harder edge than usual! However, part way through the film loses its way and the convoluted plot, the romantic elements and the transformation of the character of the saloon girl strain credibility and undermine the harder edge of the film. As well, given that this is an Audie Murphy film we know that in the end he will come through and, of course, get the girl. On a side note if you look closely in Showdown you will see Peckinpah favourites L.Q. Jones and Strother Martin in small roles.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Showdown is presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good black and white print. Blacks and shadow detail are strong, greyscales very good. Other than a couple of tiny marks and some motion blur the print is artefact free.

     No subtitles are provided.

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

Audio

     Showdown is presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good black and white print. Blacks and shadow detail are strong, greyscales very good. Other than a couple of tiny marks and some motion blur the print is artefact free.

     No subtitles are available.

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.

     There are apparently stand-alone DVDs of Showdown in European countries but at the moment I have not found a listing on sales sites. 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

     Showdown, although it has an unusual premise and a harder edge than usual for Audie Murphy, is still a traditional western where the result is never really in doubt.

     The video and audio are good. No extras.

     Showdown 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 14, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Sierra (1950)

Sierra (1950) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Sep-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1950
Running Time 82:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alfred E. Green
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Wanda Hendrix
Audie Murphy
Burl Ives
Dean Jagger
Richard Rober
Elliott Reid
Tony Curtis
Case ?
RPI ? Music Walter Scharf


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, a pipe
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Ring Hassard (Audie Murphy) and his father Jeff (Dean Jagger) live as outcasts in a shack hidden high in the Sierra Mountains, rejecting all contact with the outer world. This changes when Ring discovers Riley Martin (Wanda Hendrix), a female lawyer, lost in the mountains. When Jeff is badly injured while trying to break-in a horse, they ask for help from Lonesome (Burl Ives), another recluse in the mountains but he tells Ring they need a doctor. Ring takes Riley back down the mountains to the town, taking with them a string of horses he hopes to sell to pay for a doctor, but on the way she is bitten by a snake and Ring has to race her into town to save her. When he returns he discovers that his horses have been taken by Big Matt Rango (Richard Rober) and the Sheriff declines to help Ring get them back. In the town Ring finds that his father is still wanted for a murder committed 12 years previously; indeed, Ring is also treated with suspicion, especially by Riley’s fiancé Duke (Elliott Reid). Ring tries to get his horses back from Rango’s ranch but is captured and tried as a horse thief despite all Riley’s attempts to intercede on his behalf. Broken out of gaol by Lonesome, Ring returns to the high Sierras a wanted man. Can Riley discover the truth behind Jeff’s conviction for murder before both Ring and Jeff are hunted down and hanged?

     Sierra, released in 1950, was by all accounts a troubled production. Filming on location in Utah, four horses were killed in a stampede sequence, a flash flood hit the set, Hendrix had a broken foot and Murphy was still suffering nightmares and PTSD as a result of his war service. But this probably pales to insignificance compared to the relationship between Murphy and Hendrix. They had been married in February 1949 but their turbulent relationship ended just over a year later in divorce; indeed Hendrix left the marriage the day after principle photography on Sierra ended on 3 October, 1949.

     In spite of all the dramas Sierra is a fun, entertaining western with a good cast and beautiful visuals. The film was directed by veteran Alfred E. Green who had been making features since 1917 including Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921) with Mary Pickford and he was a nominee at Cannes in 1947 for The Jolson Story (1946). The rather naïve, taciturn character of Ring, well played by decorated war hero Murphy, shows that he is developing some acting chops although in this film he did not get top billing; that went to Wanda Hendrix. He was, however, supported by a strong cast. Burl Ives has fun as Lonesome and gets to sing a few songs while Dean Jagger, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for Twelve O’Clock High (1949), is strong. Also in the cast are a very young Tony Curtis as well as James Arness who rose to fame in the long running Gunsmoke. Shot in Technicolor by DP Russell Metty, Oscar winner for Spartacus (1960), the canyons, ravines and pastures of Utah, standing in for the High Sierras, look stunning.

     Sierra does not have a lot of action; instead it is more of a drama as Ring, helped by a feisty Riley, fights to clear his father’s name from a murder committed a decade previously. All in all Sierra is a quaint and rather old fashioned western in which we get a singing Burl Ives, some humour, a stampede of the Mustangs and some Utah locations that look spectacular in Technicolor.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Sierra is presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC. Rather unusually it is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a very impressive presentation of a film that is almost 70 years old. There are a couple of colour splotches, tiny marks and a bit of blur with motion but this Technicolor film has beautiful rich colours and strong detail. The night scenes were filmed day for night and have solid blacks and good shadow detail. Contrast and brightness is consistent, skin tones natural.

