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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r
USA 1957

Veteran bounty-hunter Morg Hickman (Henry Fonda) is bringing a dead outlaw into a new town where the sheriff has recently been killed. A young inexperienced Ben Owens (Anthony Perkins) is named as a temporary replacement, but he lacks the confidence that can only come from experience. The town's representatives contemptibility towards Hickman demands that he depart as soon as possible, but he won't leave till the reward money is safely in his hands. This paperwork takes a few days so he finds room and board with a pretty blonde widow (Betsy Palmer) and her half native Indian son, Kip, who also appear to be outcasts.

Once Owens finds that Hickaman was once a sheriff, he views him as a mentor, determined to learn the skills required to maintain his new position. He won't let the townsfolk's lack of confidence and the advice of his new teacher, deter him. Morg tells him that being a sheriff is a foolish and dangerous quest, but agrees to instruct the fledgling lawman in handling people, in his view, more important in his position than handling a gun.

Made in the hey-day of westerns, Anthony Mann establishes his one-dimensional characters quite early and Fonda even looks physically tired throughout the film. Important details come to fruition about Hickman's attitude and reasons why he has turned his back on society. His shared knowledge to Owens is retuned in kind with an epiphany of his own. I thought the plot built wonderfully, and Fonda can do no wrong in my eyes, but the ending appeared to drag slightly. Still a wonderful example of a primo Hollywood western from a director who is often unrecognized for his talent. A master in this genre, but this is not his best. I give it
    out of  



Theatrical Release: October 23rd, 1957 - New York City, USA

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DVD Review: Paramount -  Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Paramount Studios - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:32:48 
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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



Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) - restored, English (Dolby Digital 5.1 surround)
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: May 11th, 2004

Keep Case (with dual locks)
Chapters: 12




The anamorphic image quality is very acceptable in this release. I was impressed enough with contrast/brightness and black levels are not relatively deep. The sharpness is crisp enough through most of the film. I see no edge enhancement. Audio was stable and consistent. I only listed in the restored original mono and it was good. I almost prefer the total lack of Extras as a honest gesture rather than fill it up with unwanted trailer advertisements. Saying this though, it should have had something tangible and I crave an announcement for Mann's "Man of the West", which hasn't come. A good, if bare bones, DVD.  out of     

Gary W. Tooze

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Distribution Paramount Studios - Region 1 - NTSC


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