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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Unforgiven [Blu-ray]

 

(John Huston, 1960)

 

Also available in the US from Kino Lorber:

     

and in Germany:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions

Video: Filmedia

 

Disc:

Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:56:25.040

Disc Size: 23,085,472,223 bytes

Feature Size: 20,187,537,408 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.98 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 14th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080i / 25 fps (PAL)

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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)

 

Subtitles:

French, none

 

Extras:

• Le Film Maudit de John Huston (14:34)
• Audrey L'Indienne (14:26)
• Autour de Roman (6:52)
• Trailers (4:19)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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.

 

 

The Film:

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.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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.

Comes, now, into the community a weird, evangelistic old boy who seems to know more about the mystery than it is comfortable to have known. Off in the night and the dusty ranges, he moves in ghostlike form, howling fire-and-brimstone warnings and chanting old Civil War songs. Darkly, he rouses the Indians and aggravates the whites to wonder more closely and coldly about the origin of the girl.

It is fine to this point. The gritty aspect of the ranching frontier, the tough, robust nature of its people, the touchiness of the mystery are all well and tensely brought together within Mr. Huston's crunching scenes. A wild lynching of the old hoodoo propels the stern drama to a height, and the challenge to settle the community's racial feelings toward the girl is stark and clear.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Filmedia offer 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.

 

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Unforgiven is an interesting, and occasionally odd, film. I loved the last half. I get the feeling it had an ambitious intent but was restrained in some respects although certain sequences are 'heavy-handed' with the racial themes. There is a lot to like although the French Blu-ray underwhelms with its 1080i/25 frame presentation and English un-friendly extras. We might look at the German Blu-ray one day but right now suggest the US version. 

Gary Tooze

August 5th, 2014

 

Also available in the US from Kino Lorber:

     

and in Germany:


 

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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