The Outlaw Josey Wales Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Cameron Yee, May 30, 2011.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    Release Date: June 7, 2011
    Studio: Warner Home Video
    Packaging/Materials: Single-disc "Digi-Book"
    Year: 1976
    Rating: PG
    Running Time: 2:15:51
    MSRP: $34.99







    THE FEATURE

    SPECIAL FEATURES



    Video

    1080p high definition 2.40:1

    Standard definition



    Audio

    DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 1.0, German 1.0, Italian 1.0, Castellano 1.0

    Stereo



    Subtitles

    English SDH, Spanish, French, German SDH, Castellano, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

    Same






    The Feature: 4/5


    Kansas Redlegs, guerrilla fighters working for the Union Army in the Civil War, have been carving a path of destruction through their neighboring state of Missouri, taking the lives and destroying the property of citizens regardless of their actual sympathies. Lead by the vicious Captain Terrill (Bill McKinney), the Redlegs' latest victim is the farmer Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood), whose wife and young son are killed as part of the marauders' cruel campaign. With nothing left in the world but a desire for vengeance, Wales joins up with the Redlegs' Confederate equivalent in hopes of finally getting to Terrill himself.

    But the war proves bigger than one man's vendetta as the South surrenders and Wales' fellow guerrillas must decide between turning themselves in or fighting on, even though the odds are hopeless. Wales chooses the latter, still fueled by the heat of his grudge, which seems to make his odds come out better than most. With Terrill and Fletcher (John Vernon), Wales' former leader, in pursuit, Wales makes his way to Texas in hopes of finding refuge in the Comanche Indian Nation. At first it seems he'll be alone on his journey, but he picks up a number of allies including the disaffected Cherokee Lone Watie (Chief Dan George), the resilient Navajo woman Little Moonlight (Geraldine Keams), and victimized Kansas pilgrims Sarah (Paula Truman) and her granddaughter Laura Lee (Sondra Locke). The ragtag band of survivors ultimately gives Wales something more than vengeance to live for - something to actually fight for - restoring to him a sense of family he'd assumed was gone forever.

    Though Eastwood would not actually deconstruct the Western until his masterpiece, "Unforgiven," in 1992, he notably breaks from form - with both the genre and his "no name" legacy - with the "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Initially it contains all the usual tropes - the character suffers a grievous loss, goes looking for revenge and isolates himself from anyone who might get close. But beginning in the second act things start on another direction as Wales accumulates his band of misfits. With new friends surrounding him, the fight begins to dim for the gunfighter, suggesting not only that the conflict must end at some point, but that fighting - though sometimes a necessity - is ultimately not a person's natural state. As Wales cautions one of his pursuers, "dyin' ain't no way to make a livin'." Such a pacifistic message in a film filled with violence and gun play at times threatens to take the story completely off course, but it helps that Eastwood does provide a proper payoff to what started his character's journey. Though it might seem somewhat perfunctory by that point, there's no questioning the effectiveness of the sequence's execution and direction, providing a glimpse of the master filmmaker Eastwood would eventually become.


    Video Quality: 4.5/5

    The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The transfer features strong and stable black levels, deep and well saturated colors, and contrast that displays the full range of values with great shadow detail and delineation. Fine detail is likewise excellent and holds up in both wide shots and close ups. Grain appears intact with no noticeable artifacts from excessive digital processing. A few shots look flat or soft, but given the overall consistency of the image it's safe to assume those issues are inherent to the source.​


    Audio Quality: 4/5
    Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is detailed, clear and intelligible. Surround activity consisting of directional and environmental effects is balanced and seamless. Bass activity is clean and robust - and even ventures into LFE territory at times. Upper frequencies are similarly clean and crisp - from the crack of pistol fire to the instrumentation in the orchestral score.


    Special Features: 4.5/5


    The highlight of the extras is the new 30-minute examination of Eastwood's work in the Western genre. Vintage items, a making-of documentary, and a new commentary round out the solid special features package.



