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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Red Pony [Blu-ray]

 

(Lewis Milestone, 1948)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:29:09.385

Disc Size: 19,738,664,718 bytes

Feature Size: 19,649,648,640 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 23rd, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 912 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 912 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath) adapted three of his own classic short stories to create a powerful family portrait in The Red Pony. Young Tom Tiflin (Peter Miles) is unable to find the love and guidance he needs from his parents (Myrna Loy and Shepperd Strudwick). For friendship and support, Tom turns to easy-going hired hand, Billy Buck (Robert Mitchum). In an attempt to become closer to his son, Tom's father gives him a red pony to raise. As the horse becomes the focus of Tom's life, it ultimately drives the family further apart as Tom turns to Billy for help in rearing his beloved pet. Family ties and Tom and Billy's friendship are put to the test when the red pony becomes sick. Directed by award winning director Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front) with an evocative and rich musical score by Aaron Copeland (The Heiress). The great cast includes a young Beau Bridges, Margaret Hamilton and Louis Calhern as Tom's grandfather.

 

 

The Film:

Formed as a union of half a dozen poverty-row film studios, Republic Pictures in its early years didn't carry much prestige itself. That changed in the late 1940s, when the studio made a concerted effort to propel itself to more respectable ranks by producing "serious" dramas with renowned filmmakers - such as Orson Welles' Macbeth (1948), Frank Borzage's Moonrise (1948), and Lewis Milestone's The Red Pony (1949). The latter title may not be as well remembered as the others, but in fact The Red Pony was the most expensive picture to date for Republic, as well as its longest-to-shoot (81 days).

Even with Lewis Milestone producing and directing, and Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy starring, the most prestigious names involved here were John Steinbeck and Aaron Copland, both of whom worked on very few movies in their careers. To see both their names on the same picture was even more unusual; it only happened once before, on Of Mice and Men (1939), though that film was merely based on Steinbeck's novel and did not employ him as screenwriter.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

One of the most acclaimed films to emerge from Republic studios, The Red Pony is an adaptation of the John Steinbeck story of the same name. Top billing goes to Myrna Loy and Robert Mitchum, but the film's true star is young Peter Miles as Tom. A lonely farm boy, Tom seeks refuge from his troublesome home life and his eternally squabbling parents (Loy and Shepperd Strudwick) through his devotion to a newborn colt. The red pony is the issue of a prize mare owned by ranchhand Billy Buck (Mitchum), whom Tom idolizes. The film's coming-of-age theme cluminates in a poignant denouement. Louis Calhern plays Tom's lovably prevaricating grandfather, while 10-year-old Beau Bridges essays one of his first featured roles. Aaron Copland's score and the rich Technicolor photography of Tony Gaudio contribute to the film's overall mood. The Red Pony was remade for television in 1973.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Another solid Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. It follows the pattern of most - bare-bones,  only single-layered with no digital manipulation. It's clean and colors are reasonably bright - a shade pale in spots. Contrast is strong and exports solid detail. There are smatterings of depth but no dramatic textures. Actually, I was surprised that it looked as impressive as it does. The last SD I saw of The Red Pony was in very bad shape. The Blu-ray offers a pleasing 1080P image with good visuals. I have no complaints.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We get a typical DTS-HD Master mono track at 912 kbps. There is nothing remarkable but the iconic Aaron Copeland's score works very well with the film. There is no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer without flaws. Moments are surprisingly crisp at times. 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 most of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Red Pony is an excellent family film. It has the Steinbeck sensibilities and the end result is warm, real and human. Notice the young Beau Bridges?  The Olive Blu-ray (goofy cover though) is, by far, the best I have ever seen the film in my home. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

April 18th, 2013

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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