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USA 1957

 

A strong example of style dominating substance. The film is genuinely entertaining if you don't peer too close and get overly picky about details - condemned in the US because of its incongruous narrative, but lauded in Europe for its eclipsing style. Fuller, always a masterful auteur, pulls no punches and fills this film with stylistic western conventions years before Leone would do similar. Bottom line: this is a fun western ripe for high testosterone and machismo genre fans. Purposely different than a Anthony Mann western, but Fuller has his own tricks that keep you intrigued. The 2.35 widescreen has huge appeal and the frame is used to great effect. A memorable film. out of

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 5th, 1957 - USA

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Comparison:

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Optimum Releasing - Region 2 - PAL vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

 

 

 

    

The Fox is part of the Classic Western Collection - The Outlaws / The Proud Ones, Forty Guns, Broken Lance, and The Culpepper Cattle Co.
Distribution

20th Century Fox

Region 1  - NTSC

Optimum  Video Publishing
Region 2 - PAL
Masters of Cinema - Spine #116
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion spine # 954 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:20:00 1:16:45 (4% PAL speedup) 1:20:05.008 1:20:17.437
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.89 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.41 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,683,462,599 bytes

Feature: 22,364,870,016 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,839,499,910 bytes

Feature: 24,233,324,544 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.86 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Fox

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum

 

Bitrate: MoC

 

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Criterion

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 4.0), English (Mono), DUB: Spanish (Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Audio Interview with Fuller:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, Spanish, and none None English (SDH), none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:04)

DVD Release Date: May 24th, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Trailers (Wages of Fear, Breathless, Moby Dick)

DVD Release Date: August 24th, 2004

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 10

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,683,462,599 bytes

Feature: 22,364,870,016 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
Audio interview with Samuel Fuller from 1969 at the National Film Theatre in London (1:20:00)
• Video interview with film critic Jean-Louis Leutrat (16:56)
• Theatrical trailer (2:08)
• A booklet featuring new writing by Stephane Joudet, an extract from Samuel Fuller's autobiography, and rare archival imagery

DVD of Feature included

 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 22nd, 2015
Transparent
Blu-ray case

Chapters: 9

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,839,499,910 bytes

Feature: 24,233,324,544 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.86 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
New interview with director Samuel Fullerís widow, Christa Lang Fuller, and daughter, Samantha Fuller (19:43)
A Fuller Life (2013), a feature-length documentary by Samantha Fuller about her father, featuring filmmakers Wim Wenders, William Friedkin, and Monte Hellman; actors Mark Hamill, James Franco, Jennifer Beals, Bill Duke, and Constance Towers; and others (1:20:24)
• Audio interview with Samuel Fuller at Londonís National Film Theatre from 1969
"Woman With a Whip" New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith, author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City (34:12)
• Stills gallery
• PLUS: An essay by film scholar Lisa Dombrowski and a chapter from Fullerís posthumously published 2002 autobiography, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking

 

Blu-ray Release Date: December 11th, 2018
Transparent
Blu-ray case

Chapters: 13

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion- Region 'A' - Blu-ray November 18': Forty Guns comes to Criterion on a new dual-layered Blu-ray with an impressive maxed out bitrate. It is cited as a "New 4K digital restoration". The Blu-ray image is noticeably lighter than the previous release from Masters of Cinema. Gone is the slight waxiness that was previously evident. The new image has more information on all sides of the frame, and a better contrast, despite being overall lighter. Whereas detail and information was previously lost in the dark shadows, it now flourishes without sacrificing the contrast. The film is so beautifully framed and this transfer finally presents this film closest to its original theatrical experience.

Criterion utilize a 24-bit linear PCM mono track as did the Masters of Cinema. The score by Harry Sukman
(Verboten!, The Crimson Kimono, Underworld U.S.A., Someone's Watching Me!) sounds just as good here with little difference to my ears. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.

