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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Comancheros - 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]


(Michael Curtiz, 1961)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Twentieth Century-Fox

Video: Twentieth Century-Fox



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:47:23.937

Disc Size: 47,070,381,592 bytes

Feature Size: 34,403,057,664 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.26 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Digi-book Blu-ray case

Release date: May 17th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3020 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3020 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



Audio Commentary by Stuart Whitman, Nehemiah Persoff, Michael Ansara and Patrick Wayne
The Comancheros and the Battle for the American Southwest
The Duke at Fox – A Two-Part Documentary
Vintage Comancheros Comic Book Gallery
Movie Tone News: Claude King and Tillman Franks Receive Award For The Comancheros
Theatrical Trailers (English & Spanish)
PLUS: 24 Page Collectible Book





Description: Texas Ranger determined to crush a violent gang of gunrunners and thieves known as Comancheros. Through an unlikely turn of events, Cutter enlists the help of his own prisoners to accomplish his mission. Also featuring an all-star cast that includes Stuart Whitman, Lee Marvin, Edgar Buchanan and Patrick Wayne, and a catchy soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein, this fast-paced Western is pure entertainment from start to finish.


A Texas Ranger and a fugitive gambler stop white renegades running guns and liquor. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Stars John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Lee Marvin, Ina Balin, Nehemiah Persoff, Michael Ansara, et al

John Wayne is a Texas Ranger in this rollicking, good humored western, assigned to bring an arms-running gang to justice. After Wayne arrests one of the criminals, matters are complicated when they wander into an area controlled by the Comancheros: a group of Anglos aiding the warring Comanche Indians. Based on the novel by Paul I. Wellman, THE COMANCHEROS was the last film for director Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA).

Shot in CinemaScope. The battle sequences were directed by Cliff Lyons. Some outdoor locations were filmed in Moab, Utah.



The Film:

The Comancheros is the last film from the great studio director Michael Curtiz, and ironically despite over 30 years in Hollywood, “The Comancheros” it's his only collaboration with John Wayne. It’s not Curtiz’s finest hour, nor Wayne’s, but still a competent action Western, for fans of the genre.

The film opens with a classic duel of pistols. Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman), a Louisiana city man wins, but since duels are illegal, Paul is forced to flee the state. John Wayne plays Texas Ranger Jake Cutter, the man on his tail. When Regret escapes from Cutter’s grasp, Cutter changes his attention to a ring of gunrunners supplying those 'evil' Comanche. Cutter goes undercover to find those treachourous ‘Comancheros” that are siding with the enemy. Cutter joins up with a particularly gruesome and drunk Comanchero Tully Crow (Lee Marvin) in order to find the buyer of the guns.

Excerpt from Alan Bacchus at Daily Film Dose located HERE


This new Western film, "The Comancheros," which landed in the Paramount yesterday, is so studiously wild and woolly it turns out to be good fun.

There's not a moment of seriousness in it, not a detail that isn't performed with a surge of exaggeration, not a character that is credible.

When John Wayne, a rugged Texas Ranger, picks the gambling Stuart Whitman off a boat in Galveston and takes him five days inland pursuant to returning him to Louisiana on a murder charge, the illogic of it is established, coolly and casually. And when Mr. Whitman has occasion to clout Mr. Wayne on the head with a spade, he does so with such violence that, if it were serious, the film would be over, then and there.

Excerpt from Bosley Crowther at the NY Times located HERE

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

There is some softness to the Blu-ray transfer of The Comancheros from Fox. The image quality is thicker than I anticipated but grain-like texture exists in a clunkier form. Colors stand out well from a variety of period and western garb with a backdrop of the grand vistas. So, detail may be a notch below expectations but in motion this looked quite good with colors being the most impressive standout in 1080P. This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate. Daylight scenes dominate and contrast is adept. The transfer produces a clean and consistent presentation.

















Audio :

There wasn't much notable separation via the DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 3020 kbps. Elmer Bernstein's string, brass and mellow woodwinds score is wonderful and the lossless track carries it exceptionally. The composer may have been at his peak for the genre with The Magnificent Seven (1960) the year previous. I doubt we will get it sounding any better although certainly range and depth are not a modern levels. Fox have included the original 4.0 channel track as an option. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

Although I believe it was absent on the last Fox DVD - the group commentary featuring Stuart Whitman, Patrick Wayne, Michael Ansara, and Nehemiah Persoff that was available on the old LaserDisc - is back and worth the listen. There are also what appear to be two new featurette pieces - the historical The Comancheros and the Battle for the American Southwest and a two-part homage entitled The Duke at Fox. The brief Movie Tone News: Claude King and Tillman Franks Receive Award for The Comancheros was on the last DVD as were the English and Spanish trailers. There is a very brief look at the 'Vintage Comancheros Comic Book' although I wouldn't call it a 'gallery' as the info suggests. Lastly this is bound in a nicely appointed 24 page booklet with photos and essays. Like the one for The Hustler - this is extremely professional.



The Comancheros is a decent western that may be too 'light' for some an abundance of sugary smiles and glossing over more impactful scenes with death. The action is good and The Duke is as imposing as ever but I don't think it comes together all that well in regards to the script. Stuart Whitman has one of his strongest roles and for the most part - this is enjoyable for fans of the western genre.  Then Blu-ray gave me a decent presentation with some impressive outdoor scenes and action. Fans should probably pick it up as another memorable Duke performance.

Gary Tooze

May 10th, 2011


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze





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