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Western Watch: Westerns on or coming to Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Reggie W, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    OK, I am starting this thread because, like many here, I am a huge fan of Westerns. I wanted there to be a thread where we can talk about films that either have been released or are coming to Blu-ray or UHD. Also while there are not a lot of Westerns being made anymore, the truth is, they are still making them. I think a lot of new ones slip through the cracks because they don't get shown in theaters or are not well promoted.

    I have several releases I have been watching that I am going talk about and I really hope others here will talk about the Westerns they have been watching or have discovered are coming to Blu-ray or UHD soon.

    Here's the big rule in this thread...

    DO NOT WISH LIST PLEASE.

    I ask this because when people, including me, enter this thread what I want them to find is a discussion of films available on Blu-ray or UHD or coming to these formats. You can also discuss films that are in or coming to theaters or films that are streaming somewhere. The point is in this thread I want to keep it to content that is available to us or that we know is coming...not all the films we wish were on Blu or UHD.

    Believe me, I too have a long list of Westerns I wish were available but this is not the thread for that. This is the only thing I am asking that you not do here and I am not a big rules guy...I just think that so many threads get swamped with people's wish lists and those detract from actually discussing the pictures that are available or are coming soon.

    And to make this even easier I am starting a second thread that is specifically for Wish Listing...so if you want to do that please go all out doing it in the other thread.

    Please participate, please talk about the Westerns you are watching on Blu-ray or UHD and please let's create a resource here where we can talk about all of these pictures we love that are available or that we know are going to be available.

    It's actually a great time to be a Western fan because so many pictures are available to us to collect and watch at our leisure.

    So, saddle up and let's hit the trail...and as William Holden might say, "If they wish list, kill 'em."
     
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  2. Message #2 of 44 Jun 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
    Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    To help this thread stay on topic, I will delete any post that references a western that isn't out on Blu-ray or has a Blu-ray release date.

    Reggie,

    "Man Without a Star" is coming out on Blu-ray in Region A on August 27th. A fine western starring Kirk Douglas along with a terrific supporting cast with Richard Boone playing the baddie. Also, I see one of your favorites "Day of the Outlaw" is coming out in Region A on Blu-ray too that day.

    Twilight Time is releasing "The Tall Men" in Region A on August 20th starring Clark Gable, Robert Ryan and Jane Russell.

    Kino is releasing "The Spoilers" (1942) starring John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich and Randolph Scott on September 10th. Not a traditional western like "High Noon", but it takes place in 1900 during the Gold Rush in Nome, Alaska.
     
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  3. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    Thank you, so you've been warned Robert has his shotgun loaded.
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I have this thing for Alaskan westerns so I’ll have to add that to my list.
     
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  5. Message #5 of 44 Jun 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
    Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    Well, thanks to Robert we are off and running with a list of films coming soon to Blu-ray.

    So, while I kind of thought the wish list thread would be more popular than this thread I will kickoff the discussion of Westerns I watched with this:

    Never Grow Old.

    Never Grow Old (2019)- So, this film stars two recognizable faces that most people will know, John Cusack and Emile Hirsch. The set-up is Hirsch is an Irish undertaker in a town that has been taken over by a bible thumping preacher that has eliminated all vice from the town. So, no booze, gambling, or hookers. Cusack and his gang ride in one night (an interesting aspect of this one is most of the film takes place at night) in search of a man that deserted their little gang and find the town is ripe for change...in other words he can see the town needs an injection of booze, gambling, and hookers...what's life without these things after all. So, here begins our little biblical battle.

    The big question is probably is this any good and the answer is yes. Hirsch as the undertaker, the man who's soul is up for grabs and Cusack, as basically the embodiment of evil, are both capable of carrying the film and turn in solid performances. This is really a Euro Western as it is shot in Ireland and Luxembourg (the outdoor locations are beautiful) by a European director with primarily European financing as well. Is it a little heavy handed with the biblical references? Sure, but that does not kill the fun here. Due to the dark subject matter of the film the Irish director, Ivan Kavanagh, chooses to shoot much of the film in the evening. We are after all exploring the dark corners of men's souls. This give things a unique look and plenty of scenes shot by candle or firelight.

