Paramount has done Republic proud, with their restoration (from original elements) of Trigger, Jr. the 16th of 19 TruColor westerns from Republic with Roy Rogers in the leads, made between 1947 and 1950.
It’s a far more interesting film than I might have surmised.
At 66 minutes (one record has it as 68), it’s short and to the point. As inclusive of a few western ballads, the films actually weighs in at closer to ten minutes shorter.
But the main point of my interest was that it was far from being a totally kid-friendly production.
Some 42 minutes, in when Roy dons his six-shooters to take on the bad dudes, it takes a dark turn. A couple of killings, albeit without blood, and some other minutia that I won’t get into, could leave a kid in 1950 wondering what he or she had walked into.
Normally, cut for TV, I bet it was the violence that went missing.
Making note of Paramount’s overseeing of the work on the film, they’ve made TruColor, a two-color process that was well below that of 3-strip Tech, look amazing colorful – and correct. Of course, part of this is do to color production design, bending the spectrum toward those colors that look best in the process – but they look terrific.
Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray is a quality affair, and overall even for those who might not ever consider watching the work of The King of the Cowboys, Trigger, Jr. is worthy of your time.
Occasional mis-registration at cuts, which is part of the norm for the process, along with very minimal processing anomalies, make it look like film, and probably the way that it always looked.
Are we getting better color via digital technology? Possibly.
I’m told by a friend who is working on an article (and who led me to view the film), that Trigger would come up behind Roy and “nudge” him when he was singing on stage. The reality was, that he was chewing through Roy’s shirt, and biting his back, knowing that Roy couldn’t stop the song and whack him. Apparently, Roy lost lot of expensive shirts that way.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Kino Lorber's Blu-ray is a quality affair, and overall even for those who might not ever consider watching the work of The King of the Cowboys, Trigger, Jr. is worthy of your time.