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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Mit stahlharter Faust')

Directed by King Vidor
USA 1955

 

In this deceptively titled and paced Western, Kirk Douglas shines in the hyper-macho role of Dempsey Rae, a good-natured drifter with a mysterious past up from Texas, a top hand with a gun, a horse, or a herd, who can even play the banjo and sing. He rides into a Wyoming town in a freight car, in the company of much younger drifter Jeff Jimson (William Campbell), who knows even less about the West than he does about life. Dempsey gets Jeff out of a few scrapes with the law, and both get hired by the foreman (Jay C. Flippen) of the Triangle Ranch. With 8,000 head, the Triangle is already the largest spread in the territory, but the new owner from back east, Miss Reed Bowman (Jeanne Crain), arrives with plans to move in another 22,000 head onto the open range, threatening to squeeze out the smaller ranches completely.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

***

Singing cowboy Kirk Douglas takes over Jeanne Crain's ranch in one of the more sexually askew films of King Vidor's postwar period. A mad film, of harsh Technicolor and spatially impossible camera angles, and a fine example of the unlimited leeway afforded by the western genre.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader located HERE

 

A fine, edgy Western, handsomely shot by Russell Metty and beautifully paced by Vidor. A conventional range war plot is lent some of the sweaty unpredictability of Duel in the Sun by the love-hate relationship between Douglas, as the cowboy with a pathological hatred of barbed wire, and Crain as the cattle baroness whose cause he eventually abandons in defence of individual liberties. Fine performances, not least from Claire Trevor as the good-hearted saloon girl, and Boone as the villainous gunslinger. (From a novel by Dee Linford.)

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 24th, 1955

Reviews                                                                         More Reviews                                                                      DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL vs. Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Covers

   

 

   

  

Distribution Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL Explosive Media
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Kino
Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:27 (4% PAL Speedup)  1:29:08.885 1:29:25.193 
Video 2.0:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.30 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Aspect Ratio:  2.0:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,679,620,984 bytes

Feature: 19,884,011,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.89 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Aspect Ratio:  2.0:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,730,141,314 bytes

Feature: 20,268,417,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.83 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 (German)Blu-ray

Bitrate Kino 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

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles None None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Süddeutsche Zeitung

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.00:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date: October 14th, 201
1
Custom Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Explosive Media

Aspect Ratio:  2.0:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,679,620,984 bytes

Feature: 19,884,011,520 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.89 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Trailer (1:41)

• Gallery (5:00)

• Weitere Western (15:48 of trailers) 
 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 7th, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray case inside cardboard case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

Aspect Ratio:  2.0:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,730,141,314 bytes

Feature: 20,268,417,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.83 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by Film Historian Toby Roan
• Theatrical Trailer (0:59) 

 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 27th, 2019
Standard
Blu-ray case Chapters
9

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino - Region 'A' Blu-ray - August 2019 - Kino have transferred King Vidor's Man Without a Star to Blu-ray. It appears to be from the same source as the German Explosive Media 1080P and looks almost exactly the same, also on a single-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. The edge-enhancement is also apparent and could be more a function of the source. Colors support the European BD's palette. This looked quite decent on my system - always good to see Russell Metty's cinematography (Spartacus, The Omega Man, Touch of Evil) in HD.

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (16-bit) in the original English language. It supports the western effects and score credited to Hans J. Salter (The Killer that Stalked New York, The Strange Door, Cover Up, Man Without a Star, Scarlet Street, The Land Unknown, The War Lord, The Mole People, The Strange Case of Doctor Rx) and Herman Stein (This Island Earth, Female on the Beach, The Land Unknown, It Came From Outer Space, War Arrow, Tarantula, There's Always Tomorrow, The Incredible Shrinking Man). Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Aside from a very rough looking, and short, trailer for the film (and other westerns) there is an audio commentary by Film Historian Toby Roan (author of A Million Feet Of Film: The Making Of One-Eyed Jacks) he talks about all the stars including Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor, William Campbell, Mara Corday, Sheb Wooley (giant hit record with his own song "The Purple People Eater"), Myrna Hansen (Miss USA 1953) and, of course Kirk Douglas. He also discusses director King Vidor, producer Aaron Rosenberg and many others. He has some interesting facts to impart and it helps with appreciation of the production.

This remains an enjoyable western - pretty much all Kirk - the noble hero with a past and a temper -  and the Chase and Beauchamp dialogue accentuates the moods. It's a western I am very happy to own on Blu-ray. An easy recommendation to fans of Kirk or the genre.

***

ADDITION: Explosive Media - Region FREE Blu-ray - March 2014 - Colors certainly brighten and skin tones really warm-up. Unfortunately, there are varying degrees of edge-enhancement - that seems more noticeable in the outdoor sequences. I was pleased to see the exuberance of the Technicolor as compared to the SD. Flesh tones seem overly warm at times and I don't like to see the EE (see HERE). It's a shade waxy - not enough grain. This is in theatrical running time (no speed-up). I'd say about 90% of the presentation looks dramatically improved. The source is clean without scratches or egregious speckles. It's single-layered and 1080P. Bare-bones - no extras or subtitles - we get the audio option of German or original English in linear PCM. the Hans J. Salter and Herman Stein score services the film well.

It's a big upgrade from the flatter SD, despite the digital faux-pas. The price is great!

***

ON THE DVD: Very solid western from Vidor with restless cowboy Dempsey (Douglas) caught up in an open pastureland dispute with unsavory 'barbed-wire' as a potential solution - thus another era reaches closure. Crain is her usual comely self and Richard Boone is stern-faced opposition. Excellent!

The single-layered German DVD looks a shade flat - anamorphic hovering around 2.0:1 - and is progressive with solid detail. I'm sure the SD isn't bringing out the Technicolor to its most vibrant hues but they don't look especially drab here either. This provides an excellent presentation. Audio is unremarkable but close, I'll wager, to the way it was produced. Defaults to an untested Deutsche DUB (but no subtitles) - the original English track provided services the film adequately. There is also a French DVD version but I don't know about the quality.

No extras in the bare bones disc but the package is an impressive 4-teired digipak with color photos and some words on Vidor (German language). Man Without a Star is a very above-average western - one I know I will revisit. Cheers to the reasonably-priced DVD. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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

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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL  TOP vs. Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL  TOP vs. Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL  TOP vs. Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL  TOP vs. Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL  TOP vs. Explosive Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


 

Box Covers

   

 

   

  

Distribution Süddeutsche Zeitung - Region 2 - PAL Explosive Media
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Kino
Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 



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