Western Watch: Westerns on or coming to Blu-ray

3 Stars

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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Kevin Collins

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43 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. Robert Crawford

    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.

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

  3. Robert Crawford

    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.

    I have this thing for Alaskan westerns so I’ll have to add that to my list.

  4. 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:

    View attachment 60124

    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.

  5. 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]

  6. Hollywoodaholic

    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]

    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?

  7. Reggie W

    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?

    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.

  8. 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

    View attachment 60169

    From 1956 I bring you, The Last Hunt:

    View attachment 60170

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. :razz:opcorn:

    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.

  11. Robert Crawford

    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.

    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.

  12. Gary OS

    I'm not a fan of the edgy westerns (beginning with Man Without a Star & 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. But to each his own.

    Gary "I know I'm in the minority on my opinion" O.

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Reggie W

    Pictures like this or Day of the Outlaw are really dark films.

    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… 🙄 err… I mean Day of the Outlaw" O. :dancing-banana-04:

  16. Reggie W

    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.

    That's painful stuff to ponder. I would fault no one that did not find that a good evening's entertainment.

    I don't believe in making people watch things they may find disturbing…

    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.

  17. Gary OS

    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.

    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.

  18. smithbrad

    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.

    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!!

  19. Gary OS

    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.

    I completely understand where you are coming from, Gary. Recently I made a new friend and as we were sitting outside drinking under a beautiful summer night sky the topic of what he did for a living came up. He is this very wonderful, funny, upbeat, cheerful guy and he said he works for a company that monitors and tries to stop elder abuse. Then the stories started to come out…ugly horrid stuff…and then the fact came out that they mostly fail at preventing all this abuse.

    I sat there thinking about the horror it would be to get up everyday to confront that knowing most of the time you would fail to stop it. I thought I would end up losing it if that was my job. I wondered how he sat there maintaining his sense of humor and good nature knowing Monday morning he would be once again dealing with horrific abuse and knowing the failure percentage would be upwards of 85%.

    So, Gary, I say thank whatever deity anybody wants to name for people like you…that fight that battle daily. Whatever it takes to unwind from that, to put a smile back on your face…you deserve it.

    I'm not against those kind of pictures, for the record, I enjoy some of them as well. Thankfully, I don't have to use them as a way to decompress from my job at this stage…just from the occasional hardships and life tragedies we all encounter at times.

  20. I was pretty tired when I was writing about The Last Hunt above and failed to mention what a great job Warner Archive did with the Blu-ray. At this point though I think it is pretty much expected that the Archive releases are going to look fabulous.

  21. I missed the announcements on these so I thought I would share that Shout Factory has a couple of westerns coming out in the next two weeks.

    Release date: July 9, 2019

    [​IMG]

    Synopsis
    Dauntless. Dastardly. Daring. Dangerous. Defiant. The West the way it truly was.

    The final days of the James-Younger gang are meticulously detailed in this riveting account of the group's most daring robbery. Led by the introspective Cole Younger (Cliff Robertson) and the nearly psychotic Jesse James (Robert Duvall), the much-glorified desperadoes set their sights on the biggest bank west of the Mississippi. The gritty action and dialogue, based on documented fact, chronicles the robbery from Younger's decision to storm the seemingly impregnable depository, through the gang's grueling trek through Minnesota, right up to the precision-planned assault. Written and directed by Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff), The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid is a taut and grounded take on one of the Old West's most infamous tales.

    Bonus Features

    • NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historian Jim Hemphill
    • Image Gallery
    • Theatrical Trailer
  22. Release Date: July 16, 2019

    [​IMG]

    Synopsis
    Ronald Reagan must choose between the woman he loves and the dangerous life of a frontier lawman in Law And Order. Marshal Frame Johnson (Reagan) was hired to keep the peace in Tombstone, not kill people. So when an angry mob tries to take the matter of an outlaw into their own hands, Frame realizes that he has no place in a town that doesn't want true justice.