The main extra here is the 2013 documentary "A Fuller Life". As Criterion states, "For this eighty-minute 2013 documentary, Samantha Fuller called on a variety of collaborators and fellow travelers of her father, Samuel Fuller, to evoke the director's inimitable voice and spirit by reading from his autobiography. Shot entirely within "the Shack," as the elder Fuller called the former garage he used as a writing refuge and filled with notes for future projects, A Fuller Life follows him on his path from New York tabloid journalist to Hollywood hyphenate, including his formative experiences as an infantryman in World War II." The film features many familiar faces that I won't spoil here. The documentary is also shot with such a wonderfully wild style befitting of the late director, reminding the viewer of how rote a lot of these talking heads extras usually are. Its a great thing, full of love for its subject, made with love by the late director's family. Fuller's widow (and DVDBeaver friend!) Christa Lang Fuller, and daughter, Samantha Fuller, are interviewed at their home in Los Angeles as another extra, "Fuller Women", lasting about 20-minutes. Also here is the 34-minute "Woman With a Whip", a new interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith, author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City. Finally, a discussion with director on Samuel Fuller took place in 1969, at the National Film Theatre in London. It is offered as an extra here and plays over the film in its entirety. Very cool.

Samuel Fuller was so rad. The screenwriter, novelist and director was able to transcend almost any genre he touched, elevating boilerplate material of the time into something wild, dangerous and subtly stylistic. Criterion have given this fabulous and edgy western a wonderful
Blu-ray transfer. The extras are extensive and quite lovingly put together, showing that not only did Fuller have a wonderful career, but a wonderful family as well.

Colin Zavitz

***

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray June 15': The 1080P looks good - a shade waxy - but the DVDs suffered from this as well. This has a high-bitrate - but perhaps an errant artifact or two. A couple of scenes had contrast close to, but not achieving, moiring. This was also consistent with the SDs. Detail really tightens on the BD - as the captures will indicate.

MoC use a linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. It exports the gunplay with some depth and the score by Harry Sukman sounds decent in the lossless. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

The feature-length audio interview with Samuel Fuller from 1969 at the National Film Theatre in London plays as the film runs and has similarities to a commentary. It's really informative. There is also a video interview with film critic Jean-Louis Leutrat running 17-minutes from Allerton Films. It is in French with English subtitles. There is also a theatrical trailer and the package contains a liner notes booklet featuring new writing by Stephane Joudet, an extract from Samuel Fuller's autobiography, and rare archival imagery. There is also a DVD of the feature (Dual Format package).

This has always been a western that continues to grow on me with each viewing. Stanwyck and Fuller - what a combination! I am pleased with the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray - as the extras are fabulous. Strongly recommended!

 

***

ON THE DVDs: Bottom line on this comparison is that the Optimum is slightly sharper and brighter than the Fox. The Fox has optional subtitles (bright yellow) and the Optimum does not. The Fox has a trailer for the film, the Optimum has 3 trailers for other Optimum DVD released films. I don't see any significant cropping issues and as both are so cheap I'm glad I own the Optimum for image and Fox for the trailer + audio.

 

RE: The Optimum - Well, who knew a single layered DVD could look this good? Certainly the data is used primary for the anamorphic and detailed image, not for extras or subtitle (which are non-existent). Strong black levels and contrast too. The price is right and this beckons as a must-own for Fuller and western fans alike. I strongly recommend.  out of   

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus

(
20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

NO SUBTITLES ON OPTIMUM


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Optimum  - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 Box Covers

 

 

 

 

    

The Fox is part of the Classic Western Collection - The Outlaws / The Proud Ones, Forty Guns, Broken Lance, and The Culpepper Cattle Co.
Distribution

20th Century Fox

Region 1  - NTSC

Optimum  Video Publishing
Region 2 - PAL
Masters of Cinema - Spine #116
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion spine # 954 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 


Recommended Reading for Western Genre Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

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Gary Tooze

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