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Directed by Gordon Douglas
USA 19
51

 

Gregory Peck (The Gunfighter) is the hard-nosed leader of a rough group of cavalry soldiers, whose by-the-book actions alienate the men in his command. The company's dislike for Peck intensifies when he assigns a popular lieutenant to take his place on a dangerous mission: delivering a captured Apache chief (Michael Ansara) across the barren desert to a stronger Army post. When the detail is attacked and the lieutenant viciously tortured and killed, the men are convinced that Peck had ulterior motives and pin the death on his shoulders. Revenge looms on the horizon when Peck hand selects a patrol for a suicidal mission holding off the avenging Apache chief at a deserted fort nearby. Among the film's he-man contingent are Ward Bond, Gig Young, Lon Chaney, Jr., Neville Brand, Jeff Corey and Steve Brodie, all delivering topnotch performances. Gordon Douglas (Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye) directed this exciting western which features beautiful black-and-white cinematography by Lionel Lindon (The Manchurian Candidate) and a rousing score by legendary composer Franz Waxman (Sunset Boulevard).

***

In this surprisingly astringent frontier tale, the Fordian motif of the stern commander gradually winning the respect of a motley Cavalry troop (boozy Irishman Bond among them) almost elides into the anti-authoritarian dynamic of The Dirty Dozen. When a vital fort guarding a mountain pass is threatened by gathering Indians, Peck's stone-faced captain picks the most disposable bunch of malcontents and psychos to hold out until reinforcements arrive, whereupon various personal animosities bring them closer to killing him than the enemy.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 13th, 1951

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Comparison:

Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Cover

Distribution Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:44:48  1:45:16.310
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,733,401,714 bytes

Feature: 20,626,888,704 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 862 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 862 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles English, Spanish, None None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: July 1st, 2008

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,733,401,714 bytes

Feature: 20,626,888,704 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Edition Details:

• none

Blu-ray Release Date: August 27th, 201
3
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 13': Dramatic improvement over the green and chroma-ridden DVD from 5 years ago. Everything takes a big leap over the SD and there are still light scratches and speckles but contrast is strong and while the image is not always pristinely sharp - it provides a nice 1080P presentation. Lossless sound for Waxman's excellent score, no subtitles nor extras but I really enjoyed my viewing. This is a solid western looking as good as it ever will on digital. Recommended! 

***

ON THE DVD: Lions Gate are very inconsistent - this is an absolutely horrible transfer. Aside from the inherent damage and haziness this edition has more Chroma bug than I have ever seen in any commercial DVD release - ever. Actually, I think it has more than any DVD-R I've seen to boot. The flecks of spectrum-like color are consistent in just about every frame of this film. It's like the telecine was working through a prism.

The audio is also at the weak end of the scale but it does offer optional English or Spanish subtitles.

There are no extras on this single-layered, progressive, disc. This is a decent western - surprisingly grim and hard edged but even at less than $10 I'm not recommending this DVD. Most could dupe it from TV with a superior transfer. I'm surprised that Lions Gate even bothered to produce this. No sale (and I love Peck and westerns!).  

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

 

1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
 

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample (no subs for the Blu-ray)

 

1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

Distribution Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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