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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Shooting / Ride In the Whirlwind [Blu-ray]

 

(Monte Hellman, 1966)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Proteus Films

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #619

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:21:13.493 / 1:22:20.560

Disc Size: 46,952,813,298 bytes

The Shooting Feature Size: 16,576,653,312 bytes

Ride the Whirlwind Feature Size: 16,550,658,048 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.38 Mbps / 23.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9 + 9

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November 11th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Audio commentaries on both films, featuring Hellman and film historians Bill Krohn and Blake Lucas
New interviews with actors John Hackett + B. J. Merholz - The True Death of Leland Drum (16:59), Millie Perkins - Diary of Millie Perkins (16:04), and Harry Dean Stanton (Blind Harry - 2:58), assistant director Gary Kurtz - Heart of Lightness (18:44), and chief wrangler Calvin Johnson - The Last Cowboy (17:06), all in conversation with Hellman

House of Corman (6:01)
New conversation between actor Will Hutchins and film programmer Jake Perlin -
Whips and Jingles (15:17)
An American Original - new video essay on actor Warren Oates by critic Kim Morgan (13:58)
PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Atkinson

 

Bitrate:

The Shooting

 

 

Ride In the Whirlwind

 

 

 

Description: In the mid-sixties, the maverick American director Monte Hellman conceived of two westerns at the same time. Dreamlike and gritty by turns, the two films would prove their maker's adeptness at brilliantly deconstructing genre. As shot back-to-back for famed producer Roger Corman, they feature overlapping casts and crews, including Jack Nicholson in two of his meatiest early roles. The films -The Shooting, about a motley assortment of loners following a mysterious wanted man through a desolate frontier, and Ride in the Whirlwind, about a group of cowhands pursued by vigilantes for crimes they did not commit - are rigorous, artful, and wholly unconventional journeys into the American West.

 

 

 

The Shooting:

In this eerie, existential western directed by Monte Hellman and written by Carole Eastman, Warren Oates and Will Hutchins play a bounty hunter and his sidekick who are talked by a mysterious woman (Millie Perkins) into leading her into the desert on a murkily motivated revenge mission..

Ride In the Whirlwind:

Working from a thoughtful script by Jack Nicholson, Monte Hellman fashioned this moody and tense western about a trio of cowhands who are mistaken for robbers and must outrun and hide from a posse of bloodthirsty vigilantes in the wilds of Utah.

 

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

Both films looks similar - released in the same year and with similar production staff. The transfers are likewise the same - with equal bitrates and film sizes - both are 1080P. The Blu-ray from Criterion presents a thick, rich image actually showcasing some beautiful scenes in the films. The earthy tones looks exquisite accentuated by the layered contrast.  This is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate and we can guess that it is a solid representation of the 1.85:1 aspect ratio films. There is frequent depth and detail has pleasing moments in close-ups. This Blu-ray looked just wonderful on my system without damage, speckles or any noise.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

The Shooting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ride In the Whirlwind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Both films have a linear PCM 1.0 channel mono tracks at 1152 kbps. Effects aren't extensive excepting the gunplay (extensive in Whirlwind) and horses. The scores are by Richard Markowitz (The Shooter), Robert Drasnin (Ride In the Whirlwind) but they are not overwhelming or deeply impacting on the modestly budgeted films. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.

 

Extras :

Criterion offer quite a lot of supplements. Firstly, Monte Hellman is the sharpest 85-year old on the earth. Not only does he sound like a man half his age - his memory and recollection of details is phenomenally impressive. This is true on the audio commentaries on both films, featuring Hellman and film historians Bill Krohn and Blake Lucas (and Hellman's dog Kona). A massive amount of detail is covered - including specifics on production, actors, the budget and so much more. The commentaries are at Criterion's usual level - very professional and extremely educational. Aside from that there are plenty of new interviews all in conversation with the director. 17-minutes, entitled The True Death of Leland Drum has Hellman talking with with actors John Hackett + B. J. Merholz. We get 16-minutes with Millie Perkins and Hellman in a piece entitled Diary of Millie Perkins. Only 3-minutes with Harry Dean Stanton under the menu item Blind Harry. Almost 19-minutes with assistant director Gary Kurtz in Heart of Lightness (pun intended) and 17-minutes with chief wrangler Calvin Johnson called The Last Cowboy. There is also 6-minutes with producer Roger Corman entitled House of Corman. Hellman credits Corman with the ending ('best scene in the film') of Ride In the Whirlwind - they also discussed 'dailies' and editing. There is also a new 1/4 hour conversation between actor Will Hutchins and film programmer Jake Perlin. It is named in the disc menu as Whips and Jingles. In it Hutchins remembers his first meeting with Hellman, his notable western-star status from films like Sugarfoot (1957) and his respect for the director and The Shooter's excellent dialogue ('no clichés!'). There is also a very touching new video essay on actor Warren Oates by critic Kim Morgan entitled An American Original - it runs 14-minutes. In the package is a liner-notes booklet with an essay by critic Michael Atkinson.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
What an amazing package. Hellman is truly one of the most interesting and under-rated directors of all time. The supplements feature him so prominently. The films are wonderful, well above-average westerns - unique, poetic and 'real'. The Criterion Blu-ray is filled with so much value from two great films with commentaries and extensive interview extras. We give it a very strong recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

November 3rd, 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.

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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