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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Valdez is Coming [Blu-ray]

 

(Edwin Sherin, 1971)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: United Artists

Video: Explosive Media / Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

 

Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Trailers

Isolated Track

• Photo Gallery (1:39)

 

Audio Commentary by Film Historian Jim Hemphill
Theatrical Trailers

 

Bitrate:

1) Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

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.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

 

1) Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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 :

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

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Valdez is Coming is an excellent western. The lines between 'hero' and 'villain' are drawn very distinctly right from the get-go. Lancaster plays a different type of character - and he is quite effective. I enjoyed it a lot and think fans of the genre, and Lancaster, will as well. The German Explosive Media Blu-ray transfer is not ideal but is 1080P and it's region FREE. The a/v won't knock your socks off, but it did provide a decent presentation. I can see visiting this again in the future - it has a very nice 'survivalist-noble mood' and Susan Clark is still very cute even sans the glamour. Enjoy.

 

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! 

Gary Tooze

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.

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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