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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by John Ford
USA 1950

 

Perhaps one of the most underrated of the collaborations between director John Ford and star John Wayne, Rio Grande manages to be both a conclusion and a new beginning for this most iconic of actor-filmmaker collaborators. The film is the final entry in Ford and Wayne's "Cavalry Trilogy, " following their hits Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Yet it also marks the first of five appearances Wayne made with actress Maureen O'Hara, three of which were directed by Ford.

Wayne is Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke, attached to the Texas frontier in 1879 to protect settlers from attacks by Apaches. When Yorke's son a West Point flunkee turned Army private is assigned to his father's regiment, tensions flare upon the arrival of Yorke's estranged wife Kathleen (O'Hara), who wants their teenaged son out of Yorke's unit. After Apaches attack, the stakes of Yorke's mission escalate, and he must journey to Mexico where the Apaches are hiding out. With his son and two old recruits (Ford/Wayne regulars Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr.) as accompaniment, Yorke faces his toughest battle.

The Quiet Man (1952) may be the most fondly remembered collaboration between Ford, Wayne, and O'Hara, but ironically, that classic wouldn't even exist if not for Rio Grande, as studio Republic was so (incorrectly!) certain that the later film would lose money, that they only agreed to its production on the condition that Ford and his collaborators make another western first to cover the costs. But Rio Grande stands on its own as yet another outstanding meeting of these remarkable talents.

***

John Wayne stars as Lt. Col. Kirby Yorke, whose devotion to duty has cost him his marriage to his beloved Kathleen (Maureen O'Hara). Yorke gets word that his son, Jeff (Claude Jarman Jr.) -- whom he hasn't seen in 15 years -- has been dropped as a cadet from West Point, and that he lied about his age to enlist in the cavalry, in an effort to redeem himself. By chance, the boy is then assigned to his father's post. Once more, as a function of his duty as a cavalry officer, Yorke must sacrifice his love of family -- he cannot show any preferential treatment to the boy, or exhibit any sign of love and affection. But Jeff is too strong to be injured by his father's actions, and already enough of a man that he is befriended by two older recruits, troopers Tyree (Ben Johnson) and Boone (Harry Carey Jr.), who watch out for him while taking him in as a virtual equal.

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 1st, 1950

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

  

 

Distribution Olive Home Video - Region 'A' - NTSC Masters of Cinema Spine #207 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:45:30.323         1:45:02.754  
Video

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 18,767,067,959 bytes

Feature: 17,370,617,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20,00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,901,729,047 bytes

Feature: 34,081,940,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.87 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Olive Blu-ray:

Bitrate Masters of Cinema Blu-ray:

Audio DTS-HD Master Audio English 848 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 848 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries;

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bits

Subtitles None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Olive

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 18,767,067,959 bytes

Feature: 17,370,617,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20,00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

The Making of Rio Grande (21:15 in 480i)
Theatrical Trailer (1:34 in 480i)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 7th, 2012
Standard
Blu-ray Case inside cardboard sleeve

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Masters of Cinema

 

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,901,729,047 bytes

Feature: 34,081,940,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.87 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Brand new and exclusive feature-length audio commentary by western authority Stephen Prince
Scene specific audio commentary with Maureen O'Hara
A video essay on the film by John Ford expert and scholar Tag Gallagher (10:37)
The Making of Rio Grande archival featurette (21:13)
Along the Rio Grande with Maureen O Hara archival documentary (18:36)
Theatrical trailer (1:38)
PLUS: a collector's booklet featuring a new essay by western expert Howard Hughes; a new essay by film writer Phil Hoad; transcript of an interview with John Ford; excerpts from a conversation with Harry Carey, Jr.


Blu-ray Release Date:
April 20th, 2020
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside sleeve (see below)

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray (April 2020): Masters of Cinema have transferred John Ford's Rio Grande to Blu-ray. It seems to be from a different film or D1 source than the 2012 Olive 1080P. There are different damage marks (see last captures) and the 1.37:1 Masters of Cinema has less information - mostly on all 4 sides but notably on the right and bottom edges of the frame. The UK transfer has a decidedly smoky cast over it producing a significantly darker image. It is cited as a "a new transfer completed by Paramount's preservation department in 2019". It can also look quite softer. This actually gives the impression of a thicker, more film-like presentation. The dual-layered transfer does have more consistent grain where the single-layered Olive showed some clunky textures. Not surprisingly, with a 75% high bitrate, the Masters of Cinema looks better in-motion. I can't speak to how faithful a representation the new UK image is (I'm not that old!) but I can see many people leaning to the Olive in terms of HD image presentation preference. Always good to have the choice. 