    Commentary by Richard Schickel covers the requisite topics of development and production, while providing some insightful analysis. Schickel has done a number of commentaries now, and though some don't care for his sometimes halting speaking style, there's no questioning the man knows his stuff about film and the work of Eastwood specifically.



    Clint Eastwood's West (29:03, HD) highlights Eastwood's work in the genre, starting with TV's "Rawhide," touching on his big breakthrough in Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns, but ultimately settling on Eastwood's own directorial voice with "High Plains Drifter," "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Pale Rider" and finally his masterpiece "Unforgiven." The intriguing piece includes interviews with film critics, directing and acting colleagues and Eastwood himself.



    Hell Hath No Fury: The Making of The Outlaw Josey Wales (30:29, SD) covers the film's development and production, with interviews of various members of the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage from on location. The closing interview with Eastwood includes a humorous description about the qualities of varied brands of chewing tobacco. Produced in 1999.



    Eastwood in Action (7:55, SD) is a vintage, electronic press kit style behind-the-scenes.


    Theatrical Trailer (2:16, SD)

    Collectible Book integrated into the packaging includes numerous production stills, an Eastwood acting and directing filmography and an essay about the film.


    Recap

    The Feature: 4/5
    Video Quality: 4.5/5
    Audio Quality: 4/5
    Special Features: 4.5/5
    Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5



    Warner Home Video turns in an excellent presentation of Eastwood's intriguing departure from his "no name" legacy and the Western genre itself. The extras include a couple new items that prove to be highlights of the package, though it also includes major pieces from past DVD releases. For those adding the title to their collections for the first time or those looking for an upgrade in picture and sound, the Blu-ray edition is an obvious choice.
     
  2. Flemming.K

    Flemming.K Stunt Coordinator

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    My favourite Clint Eastwood western movie.


    Orson Welles:

    "I suppose Clint Eastwood is the most underrated director in the world today...They don't take him seriously...an actor like Eastwood is such a pure type of mythic hero-star in the Wayne tradition that no one is going to take him seriously as a director. But someone ought to say it. And when I saw (The Outlaw Josey Wales) for the fourth time, I realized that it belongs with the great Westerns...of Ford and Hawks and people like that. And I take my hat off to him"
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I don't think that's true today. It might have been back when he stated that, but a lot has changed since Welles's death in 1985, as far as Eastwood's directing career.







    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Flemming.K

    Flemming.K Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote: Originally Posted by Robert Crawford

    Anyway, that Orson Welles considered Josey Wales in the pantheon of classic westerns, speaks volumes about this movie. It is unjustly underrated.
     
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I understand Orson Welles didn't watch many movies. He didn't go out to the movies often. But I am inclined to agree with his opinion of The Outlaw Josey Wales. It is an under-rated western. Other westerns Eastwood directed riff on the plots of better films (Pale Rider) or confuse movie myths for reality (Unforgiven), but The Outlaw Josey Wales is a post-Civil War manhunt well-told. Of course, Eastwood was adapting from a well-researched and well-structured source, the acclaimed novels by Forest Carter. That made all the difference. Eastwood is essentially telling Carter's story, not his own. A shame the supplements on this Blu-ray don't include a featurette on Carter and the cultural / historical realities he wrote about, namely the aftermath of "bleeding Kansas" and the pioneer's flight to Texas. Back on topic, I've always been a little disappointed in Eastwood for not doing better by the western in the 1970s and 1980s, and for turning his back on the genre after Unforgiven. He never quite got the spaghetti western artifice out of his system. But he made one of the great American westerns in The Outlaw Josey Wales.
     
  6. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    I'm not entirely sure that that's a bad thing?
     
  7. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I'm sure.

    It's a bad thing because it restricts creative growth.

    He shook himself loose in other areas but he falls back into it when doing westerns.


    That having been said, I'm buying The Outlaw Josey Wales BR.

    If you love westerns, it's essential.

    Even if you don't like westerns, it's still essential cinema.
     
