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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'The River is Red')

directed by Howard Hawks
USA 1948

 

"I’ll have that brand on enough beef to feed the whole country. Good beef for hungry people. Beef to make them strong, to make them grow."

 

Despite its inherent flaw an easy case could be made for touting this as the greatest western of all time. Very easy. The mark of the 'western' genre is, for the most part, the history of pioneering the American old west. Strong, fearless men venturing to find a place of opportunity in which to settle. This epic tale focuses on failed leadership by Tom Dunson (John Wayne), on the first cattle drive down the Chisholm Trail. A man with single-minded desire for success and to make his make his mark in the expansive land in Texas. Filled with many subtle classic western-isms involving legendary gun handling, fighting Indians, forsaking women for future gains, growing beef for the good of the country and sticking to an honorable code. The flaw, as most know, is the ending - but being aware of it allows one to forget its existence and enjoy a true branding of Americana with some exquisite cinematography. This is beyond a gem folks, this is a grand piece of cinema history that rightfully deserves it place topping some for the best westerns of all time. A masterpiece of masterpieces. out of .

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 1st, 1948

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

Check out more in "The Library"


Comparison:

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion (4-disc) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray MIDDLE

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

 

Box Covers

Distribution MGM - Region 1- NTSC

Masters of Cinema - Spine #68

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion Collection, spine #709 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 2:12:36  2:12:42.704

Original Theatrical: 2:07:09.204

Pre-release: 2:13:25.622

Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.39 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,669,055,548 bytes

Feature: 41,232,578,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Original Theatrical:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,069,280,454 bytes

Feature: 37,401,280,512 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.09 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Pre-Release Version:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,142,052,971 bytes

Feature: 36,010,629,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion (original theatrical) Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion (Pre-release) Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score: LPCM Audio 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, English (Hearing Impaired), French, Spanish, None English (Hearing Impaired), None English (Hearing Impaired), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none

DVD Release Date: May 1st, 2001

Snapper Case
Chapters: 32

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka MoC

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,669,055,548 bytes

Feature: 41,232,578,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Exclusive lengthy video conversation about Red River and Howard Hawks by filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt, conducted by Jaime Christley, and shot by Dustin Guy Defa and James P. Gannon (45:32)
• Lux Radio Broadcast (58:54)
• Liner Notes booklet featuring the words of Howard Hawks, rare imagery, and more!

Blu-ray Release Date: October 28th, 2013
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 15

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

 

Original Theatrical:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,069,280,454 bytes

Feature: 37,401,280,512 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.09 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Pre-Release Version:

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,142,052,971 bytes

Feature: 36,010,629,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• New 2K digital restoration of the rarely presented original theatrical release version, the preferred cut of director Howard Hawks, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• New 2K digital restoration of the longer, prerelease version of Red River, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack

Original Theatrical:
• New interview with filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich about Red River and the two versions (17:03)

• Audio excerpts from a 1972 conversation between Hawks and Bogdanovich

• Trailer (1:53)

Pre-Release Disc:
• New interview with critic Molly Haskell about Hawks and Red River (15:43)
• New interview with film scholar Lee Clark Mitchell about the western genre
(13:07)
• Audio excerpts from a 1970 interview with novelist and screenwriter Borden Chase (10:16)
• Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Red River from 1949, featuring John Wayne, Joanne Dru, and Walter Brennan (59:12)
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a 1991 interview with Hawks’s longtime editor Christian Nyby (dual-format only); a new paperback edition of Chase’s original novel, previously out of print (dual-format only)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 27 X 2

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - May 2014': Firstly, there are two versions of Red River presented on this Criterion release: the 1948 theatrical version, which Howard Hawks preferred, and a longer pre-release cut of the film. Although there are a number of differences - for example, the earlier version contains extra shots and dialogue, and has a prologue scroll - two things in particular set them apart tonally. First, the theatrical version substitutes voice-over narration by Walter Brennan for the prerelease cut's optical sequences of book pages. Second the ending of the theatrical release is significantly shorter. There are two, dual-layered Blu-rays in 1080P in this dual-format package (including two DVDs). They are from  derived from a 2K digital restoration.

