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The Comancheros Blu-ray



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#1 of 19 Timothy E

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Posted May 21 2011 - 01:37 PM

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The Comancheros Blu-ray


Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Year: 1961

Rated: Not Rated

Film Length: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Surround 4.0, French Mono, Spanish Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish


Release Date: May 17, 2011


The Movie


John Wayne is Texas Ranger Captain Jake Cutter in The Comancheros. Stuart Whitman(Cimarron Strip) is Paul Regret, a gambler on the run who finds himself awkwardly teamed up with the Texas Ranger as they try to survive against the gang of gunrunners known as The Comancheros. The first rate cast in this film also includes Ina Balin, Lee Marvin, Jack Elam, Michael Ansara, Nehemiah Persoff, Guinn Williams, Patrick Wayne, and Edgar Buchanan. The screenplay was written by James Edward Grant(Hondo) and Clair Huffaker(The War Wagon) with direction by the great Michael Curtiz(Captain Blood, Casablanca). The Comancheros was the final film directed by Curtiz in his career.


The Comancheros is one of my favorite John Wayne films. Although it is not the first film that comes to most people’s minds when you mention John Wayne, I have always enjoyed The Comancheros as a rip-roaring fun western. The score by Elmer Bernstein(The Magnificent Seven) is terrific, and I actually enjoy the music in this film more than the famous theme from The Magnificent Seven. The Comancheros was the final film by a legendary director and has one of the greatest casts of actors of many western films: John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Jack Elam, and Stuart Whitman all in the same film. The Comancheros may not be on anyone else’s list of their top 10 favorite Wayne films, but it is on my top 10 list.


Video


The movie is in 1080p high definition in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio using the AVC codec on a 50GB dual layer disc. Film grain is present with solid blacks and no apparent compression artifacts. DNR and edge enhancement are imperceptible if present at all. Colors are vibrant without any excess smearing. The only minor flaw observed was some very minor gate weave at the beginning of the first reel. A few of the stock shots lack fine detail but this has probably always been the case. It seems unlikely that the film ever looked better in its original theatrical presentation than it does on this disc.


Audio


The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is excellent. The sound is richer than one might expect and Elmer Bernstein’s score is given good service. There is some nice directional audio and dialogue is always appropriately audible over music and sound effects. The English Dolby Surround 4.0 tracks sound surprisingly good in comparison to the DTS-HD Master Audio track, even if lacking some of the crispness and richness of sound of the 5.1 audio.


Special Features


The special features include all of the following:


Audio commentary by Stuart Whitman, Nehemiah Persoff, Michael Ansara, and Patrick Wayne: The participants all seem to have fairly vivid recollections of producing this film, which makes it recommended above many other commentaries.


The Comancheros and the Battle for the American Southwest(24:13): Historians discuss the factual background of the real Comancheros with ample footage from the film.


The Duke at Fox(40:28): This interesting 2 part documentary includes an abundance of HD footage from other Wayne films that have yet to appear on Blu-ray.


Vintage Comancheros Comic Book Gallery(0:38): Following a brief audio introduction, the complete Dell Four Color Comancheros comic book has been divided into 95 sections and may be navigated panel to panel with the left and right arrows on the remote control. The original ending for the film can be seen in this comic book since the film was changed after the comic book had been completed.


A Conversation With Stuart Whitman(12:07): The actor gives a brief overview of his lengthy career.


Theatrical Trailers(2:47): These are English and Spanish original trailers for The Comancheros.


Fox Movietone News(2:47): Musicians and songwriters Claude King and Tillman Franks receive an award for their original song produced for The Comancheros.


The Digibook packaging for The Comancheros may also be considered a special feature. It includes an illustrated 24 page with a brief overview of the film and its cast and crew. Miniature reproductions of an English and a French movie poster are also included as inserts within the Digibook.


Conclusion


The Comancheros is an entertaining western starring one of the greatest western stars of all time. John Wayne is surrounded by a stellar cast and crew in this film and undoubtedly elevates the quality of the whole. Video is reference quality for a film from this era; The Comancheros could not have looked any better upon its original release. Audio is also much better than average for a film from this era. Special features are comprehensive and also make excellent viewing since they are not merely filler like with many other releases. The Comancheros is highly recommended as an entertaining and fun John Wayne western with a great cast and a terrific soundtrack. 



