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River of No Return [Blu-ray]
(Otto Preminger, 1954)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: 20th Century Fox
Video: Fox Video
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 31,592,215,874 bytes
Feature Size: 30,316,443,648 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 31st, 2012
Aspect ratio: 2.55:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3003 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3003 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio German 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Japanese 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Russian 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Thai 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English (SDH), Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, none
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Description: This sweeping adventure filled with thrilling suspense and spectacular scenery will take your breath away on Blu-Ray. Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum star as a dance hall singer and widowed farmer who both become victims of a treacherous gambler. Abandoned in the Northwest wilderness, Kay (Monroe), Matt (Mitchum) and Matt's young son face a host of untold dangers, including relentless Indian attacks and a perilous journey down a raging river. Fighting for survival and justice in the rugged terrain, Kay and Matt form an unexpected bond as they both realize there's no turning back.
Director Otto Preminger's only western, River of No Return is set in Canada during the 19th century Gold Rush. Farmer Matt Calder (Robert Mitchum) is released from prison after serving a sentence for shooting a man in the back to protect a friend. He arrives in a small town to retrieve his young son, Mark (Tommy Rettig), who has befriended a sultry saloon singer, Kay (Marilyn Monroe). Matt is also friendly with Kay, and thanks her profusely for looking after Mark, but distrusts her paramour, Harry Weston (Rory Calhoun)- a gambler with the morals of an alley cat. Matt and Mark return to their rural homestead, but soon glimpse Kay and Harry on a sinking raft, apparently en route to make good on a gold claim; Matt rescues the two of them, but doesn't count on Harry doing an about face, beating him up, and stealing his horse and gun; Kay stays behind to look after Matt. Meanwhile, the Indians go on the warpath, and the defenseless trio decides to seek refuge by fleeing the farm and sailing down the river on a raft. En route, the son - thanks to Kay's doing - is unexpectedly disillusioned about the father's original crime. Moreover, as Matt approaches town, he begins to plot a decisive revenge against Harry.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Certainly, Scriptwriter Frank Fenton has done the best he could to
arrange for a fairly equal balance of nature and Miss Monroe. He has
bluntly confronted Robert Mitchum, as a hardy fellow of the Northwest
frontier, with a menacing situation compounded of generous portions of
the two. Not only does Mr. Mitchum have to spend several days guiding a
flimsy log raft down a raging mountain stream, relentlessly stalked by
Indians who make it perilous for him to come ashore, but he also has to
ward off temptation in the shape—and we mean shape!—of Miss Monroe. The
fact that he makes his destination without fouling on either is the
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
River of No Return appears on Blu-ray from Fox in its original 2.55:1 Cinemascope aspect ratio. It is transferred to a dual-layered disc with a high bitrate and while I see some grain - characters can also look waxy and flat at times (although not as waxy as on the cover!). Colors are strong but tend to lean to a blue and grey bias. But, even with more digitization than I am comfortable with - I enjoyed the presentation. The image is frequently dark in nighttime and interiors but at least 1/2 the film is shot outdoors in the daylight. Contrast seems acceptable but there is not a lot of sharpness exported here. This Blu-ray has a issues but I didn't let it stop me from the pleasant aspects of the Preminger film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio: As well as the option for the original 4.0 channel track - presented here in standard Dolby - we get a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a healthy 3003 kbps. It separates the rushing water of the rapids and other external sounds although not as crisp as a more modern film might. The mix isn't bad though with a few subtleties thrown-in and occasional depth in the Cyril J. Mockridge and Leigh Harline western/romantic-based score. Marilyn's crooning ("River of No Return", "I'm Gonna File My Claim", "One Silver Dollar" and "Down in the Meadow") sounds a shade over-produced which may actually be authentic. Overall the track seems to support the film well and there are plenty of foreign language DUBs and subtitles signifying the disc is region FREE -playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Nosupplements save a trailer for the film and some other 'Forever Marilyn' trailers.
July 23rd, 2012
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 5000 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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