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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Ramrod [Blu-ray]

 

(André De Toth, 1947)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Paramount

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:35:08.703 

Disc Size: 18,737,050,322 bytes

Feature Size: 18,642,450,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 20th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 833 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 833 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: This western from legendary director Andre De Toth (House of Wax) was the first of several films based on the stories of western author Luke Short (Silver City). Western legend Joel McCrea (Ride the High Country) stars as a veteran cowhand Dave Nash, who's hired by Connie Dickason (Veronica Lake), a strong-willed daughter of Ben Dickason (Charles Ruggles), a ranch owner who has become the toady of a powerful local cattleman, Frank Ivey (Preston Foster), whom Ben once wanted Connie to marry. Connie has inherited a sheep ranch from her ex-husband and is determined to run the ranch with the help of her new Ramrod and his crew of anti-Ivey locals despite the opposition of Ivey and her father. The resulting bloody range war is much to the dismay of Dave, who wants to resolve Connie's problems with Ivey legally. The Stellar cast includes Dan DeFore, Donald Crisp, Arleen Whelan and Lloyd Bridges.

 

 

The Film:

Andre de Toth's bizarre Freudian western (1947, 94 min.) features Veronica Lake in drag and Joel McCrea as a fading phallic symbol (you thought the title was accidental?) performing a barely sublimated sadomasochistic ritual—she's a lady ranch owner who teams up with her foreman to put her chief competitor, her father, out of business. With Arleen Whelan, Preston Foster, and Charles Ruggles.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE

This cowboy drama from Hungarian director Andre De Toth was the first of several films based on the stories of Western author Luke Short. Veronica Lake stars as Connie Dickason, strong-willed daughter of Ben Dickason (Charles Ruggles), a ranch owner who has become the toady of a powerful local cattleman, Frank Ivey (Preston Foster), whom Ben once wanted Connie to marry. Connie instead married a sheep rancher and inherited his spread. With her husband out of the picture, Connie becomes determined to run the ranch despite the opposition of Ivey and her father. In her camp are the town drunk, veteran cowhand Dave Nash (Joel McCrea) and a crew of anti-Ivey locals. The resulting bloody range war is much to the dismay of Dave, who wants to resolve Connie's problems with Ivey legally.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Ramrod has a standard modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. It has a lot of light scratches and speckles throughout - the print is not in premium condition and there are quite a few inconsistencies but I appreciated the grain and the 1080P's more film-like qualities. This is only single-layered and I don't know that dual-layering would benefit the visuals extensively. Detail has some pleasing moments in close-ups of Veronica Lake. The outdoor sequences show good contrast but there is no real depth. The Blu-ray is imperfect but gave me an acceptable presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Adolph Deutsch's score sounded very standard-western but had a bit of depth via the DTS-HD mono track at 833 kbps. There is no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer with only some minor fluctuations.  There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The film's odd qualities actually make it more intriguing as a piece of western cinema. Ramrod was pretty interesting... if not much more. I like the performances and its a film that I may revisit - to probe its more subtle themes. The Blu-ray gave me the opportunity to see the film in its best transfer without any extensive restoration - that will probably never come. This will be more geared to fans of Lake and westerns - and those keen to investigate the film's obtuse narrative design. 

Gary Tooze

November 15th, 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.

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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