#2 of 19 David_B_K

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Posted May 21 2011 - 04:12 PM

The wife and I watched this tonight. This is one of the best-looking Blu-rays I've ever seen. The magnificent vistas looked almost 3D. This has always been just an average Wayne movie to me; but I felt like I was in a theater in 1961 watching this Blu-ray; and the Elmer Bernstein score sounded great. I have not watched the special features yet, but will tomorrow. Really a marvelous product.

#3 of 19 Robert Crawford

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Posted May 22 2011 - 09:57 AM

Thanks for the fine review as I watched this disc today and thought it looked great.








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#4 of 19 John Hodson

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Posted June 23 2011 - 01:28 AM

I have to say that it isn't one of my favourite Wayne films - hamstrung possibly by Curtiz's health problems - but it looks, and sounds, a peach. A job well done by Fox; bravo.


Tim mentions the abundance of HD clips in the 'Wayne at Fox' documentary (and it's great to see Fox offering supplements in 1080p), The Undefeated looks to be even crisper than The Comancheros, but, man alive, if anyone here thought the 'Grandeur' The Big Trail looked spectacular on DVD, the HD clips reveal that a BD would be positively jaw-dropping.


Equally, it was quite sad to see upscale clips of The Alamo, knowing that Robert Harris is battling to save the film (and a BD release seems further away than ever).


I hope this sold well for Fox, I really do; I want more...


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#5 of 19 Scott Calvert

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Posted June 23 2011 - 09:12 AM




Originally Posted by John Hodson 

I have to say that it isn't one of my favourite Wayne films - hamstrung possibly by Curtiz's health problems - but it looks, and sounds, a peach. A job well done by Fox; bravo.


Tim mentions the abundance of HD clips in the 'Wayne at Fox' documentary (and it's great to see Fox offering supplements in 1080p), The Undefeated looks to be even crisper than The Comancheros, but, man alive, if anyone here thought the 'Grandeur' The Big Trail looked spectacular on DVD, the HD clips reveal that a BD would be positively jaw-dropping.


Equally, it was quite sad to see upscale clips of The Alamo, knowing that Robert Harris is battling to save the film (and a BD release seems further away than ever).


I hope this sold well for Fox, I really do; I want more...


Not my favorite Wayne film either but it's fun and much better than either Rio Lobo or Big Jake, IMO.


Speaking of the HD clips in the doc, check out the ones for The Longest Day. Holy cow it looks like a black & white Pixar movie and that is no exaggeration! Is that what the bluray looks like? If so I can't believe anyone would have the gall to defend that...waaaaaay beyond the pale.


As far as The Big Trail goes, the sooner they put that out on BD the better.




#6 of 19 Mr. Pacino

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Posted June 23 2011 - 10:36 PM

Saw "The Comancheros" a few days ago. The film wasn´t good at all.


I think that John Wayne made many better movies-such as "The Searchers", El Dorado, Rio Bravo, The Shootist, True Grit, Red River etc....


Hopefully the studios will release other John Wayne movies as well on Blu-ray.


Like Scott Calvert, I saw the documentary "The Duke at Fox" as well and can also say that the clips from his other movies(The Undeafeated, North from Alaska etc...) looked excellent in 1080p.





#7 of 19 Mr. Pacino

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Posted June 23 2011 - 10:41 PM



Originally Posted by Mr. Pacino 

Saw "The Comancheros" a few days ago. The film wasn´t good at all.


I think that John Wayne made many better movies-such as "The Searchers", El Dorado, Rio Bravo, The Shootist, True Grit, Red River etc....


Hopefully the studios will release other John Wayne movies as well on Blu-ray.


Like Scott Calvert, I saw the documentary "The Duke at Fox" as well and can also say that the clips from his other movies(The Undeafeated, North from Alaska etc...) looked excellent in 1080p.





I meant "North to Alaska"!




