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(aka 'Monty Walsh')

 

Directed by William A. Fraker
USA
1970

 

Monte Walsh is an aging cowboy facing the ending days of the Wild West era. As barbed wire and railways steadily eliminate the need for the cowboy Monte and his friends are left with fewer and fewer options. New work opportunities are available to them but the freedom of the open prairie is what they long for. Eventually they all must say goodbye to the lives they knew and try to make a new start.

***

A stunning debut Western for cameraman-turned-director Fraker, chronicling the death of an era as two cowboys (Marvin and Palance) ride into town to find that a bleak winter has brought hard times. Eastern capital has moved in with new methods, jobs are hard to come by, and the pair buckle down to the only work they can get, watching morosely as more and more men are laid off. Gradually the mood darkens. An old cowboy, ending his days in the humbling task of fence-mending, rides his horse crazily over a cliff. Old friends disappear, to return with the law on their heels as desperation drives them to rustling or robbery. Palance (brilliantly cast against type) decides to quit and become a storekeeper; and Marvin, after proving something to himself by taming a bronc no one else could handle, proves something else by rounding on the owner of a Wild West show who offers him a job ('I ain't spittin' on my whole life'). Thus far the film is relatively naturalistic, gently elegiac in tone; but after Marvin's nocturnal encounter with the horse, a strange twilight falls (the twilight of the gods, no less). Fate strikes twice at his life; he is forced to assume the traditional role of gunman; and in settings formally drained of colour, he embarks on his revenger's tragedy... A rare treat.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 7th, 1970

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DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:30:57
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.25 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.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Trailer (1:48 4:3)

DVD Release Date: November 16th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

What a pleasure this film is. I saw the Tom Selleck remake - and although it has some merit - it pales in comparison to this near masterpiece. To quote 4/4 Ebert: "Monte Walsh" is as lovely a Western as I've seen in a long time."

This Paramount DVD (first ever for the film?) has an excellent dual-layered and anamorphic transfer. Detail is strong in close-ups and while colors may be a bit washed - noise is minimal and there is a bit of depth. Audio is clear and consistent and there are optional English subtitles. The disc is region 1 in the NTSC standard.

No extras - save a trailer. It's a shame as this is certainly a western worth discussing and a commentary or the like would have given this even further value. As it stands we still endorse with a strong recommendation. Definitely give this a spin - the film is highly impressive! 

Gary W. Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC



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