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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Bullfighter and the Lady [Blu-ray]

 

(Budd Boetticher, 1951)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: John Wayne Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:04:58.491

Disc Size: 22,714,540,711 bytes

Feature Size: 22,634,240,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.98 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 30th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 918 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 918 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Robert Stack (TV's The Untouchables) stars as Chuck Regan, a brash American skeet shooting champion whose visit to Mexico introduces him to two irresistible forces: the exotic Anita de la Vega (Joy Page) and the lure of the way of the matador. Unflinching in his confidence, Regan sets out to conquer both. He arranges to learn bullfighting from an icon of the Mexican corrida, Manolo Estrada (Gilbert Roland). But Regan's headstrong assertiveness and desire to impress Anita gets the best of him when he debuts in the ring and knows there's only one way and one place he can redeem himself. The stellar cast includes Katy Jurado, Virginia Grey and John Hubbard. A John Wayne production - beautifully and stylishly directed by Budd Boetticher (Seven Men From Now), this was his breakthrough film and first under the name Budd, previously used the name Oscar Boetticher, Jr. Originally released at 87 minutes - This is the restored 124 minute director's cut.

 

 

The Film:

Robert Stack as a young American who goes to Mexico to learn the art of the matador, much as director Budd Boetticher himself did as a college kid in the early 40s. This 1951 film is generally cited as Boetticher's first personal project (it was also the first time Oscar Boetticher Jr. signed himself “Budd”), and no less an elder statesman than John Ford helped him out with the editing and release.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Director Budd Boetticher's love of bullfighting comes to the fore in this film drama, directed and co-written by Boetticher (and produced by John Wayne). Robert Stack plays the cocky American Chuck Regan, who travels to Mexico and falls in love with the sultry Anita de la Vega (Joy Page). In order to impress her with his prowess, he convinces the famed matador Manolo Estrada (Gilbert Roland) to mentor him in the art of bullfighting. But Chuck's carelessness causes the tragic death of Manolo, resulting in Chuck's being shunned by both the villagers and Anita. In order to regain Anita's love and the villagers' respect, Chuck re-enters the arena, taking on a bull in Manolo's honor.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Bullfighter and the Lady arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is, predictably, only single-layered but the transfer produces a very adept video image. Contrast is strong but can shows a few signs of inconsistency. This is particularly true of the actual bullfighting sequences - that look like heavily speckled stock footage - and a strange musical scene, about 55-minute into the film, showing the locals, children (see image below) etc. Both of these are drastically different from the bulk of the feature (making me surmise that this wasn't part of the shorter Producer's Cut). Detail is decent, even remarkable in some close-ups and textured grain is visible. The Blu-ray, despite some imperfects, was quite strong - providing a very pleasing 1080P presentation.

 

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

 

 

Stock footage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master mono track at 918 kbps rises on a few occasions to prominence in the presentation. Aside from crowd noises in the ring there are no demonstrative effects however the score, composed by Victor Young (Three Faces West, The Sun Shines Bright, Johnny Guitar, China Gate etc.), sounds brilliant beside the film's action. There is a touch of depth and it appears a faithful transfer without flaws.  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 almost all of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Firstly, this is the 37-minute longer 'Director's Cut' of the film. I don't know what the shorter version was like as I have never seen it.  Regardless, I thought this version was an amazing film. Boetticher himself indulged in bullfighting and understood the topic extremely well. This is part of how the movie explores the appreciation and culture behind the sport - as well as the dangers. Of course, both The Moment of Truth and Blood and Sand spring to mind as I watched it. The Olive Blu-ray gave me a wonderful presentation and I can strongly endorse this package. Positively recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 25th, 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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