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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by mattfire64, May 3, 2018.
I think they were the ones when the show was called Laredo.
Best news I read today. Just two more to go.
The announcement of season 2 of The High Chaparral being on the way is indeed great news, esp. in these days of vintage TV on DVD scarcity. Hopefully this is an encouraging sign of decent sales for season 1. Classic western series seem to be consistent sellers...probably boosted by exposure in Walmarts and other stores in the fly-over states and rural areas, which still seem to be full of fans of that genre.
At any rate, may all 4 seasons see a swift release over the next year or so. I'll be picking up the first couple of seasons, at the very least.
As I've said many a time before, so did I about Hart to Hart-- Shout! completed the remainder of that 1979-84 ABC mystery/romance series in short order from when I first heard about their third-season (1981-82) release and put in for it direct from them! If The High Chaparral can get out in full just as quickly, that'll be amazing!
I had never seen an episode of this show before. Even though I had said I was through doing westerns on a blind buy basis the transfer quality matter and the low price made me reconsider for this and I watched the first three episodes. The set-up of the premise is very strong and there is a cinematic feel in terms of the time it takes to establish itself. The killing of Joan Caulfield as Annalee Cannon comes off very shocking because it happens 40 minutes into the program and there has been time to see her "established" where you would be used to the idea of her as a series regular. That helps make the human drama of the next two episodes very compelling with the introduction of Victoria and the arrangement.
But whether this can hold my interest in a formulaic TV series once the format is "settled" I'm not completely sure of. I'm more apt to sample the rest based on who appears etc. rather than go all the way through as I tend to do with a lot of shows I'm just getting introduced to (and ultimately shows like this will work great for when I do marathons involving a specific guest performer).
Glad you're giving The High Chaparral a try, Jack, despite your general apathy to TV westerns. I remember being impressed with the opening 3 episodes of this myself...quite an epic feel to it. Leif Erickson is a gruff, somewhat unsympathetic lead at first, a very different patriarch than the openly warm Ben Cartwright on Bonanza. It's no surprise that Cameron Mitchell's freewheeling, fun-loving Buck, and the sensitive beauty Victoria (Linda Crystal) become the audience-identification figures.
Let us know what you think when you get to the Barbara Luna episode Randall so memorably highlighted on the previous page.
An apathy that I once shared, until the opportunity came along to first experience Have Gun, Will Travel, and then Wanted: Dead or Alive-- both quite sterling examples of that genre.
Ghost of Chaparral (1.3)
From IMDB: Victoria is over shadowed by the memory of Annalee. The rigid Big John refuses to let her make changes as he still feels their marriage is an arrangement with her father. A confrontation with Apaches and Victoria's old beau force a change.
Patrick Horgan, Carlos Rivas, Joaquin Martinez
Blue rescues an Indian from torture (committed by Don Montoya's men). The Indian is brought to Chaparral and treated. Victoria is feeling the pressure of being wife in name only, overshadowed by the "ghost" of AnnaLee. While talking to AnnaLee, she is held by Indians. She is used as a bargaining chip in order to secure the release of the tortured Indian. they also want Don Montoya's men who perpetrated the crime. Feeling unappreciated, Victoria is looking to leave when a former beau shows up. Due to all of the activity, Don Montoya is travelling to Chaparral to reclaim his daughter and end the agreement. Victoria is faced with a major decision.
The episode highlights what makes this show appealing to me. John and Victoria are having to work through major adjustments in their "marriage". John and Blue are circling each other in their father/son relationship and Buck just seems carefree. Great characters pretty well defined for three episodes in.
Outside of the teaser seeming a bit washed out, this episode looked just as the others I have viewed. I am trying to entice my wife into watching this. She normally runs away any time a western is on. I hope this one can change her mind.
My apathy has generally been toward seeing more westerns that are obscure come out while a lot of other non-western titles get stalled out or are unreleased (you will never convince me in a million years that Zane Grey Theater deserved more releases than Burke's Law as far as Four Star titles go!). It's because this one counts as a more "prestige" title in the overall pantheon that I would have given a shot five-six years ago when I was casting a wider net. Plus, I've gotten to know Henry Darrow so well from a ton of guest villain of the week shots in 70s shows (and his brief stint on "Harry O") that I might as well see a little of what boosted his profile to begin with!