  8. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    All films are an artifice. In this case, it depends on which Italian westerns - and more importanly which Italian directors - he's allegedly trying to emulate; in the case of Unforgiven, the dedication tells you all you need to know. Westerns aren't documentaries, I'm not even sure that 'Westerns' are a genre as such; they are a time and place in which to tell a story. Base it on 'reality', yes. But never, ever, let it get in the way of a good story...


    And yup, I'll be buying 'Josey Wales' too...
     
  9. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I wasn't referring to emulation.
     
  10. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    My apologies for misinterpreting; I'd assumed that the reference to a 'spaghetti western artifice' inferred emulation, or maybe just plain admiration, of at the very least a style. It didn't, fine; it did, equally fine.
     
  11. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Easy does it, John. Relax. No worries.


    I meant that Eastwood hadn't quite outgrown the "Man With No Name" when he made The Outlaw Josey Wales. He had a narrow range when he did the "Man With No Name." It was a one-dimensional character. There's nothing going on internally. Externally, there is posturing and strutting to do. Audiences love it, but there's isn't much substance to him. There are emotional dimensions to Josey that Eastwood doesn't find, because he's still trying be cool all the time. Yet what he does is enough. He shakes loose of the millstone in Unforgiven, however.


    I enjoy your blog.
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Watching a good western always relaxes me.








    Crawdaddy
     
  13. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Originally Posted by Richard--W
     
  14. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Yeah.


    Westerns bring out the best in Americans.

    Westerns are good for us.

    We should be making more westerns more often, and better westerns all the time.

    I honestly, firmly believe that.
     
  15. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Josey Wales has remained my favorite Western of all time. There have been some good ones since like Tombstone & 3:10 To Yuma but I have a special place in my heart for The Outlaw Josey Wales. Think I was in 4th grade when it came out. Loved it then and can't wait to see in Hi-Def.
     
  16. TravisD

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    Shame about the missing making of,...Little Moonlight's actress and others tell some funny stories on the DVD about Dan George flubbing lines,and how Clint was in the dark about Carter's real past as a speechwriter,etc...


    TBH,..after reading the books,..I think Carter had a change of heart,...maybe not a complete change,...but seems like he tried.


    I can understand Oprah's removing his last book from her list,...but she essentially did it from a grudge (I understand) against his past,..and not on the merits of the novel,..and it shows how silly her list is anyway.


    Great book,...great movie,...about a crazy period of time in the US....and a must for history nuts!
     
  17. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I didn't know about Oprah removing Forest Carter's novels from her booklist. I'm surprised she would read his novels in the first place. Talk about reverse discrimination, I've never seen anyone get away with sex discrimination and gender discrimination the way Oprah does. Perhaps because she wraps it up in political correctness and bribes with free cars and houses and college tuitions. Now that her bashing show is off the air, she's started an entire network devoted to discrimination. You'll never see The Outlaw Josey Wales on OWN.
     
  18. TravisD

    TravisD Agent

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    Well,..if he was the one who coined the "segregation now,..forever" Wallace speech,...or even that phrase alone,...I can see how that would be an issue for her or anyone of color.

    Being born after the civil rights era,...I guess I'll never understand much of any of it...completely.


    Racist or not,..the man had a way with words,....and an FYI,...you can read like the first 80 pages on google books to get what I mean.


    If your from the South,...there's nothing like that southern prose for storytelling.Shelby Foote's civil war stuff is another fine example along with Lewis Grizzard's books.


    Both of them,...are sorely missed in my neck of the woods.
     
  19. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I grew up during the end phase of the Civil Rights movement and know people who were more actively involved than even my parents were. I didn't know Forest Carter was associated with the segregation side. Very disappointed in him if it's true. His two Jose Wales novels were harsh, but historically so, and historically correct in their harshness. But they were about more than racism, which was not the story. That does not excuse advocating racism in the present. On the other hand, there's no excuse for Oprah's brand of discrimination, either.
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Let's leave the discussion about Oprah for another time.







    Crawdaddy
     

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