#8 of 19 Johnny Angell

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Posted February 19 2012 - 04:42 AM

Wayne made a film in his later years (I think) in which a young mexican actor had a featured part. I watched this movie on TV and couldn't finish it because the young actor was absolutely horrible. This isn't that film, is it? I don't think so, because I think I'd remember Ina Balin if I had seen her. BTW Amazon currently has this for $12. Edit: I think the film I'm thinking of is Rio Lobo.
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#9 of 19 JoeDoakes

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Posted February 20 2012 - 05:24 AM

I liked him in that movie. He was kind of goofy, but I thought it worked. Then again, I am really fond of Rio Lobo (I like it much more than El Dorado but less than Rio Bravo). Rio Lobo is one of the films I saw at the drive-in with my father in the 1970s. Interestingly, in the 6th season of Columbo, the actor you refer to (Jorge Rivero) showed up as the guy who washes Ricardo Montalban's car. The episode (I think it was called "A Matter of Honor") was something of a reunion for Latin actors who had appeared in John Wayne moviews. In addition to Montalban and Rivero, it also featured Pedro Armendáriz Jr. (from Chisum I think and the son of the Wayne's costar in Three Godfathers) and A. Martinez (from The Cowboys). I wonder if that reunion aspect might have been intentional on someone's part.

#10 of 19 Johnny Angell

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Posted February 20 2012 - 06:35 AM

I liked him in that movie. He was kind of goofy, but I thought it worked..

You say po-tay-to and I say pah-tah-to :) One man's goofy is another's yechh! Your info does confirm the movie he was in. Is Pedro Armendáriz Jr. any relation to Pedro Armendáriz who was Kerim Bey in From Russia with Love?
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#11 of 19 Ed Lachmann

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Posted February 20 2012 - 01:54 PM

I have the Soul Media Danish BDs of THE CONQUEROR, NORTH TO ALASKA and THE BARBARIAN AND THE GEISHA. They look really good in my estimation (and I am notoriously picky). The prints may have some technicolor shifting here and there and occasional soft shots, but the grain is natural and contrast surprisingly good. After all, the elements are what they are and I've never seen these look better. Just recently a BD of THE BIG TRAIL was released in France. I'm still waiting on that one, as I fear it may suffer from "French forced subtitle syndrome" like the recent EXODUS. Glad to report that the Soul Media BDs give you a no subs choice right at the get go. Fox is obviously letting these out in hi def to some markets. Wonder if we will see them soon in the USA. Oh, and Pedro Armendáriz plays a mean Jamuga to John Wayne's Temujin in THE CONQUEROR, which is a hoot and quite beautiful in BD. The Victor Young score for this one is magnificent.

#12 of 19 jim_falconer

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Posted February 20 2012 - 10:57 PM



Originally Posted by Ed Lachmann 

I have the Soul Media Danish BDs of THE CONQUEROR, NORTH TO ALASKA and THE BARBARIAN AND THE GEISHA. They look really good in my estimation (and I am notoriously picky). The prints may have some technicolor shifting here and there and occasional soft shots, but the grain is natural and contrast surprisingly good. After all, the elements are what they are and I've never seen these look better. Just recently a BD of THE BIG TRAIL was released in France. I'm still waiting on that one, as I fear it may suffer from "French forced subtitle syndrome" like the recent EXODUS. Glad to report that the Soul Media BDs give you a no subs choice right at the get go. Fox is obviously letting these out in hi def to some markets. Wonder if we will see them soon in the USA. Oh, and Pedro Armendáriz plays a mean Jamuga to John Wayne's Temujin in THE CONQUEROR, which is a hoot and quite beautiful in BD. The Victor Young score for this one is magnificent.



Thanks for the info on the Danish BDs of those John Wayne films.  Do you need a special player to play them in the USA, or are they region free?  Also, could you tell me if all the soundtracks on those 3 blurays are in stereo?  I agree with you about Victor Young's score of THE CONQUEROR...simply beautiful.  Goodtimes first released the film onto DVD with stereo tracks intact.  However, when Universal released it in a box set with other John Wayne films, they used a mono soundtrack (which is why I never discarded my Goodtimes version).



#13 of 19 Robert Crawford

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Posted February 21 2012 - 12:43 AM



Originally Posted by Johnny Angell 


You say po-tay-to and I say pah-tah-to Posted Image One man's goofy is another's yechh! Your info does confirm the movie he was in.
Is Pedro Armendáriz Jr. any relation to Pedro Armendáriz who was Kerim Bey in From Russia with Love?



That's his son.



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#14 of 19 Douglas R

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Posted February 21 2012 - 12:49 AM

Thanks for the info on the Danish BDs of those John Wayne films.  Do you need a special player to play them in the USA, or are they region free?  Also, could you tell me if all the soundtracks on those 3 blurays are in stereo?  I agree with you about Victor Young's score of THE CONQUEROR...simply beautiful.  Goodtimes first released the film onto DVD with stereo tracks intact.  However, when Universal released it in a box set with other John Wayne films, they used a mono soundtrack (which is why I never discarded my Goodtimes version).