    Hoping to finally settle down with his sweetheart Jeannie (Dorothy Malone), Frame moves to Cottonwood with his brothers Lute and Jimmy, where they build a ranch. When a rash of cattle rustling threatens to drive out the decent townsfolk, and the local judge suspects that the sheriff is just as corrupt as the thieves, he appeals to Frame for his help. Frame declines, but Lute accepts the badge in his place. When Lute is killed and Jimmy is framed for murder, Frame realizes that only he can stop the corruption and restore law and order in Cottonwood … or no one will be safe.

    Bonus Features

    • Commentary By Film Historian Jim Hemphill
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Image Gallery
    • Photo Gallery
  23. ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ with Kirk Douglas may appeal to lots of Western fans. There is a region-free bluray available in Germany and a review of it on dvd beaver. Excellent film.

  24. Love Westerns, so I’ll jump right in….Just received the limited Blu-ray of “Seven from Texas” It is limited to only 600 copies and is Region Free. Comes with a bonus DVD of “$100,000 for Lassiter”. It is a new series of limited Blu-rays from Dorado Films called European Westerns. This release is #1 of the series. Not sure how frequently they will be released. Haven’t watched it yet but I am hoping to get to it tomorrow. Always love Spaghetti Westerns. They may tend to all be very similar and sometimes a bit over-convoluted but there is something almost familiar about them that I find reassuring and relaxing.

  25. Blu_rayfan66

    'Lonely Are The Brave' with Kirk Douglas may appeal to lots of Western fans. There is a region-free bluray available in Germany and a review of it on dvd beaver. Excellent film.

    I do have the German blu and yes, I think it is a very good presentation of the film.

  26. Rodney

    I missed the announcements on these so I thought I would share that Shout Factory has a couple of westerns coming out in the next two weeks.

    Release date: July 9, 2019

    [​IMG]

    Synopsis
    Dauntless. Dastardly. Daring. Dangerous. Defiant. The West the way it truly was.

    The final days of the James-Younger gang are meticulously detailed in this riveting account of the group's most daring robbery. Led by the introspective Cole Younger (Cliff Robertson) and the nearly psychotic Jesse James (Robert Duvall), the much-glorified desperadoes set their sights on the biggest bank west of the Mississippi. The gritty action and dialogue, based on documented fact, chronicles the robbery from Younger's decision to storm the seemingly impregnable depository, through the gang's grueling trek through Minnesota, right up to the precision-planned assault. Written and directed by Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff), The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid is a taut and grounded take on one of the Old West's most infamous tales.

    Bonus Features

    • NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historian Jim Hemphill
    • Image Gallery
    • Theatrical Trailer

    I watched The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid and really enjoyed it. It feels a bit influenced by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and has an episodic structure. Almost as if what Philip Kaufman did was make a series of short films although the episodes do lead up to the event the film is named after. It begins with the James brothers having their morning crap in a two person outhouse while having a discussion and eavesdropping on Cole Younger telling stories to a group of people on a nearby porch. Moving through things like Cole Younger attending an early baseball game and the gang's encounter with an old woman. These moments not always really pushing the plot forward but creating a "hangout" vibe where you get to spend time with and learn about these people.

    Cole Younger is the primary character in the story and Jesse James is portrayed in this picture as basically a racist thug that never stopped fighting the Civil war. Younger seems intelligent and curious while Jesse is vicious, dangerous, and not too bright. I point that out because James is not always portrayed this way in motion pictures. I should say James is not all thug in this film though as he is aware of his reputation enough that he indulges in some self-promotion when the opportunity presents itself.

    Bruce Surtees does a fantastic job photographing the period settings and this is a really handsome looking production. I mentioned Butch and Sundance because the picture mixes in some comedy and sort of follows these guys as they wander about. Younger and James do not share the same sort of relationship as Butch and Sundance but stick together out of some sort of loyalty to the gang.

    A really good if a bit meandering Western that also puts a heavy emphasis on the changing times and end of the West.

