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Blu-ray Review Hombre Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, May 26, 2015.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    XenForo Template Hombre Blu-ray Review

    One of the most atypical westerns of its era, Martin Ritt’s Hombre is also one of the most entertaining and unpredictable films of its type. Full of gritty realism and featuring an anti-hero that still charms and mesmerizes, Ritt’s movie features his expected and most welcome sociological take on the genre while still presenting a taut and tension-filled narrative without a whit of the form’s expected clichés and predictable occurrences. Certainly popular in its day (ranking tenth in box-office rentals for the year), today it plays like gangbusters with a fresh and unexpected point of view in almost every moment.


    Cover Art


    Studio: Fox

    Distributed By: Twilight Time

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

    Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA

    Subtitles: English SDH

    Rating: Not Rated

    Run Time: 1 Hr. 51 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    keep case

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: All

    Release Date: 05/12/2015

    MSRP: $29.95




    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    On a stagecoach ride through hot and treacherous terrain, a cross-section of types who had previously shunned a white man raised by Indians named John Russell (Paul Newman) now require his help when the coach is held up by the nefarious Cisco Grimes (Richard Boone) and his crew. Abandoned in the rocky, desert-like wasteland, Russell is thwarted in his endeavors to save them by various members of the party with their own agendas: a hardened ex-hotel manager Jessie (Diane Cilento), the dishonest government field agent for the Indians (Fredric March) and his snobbish wife (Barbara Rush), an amiable Mexican stagecoach director (Martin Balsam), and a couple of young marrieds (Peter Lazer, Margaret Blye) whose union is on the verge of collapse.

     

    The Irving Ravetch-Harriet Frank Jr. screenplay (based rather faithfully on Elmore Leonard’s novel) is a wondrous amalgamation of tension-filled set pieces dotted with satirical jabs at the era’s bigotry and social class snobbery (the most socially prominent of the characters is the most corrupt; anything or anyone associated with Indians is looked down on). Director Martin Ritt in his customary style doesn’t rush to get to or get through the most action-filled sequences drawing out the anxiety to the max especially in a superbly sustained ambush scene and in the climactic showdown between the stagecoach survivors and the villains out to stop their escape. And how about the film’s opening scene: a majestic five-minute sequence where Russell and two Apache companions lure some wild range ponies into a trap, allowing us an introduction to the main character’s world view and singular path toward living his life. And the characters themselves have been written so complexly: rather than the expected romantic dance between two or more of the male and female protagonists, there is mistrust and a striking differing of approaches to existence; the young married girl Doris frustrated by her youthful disappointment with her husband practically throws herself at the macho Grimes and then has the temerity to be insulted when he responds in his rough and gruff manner; the continually foolhardy (if morally honorable) willingness of the captives to be fair in their dealings with the outlaws instead of fighting for their lives by any means necessary. The movie is a rich treasure trove of conflicting personalities and differing ways of dealing with problems, but Ritt and his writers don’t preach to their audience: we see things unfold and make up our own minds.

     

    Having already given exceptional performances under Ritt’s direction in several previous films including The Long, Hot Summer, Hud, and Paris Blues, Paul Newman is in his element as the enigmatic “Hombre” offering a portrait of a man who’s controlled in his hatred and mistrust and determined to live life on his own terms. While short of speech but ready to respond either verbally or physically when necessary, this ranks as another great and unique performance in the Newman pantheon. Fredric March offers an indelible picture of a man of high social class and low moral fiber growing more loathsome as each minute in the film passes. Martin Balsam is a terrific Mendez, this performance coming right on the heels of his Oscar-winning role in A Thousand Clowns. Diane Cilento hides her British accent expertly as the tough-talking, no-nonsense Jessie. Richard Boone’s magnetic physical and histrionic presence allows him to steal all of his scenes as the intimidating Grimes. Also quite entertaining are Frank Silvera as a taunting Mexican bandit, David Canary as a bigoted bully who gets taught a painful lesson in manners, and Cameron Mitchell in a surprisingly small role of the town sheriff who has other plans for his future. Barbara Rush and the two young marrieds Margaret Blye and Peter Lazer are also fine in their individual and group moments.



    Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

    The film’s Panavision theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is faithfully presented in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Apart from a soft long shot or two, this is a gorgeous transfer which really offers great detail in close-ups of facial features, hair, and clothing and the spectacular terrain which the characters traverse during the movie. Color is rich and well controlled throughout with appealing and realistic skin tones. Contrast has also been applied consistently throughout. The movie has been divided into 24 chapters.



    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix is typical of its era and is a very strong one. There are no age-related problems with hiss, pops, or crackle, and the dialogue, sound effects, and David Rose’s spare but flavorful score blend together with smoothness and surety.



    Special Features Rating: 3/5

    Audio Commentary: recorded specially for this Twilight Time release, film historians Lee Pfeiffer and Paul Scrabo give backgrounds on the actors and director and comment effusively on one of their favorite movies of the 1960s.

     

    Isolated Score Track: offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo.

     

    Theatrical Trailer (2:21, SD)

     

    Six-Page Booklet: offers an excellent selection of color stills, original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s enthusiastic analysis of the movie.



    Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    A wonderfully fresh and original take on the western, Hombre is a film that holds many pleasures whether one is experiencing it for the first or fortieth time. The Blu-ray release by Twilight Time is a beautiful piece of goods and well worth owning. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.


    Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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  2. Virgoan

    Virgoan Supporting Actor

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    Now this is much more like it!!!! I wish TT could get "The Long, Hot Summer" and "From the Terrace" as follow-ons!


    Love me some Paul Newman films, I do! I saw "Hombre" in a theater and loved it. Haven't seen it since it's first release.


    Looking forward to it!
     
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  3. smoore

    smoore Auditioning

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    Not just a great western but a great movie; certainly a top 5 for both Ritt and Newman, entire cast is very good. Probably the best adaptation of an Elmore Leonard work, with FX TV show 'Justified' a close second.


    Twilight Time once again does a brilliant transfer.


    By the way, journeyman director Jack Smight piloted 'Harper', probably his best film, along with 'No Way to Treat a Lady'.
     
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  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Thanks. The commentators made the mistake, and I foolishly repeated it without fact checking. I'll make the change.
     

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