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The Unforgiven [Blu-ray]
(John Huston, 1960)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,085,472,223 bytes
Feature Size: 20,187,537,408 bytes
Video Bitrate: 19.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 14th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution:1080i / 25 fps (PAL)
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 898 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 898 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 891 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 891 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
• Le Film Maudit de John Huston (14:34)
Description: One of Hollywood's most famous and acclaimed directors, John Huston guides this western with an unerring hand -- the cast of notable stars is no drawback either. Setting up the story with a series of suspenseful scenes, Huston has a mysterious stranger on horseback come into a small community in the Texas Panhandle and then proceed to cause a mini-war. The time is the mid-19th century and there is already antagonism between the white settlers in the community and the local Kiowa Indian nation. The Zachary family is at the crux of the trouble. Matilda (Lillian Gish) is the matriarch who holds a family secret -- her adopted daughter Rachel (Audrey Hepburn) is actually a Kiowa child. There are three brothers in the Zachary family, and one of them, Ben (Burt Lancaster) is obviously in love with Rachel. Another, Cash (Audie Murphy) hates Native Americans, while the youngest (Doug McClure) is there to defend the family when they need it. The stranger on horseback has done the unthinkable, he has made it widely known that Rachel is a Kiowa -- and then the battles begin.
Though neglected, and not entirely convincing in its treatment of racial identity, prejudice and tension, Huston's Western is one of his more intriguing films. Hepburn is an Indian girl adopted by Gish after her family was killed by whites. Raised as a white, she becomes the centre of a maelstrom of hatred, bigotry and violence when her true history is discovered: the Indians want her back, while local whites turn against her and her adoptive family. Notable chiefly for Franz Planer's fine photography and for a brace of sturdy performances (with Gish admirably evoking the pioneer spirit), the film is sadly flawed by its stereotyped depiction of the Indians, strangely at odds with its anti-racist impulses. It is, however, mercifully lacking in the sort of dry, clumsy solemnity that mars many of Huston's more self-consciously 'serious' movies, and remains unusually affecting.
It is veiled in a murky situation. On a cattle ranch in the Texas
Panhandle 100 years ago, there lives a rugged frontier family with a
lovely daughter to whom a mystery clings. Whisperers hint that this
maiden was actually Indian-born, that she was stolen away from an Indian
village and secretly adopted to replace a dead infant when she was but a
babe in arms. And this, of course, leads to questions and resentments in
a community where Indians are viciously hated and openly reviled.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, we suspect that this European version of The Unforgiven, like Mr. Majestyk, may be very similar in appearance to the US, Kino-Lorder, Blu-ray. But that will be region 'A'-locked, may have optional English subtitles, be progressive (this has PAL speedup, 1080i) and will probably be bare-bones (maybe a trailer) and like this Filmedia will be single-layered with lossless audio and I would think the screen captures will look the same. The Unforgiven is an attractive film. The 2.35:1 Blu-ray exports an appealing image. Textures are present but there is also a crispness - no gloss and some depth exported. This Blu-ray resolution has some decent contrast and a reasonable HD video image.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Filmediaoffer an uncompressed DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at a modest 898 kbps. The score by Dimitri Tiomkin (Angel Face, Strangers on a Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.) sounded a shade unusual at times and I question if it was really his - I did notice the PAL speedup in the dialogue. There is a French DUB option and optional French subtitles (remore-removable) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
There are three featurettes included as supplements on this Filmedia Blu-ray - Le Film maudit de John Huston, Audrey L'Indienne and Autour de Roman running about 35-minutes in total - in French with no subtitles. There is also a trailer.
August 5th, 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 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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