I believe that I may have actually interested my wife in this series (well, Billy Blue seems to have done the hard work , she likes his eyes). I may be going through this set a bit faster. We viewed an episode at lunch yesterday and today.
Best Man For the Job (1.4)
From IMDB: Buck unknowingly hires a group of Army deserters at the same time an Army patrol stops at High Chaparral documenting fights with the Apaches. When a troop takes high level Apache hostages, Cochise attacks returning the favor.
Warren Stevens, Lane Bradford, Steven Raines
Buck makes an impulsive hire and comes to regret the decision as it affects Blue. Blue, still seeking his Father's approval keeps trying to be noticed. The Army and the Indians keep having skirmishes that intrude on the peaceful life of the ranchers. Another strong episode that stays focused on the Cannon family and how the outside world brings trouble. Nice to see that Blue becomes the "Best Man For The Job" in his father's eyes.
A Quiet Day in Tucson (1.5)
From IMDB: Blue needs new boots and the ranch needs supplies but cash is limited. Big John agrees to let Blue join Buck on a trip to town for supplies along with Manolito. However, the three lose their guns and the money on poker, drink, and women.
Richard Devon, Vaughn Taylor, Ned Romero, John Milford
The first comical episode that shows great cameraderie between Buck, Mano and Blue. Some of the comedy seems forced, but it does get better as the series progresses. Interesting to watch John try to figure out what has ticked off Victoria (and even more interesting that Buck provides the solution).
Well after doing the first three, I sampled another five based on plot summaries and guest stars. The one which involves Geraldine Brooks as the revenge-minded widow of the former ranch owner has a powerful performance. The Jack Lord episode as the stepbrother of the deceased Annalee was painfully predictable.
All in all, as I expected, the powerful cinematic sweep of the first three episodes has settled now into a formula that doesn't lend itself to me as a show I can handle in large dosages. Speaking as a total newcomer to this show with not a single episode seen beforehand, I really came away finding the weak link of the whole setup being Linda Cristal's Victoria and the arranged marriage. The power of the first episode were the viewer gets to know Joan Caulfield's Annalee on an equal footing with the rest of the family members who will be regulars is what makes her murder a shock, but unfortunately it also I think robs the show of what might have been a more interesting family dynamic for a regular series. We got to see how she was a character that truly complemented Big John and what she would have brought to things.
Which now brings me to the other problem. I'm just not coming away with a positive impression of Linda Cristal's Victoria. The whole dynamic of a father just forcing his daughter into a marriage for the sake of a political arrangement just comes across as distasteful to me. It not only makes Frank Silvera's Montoya come off as much less the noble figure the series always tries to assure us he is at every other possible turn, it also makes Victoria come off as very weak. We see her just meekly accept this without any qualm whatsoever, and then on top of that I have to say she shows an appalling lack of tact in which she seems so quick to want to assert herself as the lady of the house etc. While I give the show kudos for trying to make this a more painful period of adjustment stretched out a bit (whereas other shows would have just dispensed with in short fashion), I think the execution was just a bit off overall.
At any rate, that's my eight episode indulgence for now. I'll probably come back to other episodes as necessary when there's a guest star marathon to do. I'm glad I added this to my collection but I think overall the strength of the opening episodes reveals more to me a story that would have made for a great one-off movie epic but not an overall sustained series I could stay immersed in.
I had a similar reaction to watching the first two episodes of The Big Valley several years ago. The epic feel, action and cinematography of those opening episodes (with their overarching story) were quite impressive. Then quickly the series settled into the solid but less epic groove it would follow for the next four years, and became a bit too soapy for my tastes. It's still a well-made show I like to sample at random here and there, but will never count as one of my favorite western series.
Don't remember having any problems with Linda Crystal in past viewings of Chaparral. I'll see what I make of her performance when I get ahold of the season one set.
