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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Fox Western Classics (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Fox Home Video has finally released one of my personal favorites on DVD, as a third of a box set offered at less than $15, as Fox Western Classics.

Of the three productions included in the set, the weakest is Rawhide (1951) with Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward, directed by the great Henry Hathaway. I've always found it to be a trifle -- seemingly one of those "we've got them under contract... do something with them" productions.

Second up is Garden of Evil (1954), an early CinemaScope film, also directed by Henry Hathaway, and photographed by Milton Krasner (who also shot Rawhide). During his forty year career, he photographed a number of films now considered classics inclusive of The Bank Dick, The Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street, A Double Life, All About Eve, Monkey Business, The Seven Year Itch and An Affair to Remember and How the West Was Won.

The score, composed by Bernard Herrmann is an anchor point for the film, which with the help of the acting talents of Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark and Susan Hayward, stands the test of time quite nicely.

As an early Eastman Color production, with all opticals cut in, it has the normally dupey fades and dissolves, but the transfer does a nice job of hiding much of not only the wear and tear on the elements, but a bit of the dupey nature of the opticals. All in all, a nice addition to one's collection of quality cinema.

But the pièce de résistance in the set is Henry King's 1950 The Gunfighter starring Gregory Peck as Jimmy Ringo, the "deadliest shot in the old west."

On any number of levels from story, screenplay, direction, and acting, The Gunfighter is an acknowledged classic. The score by Alfred Newman, and cinematography by Arthur Miller make it one of the greats of the genre.

If one has not seen The Gunfighter, I advise viewing it without research. Be aware that the original elements for this film no longer exist, but the dupes used for the transfer are still excellent quality.

This is an amazing film.

For those who point to To Kill a Mockingbird for the quintessential performance from Mr. Peck, be prepared to place his Jimmy Ringo right up there next to Atticus Finch.

As I would be willing to pay twice the cost of the boxed set just to get The Gunfighter, I'll not beleaguer the point that this set is a steal at $15.

Consider Rawhide and Garden of Evil gifts from Fox Home Video, and pick up this collection for one of the most amazing westerns on the planet.

The Gunfighter cannot be more highly recommended.

RAH
 

Robert Crawford

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RAH,
Thanks for your input as I eagerly await my boxsets arrival. However, I know I'm in the minority about this for obvious reasons, but I like "Rawhide" more than I do "Garden of Evil". This is not to say that "Garden of Evil" isn't a fine film, but I enjoy "Rawhide" more as a western genre fan. As for the third film, my past postings on this great film have been well documented on this forum. My only response for Fox regarding this release, "it's about time".:)






Crawdaddy
 

PaulDA

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Looks like I'm not done buying SD DVDs after all (actually, I've bought a bunch even after going HD DVD (and later this year, "blu") because I won't wait 5-7 or more years to see things I've already waited too long to see).
 

Robin9

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I'm very sorry to learn that the original elements for The Gunfighter "no longer exist."
 

MarcoBiscotti

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This is my most anticipated release of 2008 and one that I've been requesting from the studio since the launch of this format. I cannot wait to finally add The Gunfighter to my DVD collection and the other two Hatahway titles are welcomed additions, as well!
 

Simon Howson

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Good on Fox for including an isolated score track of Herrmann's music for Garden of Evil. An excellent extra!
 

Mark-P

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How unfortunate that the full 2.55:1 aspect ratio was compromised to 2.35:1. Not a deal breaker, but still...
 

Simon Howson

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I just noticed that the packaging of the Optimum version says the aspect ratio is 2.35:1, but this is incorrect.
 

Simon Howson

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Perhaps it means they had to source some sections of the film from optical sound based elements? Rather than zooming only those sections, they adapted the transfer to only extract a 2.35:1 section of the 2.55:1 image? For example, Warner seemed to do this for Land of the Pharaoh's.

I really don't think it matters a great deal. The Bausch & Lomb lenses used during the early period added quite horrific distortions at the edges of the image, so the filmmakers generally avoided placing anything (or anyone) important at the edge of the frame anyway.
 

Mark-P

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That would be my guess as well. Even though all the C-Scope pictures from 1954 were released with magnetic tracks only, it is very probable the later prints could have been struck with optical soundtracks, and if the best surviving elements were from later prints, they may have had to go with the 2.35:1 ratio.
 

Dick

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On the Fox movie network, I once saw a broadcast of the t.v. version of THE GUNFIGHTER (from a series called, I think, "Hour Of the Stars"), can't remember who with. Is this perchance included on the new Fox DVD?
 

Robert Crawford

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I thought of that too, but I wanted RAH to answer because he has the dvd in hand and perhaps Savant was wrong with his measurements.
 

Jeff Newcomb

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It is not included on the DVD. The FMC series "Hour of the Stars" was a repurposing of the 1950s anthology series "The 20th Century Fox Hour." The episode that you are referring to, "End of a Gun," was written by a young Sam Peckinpah and starred Richard Conte.
 

MarcoBiscotti

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I was really hoping that Fox would see fit to include it on the DVD release. I can't be too disappointed with the film finally being made available, but it would have made the perfect complement to the feature on DVD. An excellent TV adaptation and entertaining version of The Gunfighter in it's own right. I'm waiting for FMC to broadcast this episode again so that I can burn it to disc.
 

Richard--W

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I would love to see that.
Fox, I got money to spend on that.
Peckinpah = bucks.
 

Michael Elliott

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I'm certainly glad THE GUNFIGHTER is finally being released. People should also listen to Bob Dylan's song "Brownsville Girl" as the film plays a pretty big part in the song.
 

Joe Caps

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Can anyone confirm Garden of evil is in 4.0 sound?

Does Garden of Evil have the original trailer on it?
 

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