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directed by Henry Hathaway
USA 1954

 

Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark and Cameron Mitchell portray three somewhat disreputable 19th-century soldiers of fortune, en route to California to prospect for gold. Stopping over in a tiny Mexican village, the three men are hired by Susan Hayward to rescue her husband, who is trapped in a gold mine in hostile Indian territory. The threesome agree to the expedition, their interest piqued by the possibility of picking up some gold themselves. During the harrowing journey, the party's already frayed nerves are aggravated when the men become attracted to Hayward. The group arrives at the mine's location--the Garden of Evil, so named because the Indians regard it as the domain of evil spirits.

***

Stranded in Mexico, three gold diggers are hired by woman in distress to help her wounded husband. They road is long and full of dangers, both from the Indians and themselves.

A routine western, very predictable, which seems more like a vehicle for the scope format, than its stars. Widmark is cock-sure as always, Cooper is wise as always, Hayward looks damn good and Bernard Herrmann made a great score.

 

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 9, 1954

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Recommended Reading for Western Genre Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

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Comparison

Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the DVD Review!

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

We have determined this to be a bootleg and we do not endorse it. Avoid!

Distribution

Optimum Classics

Region 2 - PAL

Sidonis
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Resen
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Twilight Time
Region FREE - Blu-ray
See HERE  for a comparison with the Region 1 edition in the Fox Western Classics BOXSET

             

Runtime 1:36:05 (4% PAL speedup) 1:40:08.919 1:40:08.919 1:40:10.254
Video

2.56:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.10 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.55:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 29,932,764,634 bytes

Feature: 26,801,412,096 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

2.55:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,343,647,184 bytes

Feature: 24,147,351,552 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

2.55:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,734,617,446 bytes

Feature: 33,209,966,592 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.97 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 Sidonis Blu-ray

Bitrate Resen Blu-ray

Bitrate Twilight Time Blu-ray

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono DTS-HD Master Audio English 2072 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2072 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 1600 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1600 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3244 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3244 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2652 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 2652 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 4.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2115 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2115 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2135 kbps 3.0 / 48 kHz / 2135 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2003 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2003 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles None French (forced) Spanish, Portuguese, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Classics

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.56:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: February 21, 2005
Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Sidonis

2.55:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray
Disc Size: 29,932,764,634 bytes
Feature: 26,801,412,096 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Patrick Brion (8:50)

B. Tavernier (15:17)

Blu-ray Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
R
esen

 

2.55:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,343,647,184 bytes

Feature: 24,147,351,552 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• None


Blu-ray Release Date: February 17
th, 2014
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 6

Release Information:
Studio: Twilight Time

Aspect Ratio:  2.55:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 31,142,064,882 bytes

Feature: 30,814,697,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary with Film and Music Historians John Morgan, Nick Redman, Steven C. Smith and William T. Stromberg
• Travels of a Gunslinger: The Making of Garden of Evil (13:26)
• Susan Hayward: Hollywood’s Straight Shooter (6:55)
• Henry Hathaway: When the Going Gets Tough… (11:41)
• TV Spot (1:05)
• Original Theatrical Trailers (2:54 + 2:40)
• Isolated Score Track

• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
• Limited to 3,000 Copies!
 

Blu-ray Release Date: May, 2016
Black-Standard
Blu-ray case

Chapters: 24

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Twilight Time - Region FREE Blu-ray May 2016': Twilight Time's new 1080P looks quite different than the other HD transfers. It's darker, teal-leaning and seems vertically more accurate - making the other 2 Blu-rays appear slightly vertically stretched (longer, thinner faces). There is more information on the top and bottom, but about the same on the side edges - and it is still in the original 2.55:1 aspect ratio. The visuals are richer, saturated, black-levels crushed, crisper... and I have no idea whether it is more faithful to the original presentation, but the Sidonis/Resen looks hazy and dull beside it. Honestly, I don't know what to think but it looked decent in-motion, but since I was used to the other 1080P image - it does look odd, at times, to me.