    Bottom line is I enjoyed the story, the look of the film, and the performances. It's not classic John Wayne and leans more toward Deadwood (I think Deadwood is a considerable influence on many Westerns that followed it) but it is well made and I think if you are looking for a Western to watch you have never seen this is a good choice.

     
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  6. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    The best western mini-series to ever air on television (imo) comes out again in blu-ray in a couple weeks: Lonesome Dove. This time in a steel book from Mill Creek? But is there anything different about it this time? A remaster? A new documentary? New interviews?

    Does anyone remember (or had) the first release on DVD? It was virtually unwatchable the image was so bad. I couldn't believe they would let that go out like that. It took a while for the blu-ray to correct, but I just wonder if they've done any more improvement with this release. (Painting below by my sister, who lives in Texas and worships this Western; it would probably make a better cover than the one they go with).

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    I don't know if they have done any more work to Lonesome Dove for the new release but I want to say that painting is wonderful, Wayne! Does she sell those?
     
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  8. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    I don't know if she sells prints of her Lonesome Dove series, but her paintings are showcased in a gallery in Wimberley, Texas. I'll find out more.
     
  9. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I think it’s just a repack of the earlier Mill Creek disc but don’t hold me to that.
     
  10. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    OK, episode 2 of Western Watch...or the second picture I will talk about. So, since I began with a newer Western and nobody commented on that I'll go to a classic Western this time. This one comes to us via Warner Archive, in glorious CinemaScope...

    CinemaScope.

    From 1956 I bring you, The Last Hunt:

    Last Hunt.



    A decade before he would direct another great Western, The Professionals, and before the Spaghetti Western phase began, Richard Brooks wrote and directed the truly grim The Last Hunt. I have to imagine that the Italian directors must have loved this gruesome vision of the American West. These guys are sweaty, dirty, and stink like rotting animal flesh.

    Robert Taylor plays Charlie, a complete psychopath gunslinger, that hooks up with Stewart Granger's character Sandy when Sandy's cattle are killed by a herd of stampeding buffalo. This leads to the two men joining forces to hunt buffalo to earn some money.

    The story makes a point of how horrible buffalo hunting is and how it can drive men mad but Taylor's Charlie is already a madman when they meet as he enjoys killing...anything...and is happy to tell you so. This is a truly dark tale that was probably well ahead of it's time.

    Nothing about the West is portrayed as nice. It is depicted as a brutal country generally filled with brutal men. We see ugly treatment of the Native Americans, that buffalo hunting is basically nothing but a massive slaughter, and that people in the old west would bash your brains in, stab, and or shoot you either before or after having a drink with you. These aren't John Wayne fights either where everybody ends up pals after a good punch up. No, these guys are filled with a crazed bloodlust and have intent to kill or at least badly maim the other person. In fact the guys in this film all have their moments of being fairly unhinged.

    That being said the acting here from Granger, Taylor, and Lloyd Nolan is excellent and the film is gorgeously shot in stunning outdoor locations. You are warned at the start of the film that you are going to see buffalo actually being killed, an authorized and necessary culling of the herd, which they were allowed to film. This, in general, adds to the overall feeling of dread you get watching this picture.

    Do I recommend this one? Well, I do think it is an excellently made film. It looks beautiful, the acting is outstanding, it is really a film ahead of it's time in terms of how nasty it is...so, if you go in knowing it is a very grim story then I say jump right in. You do have to come to terms with the idea that you are going to see some buffalo killed during the picture.
     
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  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    When I was a kid back in 1960's, I watched this film for the very first time and the film's ending stayed with me like no other western. IMO, it's a very underrated western with a sense of brutality that was rare for films made in 1956. Of course, Richard Brooks, whom I considered the best director when it comes to written dialogue is at the top of his game here. Just a great director/writer and his "The Professionals" remains one of my all-time favorite films that I actually saw in a movie theater probably within a year of two of seeing this film on TV.
     
