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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Showdown at Boot Hill [Blu-ray]


(Gene Fowler Jr., 1958)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Regal Films

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:12:01.734

Disc Size: 15,947,686,654 bytes

Feature Size: 15,881,318,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 18th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 928 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 928 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Deputy Marshal and bounty hunter Luke Welsh (Charles Bronson) rides into town on the trail of an outlaw. Luke finds the wanted man and kills him in a fair gunfight, but the townspeople prevent him from collecting the bounty by refusing to identify the body. Luke finds himself at odds with the dead man's friends who have prodded the dead man's brother into settling the score. The supporting cast includes John Carradine, Robert Hutton, Carole Mathews and Fintan Meyler. Cult director Gene Fowler, Jr. (I Was a Teenage Werewolf) also directed Charles Bronson's 1958 crime drama, Gang War.



The Film:

A pre-superstardom Charles Bronson plays a US marshal in Showdown at Boot Hill. Tracking down a wanted murderer to a small town, Bronson kills him in a shootout. It develops that the dead man, whose criminal past was unknown to his fellow townsfolk, was a popular and highly respected member of the community. The decedent's friends refuse to identify the body, thereby denying Bronson the opportunity of collecting the reward money. At first angered by this, Bronson is gradually won over to the townspeoples' point of view.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Luke Welch, a United States Marshal turned bounty hunter, comes to the town of Mountain City in search of his prey, the killer Con Maynor. After scouring the register of the local hotel, Luke determines that Con is a guest there and finds him seated in the hotel dining room. Throwing down his wanted poster, Luke serves a warrant for Con's arrest. When Con refuses to surrender, Luke challenges him to draw his gun or face the hangman. Goaded by Luke, Con draws his weapon, but is no match for the marshal's speed, and Luke guns him down. When Sloane, Con's friend who witnessed the fight, accuses Luke of forcing Con to draw, the sheriff orders an inquest into the shooting. Although the judge rules that the shooting was justified, he refuses to identify the body as Con, thus prohibiting Luke from collecting his reward. Con, who never exhibited his violence in Mountain City, was well regarded by the townsfolk, who also refuse to identify the body. To prove that he apprehended Con, Luke hires a photographer to take the deceased's picture, but his plan is thwarted when several of Con's friends shatter the camera with gunfire. Determined to collect his reward, Luke decides to stay in town and checks into the hotel. When he signs the register, Luke notices that Con's name has been blacked out. Luke then visits Sally Crane, the hotel's waitress, in hopes of convincing her to identify Con. Sally refuses, asserting that Con never had a chance against Luke. To avenge Con's death, several cowhands decide to notify his hot-tempered brother Charles about the killing.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

Showdown at Boot Hill has a, predictable, modest single-layered  Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. Despite a bit of softness, waxiness and a touch of gloss - the image is decent and I don't suspect DNR. Contrast is adept with pleasing black levels and there may be some Cinemascope mumps - stretching faces horizontally. There are plenty instances of depth and no noise. It looks to lean to moiring but it never really surfaces in full. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and the minor flaws (speckles) had no detrimental effect on my viewing.
















Audio :

Not much to say about the audio - a lossless DTS-HD Master mono track at 928 kbps is flat, lifeless but, no doubt, accurate. Albert Harris (more an orchestrator - see Heaven with a Gun, Kiss Me Deadly - than a composer) did the score which seems a little less typical for a western, but supports the film's moods.  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 almost all of their releases.



The best things about Showdown at Boot Hill are Bronson... and the, somewhat misleading, title. Even lacking in a few areas (kinda short, no?) I think fans of the western genre will be pleased. The Blu-ray is typical Olive Films - bare bones but a true 1080P presentation. I found enough to keep me entertained. To each his own. 

Gary Tooze

June 13th, 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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