  27. I wanted to plug a Western I recently discovered that really blew me away. I'd rate it up there with such classics as Red River and The Searchers. The rules of this thread state that recommendations must be on Blu-ray, but it wasn't specified that it had to be Region A, So I'll take a chance and recommend Gunman's Walk starring Van Heflin as a rancher trying to train sons Tab Hunter and James Darren. Tab's performance as the bad son is electrifying, probably his best. There's a Blu-ray from Germany, but if you're not region-free, it has also been released in HD on iTunes.

    [​IMG]

  28. Mark-P

    I wanted to plug a Western I recently discovered that really blew me away. I'd rate it up there with such classics as Red River and The Searchers. The rules of this thread state that recommendations must be on Blu-ray, but it wasn't specified that it had to be Region A, So I'll take a chance and recommend Gunman's Walk starring Van Heflin as a rancher trying to train sons Tab Hunter and James Darren. Tab's performance as the bad son is electrifying, probably his best. There's a Blu-ray from Germany, but if you're not region-free, it has also been released in HD on iTunes.

    [​IMG]

    I have the German BD and it will play on Region A players. I'll be surprise this doesn't show up on Blu-ray in the States over the next year or so.

  29. Mark-P

    I wanted to plug a Western I recently discovered that really blew me away. I'd rate it up there with such classics as Red River and The Searchers. The rules of this thread state that recommendations must be on Blu-ray, but it wasn't specified that it had to be Region A, So I'll take a chance and recommend Gunman's Walk starring Van Heflin as a rancher trying to train sons Tab Hunter and James Darren. Tab's performance as the bad son is electrifying, probably his best. There's a Blu-ray from Germany, but if you're not region-free, it has also been released in HD on iTunes.

    [​IMG]

    Currently $12.99 on iTunes. Ouch. I'll keep an eye on it and bite if the price drops a bit.

  30. Still pining for more Roy Rogers or westerns in that vein. Seems like the majority of Blu ray titles released tend toward the late 50's or 60's westerns that often don't hit the sweet spot for me. But I keep hoping some studio will take up the cause and release some solid 30's, 40's or early 50's westerns.

    Gary "but it's probably more of a pipe dream than anything else at this point" O.

  31. dpippel

    Currently $12.99 on iTunes. Ouch. I'll keep an eye on it and bite if the price drops a bit.

    It showed up on iTunes about a month ago at that same price point. I expect that pricing to drop and/or for a Region A disc announcement.

  32. Mark-P

    The rules of this thread state that recommendations must be on Blu-ray, but it wasn't specified that it had to be Region A

    No, not at all. Other region blu-rays are fine here. I only had a single rule here and that was not to wish list. So, love that you brought this one up.

  33. I was perusing the various Amazons & I came across a western called California (1947), staring Ray Milland (& I love a bit of Ray Milland, I grew up watching his films on TV), & from everything I've read it sounds like it's my kind of western, & reports say that it looks really good (Universal have done some great transfers of forties Paramount Technicolor films), & the good news is that it's only 8.68 euros from Amazon.de, that's under £12 delivered to the UK, so at that price I had to order it.

  34. Next up on Western Watch we let the Italians take the reigns for a late model Spaghetti Western from 1976:

    View attachment 61565

    Unlike a lot of the Spaghetti Westerns released late in the cycle Keoma does not indulge in comedy. This is a straight-up dramatic psychological Western with good performances and a story that has a half brother returning home to find while the town has changed the dynamic with his half siblings has not. Apparently for director Enzo Castellari this was a passion project. It shows as he and DP Aiace Parolin put on a clinic of creative cinematography and nearly every frame and every set piece is gorgeously shot and conceived. Let's just get this out of the way…this is one seriously beautiful film to look at.

    Seriously, I would show this film to budding cinematographers to teach them what you can do with a camera in terms of where to put it, movement, and how to make every frame of your picture exciting and visually interesting. This film sort of looks like Leone and Tarkovsky got together to shoot a Western. The way they shot the flashback moments in the film is truly wonderful.

    Loaded with atmosphere the picture is a visual feast. For this alone you should watch this.

