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directed by James Cruze
USA 19
23

 

The first Western epic! A great caravan of covered wagons, filled with hearty pioneers and their families and possessions, are waiting for the Spring jump off at Westport Landing, now Kansas City. The time is 1848, and the destination is far-off Oregon, in The Covered Wagon (1923), the first big-budget Western epic. Where countless pilgrims fell, a love triangle flourishes, as Molly Wingate (Lois Wilson) must choose between the brutish Sam (Alan Hale) and the dashing Will (J. Warren Kerrigan). Complicating her decision are the perils of the trail: a mile-wide river, prairie fire, heavy snowfall, a buffalo stampede, crippling hunger, and Native American attacks. Boasting a cast of thousands and an unparalleled commitment to authenticity, The Covered Wagon was an enormous box-office success in 1923 and became one of the major milestones in the history of the Western.

***

James Cruze revived the western genre and presented audiences with the first western epic in the spectacular 1923 film The Covered Wagon, chronicling the largest wagon train to ever cross the valley of the Platte River. The film takes place in 1848, when two wagon trains -- one led by Jesse Wingate (Charles Ogle), the other by Will Banion (J. Warren Kerrigan) -- as they travel from Kansas City, over the Oregon Trail, to destinations in California and Oregon. As the wagons make their way over the tortuous trail, many obstacles are encountered -- the crossing of the Platte River, an Indian attack, and a prairie fire. On the way to California, human stories unfold -- the most prominent of which revolves around Will and Molly Wingate (Lois Wilson). Molly's fiancÚ, Sam Woodhull (Alan Hale), out to discredit Will, succeeds in having Will and his wagons banished from the train and head off to the California gold fields. By that point, Molly has fallen in love with Will and sends Jackson (Ernest Torrence) to find him.

 Excerpt from Barnes and Noble located HERE

Posters etc.

 

Theatrical Release: March 16th, 1923

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Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

   

 

Distribution

Kino
Region
'A' Blu-ray

Runtime

1:38:42.958 

Video

Disc Size: 33,650,688,807 bytes

Feature Size: 29,888,292,864 bytes

Average Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

 

Kino Blu-ray

 

Audio

Wurlitzer Organ Score (Gaylord Carter):

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1598 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1598 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Subtitles None (English intertitles)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Kino

 

Disc Size: 33,650,688,807 bytes

Feature Size: 29,888,292,864 bytes

Average Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Film Historian Toby Roan
• Booklet essay by film scholar Matt Hauske
• The Pie-Covered Wagon: a 1932 one-reel spoof starring Shirley Temple (9:29)
• Wurlitzer organ score by Gaylord Carter
• Reversible Blu-ray Art

Blu-ray  Release Date: February 20th, 2018
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters: 11

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray - February 18': Kino's transfer is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Predictably the 1080P presentation has plenty of inconsistency considering it will be approaching it's 100th birthday in the next few years. But, in general, the image is excellent - superlative layered contrast, no fatal damage, vertical scratches and marks but grain is visible and there are frequent moments of impressive detail. The sweeping landscape vistas are awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this in HD. Wow... 

DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel (24-bit) lossless music. Although the score is uncredited to Manny Baer, Hugo Riesenfeld and J.S. Zamecnik with liberal use of the song Oh! Susanna, we get a wonderful Wurlitzer organ score by Gaylord Carter that sounds excellent in the lossless transfer There are original English intertitles and the Blu-ray disc is Region 'A' - locked.

Kino include an audio commentary by film historian Toby Roan who is an expert in westerns - having done a few commentaries for the genre film Blu-rays and he details many facets of the extensive production. It's interesting and educational if you are keen on the history. Included is the 10-minute The Pie-Covered Wagon - a 1932 one-reel spoof starring Shirley Temple in quite poor condition but transferred in 1080P. There is a liner notes booklet essay by film scholar Matt Hauske and the package has reversible art (see bottom of the review).

Kino have given us this iconic, epic, silent western in a very pleasing presentation, fitting lossless organ score plus a valuable optional commentary. There is a ton of value here with this Blu-ray - both silent era aficionados and western genre fans will be very happy. Strongly recommended! 

 - Gary Tooze

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 

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

 

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Box Cover

 

   

 

Distribution

Kino
Region
'A' Blu-ray

 




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