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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by George Marshall
USA 1939

Marvellous comedy Western, with Stewart's pacifist, reputedly wimpy marshal taming the lawless town of Bottleneck by means of words and jokes rather than the gun Donlevy's villain repeatedly provokes him to use. What is remarkable about the film is the way it combines humour, romance, suspense and action so seamlessly (with individual scenes - Dietrich singing 'See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have', Stewart's delicious parable about a homicidal orphan, Mischa Auer losing his pants - indelibly printed in the memory). Flawless performances, pacy direction and a snappy script place it head and shoulders above virtually any other spoof oater.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 29th, 1939

Reviews                                                                             More Reviews                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL vs. Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL LEFT

2) Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

  

 

Released by Criterion, on Blu-ray, in the UK on May 18th, 2020:

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 2,4,5 - PAL Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:39 (4% PAL speedup) 1:34:27  1:34:36.671 1:35:04.156
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.79 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,830,926,727 bytes

Feature: 22,090,438,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.66 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,157,717,184 bytes

Feature: 28,437,411,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.72 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

PAL

Bitrate:

NTSC

Bitrate Koch:

Blu-ray

Bitrate Criterion:

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1054 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1054 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1043 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1043 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1111 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1111 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1057 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1057 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1013 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1013 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, Spanish, French, None English, German, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Part of the Marlene Dietrich - 6 Disc Boxset whihc includes Shanghai Express (1932), Blonde Venus (1932), The Devil Is a Woman (1935), Destry Rides Again (1939), The Lady Is Willing (1942) and A Foreign Affair (1948)

DVD Release Date: May 6th, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters:
20

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

Set contains - Destry Rides Again / Winchester 73 / Bend of the River / The Far Country / Night Passage / The Rare Breed

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 2008

Slim transparent Case (6 inside box)
Chapters:
20

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Media
 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,830,926,727 bytes

Feature: 22,090,438,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.66 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Radio Drama - Destry Rides Again (Jimmy Stewart, Joan Blondell) (54:17)
Image Gallery (12:23)

Blu-ray Release Date: March 20th, 2014
Standard
Blu-ray Case (text in German)
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
 

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 42,157,717,184 bytes

Feature: 28,437,411,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.72 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith (17:18)
New interview with Donald Dewey, author of James Stewart: A Biography (20:38)
Illustrated audio excerpts from a 1973 oral-history interview with director George Marshall conducted by the American Film Institute (19:19)
Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1945, featuring actors James Stewart and Joan Blondell (54:03)
PLUS: An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme

Blu-ray Release Date: April 14th, 20204
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 23

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (April 2020): Criterion have transferred George Marshall's Destry Rides Again to Blu-ray. It is cited as a "New 4K digital restoration by Universal Pictures in collaboration with The Film Foundation". It is darker and a bit muddier than the 2014 Koch 1080P - which I quite liked. The Criterion shows slightly more information in the frame - notably on the left edge. Frankly the European transfer looks crisper and I do appreciate that grain. The Criterion is, strangely, softer on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. The Criterion actually looks okay in-motion - heavier and film-like but contrast seems not at their usual Hallmark levels when compared to the German Blu-ray. I am still looking into these disparities.

On their Blu-ray, Criterion use a linear PCM mono track - 24-bit in the original English language. Plenty of aggressive effects from gunfights to bar brawls. The delightful score is by Frank Skinner's (Magnificent Obsession, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, All That Heaven Allows, and The Naked City) plus the saloon musical numbers (like Marlene Dietrich singing See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have, You've Got That Look, Little Joe, the Wrangler) all sound clean and flat - tight but devoid of unnatural depth. Criterion offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Criterion Blu-ray offers a new 17-minute interview with, one of my favorites, Imogen Sara Smith describing Destry Rides Again as a spoof of horse operas but also works as a straightforward western. She states it is probably the best comic western of all time with with a serious edge near the finale. She talks about Dietrich's comeback and much more There is also a new 20-minute interview with Donald Dewey, author of James Stewart: A Biography. He can relates some great information about the actor, Margaret Sullavan, Hitchcock, Mann, getting married - and his life after Destry Rides Again. There are also 19-minutes of illustrated audio excerpts from a 1973 oral-history interview with director George Marshall conducted by the American Film Institute and a 54-minute Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1945 (same as found on the Koch), featuring actors James Stewart and Joan Blondell. The package has liner notes with an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme.

The Criterion has great extras but the 4K-restored image remains a mystery to me. Beside the Koch - the German Blu-ray does seems a bit too bright. I will live with it for a while and see if I embrace the Criterion HD presentation more so in the future. Great film! I always enjoy it.

 

 

***

ADDITION: Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray - January 2016': The image quality is amazing on this Koch Blu-ray out of Germany! Wow - piercing - inky - black levels, tighter visuals with depth, impressive layered contrast and consistent grain textures. This superior western gets a huge increase via the HD presentation over the older DVDs.  

 

Audio offers some German DUBs options as well as the original English - via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1054 kbps. The gunshots and brawl aggression export some surprising depth.  There are optional subtitles in both German and English (see sample below). Despite saying it is region 'B' on the back cover, the Blu-ray disc (starting with the Universal logo) is, indeed, region FREE.

 

Extras include a 55-minute English-language Radio Drama of Destry Rides Again (with Jimmy Stewart, Joan Blondell) and a slideshow image gallery.

 

This is an exceptional Blu-ray presentation of an excellent, Jimmy Stewart, western. Dietrich doesn't show her usual coolness but her bad-girl persona and the music numbers have appeal - as does the included radio drama (for those that indulge). We give this a very strong recommendation!

***

ON THE DVD: Firstly, I don't own the NTSC edition released in 2003 HERE, but this is a new one, with 2008 VOB files. It is part of the James Stewart - The Western Collection which contains Destry Rides Again / Winchester 73 / Bend of the River / The Far Country / Night Passage and The Rare Breed.

The Marlene Dietrich 6-disc PAL set is fully reviewed HERE.

Differences? - The NTSC is superior (smoother, less noise) probably because it is dual-layered where the PAL is single. Bitrates (above) tell the story. Both have the stereo track (no original mono) and English subs - the NTSC also offers French and Spanish. Both are bare bones (no extras). Menus are slightly different. I'll wager this is improved from the 2003 NTSC edition.

I'd VERY high on this James Stewart - The Western Collection - we've reviewed/compared all titles now (links in paragraph above). For these six western gems the price amounts to $5 a piece which is really a ridiculous deal. Strongly recommended!    

Gary W. Tooze

 


James Stewart - The Western Collection package
 

Marlene Dietrich - 6-disc PAL package

 


DVD Menus

 

1) Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL LEFT

2) Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT

 


 

 

Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Universal (6-disc Marlene Dietrich Collection) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL TOP

2) Universal (6-disc James Stewart - The Western Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Koch Media Blu-ray Captures

 

Box Covers

 

  

 

Released by Criterion, on Blu-ray, in the UK on May 18th, 2020:

Distribution Universal Home Video - Region 2,4,5 - PAL Universal Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Koch Media - Region FREE - Blu-ray Criterion - Spine # 1024 - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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