Twilight Time give many audio options - all in DTS-HD Master (24-bit) including the original 4-Track Stereo as well as a 5.1 surround bump and a 2.0 stereo track. The 4.0 channel was my choice and it sounds rich, clean and the intense score by the great Bernard Herrmann (Cape Fear, The Magnificent Ambersons, Taxi Driver, The Wrong Man, Dressed to Kill, etc. etc.) is represented beautifully in lossless. Easy these audio options exceed all other digital editions - and beyond that Twilight Time add their usual isolated score - which is wonderful to listen to. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles - see sample below. The Blu-ray disc is region FREE.

Twilight Time really stack the extras on this brilliant western Blu-ray although none are new. We get an audio commentary with Film and Music Historians John Morgan, Nick Redman, Steven C. Smith and William T. Stromberg. This was originally found on the 2008 Fox Western Classics DVD package release reviewed HERE - as was the 3 featurettes 13-minute Travels of a Gunslinger: The Making of Garden of Evil, the 7-minute piece Susan Hayward: Hollywood’s Straight Shooter and running a dozen minutes Henry Hathaway: When the Going Gets Tough… There are also 2 trailers, a TV Spot, the aforementioned isolated score and the box has liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 Copies.

Garden of Evil is a favorite western I could watch repeatedly. I'm very keen on this new Blu-ray and am slowly getting used to the, very different, video - the audio options are impressive. Fans of the genre probably already know that this is a must-own.

***

ADDITION: Resen Blu-ray - March 15': The Resen (Spain) has the exact same bitrate as the Sidonis and the image looks like a duplicate, IMO. Strangely, they did not copy over the lossless audio - and it has a standard Dolby track with optional DUBs (Spanish and French) and optional Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The Resen is single-layered as it offers no extras. While we are less sure of the bootleg status of this - it's pretty darn close with the exact same running time of the French 1080P transfer to the 1/1000th of a second. Perhaps Sidonis, or Fox, should pursue these guys legally. Just say'in.

Garden of Evil is a title that receives multiple emails - probably because of the forced subtitles on the Sidonis being so annoying. It's a fabulous western and desirable film to own in the higher resolution as this western is extremely visual with striking sunsets and vistas throughout.

We don't, at all, condone buying bootlegs but I think that we have, again, shown what this company's Blu-ray policy amounts to. 

***

ADDITION: Sidonis - Region 'B' Blu-ray - May 2012: Shameful... as Bill informs us - some of these new French Blu-rays (like Pork Chop Hill) - on many players - will NOT remove the French subtitles when the original English audio is chosen. We've seen this in the past from some DVDs out of France. In a word 'silly'. The menu screens do not allow the subtitle change in the original English audio - which we can now presume means many players will be ineffectual at the desired original viewing experience.

From Sidonis (thanks Claude) : ''I confirm to you that subtitles are forced. It's not part of our will but imposed by the producers (most of the time the studios). We are sorry about that but it's a contractual condition.''

The image is a massive leap beyond the SD. Detail, contrast, colors all leap to an improved appearance. Extras include Patrick Brion and Tavernier talking about the film - in French.

Lossless original audio - with the optional French DUB - the Bernard Herrmann score sounds great - typically for the composer - very intense. The subtitle issue is discussed above - and it is probably enough of a reason to, unfortunately, 'pass'. Let's hope an edition arrives without the forced subtitle issue.

Gary W Tooze

***

 

ON THE DVD: The source is the complete 100-minute version in its original 2.55:1 cinemascope OAR. While lacking detail and sharpness, and with occasional halos, this is quiet a nice transfer for a DVD-5.

Sound is the original mono, from the optical print. Dialogue is clear and there is no noise.

 - Henrik Sylow


Menus

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 
 

 

 

Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Sidonis - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Resen - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Box Covers

We have determined this to be a bootleg and we do not endorse it. Avoid!

Distribution

Optimum Classics

Region 2 - PAL

Sidonis
Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Resen
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Twilight Time
Region FREE - Blu-ray
See HERE  for a comparison with the Region 1 edition in the Fox Western Classics BOXSET

             

 

 



 

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