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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Americano [Blu-ray]

 

(William Castle, 1955)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Robert Stillman Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:25:34.129

Disc Size: 18,850,483,626 bytes

Feature Size: 18,774,939,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 24th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 820 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 820 kbps / 16-bit (DTS
Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Glenn Ford (3:10 to Yuma) stars in this modern day "south-western" as Sam Dent, a rancher who travels to South America to deliver a cargo of valuable Brahma bulls to a Brazilian rancher only to find the buyer has been murdered. Cesar Romero (Coney Island) co-stars as a dashing and jovial bandito, "El Gato" who becomes Sam's guide and friend. Also co-starring Frank Lovejoy (Retreat, Hell!) as an unscrupulous and homicidal land grabber, Bento Hermany who offers Sam a job as his Ramrod with strings attached. And just when we thought things couldn't get more complicated; Sam finds himself caught between the loves of Teresa (Abbe Lane) and Marianna (Ursula Thiess). Those are merely the human obstacles; there are also piranhas, deadly snakes and other jungle predators to contend with. Luxurious cinematography shot on location and in Technicolor by William E. Snyder (The Loves of Carmen) and featuring the music of legendary bandleader Xavier Cugat. The Americano was one the few larger-budgeted directorial efforts by exploitation king William Castle (The Tingler).

 

 

The Film:

The Americano is Glenn Ford, a north-of-the-border cowboy working in Brazil. Ford has been assigned to deliver a cargo of Brahma bulls to a South American ranch. His progress is impeded by homicidal land-grabber Frank Lovejoy and jovial bandido Cesar Romero. Those are merely the human obstacles; there are also piranhas and jungle predators to contend with. Ford also finds tie to romance Ursula Theiss and Abbe Lane. Luxuriously location-photographed in Technicolor, The Americano was one of the larger-budgeted directorial efforts of exploitation king William Castle.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The noted naturalists who have been exploring and extolling exotic Brazil are all wrong. For in "The Americano," which arrived at the Mayfair yesterday, we have Technicolored proof that cattle ranchers and homesteaders in the Matto Grosso area are involved in the same standard situations that apply in Texas. As a matter of fact, if it weren't for the lush setting and accents, an occasional glimpse of the deadly piranha fish devouring a luckless reptile and Cesar Romero in the guise of a gaucho, the scene easily could accommodate a sheriff from one of the tougher Pecos counties, rustlers and marauding Indians wildly charging down from the hills.

To put it in a nutshell, Glenn Ford, Frank Lovejoy, Ursula Thiess and Abbe Lane are in there simply to illustrate that things are pretty rough for honest cattlemen and nesters when a grasping hombre like Mr. Lovejoy wants to breed blooded livestock and snag all the real estate in sight. So, to follow this ancient format, we have Texan Glenn Ford delivering three prize Brahma bulls—price, $25,000—to Mr. Lovejoy all the way from the Lone Star State.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

The Americano comes to Blu-ray from Olive Films. There are quite a few very soft, inconsistencies, in the source and I have no idea whether the original film had this as well as some sort of production limitation. This is aside from the stock footage (gator) which is clearly unique. This is, predictably, single-layered in 1.78;1 and colors are slightly faded but contrast supports pleasing detail in close-ups of Ford. The grain is fairly healthy giving some impressive texture to the visuals. Outdoor sequences dominate and seem to show the most benefit of the 1080P appearance. There are varying degrees of light damage and speckles sprinkled about the film but this wasn't a major concern. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering but obviously we aren't talking about anything remarkable for the HD medium.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in a, predictably flat, DTS-HD Master in a 1.0 channel mono at 820 kbps. The original score by Roy Webb (Clash by Night, I Married a Witch, This Is Cinerama, Easy Living, The Window, Journey Into Fear, I Walked with a Zombie etc.) benefits more than anything although there is some aggression that exports some bass depth. There are no subtitles and my Oppo 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 the majority of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Without Glenn Ford The Americano would be fairly worthless and even his major inclusion in it doesn't help it rise to be a convincing western. His characterization kept me attentive and there were some positives, but overall the film seems to underwhelm. I won't point fingers at the Blu-ray but it does show some weaknesses as well. I suspect only Glenn Ford fans will get value from this. 

Gary Tooze

September 23rd, 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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