I have to admit it's been a while since I saw the initial episodes of "The Big Valley" but I have always had a comfort zone with the show's established format (save for those S1 episodes that refer to and show the later forgotten youngest Barkley son who is at Harvard) overall. But it may well be that if that show had gone the route of "The High Chaparral" and say, introduced us to and let us see the Tom Barkley character in the pilot and showed him having a dramatic death and then it would all be about Victoria Barkley learning to become the head of the family, the result might have been something more powerful but one that would have weakened the format.
It's maybe worth noting that all the famous western shows of the 60s that involved families on a ranch never showed us the traditional family unit in terms of both parents living and their children etc. Bonanza with the three time widower (I admit that one still taxes my standards of credibility), High Chaparral with the gruff patriarch with the young second wife, Big Valley with the strong widow, and The Virginian for the most part was giving us the widower or bachelor ranch owner (save for the brief period when it was John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan running things).
Another western from the late sixties that followed this pattern, in both aspects, was Lancer, a two season series with the great Andrew Duggan as the patriarch'owner of the ranch, his two sons (from different wives) and Elizabeth Bauer, later of Ironside, as the young female living with them, being the daughter of Duggan's friend and administrator of the ranch, who's killed in the first episode. Like Big Valley, the first few episodes are the best, as they follow a kind of arc: how the two brothers meet each other in transit to see their father for the first time and the animosity that at first develops between them, as well as the story of how the family adopt the young woman as one of their own after her father's death. Later, of course, as has been said of the other series, it settles into a pattern. It lasted just two seasons, but I liked it, and it never turns into a a female audience oriented western like Big Valley.
I always enjoyed Lancer and wish it was available also.
Pre-order is available at Amazon, $29.99 at present. Hoping the price drops on this one like the last one did.
Not a bad price! I'd like all future releases to be at most that price or lower (not that I care for the show, mind you; I'd simply like its fans [you included, apparently] to not pay too much).
Been over a week and I was feeling the tug of The High Chaparral, went through the next two episodes this afternoon.
Young Blood (1.6) Frank Silvera, Alex Montoya. John needs to purchase livestock and a bull for the ranch. He also needs to be negotiating with the Army for the sale of beef. What to do, who to send to Montoya since Buck foolishly broke his leg. Blue and Mano are sent to make the purchase and things go awry. I enjoyed this one. John and Blue are starting to understand each other just a little bit.
Shadows On The Land (1.7) Kevin Hagen, John Pickard, Jan Arvan.
From IMDB: John has a contract to deliver 500 head of cattle to the Army at $10 per head but he has trouble finding enough cattle on the ranch to fill it. He offers to buy cattle from smaller ranchers for $7.50 but learns they are forced to sell their cattle to Dolph Tanner at a price he sets - $3.50. After killing an Apache, they find he had a new Spencer repeating rifle. John tries to change the local ranchers mind about selling to him but with no luck. At the same time Buck surmises that Tanner is selling the rifles to the Apaches in return for protection from them.
More a traditional western story focusing on a ruthless baron using underhanded tactics to maintain his power. Dramatic final act where Blue and Mano save the day. Continuing to enjoy these excellent looking and uncut episodes. So different from what is shown on INSP.
I felt the need to visit the ranch again and I did so with the rest of disc 2 over the weekend.
The High Chapparal - Season 1
The Filibusteros (1.8) Dan O'Herlihy, Frank Silvera. Always good to see an appearance by Senor Montoya. Very interesting story. A story of divided loyalties; Mano and his family vs. Jake Lanier and Buck.
The Doctor From Dodge (1.9) Jack Kelly, Bob Hoy. The title had me thinking of Doc Adams, but I should have known better. A very enjoyable episode since the doctor (dentist) had a fluid code of honor. Easy to guess who he actually was. Enjoyed the look on Big John's face when he realized his identity.
Sudden Country (1.10) John Kerr, Jan Shepard, Robert Hernandez, King Moody. Greenhorn with romantic fantasies of life out west does everything wrong and nearly loses his wife to Buck. This episode had more print damage than any prior episode and the story was a bit melodramatic in making its point. Not a bad episode but definitely goes out of the way to show how unrealistic Creed Hallock approaches life out west.