     No subtitles are provided.

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 clear. The horses’ hooves during the roundup of the Mustangs and the stampede were quite decent for a mono audio. Gunshots were also good. The music is by Walter Scharf. In his career he was nominated for Oscars 10 times, the first for Mercy Island (1942), another much later was for Funny Girl (1969), so while it was not that memorable the music for Sierra was less generic than most westerns of the period.

     Other than slight hiss with the opening titles the audio is fine.

    Lip synchronisation is good.

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

Extras

     Nothing. The silent menu offers only “Play” as an option.

R4 vs R1

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

     The only standalone release of Sierra listed is from France. The only other listing is as part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection, which itself is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     Sierra is an entertaining western with a good cast including Audie Murphy, Dean Jagger, Wada Hendrix, Burl Ives and a very young Tony Curtis. The Technicolor visuals are beautiful.

     The video is very good, the audio acceptable. There are no extras.

     Sierra 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 Collections 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)
Monday, October 07, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Six Black Horses (1962)

Six Black Horses (1962) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 80:08
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Harry Keller
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Dan Duryea
Joan O’Brien
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     As Six Black Horses starts Ben Lane (Audie Murphy) is walking in the desert carrying his saddle. He stumbles across a small herd of Mustangs and ropes one, breaking it in. Unfortunately, the horse belongs to someone and Ben is about to be lynched as a horse thief when he is saved by Frank Jessie (Dan Duryea) and the two travel to a nearby town. There they get into a gunfight and shoot two men neither of them knows but who were trying to kill them for some reason. As a result of their prowess with a gun they are hired by Kelly (Joan O’Brien) for $1000 each to escort her across Apache country to meet up with her husband. It is dangerous, but this is too much money to refuse.

     In Apache country it soon becomes apparent that Kelly has a secret agenda and finally we learn that Frank had in fact killed her husband and Kelly wants him dead, even going so far as to offer Ben the full $2000 if he will kill Frank for her. Ben refuses. But facing hostile Apaches, one of whom wants to trade a very good horse for Kelly, white scalp hunters and an almost inevitable confrontation between Ben and Frank there is no certainty that any of them will reach the next town alive. Or, in fact, be able to go out in style in a funeral carriage pulled by six black horses.

     Six Black Horses was directed by Harry Keller who had previously directed Murphy in Seven Ways from Sundown (1960) but the greater influence on the film was screenwriter Burt Kennedy. Kennedy had worked on five of the seven westerns made by director Bud Boetticher and star Randolph Scott including Ride Lonesome (1959) and Comanche Station (1960) and with Kennedy as writer Six Black Horses is deeper and more talky (and thus slower paced) than many of Murphy’s westerns with themes including loyalty, revenge, crime and retribution; indeed in Six Black Horses Kennedy repeated a line from his Ride Lonesome script that sums up his philosophy: “There are some things a man can’t ride around”.

     Murphy may not be in same league as Randolph Scott although he is more than adequate in Six Black Horses but the highlight is, again, Dan Duryea. Duryea had appeared with Murphy twice before, in Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) and Night Passage (1957), which was more a James Stewart film and in Six Black Horses he plays a wonderfully cynical and deceptive Frank Jessie whom one cannot help but like. And the dog that adopts Ben is also good value!

     Six Black Horses is a slow moving and talky western with some darker themes but it does have an Indian attack and chase sequence, good scenery, hidden agendas, an entertaining Dan Duryea and a bit of comedy with a dog.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Six Black Horses is presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC but is not16x9 enhanced.

     Six Black Horses takes place in a dry, dusty landscape so colours are mostly muted browns and yellows with some scenes with trees with bright green leaves. Detail can be soft, especially in wide shots but as the night scenes where shot day for night blacks are solid and shadow detail good. Skin tones are natural, brightness consistent except at some scene changes. There are frequent small marks and a few bigger ones (see 20:33) as well as motion blur. Nothing serious, but it is there.

     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 for a mono audio. There is no credit for the music; it could have come from any number of 50s westerns.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    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 only find a French stand-alone DVD release of Six Black Horses plus one 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

     Six Black Horses is darker in tone than many Audie Murphy westerns due to screenwriter Burt Kennedy reprising some of his favourite themes although this results in a rather leisurely paced film. But with Dan Duryea in fine, cynical form, Audie Murphy and Apaches, the film is certainly worth a look.

