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Valdez is Coming [Blu-ray]
(Edwin Sherin, 1971)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: United Artists
Video: Explosive Media / Kino Lorber
Region: FREE/ Region 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:30:39.725/ 1:30:42.395
Disc Size: 21,456,731,609 bytes/ 23,189,112,148 bytes
Feature Size: 17,922,760,704 bytes/ 20,335,017,984 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.50 Mbps/ 26.43 Mbps
Chapters: 12 / 8
Case: Standard Blu-ray case in cardboard slipcase / Standard Blu-ray Case
Release date: May 31st, 2013 / December 19th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps
English (SDH), none
• Isolated Track
• Photo Gallery (1:39)
Audio Commentary by Film
Historian Jim Hemphill
Description: Adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel, Valdez is Coming stars Burt Lancaster in the title role. A scrupulously honest Mexican-American marshal, Bob Valdez is double-crossed and humiliated by wealthy, unscrupulous rancher Jon Cypher. Since Cypher has the law on his side, Valdez is obliged to mete out his own justice. He kidnaps Cypher's mistress Susan Clark to force the rancher's hand. At first, Cypher is able to rally a group of tough hombres against Valdez, but one by one they side with the marshal. Director Edwin Sherin, who'd helmed the Broadway production of The Great White Hope, makes several rather anachronistic points regarding the film's racial issues; on the other hand, Valdez is Coming is one of the most-authentic looking westerns ever made-right down to the deglamorization of Susan Clark, who in a 1950s film might have looked as though she'd just visited a frontier branch of Max Factor.
A fairly impressive Western adapted from Elmore Leonard's novel, with Lancaster as the Mexican Valdez, working part-time as a shotgun guard for a powerful rancher (Cypher) in the South West, who is forced to kill a negro in self-defence while on the rancher's business. Mindful of his status as a local constable, he demands compensation for the dead man's widow; and when this is refused, aware that Cypher was up to no good in the first place, he declares a private war. It's a little cramped, but Sherin's background as a Broadway director (this was his first movie) serves him well in his lucid delineation of the characters, while Lancaster brings a subtle ambiguity to his central role as the outsider-idealist fighting against unfeeling prejudice and materialism.
For the better part of his career, Burt Lancaster was an especially robust physical specimen. John Wayne may have seemed like he could crush you with a calloused thumb, but Lancaster, who was also an accomplished acrobat, had the build of a world-class athlete. It must have been difficult for such a performer to finally admit that he was getting old, but Lancaster did just that in Valdez Is Coming (1971), a densely plotted Western that's brimming over with vibrant performances. The script's rather antiquated moralizing -- remember, hip "movie brats" had already begun to seize control of Hollywood by 1971 -- can't hide the fact that this is a first-rate crew of actors wringing every bit of emotion they can out of what was fast becoming an extinct genre.Excerpt from TCM located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Valdez is Coming appears to have had a decent 1080P transfer to Blu-ray from Explosive Media in Germany. The image is quite clean and consistent. While I wouldn't say it has any obvious dynamic strengths - it also seems devoid of any major flaws. It is neither glossy nor has any noise but shows some depth and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a decent replication of the theatrical appearance some 40+-years hence, although sometimes overly green. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel with a reasonable film-like sense to it with a bit of texture and supportive contrast levels. Visually this is positive but not stellar - with kudos the the film's cinematography (Gabor Pogany) and shooting in Spain.
The Kino Lorber has a better image - deeper black levels. The framing is the same but Kino's high bitrate produces a more solid image, crisper - even in-motion it shows superiority. It's simply a notch ahead.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Unfortunately, only lossy audio, but the original English is here along with DUBs in German and Italian. The standard Dolby doesn't carry the weight of the gunplay as rich-or-deep as uncompressed would but it has a few effective sequences. The score is by Charles Gross who has done mostly TV movies - is fairly dynamic here sounding quite intense at times. There are no subtitles options and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.
Kino, also improves on the audio with a, lossless, DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1555 kbps (16-bit.) Effects (gunfire, galloping horses) carry depth, the Charles Gross support the film well - superior than the European edition and it also offers optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.
Extras consist of a group of four trailers (in optional 4:3 or 16:9), a photo gallery and you can watch the film with no dialogue - with only the effects and music (know as an 'isolated score'.) It seems a bit of a waste as it isn't in lossless. There is also a liner 'card' in the Blu-ray case (in German.)
Kino also bests the German Blu-ray on the supplements including a new audio commentary by film historian, critic, director and writer Jim Hemphill. He's good at exporting details and analysis - I liked it as I did his commentary on The Woman in Red. Refreshing! There are also some theatrical trailers of westerns.
Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Still a solid, very good, western. It should be on our TOP 100 list (now nominated)- especially now we have a more legitimate Blu-ray (superior video, lossless audio, commentary.) I like it more each time I see it - a multi-dimensional revenge western with Burt Lancaster and the commentary makes it a worthwhile purchase. The Kino is the way to go - don't miss it! NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 33% OFF!
April 12th, 2014
November 22nd, 2017
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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