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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Chino" or "Valdez il mezzosangue" or "Valdez Horses" or "Valdez the Halfbreed" or "The Wild Horses" or "The Free Spirit")

 

Directed by John Sturges and Duilio Coletti
Italy | Spain | France | USA 1973

 

One of several impressive westerns Charles Bronson made during his 1970s heyday, The Valdez Horses reunites the rugged star with celebrated director John Sturges, who he had previously collaborated with on the perennial classics The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape.

A surprisingly thoughtful film, The Valdez Horses sees Bronson play a half-breed rancher whose solitary life taming wild horses is upended when three people enter his life: a young runaway (Vincent Van Patten), a corrupt land owner (Marcel Bozzuffi, The French Connection), and his beautiful sister (Jill Ireland, Breakout, The Valachi Papers).

Beautifully filmed in mountains of Almería, Spain, a quintessential Spaghetti Western location, Sturges’ film contrasts fist fights and shootouts with considered characterization and an unexpectedly melancholy tone.

***

Chino Valdez (Bronson) is a lonely horse breeder, whose life is thrown into turmoil when a young runaway (Van Patten) turns up at his door looking for work and, later, he falls in love with a beautiful woman (Ireland) whose brother (Bozzuffi) hates him.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 14th, 1973

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Review: Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:37:113.257        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,517,322,565 bytes

Feature: 19,946,223,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 876 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 876 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

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

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Indicator

 

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,517,322,565 bytes

Feature: 19,946,223,168 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary with film historian Paul Talbot, author of Bronson’s Loose! The Making of the ‘Death Wish’ Films and Bronson’s Loose Again!
Dust and Sweat (2021, 15:38): renowned make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi recalls his time on The Valdez Horses
Gambling on the Horses (2021, 20:09): uncredited screenwriter Stephen Geller shares his personal recollections of the production and crew
Alternative titles and credits (3:50 / 3:58)
French theatrical trailer (3:06)
US TV spot (0:28)
Image gallery: promotional and publicity materials
Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Roberto Curti, an archival on-set report with contributions from Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, and John Sturges, extracts of interviews with Bronson and Ireland, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits

Blu-ray Release Date:
January 25th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (January 2021): Indicator have transferred John Sturges's The Valdez Horse to Blu-ray. This offers the alternative presentation with Italian Valdez il mezzosangue title sequence and credit for the first 4-minutes. It seamlessly branches back for the rest of the film. It's, uncharacteristically for Indicator, only on a single-layered disc and has a middling bitrate. I don't blame that for the image quality though. The 1080P looks to be from a source that has weaknesses - less dense effecting all facets of the visuals. Perhaps this is the best it can look - but it is far form the heights of the format.  

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use a DTS-HD Master mono track (16-bit) in the English language. There are genre effects with plenty of horses. The film's audio and score is by Guido and Maurizio de Angelis (Keoma, Torso, A Blade in the Dark, 2019 After the Fall of New York, The Mountain of the Cannibal God) and supports this western well without sounding too 'spaghetti-ish'. Indicator offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.

The Indicator Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Paul Talbot, author of Bronson's Loose! The Making of the Death Wish Films and Bronson's Loose Again! On the Set with Charles Bronson. He also did Indicator's Blu-ray commentary for Bronson's Breakout and The Valachi Papers. His knowledge about minutia of the production is very impressive. I'm really enjoying his information on Dino De Laurentiis and Bronson's career in, what sounds like, a NY accent and how he says "eye"-talian. Wikipedia confirms: "Director John Sturges was unhappy with the finished film and considered the casting of Jill Ireland a fatal mistake. Six months after finishing the movie, Producer Dino De Laurentiis gathered the actors and crew to return for re-shoots and inserts. With Sturges no longer available, veteran Italian director Duilio Coletti was hired to complete the work. His name is listed as director on some European prints as a result." Paul's commentaries are upper-tier. There is also a new (2021) 1/4 hour interview with renowned make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi recalling his time on The Valdez Horses - it's entitled Dust and Sweat. Indicator include Gambling on the Horses which spends 20-minutes with uncredited screenwriter Stephen Geller who shares his personal recollections of the production and crew. We can access the alternative titles and credits separately (Italian and English) plus a French theatrical trailer, US TV spot and an image gallery of promotional and publicity materials. The package has another of Indicator's impressive limited edition booklets - it's 36-pages with a new essay by Roberto Curti, an archival on-set report with contributions from Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, and John Sturges, extracts of interviews with Bronson and Ireland, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits.

John Sturges's The Valdez Horse doesn't seem to have a lot of the director's strengths, Bronson shows why he's a star and I agree with the director that Jill Ireland was a mistake. Interesting to see a young Vince Van Patten (isn't he the poker guy now?), but overall, I wasn't much into this film mostly enjoying Bronson's machismo and loner lifestyle, but not much else. For the rugged protagonist's completist fans, the Indicator Blu-ray, also has the educational commentary, booklet and interviews. I'll say one thing about The Valdez Horse - it's a unique and fairly honest western (the ending surprised me) and gives a very frank and unglamorous portrayal of the native Indians.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Or buy from Indicator:

Distribution Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


 


 

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