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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

War Arrow [Blu-ray]


(George Sherman, 1953)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation 

Video: Koch Media



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

Runtime: 1:18:21.697

Disc Size: 17,555,568,898 bytes

Feature Size: 16,393,248,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Bookstyle case Blu-ray case

Release date: December 6th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (should be 1.37:1?)

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1576 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1576 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)


DTS-HD Master Audio German 1580 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1580 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, none


• English Trailer (2:18)
• Gallery (3:16)





Description: War Arrow is another of Universal's efficiently produced A plus/B minus Technicolor westerns of the early 1950s. Maureen O'Hara and Jeff Chandler star as, respectively, army major Howell Brady and his former sweetheart Elaine Corwin. As Elaine awaits anxiously on the sidelines, Major Brady trains a group of Seminole Indians to aid the army in quelling an impending Kiowa uprising. Commanding officer Col. Meade, a man with a deep abiding hatred for all Indians, thinks that Brady is crazy to trust the Seminoles. Well, he might be, but it's best to wait until the climactic battle scene to decide whether or not Brady knows what he's doing. The ever-reliable Henry Brandon is a tower of strength as Maygro, the Seminole chief whose daughter Avis (Suzan Ball) falls in love with Brady.



The Film:

On one hand "War Arrow" is a generic 1950s western, we have a fort, we have the cavalry, we have Indian trouble and of course we have romance. Yet "War Arrow" packs a lot in, all of which is worked into a well thought out storyline which also takes in issues of jealousy, pig headedness and double crosses. So whilst by the time it works its way towards the ending you know what the ending will be, what has happened along the way has been entertaining, to the point you remember "War Arrow" not for the action or for the performances from Jeff Chandler and Maureen O'Hara but all the different stories it manages to build in.

Excerpt from TheMovieScene located HERE

Major Howell Brady (Jeff Chandler), a cavalry officer, is sent from Washington D.C. to Fort Clark, Texas, to subdue a Kiowa uprising that has been raiding both white settlements and villages on Seminole reservations. Brady requests that the post commander Colonel Meade (John McIntire) send his troops out in fast moving small units to engage the Kiowa but the Colonel fears his men would be slaughtered in piece meal actions and only feels the Kiowa are impressed by large numbers of troops.

Together with his two sergeants, Brady enlists the help of the Seminole chief, Maygro (Henry Brandon}, by giving him $500 and promising his people food and land. The three of them arm 25 Seminoles with state of the art Henry repeating rifles and train them as counter guerillas; luring the Kiowa in then ambushing them. Col. Meade and his officers resent Brady’s interference and mistrust the Seminoles.

At Fort Clark, Brady meets and falls in love with Elaine Corwin (Maureen O'Hara), the widow of a cavalry officer. However, when "Brady's Bunch" of Seminoles successfully repel a Kiowa attack, Brady spots a white man with the Kiowa. Although he does not get a good look at him, he recovers his sabre. The engraved sabre turns out to belong to Captain R. G. Corwin, the supposed deceased husband of Elaine. The Seminoles confirm Corwin is still alive through torturing a Kiowa prisoner.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

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

War Arrow - a middling Fox western helmed by George Sherman, gets a 'Region FREE' Blu-ray release from Koch Media in Germany. I believe this film was in the 1.37:1 theatrically aspect ratio so I don't know why this is 1.85:1 in this 1080P transfer. The opening credits are stretched and the film release date (1953) support this being 'Academy ratio'. Composition in 1.85:1 looks okay but perhaps someone can chime-in. The image quality is reasonable with some grain textures visible. It has no gloss and the increased resolution helps the visuals in-motion. This is a single-layered Blu-ray with a modest bitrate and probably doesn't do justice to the Technicolor hues (ex. no where near the vibrancy of Backlash), but overall - quite watchable and clean (minor speckles).



















Audio :

Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track at 1576 kbps. It supports the film's frequent effects from horses to gunfire. The downbeat score is by William Lava (The Night Riders, Retreat, Hell!) and Herman Stein (This Island Earth, Tarantula, There's Always Tomorrow, The Incredible Shrinking Man). There is a lossless German DUB and fully optional English subtitles. My Oppo has identified it as being a Region Free playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.



Extras :

Not much, an English trailer gallery of posters, lobby cards and stills. This is housed in a Bookstyle case with an essay in German.



Not much to say - even an also-ran western can hit-the-spot when you are in the mood. I like Jeff Chandler, Maureen O'Hara and the stalwart Noah Beery Jr. - not to mention the fiery squaw-denier Avis (Suzan Ball.) I'm not so picky about the AR till I hear more - but it probably isn't right at 1.85:1. The Blu-ray is not exceptional, neither is the film. Despite the fact that I was into it - I would say 'pass', this time. 

Gary Tooze

July 13th, 2015


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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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