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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Abilene Town [Blu-ray]


(Edwin L. Marin, 1946)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Guild Productions Inc.

Video: Panamint



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

Runtime: 1:29:47.000

Disc Size: 19,940,048,282 bytes

Feature Size: 18,924,989,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.06 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English, None



Inferno Trailer (2:19)

16-page liner notes booklet with photos and essay by Robert Nott and reminiscences from Rhonda Fleming

Reversible inlay with alternative designs





Description: Collector's Limited Edition. Randolph Scott's UK Blu-ray debut! Abilene Town (1946, b/w), starring Randolph Scott, Rhonda Fleming, Ann Dvorak, Edgar Buchanan and Lloyd Bridges. Blu-ray Region Free. A new 2K HD transfer by Panamint Cinema of 35 mm fine grain master material with MPEG4 AVC encode and LPCM lossless audio. Randolph Scott stars in this Western based on a novel by Ernest Haycox. Marshall Dan Mitchell (Scott) attempts to contain the explosive conflict that arises between the homesteaders and the cowboys in the town of Abilene in the aftermath of the Civil War.



The Film:

Dan Mitchell (Randolph Scott) is the town marshal of Abilene, KS, in the turbulent years after the Civil War and the start of the big cattle drives out of Texas. The town is growing faster than a lot of citizens are prepared to deal with it, especially as homesteaders start moving in, fighting for space with the cattlemen. Dan has kept the peace, such as it is, by keeping the saloons, gambling, and guns on one side of Main Street and the shop-owners, farmers, women, and children on the other. He's also been walking a tightrope in his own life, conducting a sometimes turbulent romance with Rita (Ann Dvorak), a saloon singer and co-owner, while also not discouraging the attentions of Sherry Balder (Rhonda Fleming), the "nice girl" daughter of one of the town's leading businessmen, who would love to marry Dan if only he would settle down. A new wave of homesteaders is arriving, and the cattlemen, cowboys, and saloon owners want them driven out and the town kept wide open, fearing the homesteaders' religious beliefs and the arrival of families, which means schools, building, and encroaching "respectability." Trouble breaks out and people are killed, with Dan caught in the middle. Using his guile and a good deal of bravery, and the unwitting help from the cowardly county sheriff (Edgar Buchanan), Dan manages to get the shop owners onto the side of the homesteaders, and plays a dangerous game of divide-and-conquer with the saloon-keepers and cowboys.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Since the conversion to law and order of practically every lawless hamlet in the Old West now is in Hollywood's archives, it was but a matter of time before Abilene's lusty story was considered cinematically. And, in "Abilene Town," which came to the Globe on Saturday, Jules Levey, the producer, has fixed his camera sights on that Kansas crossroads and has come up with a Western that may or may not be history but that certainly should satisfy lovers of that genre. True, it is basically horse opera in which the music isn't stinted, but it is turned out with flavor and pace, and the shooting and fighting are unrestrained.

Ernest Haycox, as noted a chronicler of the Old West as any (i.e., "Stagecoach"), is responsible for the yarn, which in the main treats of the homesteaders' struggles to settle the prairie at Abilene and the dying attempts of the cattlemen to keep the trail and range free at that terminal. In the course of this saga Edwin L. Marin, the director, apparently a man averse to nuance, has seen to it that the action is loud and plentiful.

Excerpt from The Ny Times located HERE

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

This Panamint Blu-ray is advertised as "a new 2K HD transfer by Panamint Cinema of 35 mm fine grain master". The 1080P presentation is consistent with reasonably clean (some speckles), with bright visuals. There is good contrast, grain texture and minor depth is exported. Archie Stout's cinematography is a little 'stayed' but the characterizations and story are good. It is a  better film than I was anticipating and the Blu-ray provided an enjoyable presentation devoid of any impinging imperfections.


















Audio :

Linear PCM, 2.0 channel, 16-bit. The score by Albert Glasser (The Spider, I Shot Jesse James, Behind Locked Doors), and a host of others credited including Gerard Carbonara, Charles Koff, James Mayfield and Max Terr, is very supportive of this fine western. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

Only an Inferno trailer digitally but the package has a 16-page liner notes booklet with photos and essay by Robert Nott and reminiscences from Rhonda Fleming and the inner sleeve with a reversible inlay with alternative designs. Cool.



I enjoyed Abilene Town - but I am a fan of vintage westerns. It may not be Budd Boetticher but it does have Randolph Scott and it's damn entertaining.  The Panamint Blu-ray provides a very pleasurable a/v presentation. I know I'll be watching this again and encourage 'western genre' aficionados to seek out this Blu-ray if only to partake of the film in its best home theatre quality outside of owning a 35mm print. I found it an above-average western looking reasonably sweet in 1080P. 

Gary Tooze

September 8th, 2016



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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