On their Blu-ray, Masters of Cinema improve on the audio with a 24-bit linear PCM mono track. It is an advancement in the film's audio over the 16-bit Olive transfer - which is evident in the, occasionally powerful, score by Victor Young (I Walk Alone, Strategic Air Command, The Sun Shines Bright, The Accused, Johnny Guitar, China Gate etc.) and the film also includes some music of Dale Evans and at least a 1/2 dozen songs by the Sons of the Pioneers (I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen etc.). It sounds deeper with more consistent dialogue. Masters of Cinema offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray has a new and exclusive feature-length audio commentary by western authority Stephen Prince (author of Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film). He talks about so much - Ford, Wayne, the Cavalry Trilogy (relatively neglected in cinema before his work) and how Rio Grande is based on true historical events but Ford filters that through a mythic framework also in terms of his personal issues and concerns involving a compelling portrait of marriage and a man who has failed at that marriage because his deeper bonds have been with male friendship in a world of men. It's great. I also loved the intermittent audio commentary with Maureen O'Hara (from Artisan's 2002 DVD) as she recollects working on the film, details on the cast, and crew - she pauses and lets the film run at times but I was very grateful for her to share her memories. She passed away in 2015. We are delighted to have another video essay on the film by John Ford expert and scholar Tag Gallagher. It runs over 10-minutes. He muses over Ford's penchant for dust and focuses on camera movement and much, much more. Also included in the same 21-minute Making of Rio Grande archival featurette as found on the Olive (and other releases). We also get the 19-minute archival documentary Along the Rio Grande with Maureen O Hara and lastly is a theatrical trailer. The package features a collector's booklet featuring a new essay by western expert Howard Hughes; a new essay by film writer Phil Hoad; transcript of an interview with John Ford; excerpts from a conversation with Harry Carey, Jr.

Rio Grande is more essential Ford, imo. Even being less impressive than "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" - it doesn't diminish the inherent strength of Ford as a storyteller, Wayne's onscreen majesty and the unspoken chemistry with Maureen O'Hara. It's a film I am glad to own on Blu-ray and greatly value the two commentaries, Tag's visual essay and the impressive book.

Gary Tooze

ON THE OLIVE Blu-ray (2012) - Rio Grande has a technically modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but contrast seems to hold up with adept layering - especially in the second half of the film. Black levels were rarely piercing though. 1080P detail can have some impressive scenes. The black marks I noted were one sequence of flickering contrast and there are some frame-specific scratch marks (see last capture). I'd consider neither disruptive. There is some texture to the visuals but there is no real depth. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and for the most part the image quality was pleasing.

The DTS-HD Master in 1.0 channel mono at 848 kbps keeps with the modest roots of the film's audio. Nothing is dynamic but the music of Dale Evans and at least a 1/2 dozen songs by the Sons of the Pioneers as well as Victor Young's original score sound clean and very clear. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked
Blu-ray.

Olive offer a 21-minute documentary hosted by Leonard Maltin entitled The Making of Rio Grande (also found on the 2002 DVD) where some keen information is revealed about the production, Ford, Wayne, O'Hara and some of the other cast members. It is in 480i as is the included theatrical trailer.

NOTE: On the Menu is says 'The Making of High Noon' - but is the Rio Grande documentary.

Well it boils down to a strong Ford/Wayne western on
Blu-ray. It's definitely a step up from SD and devout fans will quickly indulge. You have to gauge how serious a film devotee or fan of the genre you may be. This is a near masterpiece and I'm certainly glad I have it in my library. 

 

 


Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

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


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

 

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

 


1) Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  TOP

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

 

  

 

Box Cover

 

  

 

Distribution Olive Home Video - Region 'A' - NTSC Masters of Cinema Spine #207 - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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