DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Tall In The Saddle (RECOMMENDED).

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, Apr 28, 2005.

Tags:
  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    Messages:
    1,342
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [​IMG]

    Tall In The Saddle







    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1944
    Rated: Not Rated
    Film Length: 87 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Standard
    Audio: DD Monaural
    Color/B&W: B&W
    Languages: English
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
    MSRP: $14.97
    Package: Single disc/Keepcase





    The Feature:
    The next entry into the Warner Brother's series of boxed sets focuses on the "Duke", John Wayne. The set is called the John Wayne Legendary Heroes Collection and consists of the following titles: The Sea Chase (1955), Blood Alley (1955), McQ (1974), The Train Robbers (1972) and the featured film, Tall In The Saddle (1944), which will be released on May 3rd, 2005. The titles can be purchased individually and list for $14.97 each, while the boxed set lists for $49.92 - which means the savvier shoppers can pick these up for about $10 bucks and $35 bucks respectively. While the collection of films may not necessarily rank among the greatest of Duke films ever produced, they are sure to be welcome additions for those looking to fill certain gaps.

    [​IMG]

    Tall In The Saddle stars John Wayne in this gritty western which was co-written by character actor Paul Fix and Michael Hogan. Rocklin (played by John Wayne) is a chauvinistic cowboy, a stranger with an air of mystery who arrives in Santa Inez to report for his job at the KC Ranch as a foreman after being sent for, by Red Cardell. During his trip to the ranch, Rocklin befriends a cantankerous old stagecoach driver, Dave (played by George "Gabby" Hayes) who shares his passenger's opinion with regards to women. Upon his arrival, he finds that Cardell, the ranch owner has been murdered and that the ranch is now being run by two women; Clara Cardell (played by Audrey Long) and her aunt Miss Martin (played by Elizabeth Risdon). Rocklin makes his point abundantly clear; he emphatically refuses to work for women. Eventually, Clara approaches Rocklin, seeking his assistance in obtaining a letter from the town's corrupt judge Garvey (played by Ward Bond) which proves Clara is old enough to be the legal owner and heir to the ranch.

    [​IMG]

    Rocklin agrees to help out and shows up at Garvey's office but he doesn't arrive in time to save the letter. The two become entangled in a round of fisticuffs, with Rocklin eventually demolishing Garvey's office. After the fight, Rocklin meets Arly Harolday (played by Ella Raines), the woman presently running day-to-day operations at the ranch. Rocklin's chauvinistic views enrage Arly so much that she persuades her stepfather (played by Donald Douglas) to hire him to work on her ranch, just so she can take pleasure in firing him. However, in spite of Rocklin's chauvinistic ways, Arly falls in love with him. In the meantime, Garvey and the rest of the corrupt townspeople try to get control of the KC Ranch. In order to get rid of Rocklin, he is framed for a murder, forcing him to leave town. While hiding out at the KC Ranch, he learns that he is in fact, the nephew of the ranch's dead owner and the rightful heir. Rocklin gets some unexpected help when Arly arrives to advise of her stepfather's guilt, who is in fact, conspiring with Garvey and Miss Martin in an attempt to misappropriate the ranch. With a posse on the way to arrest him, Rocklin is in a race to prove his innocence before it is too late.

    [​IMG]

    Tall In The Saddle is an RKO film that was directed by Edwin L. Marin. Though Marin wasn't necessarily thought to be in the same league as Ford or Hawks or Wyler, he was responsible some entertaining films from the period such as: Johnny Angel (1945), Abilene Town (1946), Young Widow (1946), Nocturne (1946), Mr. Ace (1946), Intrigue (1947) interestingly enough, many of which starred George Raft. Ella Raines stars next to the Duke as the hardened (but absolutely beautiful) ranch worker. Their on-screen chemistry is abundantly evident and full of spark. Also worthy of special praise is "Gabby" Hayes who turns in a splendid and witty performance as the gnarly old coot who eventually becomes a loyal friend to the Duke.

    [​IMG]

    The single disc is housed in a single Amaray Keepcase and comes with a two-page folded insert advertising the John Wayne Collection as well the upcoming Warner sets; The James Dean Collection, The Essential Steve McQueen Collection as well as several individual titles that are due for release soon.

    [​IMG]

    The Feature: 3.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Video:
    Tall In The Saddle isn't going to win any awards, but the film shows up with a solid and mostly problem free transfer from the folks at Warner. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, this is a nice effort. It’s pretty common knowledge that many of the elements that remain from the RKO studios are in less than desirable condition. I doubt this title would have seen much in the way of a cleanup so one would have to assume the elements that were used, were in very good shape.

    The overall level of sharpness is mostly pleasing with occasional signs of softness. Typical with many of the RKO films from a similar period Tall In The Saddle has a slightly coarser look to it. There is a slight to moderate amount of medium density film grain present which offers a pleasing film-like image. There were signs of scratches as well as dust and dirt, none of which ever became a distraction.

