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(aka 'Monty Walsh')

 

Directed by William A. Fraker
USA
1970

 

Monte Walsh is an aging cowboy facing the ending days of the Wild West era. As barbed wire and railways steadily eliminate the need for the cowboy Monte and his friends are left with fewer and fewer options. New work opportunities are available to them but the freedom of the open prairie is what they long for. Eventually they all must say goodbye to the lives they knew and try to make a new start.

***

A stunning debut Western for cameraman-turned-director Fraker, chronicling the death of an era as two cowboys (Marvin and Palance) ride into town to find that a bleak winter has brought hard times. Eastern capital has moved in with new methods, jobs are hard to come by, and the pair buckle down to the only work they can get, watching morosely as more and more men are laid off. Gradually the mood darkens. An old cowboy, ending his days in the humbling task of fence-mending, rides his horse crazily over a cliff. Old friends disappear, to return with the law on their heels as desperation drives them to rustling or robbery. Palance (brilliantly cast against type) decides to quit and become a storekeeper; and Marvin, after proving something to himself by taming a bronc no one else could handle, proves something else by rounding on the owner of a Wild West show who offers him a job ('I ain't spittin' on my whole life'). Thus far the film is relatively naturalistic, gently elegiac in tone; but after Marvin's nocturnal encounter with the horse, a strange twilight falls (the twilight of the gods, no less). Fate strikes twice at his life; he is forced to assume the traditional role of gunman; and in settings formally drained of colour, he embarks on his revenger's tragedy... A rare treat.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 7th, 1970

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Comparison:

Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Explosive media

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:38:57 1:39:07.900
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,395,696,994 bytes

Feature: 17,101,172,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.44 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio German 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, None German, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Trailer (1:48 4:3)

DVD Release Date: November 16th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Explosive Media

Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,395,696,994 bytes

Feature: 17,101,172,736 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.44 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Trailer (3:24)

• Gallery (2:14)

• Weitere Western (15:48 of trailers) 
 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 31st, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray case inside cardboard case

Chapters 11

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Explosive Media - Region FREE Blu-ray - June 14': This remains a magnificent film. The German Blu-ray advances the image - slightly crisper, tight and richer colors and the overall 1080P resolution adds a more film-like quality to the scope presentation. I toggled between the two on my 60" system and the improvement was very noticeable. Bare-bones - no extras, as die from a gallery and trailers, or subtitles - we get the audio option of German or original English in linear PCM. The score is by the great John Barry - notable for the song The Good Times Are Comin' as sung by 'Mama' Cass Elliot. All good. I tell you, if you haven't seen this - may as well pick up this region FREE Blu-ray - as this is a film to appreciate and revisit. Absolutely recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: What a pleasure this film is. I saw the Tom Selleck remake - and although it has some merit - it pales in comparison to this near masterpiece. To quote 4/4 Ebert: "Monte Walsh" is as lovely a Western as I've seen in a long time."

This Paramount DVD (first ever for the film?) has an excellent dual-layered and anamorphic transfer. Detail is strong in close-ups and while colors may be a bit washed - noise is minimal and there is a bit of depth. Audio is clear and consistent and there are optional English subtitles. The disc is region 1 in the NTSC standard.

 

No extras - save a trailer. It's a shame as this is certainly a western worth discussing and a commentary or the like would have given this even further value. As it stands we still endorse with a strong recommendation. Definitely give this a spin - the film is highly impressive! 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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2) Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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1) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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Distribution Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Explosive media

Region FREE - Blu-ray



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