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  12. Message #12 of 44 Jul 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
    Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I'm not a fan of the edgy westerns (beginning with films like Last Train from Gun Hill & Jubal). I guess High Noon was the first to really go in a direction I don't care for. Cynicism, coldness/bitterness and harshness are not my cup of tea with westerns. Give me a more optimistic good guy vs bad guy western. There are westerns I enjoy that push up into the later 50's, but to be honest around 55'/56' many westerns were moving in a direction I didn't care for, especially when the studios were hiring big stars that were not typical western stars (like Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, etc). Sometimes those type of westerns were okay, but often they didn't really hit the right spot for me. United Artists and Fox had some nice later 50's westerns, but overall I prefer the westerns before the mid-50's. Once we hit the 60's and the spaghetti westerns really became a "thing", I was done.

    Give me the old school westerns with guys like William Elliot, Joel McCrea, Rod Cameron, Audie Murphy and Roy Rogers. So I'll enjoy my Four Faces West, Denver and the Rio Grande, Singing Guns, Trigger Jr., South of St Louis, The Cariboo Trail, and Silver City. I highly recommend all of these!

    But to each his own. :popcorn:


    Gary "I know I'm in the minority on this one, but that's what makes the world go round" O.


    P.S. Edited my post to give better examples of what I'm talking about.
     
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  13. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    I don't recall seeing this one when I was growing up. It is one of the "adult" Westerns and you are 100% correct, Robert, that the writing in the film is both very intelligent and very biting. In fact there were lines in this film that made me feel very sad because they reminded me that today we are still doing what we see happening to the Native Americans in this film. Rounding people up and neglecting them, treating them poorly, and allowing even children to die, to not have food or water. Acting as if these people, human beings including children, are nothing but refuse to be left to starve or go thirsty.

    When Debra Paget, playing a young Native American woman, says "A baby belongs to everyone." wow, I just felt so sad because it reminded me we still have people that do not feel that way. I loved the way that Sandy responds to her when she says this. Great writing! I say that because even today it had an impact on me and emotionally moved me. I also think Charlie's attitude that the solution to everything is to grab a gun and start killing is still alive and well today. So, while the film was made way back in the 1950s it is commenting on truths about human beings which keeps it very relevant even now sadly.

    I love Lloyd Nolan's character who is crazy and often drunk but a good man and wise in the ways of men and the world he lives in. When he asks Charlie how killing makes him feel and adds "Does it make you feel like being with a woman?" I just thought "What a great line!"

    This is a really good film. I don't know how well known it is but I think you are correct it is probably very underrated. I think maybe because it is so downbeat, dwells on killing and the ugly side of mankind, it is not some sort of feel good shoot 'em up that probably some people would not enjoy watching it.

    I'm with you on the ending too. Beautifully done but I think that ending would also bother some people.
     
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  14. Message #14 of 44 Jul 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
    Reggie W

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    Not sure you are in the minority, Gary. In fact I think most people probably prefer films that make them feel good or that don't ask them to ponder aspects of the human condition. I think "passive entertainment" is the most popular kind and that is reflected in what is popular today as well.

    I admit, I think The Last Hunt is a really good film but I did not feel good while I was watching it. I can understand why somebody would not want to go through that and I don't think there is anything wrong with that at all. This is why I was sort of cautious about my recommendation of it. It is a grim picture, it is not going to leave you standing cheering as the hero rides off into the sunset and they all live happily ever after. It looks at crappy aspects of human beings that we are dealing with still today. It shows we don't learn from history and we repeat our mistakes.

    That's painful stuff to ponder. I would fault no one that did not find that a good evening's entertainment. My wife walked in as the credits were rolling and asked "How was the movie?" my one word response was "Grim."

    She replied "Grim, so I can skip that one." and I said "Probably best that you do."

