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Duel at Diablo [Blu-ray]
(Ralph Nelson, 1966)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Cherokee Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,416,925,812 bytes
Feature Size: 23,698,728,960 bytes
Video Bitrate: 26.92 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: July 29th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1655 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1655 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
• Trailer (3:08)
Description: Duel at Diablo stars James Garner (Support Your Local Sheriff!), Sidney Poitier (In the Heat of the Night), Bill Travers (Born Free), Bibi Anderson (Persona), and Dennis Weaver (TV's McCloud) in a tale that will grip you (The New York Times) from beginning to end. Frontier scout Jess Remsberg (Garner) bravely leads a wagon train through hostile territory to Fort Conchos. But underneath his valor, he has an ulterior motive: to settle a score with the man he believes killed his wife. When he arrives at the fort, Jess not only learns the shocking truth about the killer, but also that the wagon train has come under Apache attack...leaving Jess their only hope for survival. Stylishly directed by Ralph Nelson (Lilies of the Field) and featuring a memorable and rousing score by Neil Hefti (TV's Batman.)
Frontier scout Jess Remsberg (James Garner) is crossing the desert when he spots a dead army scout and group of Apaches pursuing someone -- it turns out to be a white woman, Ellen Grange (Bibi Andersson); he gets her away from them and returns her to her home and her husband Willard (Dennis Weaver), who seems much more upset that the horse she was riding when she left is dead than he is glad that she is back. Ellen was kidnapped by the Apaches two years before and rescued a year after that, and had fled a town where her husband and everyone else had treated her as an outcast since her return. Apart from preventing her from being raped by some drunken townsmen, however, Remsberg barely has time to worry over what goes on between them, as he has a mission of his own -- tracking down the men who murdered his wife, a Comanche woman.
Not as suggestive as Nelson's subsequent Vietnam Western, Soldier Blue, this is an action-packed oater with racial overtones. Garner hankers after revenge as his Indian wife has been murdered and scalped by Bibi Andersson's soldier boy husband (Weaver); for her part, Andersson has been kidnapped and held captive by Indians. Poitier is the only one without a racial hang-up. The story unravels itself with bouts of vicious bloodletting, Garner is his usual excellent self, and Neal Hefti contributes an especially good score.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Duel at Diablo has a good transfer to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. The image takes a step beyond SD. This 1080P, on a single-layered disc, I see no digital manipulations and colors, notably flesh tones, appear accurate. There is pleasing depth occasionally exported - and the Utah canyons exterior shots look impressive. This is in the, original, 1.66:1 aspect ratio and the visuals are clean, no speckles, and reasonably tight. I saw one or two short instances of inconsistency, with the source, but they didn't last. Overall - pretty solid. This Blu-ray provides a worthwhile viewing presentation fro anyone keen on the film. No complaints.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1655 kbps and it supports the film's action with punchy depth - plenty of gunfire and some fist-a-cuffs. The score is by Neal Hefti who did some film composing work in the 60s and 70s. It sounds good here - very 'western' with some nice orchestrations. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Included is a trailer for the film - nothing more.
July 17th, 2014
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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