The Universal DVD version of THE CONQUEROR in the "John Wayne An American Icon" set mislabelled it as mono on the box but it is actually stereo.

#15 of 19 Ed Lachmann

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Posted February 21 2012 - 08:39 AM

Thanks for the info on the Danish BDs of those John Wayne films.  Do you need a special player to play them in the USA, or are they region free?  Also, could you tell me if all the soundtracks on those 3 blurays are in stereo?  I agree with you about Victor Young's score of THE CONQUEROR...simply beautiful.  Goodtimes first released the film onto DVD with stereo tracks intact.  However, when Universal released it in a box set with other John Wayne films, they used a mono soundtrack (which is why I never discarded my Goodtimes version).

THE CONQUEROR BD is in stereo and does sound great. The other two I've only looked at bits of, but the sound is rich and full so I would say they are. These are Region B BD's, so you will need an all region player. I also picked up ALEXANDER THE GREAT and DAVID AND BATHSHEBA, the latter I know Doug had some disappointment with. It seemed to me that the film had a certain visual softness in sections because of the print they had to use, in the same way as the recent Kino STAR IS BORN used the best they could find, but the grain was good and the colors rich. The ALEXANDER is stunning but does have a tad of anamorphic thinning of material at either side. Still, it is better than I have ever seen it before. To my taste, they are pretty damn good. I'm used to being burned occasionally with the stuff I get overseas, most recently a hideous blurry video master DVD of THE TUTTLES OF TAHITI from Spain which is unwatchable. So, I do like Soul Media all in all, and will be watching eagerly for what they put out next.

#16 of 19 jim_falconer

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Posted February 23 2012 - 04:34 AM



Originally Posted by Ed Lachmann 


THE CONQUEROR BD is in stereo and does sound great. The other two I've only looked at bits of, but the sound is rich and full so I would say they are. These are Region B BD's, so you will need an all region player. I also picked up ALEXANDER THE GREAT and DAVID AND BATHSHEBA, the latter I know Doug had some disappointment with. It seemed to me that the film had a certain visual softness in sections because of the print they had to use, in the same way as the recent Kino STAR IS BORN used the best they could find, but the grain was good and the colors rich. The ALEXANDER is stunning but does have a tad of anamorphic thinning of material at either side. Still, it is better than I have ever seen it before. To my taste, they are pretty damn good. I'm used to being burned occasionally with the stuff I get overseas, most recently a hideous blurry video master DVD of THE TUTTLES OF TAHITI from Spain which is unwatchable. So, I do like Soul Media all in all, and will be watching eagerly for what they put out next.



Thank you for all the information concerning the region B John Wayne blus.  I looked around the web, trying to find a region free player, and they appear to be not too popular here in the states.  And the ones I did find look to be rather expensive (at least for the better end models).  There was talk a couple of years ago, about a cheap model Insigna player, that allowed you to choose the region, when the player started up, but I guess that was not legal, as they quickly updated the firmware to not allow that feature.


I'll keep looking, and hopefully I will eventually find a player.  As I say, I'd love to see those 3 John Wayne movies in High Def.



#17 of 19 Ed Lachmann

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Posted February 23 2012 - 05:38 AM

Jim, I have a Pioneer BDP-33FD region free BD player that I use for a downstairs theater setup and it works really well. I see them on ebay for around $300. They are built well and are part of the Pioneer Elite line. My favorite all region player is the OPPO 83 region free, which is the older model. The new OPPO 93's are pricey and offer 3D, which I don't really need. The picture quality from the OPPO is superb and it does a great job of upconverting standard DVDs. But, the Pioneer is a bit more reasonable and does do a great job.

#18 of 19 benbess

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Posted February 23 2012 - 11:33 PM

Wonderful score! Nice to see Stuart Whitman in this one. His story of how he got the part--he pleaded with Wayne for it--is fun. As others have said, fine pq and aq, and nice extras in this quality pkg from Fox.

#19 of 19 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 24 2012 - 07:03 AM

FYI the 50th Anniversary Blu-ray in book packaging is currently on sale for $11.99 at Amazon!