    I don't believe in making people watch things they may find disturbing. I was emotionally moved by it and could not stop my brain from making connections to things happening in today's world. I think this is a good thing, for me, but I am aware enough to know it might not be for someone else.

    Also I think Westerns changed as a reaction to humanity going through a second world war. I know a lot of times I read about how films, Westerns in this case, changed in the 1960s the truth is I think you are correct that it began before that. The Italians did not invent dark, dirty, cynical Westerns.

    Pictures like this or Day of the Outlaw are really dark films. Hell, in Day of the Outlaw you often are not sure who to root for. I like that complexity and the shades of gray but understand these are films that may not be pleasant to sit through.
     
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  15. OliverK

    OliverK Producer

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    Howdy guys a western discussion thread - fantastic!

    Here is another vote for The Last Hunt - I only watched it once as a teenager and I am currently waiting to get together a sizable number of discs for my next Warner Archive order that will include The Last Hunt.

    Indeed it has a rather downbeat ending but I thought it was perfect not like some downbeat endings that seem to be there just because somebody thought it was cool to have one.
     
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  16. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Producer

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    I'm probably being a bit dense here (not for the first time), but...To help this thread stay on topic, I will delete any post that references a western that isn't out on Blu-ray or has a Blu-ray release date. - shouldn't that be, or doesn't have a Blu-ray release date.
     
  17. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    Interestingly enough, that is one of the very few westerns of that darker nature that I'm okay with. I hate the Tina Louise portions of it but because it's filmed on location, mostly near Bend, I tolerate it. I'm a sucker for beautiful outdoor scenery and that film has it in spades. It does a great job, especially being filmed in b/w, with creating the mood that movie called for.

    And the only guy I can root for is Ozzie & Harriet's son, David. LOL


    Gary "happy as punch that Kino will be releasing Tina Louise's Bosom... :rolleyes: err... I mean Day of the Outlaw" O. :dancing-banana-04:
     
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  18. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    For me, Pike, it's not so much that I find those types of westerns disturbing (although most of them are), but that I find them tiring. My day job requires me to deal with the worst humanity can offer. I see and hear a lot of stuff, and have to counsel people constantly, many of whom have really been in depraved situations. So when I get home I don't care to have more of the same thrown at me for "entertainment" purposes. It's just not worth it to watch a western where a woman is raped (I've already counseled with them during the day), or a person has been betrayed and broken (I've already counseled with them during the day), or a person has lost a loved one under horrible and violent ends (I've already... Well, you get my point). So watching those later, edgier westerns just have never appealed to me for that reason. I want something that's going to uplift me after a long day in the sewers of humanity. For me, these films don't teach me anything. They only reinforce the wickedness and depravity that resides in people. So give me a straight up good guy vs bad guy western any day of the week, and leave the shades of gray to the real world.

    Perhaps that better explains the reasons for my personal preferences in westerns. And as I've said above, it's just my tastes and I realize others enjoy different tastes. To each his/her own.

    Gary "I love me some fresh boiled peanuts, but most people can't stand them - variety is the spice of life" O.
     
  19. smithbrad

    smithbrad Screenwriter

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    I follow what you are saying Gary. I tend to lean towards the clear cut good guy vs. bad guy westerns myself (white hat vs. black hat) that tend to be from the pre-60's. For example, I very much enjoy watching a good Randolph Scott western. However, not the ones he is probably most famous for, which were direct by Budd Boetticher. Give me a 30's through mid 50's Randolph Scott western any day.
     
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  20. Message #20 of 44 Jul 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
    Gary OS

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    You literally read my mind on Randolph Scott, Brad! I love him in most anything, but I vastly prefer his 30's to early 50's stuff to the westerns he is undoubtedly most well known for. In fact I was going to list him in my favorite westerns grouping up above (with guys like Joel McCrea and William Elliot) but thought folks would only think of his later westerns and therefore confuse the point I was making. So I'm glad you made that point for me! Thanks!!
     
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