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Backlash aka "Das Geheimnis der fünf Gräber" [Blu-ray]
(John Sturges, 1956)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Universal International Pictures (UI)
Video: Explosive Media / Kino Lorber
Region: FREE/ 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:24:14.883 / 1:24:32.108
Disc Size: 22,626,728,227 bytes / 28,929,053,794 bytes
Feature Size: 18,652,569,600 bytes / 26,480,879,616 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.68 Mbps / 37.90 Mbps
Chapters: 12 / 9
Case: Standard Blu-ray case in cardboard case/ Standard Blu-ray Case
Release date: March 7th, 2014/ August 18th, 2020
Aspect ratio: 2.0:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio German 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554
kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
None / English, none
• Trailer (2:08)
• NEW Audio Commentary
by Film Historian Samm Deighan
Description: The breathtakingly beautiful Technicolor cinematography of Irving Glassberg is but one of the many small pleasures of the big-budget western Backlash. Set in post-Civil War Arizona, the film stars Richard Widmark as Jim Slater, who hopes to prove that his down-and-out father (John McIntire) was not involved in a gold robbery. To prove this, Slater has to find the money, which is also the goal of Karyl Orton (Donna Reed), the supposed widow of one of the thieves. Eventually, Slater discovers that his father is every bit as rotten as the law claims he is, though he can take some comfort in the fact that Karyl is now in love with him. As in his earlier Bad Day at Black Rock, Backlash director John Sturges is more concerned with building tension than with overt displays of wanton violence.
Backlash is a 1956 Technicolor film starring Richard Widmark, released by Universal-International Pictures. It was directed by John Sturges, and unfolds in the vein of the psychological Western.
In the aftermath of an Apache ambush, Widmark (who believes his father was in the doomed party) and Reed (whose husband was killed in the massacre) become involved in a serpentine search for the lone survivor and some missing gold. Plotty Western written by Borden Chase.
Jim Slater (Richard Widmark) meets Karyl Orton (Donna Reed) in Gila
Valley, Arizona. She thinks that he is searching for a gold cache
believed to hidden somewhere in the valley. When a man with a rifle
starts shooting at him, Jim wonders if she can be trusted. After Jim
kills his foe, he discovers the dead man was a deputy sheriff from
Silver City. He takes the body there.
In the late 1800s in Gila Valley, Arizona, Jim Slater searches an old grave for the remains of his father William, who years before was part of a group of men who acquired $60,000, thought to be in gold, and then were killed by marauding Indians. Jim is out to avenge his father, who abandoned his family decades earlier, and believes that one of his father's group escaped with the money and deliberately failed to report the Indian attack to authorities. Karyl Orton, who thinks that her estranged husband Paul was also part of the Gila Valley gold rushers, finds Jim at the gravesite and figures he is competing with her to find the $60,000. When deputy sheriff Tomm Welker begins shooting at Jim from atop the hillside, Jim finally kills Tomm and has Karyl, whom he assumes is in cahoots with Tomm, assist him in bringing the body to Sheriff J. C. Marson.Excerpt from TCM located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Backlash sees the HD digital light of day on Blu-ray. Colors and contrast are the high points of the image. As with Explosive Media's Man Without a Star the Technicolor shines through to varying degrees via the 1080P transfer. It can be quite impressive at times. This, essentially, bare-bones disc is single-layered with a decent bitrate. It has some inconsistency with some softness and, what looks like, brief registry issues. This is in the, original, 2.0:1 aspect ratio. There is no noise or noticeable artifacts. This Blu-ray isn't perfect but harkens back to the desirable Technicolor hues of days gone by - that may be appealing for many.
The Kino is a shade darker and colors may benefit from the more robust technical transfer. Same framing but Kino's dual-layered 1080P is the best of the two.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle sample - Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
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Dual linear PCM's in original English and a German DUB. There are penetrating effects from the galloping of horses via a chase to significant gun-play. Depth is present but no range. Herman Stein (This Island Earth, Tarantula, There's Always Tomorrow, The Incredible Shrinking Man) includes a rousing score filled with energy. There are no optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The Kino sounds the same to my ear - also a DTS-HD Master (16-bit) - no discernable advancement in the audio but the Kino does offer optional English subtitles (see sample above) on their Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.
Only a trailer, photo gallery and long compilation advert of westernfilms also released by Explosive Media.
Kino wins hands down with the Samm Deighan audio commentary filled with valuable insights. There is also a trailer for the film and other western trailers.
Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Kino is the way to go - an uptick in the video, optional subtitles and the Samm Deighan commentary as a valuable supplement. The film grew on me and I loved Widmark's single-minded character. This is a decent and enjoyable western - recommended!
March 25th, 2014
August 3rd, 2020
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 3500 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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