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directed by Delmer Daves
USA 1950

 

Along with the lesser known ”Devils Doorway” (Anthony Mann, 1950), ”Broken Arrow” was the first film to treat Indians in a serious manner. Prior to these films, Indians were reduced to prop-status, posing dangers for stagecoaches and farmers, but with “Broken Arrow”, the Indians were shown as a people with problems, with traditions and with a heart – and mind. Later films would take up on this and directly accuse the Indian Bureau and Washington for the mistreatment of Indians.

Retired army captain Tom Jeffords (James Stewart) aids a deadly wounded Apache boy back to life and thus comes face to face with the more human side of the Apaches. As the war between the white man and the Apaches now is running on its tenth year, Jeffords believes that he can make peace by creating a dialogue between the two sides, thus learns the speak Apache and goes to meet their leader, Cochise (Jeff Chandler).

This is also a perfect film for James Stewart, who, while already had begun his, what would become legendary collaboration with Mann with “
Winchester '73” the year prior, here is more sympathetically and nice-guy. But in retrospective, what a risk to take as an actor.

This was basically dynamite material back in the 50s, and MGM actually held back “Devils Doorway” because of the sympathy with the Indians, but later released it, after the success of “Broken Arrow”. So despite “Devils Doorway” being the better film, “Broken Arrow” takes, and deserves, the credit for making Indians appear as human beings. A monumental Western.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 21st, 1950

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Comparison: 

Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL vs. 20th Century Fox - Region 1- NTSC vs. Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - LEFT

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

Box Cover

Distribution

Optimum Classics

Region 2 - PAL

20th Century Fox

Region 1 - NTSC

Sidonis
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:28:51 (4% PAL speedup) 1:32:36 1:32:42.056
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.40 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.72 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 29,571,558,206 bytes

Feature: 24,778,389,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate PAL

Bitrate NTSC

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono English (Dolby Digital mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUBs French (Dolby Digital mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital mono)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 2045 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2045 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1577 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1577 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles None English, Spanish, None French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Classics

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: February 21, 2005
Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 2 Fox MovieTone Newsreels

• Pressbook and poster gallery

• Trailer

• Restoration credits


DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2007
Keep case

Chapters 28

Release Information:
Studio: Sidonis

Aspect Ratio: - 2.35:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 29,571,558,206 bytes
Feature: 24,778,389,504 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Introduction by Patrick Brion (22:20)

• Bernard Tavernier (16:27)

Blu-ray Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 12

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Sidonis - Region 'B' Blu-ray - May 2012: Shameful... as Bill informs us - some of these new French Blu-rays (like Pork Chop Hill) - on many players - will NOT remove the French subtitles when the original English audio is chosen. We've seen this in the past from some DVDs out of France. In a word 'silly'. As opposed to making a list of Blu-ray machines that will play the film in its original theatrical state (English language without forced subtitles) - we only confirm that HTPC software may be the most reliable method for viewing. If you know you player is capable of removing subtitles both 'on the fly' and when 'forced' with a specific language option - you will probably be safe. The menu screens do not allow this option - which we can now presume means many players will be ineffectual at at desirable level of viewing.

As far as the image goes - I think this may be more correct color-wise than either DVD. It is dual-layered with a high bitrate but has some smearing and I wouldn't say it is visually perfect - but easily superior to the SD treatments. We get lossless audio that sounds very competent handling the Hugo Friedhofer score. The subtitle issues is discussed above - most may only watch this in a French DUB or with English language and forced French subtitles.

Extras have Brion and Tavernier in two separate pieces discussing the film and Delmer Daves - only in French - no subtitles.

I think most should pass on this and hope the transfer is lent to someone, probably in the UK, like Optimum who won't have forced subtitles. It's a solid western but the Fox DVD is a mass of green crap... have patience, friends.  

 

***

 

ADDITION: 20th Century Fox - NTSC - May 07': Although I am still not fully satisfied that either of these editions are representing the accurate colors - the new dual-layered 'restored' Fox edition is marred by the heavy green like some telecine had an unknown depressed button. It has probably had some digital touch-ups but may be more desirable next to the washed-out Optimum edition. Henrik (below) identified some color alignment inaccuracies in the PAL releases as well.

Other differences are that the NTSC offers some subtitle options, stereo mix and mono audio options and gives some supplements - albeit basic ones (2 Fox MovieTone newsreels, pressbook/poster gallery and trailer).

Classic and important western that we strongly recommend seeing the film for fans of the genre. 

  - Gary Tooze

***

ON THE OPTIMUM: The image has, at times for a short while, minor flaws in form of Technicolor frames not being in alignment and lack of "focus" (in lack of a better word). But apart from these very briefly flaws, the image is beautiful.

Sound is original mono and dialogue is clear. No noise.

 - Henrik Sylow

 


Menus

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

 
 
 

 

 

Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Subtitle sample for NTSC (PAL offers none)

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL  - TOP

2) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Box Cover

Distribution

Optimum Classics

Region 2 - PAL

20th Century Fox

Region 1 - NTSC

Sidonis
Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 



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Gary Tooze

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