     The video is acceptable although not being 16x9 enhanced the detail is affected, the audio is the original mono. No extras.

     Six Black Horses 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)
Friday, November 08, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

The Texican (1966)

The Texican (1966) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Theatrical Trailer-x2 but not for this film
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1966
Running Time 88:25
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lesley Selander
Studio
Distributor
ViaVision Starring Audie Murphy
Broderick Crawford
Diana Lorys
Aldo Sambell
Antonio Casas
Luz Marquez
Case ?
RPI ? Music Nico Fidenco


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Japanese
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Ex-gunfighter Jess Carlin (Audie Murphy) is on the run from US law in Mexico until he learns that his older brother Roy, a crusading journalist in the Texas town of Rimrock, has been shot and killed. Rimrock is pretty much owned by saloon keeper Luke Starr (Broderick Crawford) who controls the town through his killers led by Gil Rio (Aldo Sambell). We have already seen that it was Starr and Gil who had killed Roy but when Jess arrives in Rimrock nether Roy’s fiancé Sandy (Luz Marquez) nor his fellow journalist Frank Brady (Antonio Casas) are able to provide him with any information. However there is quickly animosity between Jess and Starr and Gil and it is only a matter of time before this leads to a showdown, especially when Jess starts romancing Kit O’Neal (Diana Lorys), a beauty whom Starr has his eyes on.

     The Texican was directed by veteran Lesley Selander whose directing credits go all the way back to 1936. The Texican, released in 1966 following the Sergio Leone “Dollars” films that were released in 1964 and 1965, is the closest Audie Murphy came to making a spaghetti western. The Texican was a US / Spanish co-production and was filmed in Spain with a couple of imported Americans (Murphy, Broderick Crawford), Europeans filling out the cast including now familiar faces such as Aldo Sambell who, amid 168 credits, appeared in all three of the “Dollars” films! The Texican features the same incredible Spanish landscapes of desert, ridges and bluffs that became familiar, nicely shot by cinematographer Francisco Marin who went on to film a number of the Emmanuelle sequels. However, what really sets the spaghetti westerns apart is their score and the music of The Texican by Nico Fidenco is straight from the Ennio Morricone playbook with brass, voices and driving guitars! It may be derivative, but it is exuberant and a heap of fun.

     Where The Texican does not follow the spaghetti western formula is in the role of the hero. There is no moral ambiguity about Audie Murphy’s Jess Carlin; he may be a gunfighter but he is an honourable man pursuing a just cause and in this sense he is very much a traditional western hero, wearing a white hat and being kind to horses and respectful of women. And, of course, this being an Audie Murphy film, the ending is never in doubt and he gets the girl as well.

     The Texican is a hybrid between traditional westerns and spaghetti westerns. But with its rousing score, great visuals, fist fights, dastardly villains and a face off in a street swirling with dust it is a lot of fun.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The Texican is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and 16x9 enhanced.

     Filmed in Cinerama and Technicolor the Spanish landscapes have deep natural colours; the red and brown desert, cliffs, hills and the grey adobe dusty towns look great. Detail is strongest in close-ups but widescreen frames are still good, if a bit softer. There are frequent small speckles, but nothing serious, plus motion blur against railings and shrubs. Skin tones are natural, blacks and shadow detail good, brightness and contrast consistent.

     English and, surprisingly Japanese, 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 effects are good for a mono audio; the sound of galloping horses has some resonance while the impact of punches is exaggerated. The score by Nico Fidenco, as noted in the review, is straight from the Ennio Morricone playbook. It is exuberant and fun; if you are going to steal you may as well steal from the best!

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

     The Texican was shot in both English and Spanish versions, the Spanish cast being dubbed in the English version we have and it shows with the lip synchronisation indifferent in a number of places. This English version ends with over 3 minutes of music at the end playing over the black screen; this may be where the Spanish end credits were removed.

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

Extras

Previews

     There is a montage with scenes of a couple of dozen westerns released by Columbia Tristar (2:11) plus individual trailers for Silverado (2:02) and The Professionals (3:05).

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 US standalone DVDs of The Texican 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 II, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     The Texican is almost a spaghetti western, especially with that exuberant Morricone-like score. Add great landscape visuals, fist fights, a beautiful leading lady, dastardly villains and a shoot-out climax in a street swirling with dust it may be a hybrid western, but a very entertaining one. And, being an Audie Western there is no doubt who will triumph as well as get the girl.

     The video is fine, the audio the original mono. Trailers for a couple of other films are the only extras.