    All that said there is one aspect of the picture that seems an odd choice, there are two singers that act as an unseen Greek chorus that literally sing what is going on in the film…basically they sing what the characters are doing, thinking, and feeling. It's more than a little nuts. I think they call this the Ballad of Keoma, and while it does not ruin the picture it does aggravate fans like Joe Dante. Neither singer is particularly pleasant to listen to, the woman or the guy, and if the camera panned around to show the two of them standing there it would turn the picture into a hilarious Monty Python exorcise. Thankfully, this never happens but at key moments in the film these two do start wailing and it is grating…for many of us.

    My guess is they added the singers because the film had no script and they were writing and improvising stuff as they went so maybe they thought that people would not understand what was happening so "Hey, let's have two people sing what is going on!"

    Despite this weirdness, and really watching this new Arrow disc it bothered me less than it had in the past because it all looks so beautiful, I highly recommend this one.

  35. Reggie W

    Next up on Western Watch we let the Italians take the reigns for a late model Spaghetti Western from 1976:

    View attachment 61565

    Unlike a lot of the Spaghetti Westerns released late in the cycle Keoma does not indulge in comedy. This is a straight-up dramatic psychological Western with good performances and a story that has a half brother returning home to find while the town has changed the dynamic with his half siblings has not. Apparently for director Enzo Castellari this was a passion project. It shows as he and DP Aiace Parolin put on a clinic of creative cinematography and nearly every frame and every set piece is gorgeously shot and conceived. Let's just get this out of the way…this is one seriously beautiful film to look at.

    Seriously, I would show this film to budding cinematographers to teach them what you can do with a camera in terms of where to put it, movement, and how to make every frame of your picture exciting and visually interesting. This film sort of looks like Leone and Tarkovsky got together to shoot a Western. The way they shot the flashback moments in the film is truly wonderful.

    Loaded with atmosphere the picture is a visual feast. For this alone you should watch this.

    All that said there is one aspect of the picture that seems an odd choice, there are two singers that act as an unseen Greek chorus that literally sing what is going on in the film…basically they sing what the characters are doing, thinking, and feeling. It's more than a little nuts. I think they call this the Ballad of Keoma, and while it does not ruin the picture it does aggravate fans like Joe Dante. Neither singer is particularly pleasant to listen to, the woman or the guy, and if the camera panned around to show the two of them standing there it would turn the picture into a hilarious Monty Python exorcise. Thankfully, this never happens but at key moments in the film these two do start wailing and it is grating…for many of us.

    My guess is they added the singers because the film had no script and they were writing and improvising stuff as they went so maybe they thought that people would not understand what was happening so "Hey, let's have two people sing what is going on!"

    Despite this weirdness, and really watching this new Arrow disc it bothered me less than it had in the past because it all looks so beautiful, I highly recommend this one.

    Agree with you on all points. The film is beautiful to look at; however, the singers are awful. Wish it had been The Ballad of Cat Ballou instead of The Ballad of Keoma. At least Ballou had better singers.

  36. bujaki

    Agree with you on all points. The film is beautiful to look at; however, the singers are awful. Wish it had been The Ballad of Cat Ballou instead of The Ballad of Keoma. At least Ballou had better singers.

    It is visually up there with Leone's work and I don't think people would have been lost without all that caterwauling narration. I think it's more confusing that it is there because you sit there wondering "Why the hell did they do that?"

    I remember when I first saw the film I just thought the music with the singing was meant to be just a theme song…then I realized they were singing narration for each section of the story!

    It did make me think I wanted to hire these two singers to follow someone around for the day singing what they are doing…

    I guess best if I did that to someone I did not like.

  37. John Hermes

    Columbia's Count Three And Pray (1955) will be released on Blu-ray by Sony on September 24.
    CinemaScope 2.55 film.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Many thanks indeed for this bit of very good news. I've been thinking of adding this film in some form or other to my collection for a long time. I must admit I'm surprised it's coming out on Blu-ray disc. Early Joanne Woodward and Allison Hayes too!

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