 

Now, what I found was that both versions image quality is as exact as my software (system and eyeballs) can determine. So, I wonder if seamless-branching was considered to keep it on one lone Blu-ray? But, regardless, it is quite different from the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray. The UK disc is darker (richer black levels), more visible damage, less information in the frame and significantly more textured grain. I appreciate the grain. So the Criterion(s) are 'lighter', smoother and likewise gives a very strong video presentation - but a different, crisper, one. It would probably come down to personal preference.

 

I noted no differences in the linear PCM audio - so our comments below - "It sounds predictably flat but Dimitri Tiomkin's (Angel Face, Strangers on a  Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.) rousing score get some 'umpph' and sounds quite strong. Cattle, horse and respective sounds seem crisp - adding to the atmosphere." - hold true. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

On disc one, the "Original Theatrical" version we get a new 17-minute interview with filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich about Red River and the two versions. He also shares his memories of Hawks. There is also an audio excerpts from a 1972 conversation between Hawks and Bogdanovich as they sat together in Palm Springs. This disc also has a trailer. On the "Pre-Release" Blu-ray we have a new (2014), 16-minute, interview with critic Molly Haskell. The long-time champion of Howard Hawks discusses Red River in relation to the western genre and gender politics and expresses her appreciation for the filmmaker. There is also a new 13-minute interview with film scholar Lee Clark Mitchell (author of Westerns: Making the Man in Fiction and Film) delving into the cultural history and trademarks of the western genre literature and film, framing Red River and the novel's author, Bordon Chase, within these terms. There are 10-minutes of audio excerpts from a 1970 interview with novelist and screenwriter Borden Chase and an hour-long Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Red River from 1949, featuring John Wayne, Joanne Dru, and Walter Brennan. The package contains the two DVDs with all the contents of the Blu-rays and a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a 1991 interview with Hawks’s longtime editor Christian Nyby (dual-format only) plus a new paperback edition of Chase’s original novel, previously out of print.

 

Great release and nice to see differences in both video, the addition of the original theatrical and new supplements. Strongly recommended!  

 

***

 

 

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (November 2013): Pretty sweet - more than 7X the bitrate of the SD and the big story is the grain. The textures are well-supported with scrumptious film-like visuals. The only thing, and we've noticed it with most 1080P-transferred vintage films - as the resolution is heightened - so is the visibility of the damage marks. In the case of Red River it is light scratches, many just under the surface. I wasn't deterred and it looks like the same source that also exhibits some weaknesses including softness at times. The 2001 DVD had some artifacts - and they are gone and the contrast is a significant improvement in HD.

 

Masters of Cinema go with a linear PCM track in the original mono at 1152 kbps. It sounds predictably flat but Dimitri Tiomkin's (Angel Face, Strangers on a  Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.) rousing score get some 'umpph' and sounds quite strong. Cattle, horse and respective sounds seem crisp - adding to the atmosphere. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras include the ability to access the isolated score - also in lossless. There is 45-minute video conversation about Red River and Howard Hawks by filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt, conducted by Jaime Christley. It's quite interesting and worth indulging in. Aside from that is an hour-long Lux Radio Broadcast adaption of Red River from 1949. There are some liner notes included in a booklet featuring the words of Howard Hawks with some rare imagery photos etc.

 

Easiest Blu-ray purchase of the year. The DVD is 12-years old technology and this 1080P really improves the presentation. Add onto that the lossless sound (Tiomkin!) and worthwhile supplements. Buy with confidence.  

 

***

ON THE DVD: There is a fair amount of damage in the first 10 minutes, but once settling into the film, the MGM DVD image is very good with some minor digital artifacts. Occasionally showing speckles of dust the contrast is reasonable. Subtitles are well done and audio is original. There are no extras. It is quite reasonably priced being under $12 US and is a must-own film. out of       

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC


 

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

 

Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

 

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

2) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Not on the Pre-release version


 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray SECOND

3) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

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

2) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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

2) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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

2) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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

2) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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

2) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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

2) Criterion (Original Theatrical) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion (Pre-Release version) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

Distribution MGM - Region 1- NTSC

Masters of Cinema - Spine #68

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion Collection, spine #709 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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