    Black levels were reasonably deep, though not perfect, while whites were somewhat crisp and slightly murky. The level of grayscale was better than average while contrast and shadow detail appeared to be fine.

    The image was mostly solid with only a few instances of shimmer or jitter and light speckle was also present infrequently. Compression was never an issue nor was edge enhancement.

    Nice job.

    Video: 3.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Audio:
    The soundtrack provided here is a Dolby Digital monaural track that does an admirable job of completing the task.

    The track was free of any hiss or other distractions, yet remained natural.

    The overall sound of the track was natural but never became edgy or shrill. The clarity of dialogue was crystal clear and bold. There was a little more depth to the overall range which was evident during some fight and chase scenes – slightly more than I anticipated.

    In this case, the track handles the material with ease and without any problems.

    Audio: 3.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Special Features:
    The disc only contains a single special feature (although I am a sucker for these):
    [*] A Trailer Gallery. The gallery consists of 7 trailers including:

    - Tall In The Saddle 1944 - (1:46)
    - Fort Apache 1948 - (1:44)
    - Blood Alley 1955 - (2:35)
    - The Sea Chase 1955 - (3:28)
    - The Train Robbers 1972 - (3:33)
    - Cahill: United States Marshall 1973 - (2:43)
    - McQ 1974 - (2:13)

    All of the trailers are in reasonably good shape with the first two (the oldest two), in slightly rougher condition.

    Special Features: 2.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



    Final Thoughts:
    It would appear as though Tall In The Saddle seems to be a favorite among many Wayne fans. This was my first experience with this film and it was a highly enjoyable romp through the old west. The film has a lot going for it including an interesting love triangle centered around the apparently non-interested Wayne, a number of entertaining western chases and fight scenes, a peculiar (and rather humorous) showdown in the street and some snappy dialogue offered up by Hayes and the Duke.

    Warner has done a nice job with the DVD. The presentation is certainly on par - if not slightly better than many of the (troubled) RKO titles that have surfaced in the past and they have included a gallery of Wayne trailers as a special feature to top it off. Considering this disc can be had for under $10 bucks, what's not to like...?

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (not an average)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Recommended...!





    Release Date: May 3rd, 2005
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,481
    Likes Received:
    7,658
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Man, I loved this film ever since I'd watched it on the Million Dollar Movie several moons ago. Anybody from the NYC area that was around during the 1960s remembers the Million Dollar Movie. I had a huge crush on Ella Raines and always thought she was one of most beautiful actresses from that time period. I agree about the film chemistry between the two and wished they made more films together. This was one of Gabby Hayes best roles. Also, interesting to see Wayne act in this film with some of his closest friends like Ward Bond and Paul Fix. As you noted, Fix co-wrote the story for this film.

    Thanks for reviewing this title, since it's not well-known except by Wayne film buffs.







    Crawdaddy
     
  3. jim_falconer

    jim_falconer Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    312
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Again, thanks for the excellent review. Like I stated after reading your comments about 'The Sea Chase', I can't wait to pick up this box!
     
  4. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 1999
    Messages:
    11,238
    Likes Received:
    787
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman
    Heck, they still had the Million Dollar Movie at least through the '80s. [​IMG]
     
  5. dave bula

    dave bula Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've bought quite a few boxed sets from Warners in the last couple of years, but I'm having a lot of trouble working up much enthusiasm for this particular one. I guess it's a combination of mediocre films and the lack of extras. Only Tall In The Saddle interests me, so I may just pick up that title alone.

    Why, oh, why, doesn't Warners give us a really good Western "theme" set like they did with Film Noir, Gangsters, Musicals, and Comedies? A set containing most, if not all, highly desirable Western film titles? That would be a lot better than this particular John Wayne set. Who cares about McQ and Sea Chase anyway? They're just not that good. Oh, I know that some Wayne completists will be happy, but those just don't do it for me. At least they spared us Wayne's worst film, the truly awful Green Berets.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,481
    Likes Received:
    7,658
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert

    You would be surprised how well John Wayne's films sell even the mediocre ones. The studios learned that during the videotape era which is why so many of his films were released to video.






    Crawdaddy
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,481
    Likes Received:
    7,658
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    I just got through watching "Tall in the Saddle" dvd and must say that Warner did a very good job with this original RKO release. For years, this film was cut by about 7-8 minutes and was shown on television that way, probably until Ted Turner's group got their hands on it and restored it back to 87 minutes. Of course, they also colorized it.[​IMG] Anyhow, I'm very pleased with Warner's effort.

    It's interesting that this was Wayne's first RKO film after he signed a new seven year contract with them.






    Crawdaddy
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 1998
    Messages:
    32,481
    Likes Received:
    7,658
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Robert
    Yesterday, I watched another underrated Wayne western called "Angel and the Badman" which co-starred the beautiful Gail Russell and Wayne mentor, Harry Carey Sr. That film along with "Tall in the Saddle" is a perfect double feature night for a John Wayne fan like myself. I hope Paramount gets around to releasing this old Republic title onto dvd.








    Crawdaddy
     

Share This Page