     The Texican 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)
Monday, November 25, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Cimarron Kid (1952) | Gunpoint (1966) | Hell Bent for Leather (1960) | Joe Butterfly (1957) | Kansas Raiders (1950) | The Kid from Texas (1950) | Night Passage (ViaVision) (1957) | Ride a Crooked Trail (ViaVision) (1958) | Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) | Showdown (1963) | Sierra (1950) | Six Black Horses (1962) | The Texican (1966) | The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

The Wild and the Innocent (1959) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-Oct-2019

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1959
Running Time 84:46
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jack Sher
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Joanne Dru
Gilbert Roland
Sandra Dee
Jim Backus
Strother Martin
Wesley Tackitt
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 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     For his entire young life Yancy (Audie Murphy) has lived trapping beavers in the wild mountains with his uncle and selling the pelts at a trading post in the valley, never once visiting a town. Coming down the mountain with their latest load of pelts, Yancy’s uncle is injured by a bear so Yancy has to go the rest of the way by himself. He arrives at the trading post to find that it has been burnt to the ground accidently by Ben Stocker (Strother Martin). So Yancy must travel for two days to the town of Casper to trade his pelts, but not before he, reluctantly, takes Ben’s oldest daughter Rosalie (Sandra Dee) along with him.

     The pair arrive in Casper on the 4th of July with the carnival and celebrations in full swing. Innocents totally out of his depth they are made fun of by the locals. Yancy becomes besotted with elegant dance hall girl Marcy Howard (Joanne Dru) while sophisticated Sheriff Paul Bartell (Gilbert Roland), who pretty much owns the town including Ma Ransom’s (Wesley Tackitt) dance hall, zeroes in on the naïve and virgin Rosalie. But Rosalie only has eyes for Yancy, who is keen on Marcy, who wants Paul, who desires Rosalie; clearly, not everyone will get what they want!

     The Wild and the Innocent was directed and co-written by Jack Sher, who was perhaps better known as a writer having penned, for example, Shane (1953). It has a cast full of familiar faces. Besides Murphy, there was Peckinpah favourite Strother Martin, Mr Magoo himself Jim Backus as the general store owner in Casper and one of the few decent people in town, Sandra Dee coming off Gidget (1959), matinée idol Gilbert Roland and Joanna Dru who had been female lead in some classic westerns including Red River (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949).

     The Wild and the Innocent is, however, a strange bird. It is neither a typical western nor a typical Audie Murphy film; he never wears a holstered gun and only fires a couple of shots from his old fashioned rifle. Indeed, playing a naïve yokel does not really suit Murphy and he does not look comfortable. Instead, the film is a comedy of manners, sort of, with the humour depending on the naivety of our innocents, the respectable townspeople laughing at the yokels from the mountains while shunning and looking down on the women from the dance hall; there is a rather prolonged scene where Yancy, who knows no better, takes Marcy to a respectable dance. Indeed, much of the humour in the film is hooky and corny before, right at the end, there is a change of tone as the film becomes darker as it moves towards a resolution. There is also something distasteful about a film which ends, to my mind, with a justification of bigotry and good ol’ wholesome American values as opposed to the smarmy Latino with a moustache and a small cigar.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The Wild and the Innocent was made in Cinemascope in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio; the opening and closing credits are in this ratio but the rest of the film is cropped to 1.78:1, in NTSC, and is not 16x9 enhanced.

     This is not as bad as it could have been given that this film is almost exclusively shot on a town set and not on the open prairie or mountains of some of the other films in this Audie Murphy box set. But it is bad enough with characters speaking from out of the frame or partially cut off. Otherwise the detail, including shadow detail, is firm, with nice colours. There are some minor speckles, motion blur and some colour variation but the print still looks decent. Blacks are solid, skin tones natural.

     No subtitles are provided.

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 clear. The sounds of galloping horses, gunshots and the fireworks had some nice depth. There 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 The Wild and the Innocent is somewhat obvious, such as the hillbilly” music at the beginning as Yancy and his uncle ride down from the mountains.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    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.

     The Wild and the Innocent is not a high profile Audie Murphy title and I cannot find a listing of another DVD release in any form except as 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

     The Wild and the Innocent is not your usual Audie Murphy western, nor is it a particularly good film. There is little action and the humour is rather mean spirited. It may be one for those who want to complete their collection, but even then the incorrect aspect ratio makes this film difficult to recommend.

     The video is cropped, the audio is the original mono. No extras.

     The Wild and the Innocent 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.

     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)
Wednesday, October 30, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE