- View New Content
- Blu-ray, DVD, Streaming Video and Digital Downloads
- Home Theater Hardware
- Theaters, Remotes and Accessories
- Equipment Reviews
- DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Other Diversions
- Bargains and Deals
- Feedback and Testing
- DVD/HDvision (French)
- Theater Photos
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Equipment Reviews
Blu-ray Release Listings
- Shop Amazon
DVD & Blu-ray Deals
Categories See All →
DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review
Mar 11 2014 09:42 PM
The third year of HBO’s ridiculously popular fantasy series was its best yet, addressing the main problem area of the first two... Read More
George Washington Blu-ray Review
Mar 11 2014 06:00 PM
The mildly esoteric (yet meaningful) title aside, George Washington is an exemplary directorial debut by David Gordon Green. A... Read More
The Jungle Book 2 Blu-ray Review
Mar 11 2014 12:58 PM
Disney has made a habit of producing sequels, sometimes made-for-home video and occasionally (Return to Never Land, The Tigger... Read More
Dallas: The Complete Second Season - Recommended
Mar 11 2014 09:44 PM
The modern day iteration of the classic primetime soap opera keeps on pumpin’ as Dallas: The Complete Second Season arrives on... Read More
Frozen Blu-ray Review
Mar 06 2014 03:50 PM
Disney brings another animated musical to the screen in Frozen, a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen,... Read More
High Plains Drifter Blu-ray Review - RecommendedBlu-ray Universal
Nov 16 2013 06:01 PM | Kevin EK in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Studio: Universal
- Distributed By: N/A
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Other
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Rating: R
- Run Time: 1 Hr. 45 Mins.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy, UltraViolet
- Case Type:
- Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
- Region: ABC
- Release Date: 10/15/2013
- MSRP: $19.98
The Production Rating: 3/5High Plains Drifter occupies an interesting place in the filmography of Clint Eastwood. Taken at face value, it’s a simply told story of Western revenge. A small coastal town is visited by a nameless stranger who exacts vengeance on outlaws and errant townsfolk alike, and who may be someone or something more than he appears to be. It’s really no more complicated than that, and there’s no reason to get into what little story the movie generates. This is more of an exercise for Eastwood as a director and for screenwriter Ernest Tidyman in how to find more depth and complexity in such slight material. We should remember that Tidyman was at the time in high demand, having written the novel Shaft and the first two movies based upon it, and having written the Oscar-winning adaptation of The French Connection. Consequently, this movie has some focus on what happens to a town without a real sense of the law, and a strong sense of what consequences await a town (or modern society) which abandons it. For Eastwood, this was his second feature as a director, following Play Misty for Me. We should keep in mind that this movie directly followed his first outing as Dirty Harry, as well as a lesser known western, Joe Kidd. For this movie, Eastwood went back to familiar territory, revisiting the taciturn Man With No Name from the Sergio Leone movies, only with a bit of a twist this time around. I can’t say that High Plains Drifter is a classic on its own – there are too many issues along the way. The story and the main character are so slight that there isn’t much to hang onto. There’s a casual brutality throughout that was more commonplace in 70s and 80s filmmaking than we tend to see today. (It’s no accident that some of Ernest Tidyman’s other scripts were equally loaded with brutal moments.) But it’s still a bit dispiriting to a current eye to see Eastwood’s character top off his first day in the new town by raping a local girl.
If we take a minute to think about where this movie stands in comparison with other Eastwood films, there’s a good lesson to be learned. High Plains Drifter can be seen as the work of a veteran actor (Eastwood had been acting for nearly 20 years by this point) starting to branch into directing. For this film, Eastwood mostly worked within the overall bounds of the ground broken by the movies he did with Sergio Leone – only transplanting the filming location to California, adding some bold splashes of color, and adding that bit of depth. A few years later, he would return to this territory with The Outlaw Josey Wales to take a few further steps in it. (We should note that the latter movie involved much direction by Philip Kaufman.) In 1985, he would revisit the themes of High Plains Drifter in Pale Rider, a movie with a more openly biblical spin to the tale of a mysterious stranger bringing vengeance to a small mining town. And in 1992, with 35+ years of experience under his belt, Eastwood would deliver Unforgiven, his valedictory address on the Western. It is important to note that the 1992 film really came as a result of all the prior movies Eastwood worked, particularly the three Westerns he had previously directed. And while High Plains Drifter is absolutely not the equal of Unforgiven, it can be seen as a necessary step along the way to the 1992 film. As such, High Plains Drifter served well as an important early moment in the learning curve of Clint Eastwood’s directing career. I wouldn’t call it a classic in its own right, but it’s certainly worth seeing as part of a study of Eastwood and his evolution over nearly 60 years in the movie business at this point. Given the high quality of the picture on this disc, and given what viewers may learn by seeing it, I Recommend this disc for purchase by those interested. Fans of Clint Eastwood have no doubt already done so. More casual viewers are encouraged to at least rent the disc – to enjoy the transfer and see the work of a filmmaker in transition from acting out the stories in front of the camera to telling the stories from behind it.
High Plains Drifter was released on Blu-ray on October 15th. The Blu-ray edition contains a new high definition transfer, and instructions for obtaining a digital or Ultraviolet copy of the movie. A standard definition trailer for the movie is also included.
Video Rating: 5/5 / 3D Rating: NA
High Plains Drifter is presented in a 2.35:1 1080p AVC encode that is truly a pleasure to watch. Beyond the shimmering heatwaves seen at the movie’s start and close, there are some startling bursts of color – particularly involving the locals literally painting the town red. The closing showdown, backlit by fire, still shows off plenty of detail where needed, and inky blacks where appropriate. There have been plenty of times where Universal has had issues with its high definition transfers in the past. I am pleased to say that this is not one of those times.
Audio Rating: 5/5High Plains Drifter gets an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, which mostly lives in the front channels but uses the surrounds for some atmospheric effects and blasts of the score. The mix is a solid one, adding depth where it can, but not in an intrusive manner. The Blu-ray also holds a French 2.0 DTS mix.
Special Features: 1/5High Plains Drifter includes only the bare minimum of special features. A standard definition trailer for the movie is on the disc, and the packaging includes instructions for obtaining a digital or Ultraviolet copy.
Trailer (2:19, 480p) – A standard definition copy of the trailer for the movie is included on the disc. If anything, it illustrates the jump in quality represented by the transfer of the movie itself.
Digital/Ultraviolet Copy – The packaging has an insert that contains instructions for downloading a digital or ultraviolet copy of the movie. The other side of the insert is an advertisement for individual releases of the Alfred Hitchcock Blu-rays I reviewed here last year.
The movie is subtitled in English and Spanish. The usual pop-up menu is present, including a complete chapter menu.