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Archive for the ‘DVD/Blu-Ray News’ Category

Directed by Budd Boetticher
Starring Richard Lapp, Anne Randall, Robert Random, Beatrice Kay, Victor Jory, Audie Murphy

Both Audie Murphy and Budd Boetticher’s last film, A Time For Dying (1969) had a hard time — the sets were destroyed twice, and it never really got any distribution in the United States.

Murphy is Jesse James. Victor Jory is Judge Roy Bean. Boetticher wrote and directed. And Lucien Ballard shot it. Aren’t you glad our friends at Indicator/Powerhouse are bringing it to Blu-Ray?

This one’s a must, folks.

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Directed by Michael Curtiz
Starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Raymond Massey, Ronald Reagan, Alan Hale, Van Heflin, Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, Ward Bond

Warner Bros. had a real knack for stomping all over American history in the name of making a good movie. Santa Fe Trail (1940) is a prime example.

Historic figures like “Jeb” Stuart (Errol Flynn), John Brown (Raymond Massey), George Armstrong Custer (Ronald Reagan), Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis pop in and out of this thing, bumping into each other in very non-actual ways. But none of that matters, since the performances and direction are great, and the whole thing runs at about a mile a minute.

This was the seventh of Flynn’s pictures with Olivia de Havilland. They’d do only one more together Raoul Walsh’s They Died With Their Boots On (1941), with Flynn playing George Armstrong Custer, who Reagan plays in this one. Raymond Massey is terrific as John Brown — who cares about the realities of it.

It’ll be great to see Santa Fe Trail in high definition after its years in public domain VHS/DVD hell. Highly recommended.

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Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker, Millard Mitchell

Mann and Stewart’s third Western, coming after Winchester ’73 (1950) and Bend Of The River (1952), has been screaming for some restoration work for quite some time. Warner Archive has announced a Blu-Ray release for September. Can’t wait to see what they’ve done with it.

These Mann-Stewart pictures are certainly among the best Westerns ever made. Beyond that, it comes down to your personal preference.

I’ll post the technical details as they become available. This one’s as essential as they get.

Love that poster art by Gustav Rehberger.

Thanks to Paula for the tip.

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Bob Furmanek of The 3-D Film Archive is working on their most ambitious and labor-intensive effort yet — teaming up with TCA Television Corp. and the Lou Costello Estate to restore and preserve The Abbott & Costello Show from its original 35mm camera negatives! This mammoth project is being propelled by a Kickstarter campaign, which is nearing its completion. Click the title card above to participate. Do it today!

With these shows, what we see today comes from standard-definition transfers done back in the 80s, that have been “sharpened” and monkeyed with over the years for DVD release. (My old 16mm prints were better-looking!) For this new release, the 26 Season One episodes will be scanned from 35mm master elements in 4K — and each episode will be digitally cleaned, frame by frame.

Some episodes will have commentaries, including my own ramblings for episode 11, “The Western Story.” I’m honored.

These shows are terrific — it’s still considered one of the greatest TV shows ever, and I’m so stoked The 3-D Film Archive is giving them the four-star treatment they gave Africa Screams (1949). Can’t wait to see Stinky, Mike The Cop and Hillary Brooke in all their 4K glory. Essential.

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Directed by John Wayne
Starring John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, Frankie Avalon, Patrick Wayne, Linda Cristal, Joan O’Brien, Hank Worden, John Dierkes, Denver Pyle, Olive Carey, Chill Wills, Joseph Calleia, Ken Curtis, Richard Boone

We may never get to see John Wayne’s The Alamo (1960) restored the way we want it to be — the way it deserves to be. But there’s something out there — a Blu-Ray/DVD set from Germany — that’s a little closer to the ideal.

Koch has a three-disc set with the shorter cut on Blu-ray and the 202-minute roadshow version on DVD. (Sadly, the only known print of the longer cut has deteriorated to the point that nothing can be done with it.) There are a handful of extras, some in German, some in English. Amazon.de had a version with different cover art — that one is already sold out. 

Since this might be as good as we’ll ever get, this is highly recommended. If you have any details about this — like is the roadshow version anamorphic, is the intermission included and what sort of region lock might be on it — please let us know.

Thanks to Graham for bringing this up.

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Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Starring John Payne, Mari Blanchard, Dan Duryea, Joyce Mackenzie, Barton MacLane, James Griffith, Lee Van Cleef, Myron Healey

Universal’s German “branch” has announced an upcoming nine-movie Blu-Ray set featuring a good, but somewhat random, selection of Westerns — many available on Blu-Ray for the first time.

There are two Audie Murphy pictures, Jesse Hibbs’s Ride Clear Of Diablo (1954) and Gunpoint (1966).

Jesse Hibbs’s Rails Into Laramie (1954) is a cool, sadly under-seen 50s Western with a really terrific cast. It’s been on my Want List for quite some time. 

Also in the set are Jacques Tourneur’s Canyon Passage (1946), George Sherman’s Comanche Territory (1950), Douglas Sirk’s Taza, Son Of Cochise (1954), Smoke Signal (1955), Lonely Are The Brave (1962) and The Ride To Hangman’s Tree (1967).

While packages like this tend to lead to some duplication in your DVD/Blu-Ray collection, they offer up some really good stuff. Recommended.

Thanks to (birthday boy) John Knight for the tip!

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Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Starring Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Hume Cronyn, Warren Oates, Burgess Meredith, John Randolph, Lee Grant, Arthur O’Connell, Barbara Rhoades, Alan Hale, Jr., Gene Evans

After their screenplay for Bonnie And Clyde (1967), David Newman and Robert Benton cooked up this comic, oddball Western, There Was A Crooked Man… (1970). Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz was more at home with heavy dramas, but he gives this one his all.

It’s getting a welcome Blu-Ray release from Warner Archive in June.

Kirk Douglas is his usual swaggering self, and Henry Fonda is the new warden at an Arizona prison, hoping to reform Douglas and the other assorted crooks. This came at a time when Fonda was playing around with his Western persona, appearing in pictures like Burt Kennedy’s Welcome To Hard Times (1967), Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West (1968), Firecreek (1968) and The Cheyenne Social Club (1970). So while this one might not be a total success, it’s certainly interesting — and that cast is terrific, a great gathering of 50s and 60s character actors. Recommended.

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Critics’ Choice has a new William Elliott set out that looks pretty promising, with three pictures from 1941. These Columbia B’s, with Elliott teamed with the great Dub Taylor as Cannonball, are pretty terrific.

Across The Sierras (1941)
Directed by D. Ross Lederman
Starring Bill Elliott, Richard Fiske, Luana Walters, Dub Taylor

An ex-con is looking revenge on the two men who sent him to prison. One of them is Wild Bill Hickok (William Elliott). 

Hands Across The Rockies (1941)
Directed by Lambert Hillyer
Starring Bill Elliott, Mary Daily, Dub Taylor

Wild Bill Hickock and Cannonball (Dub Taylor) are after the man who killed Cannonball’s father.

The Return Of Daniel Boone (1941)
Directed by Lambert Hillyer
Wild Bill Elliott, Betty Miles, Dub Taylor

A large-scale rancher is trying to scoop up all the little ranches in Pecos. His plans run into a snag, Daniel Boone’s grandson (Elliott).

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Directed by John Sturges
Starring William Holden, Eleanor Parker, John Forsythe, William Demarest, William Campbell, Polly Bergen, Howard McNear, Glenn Strange

Warner Archive is working their Blu-Ray magic on John Sturges’ Escape From Fort Bravo (1953), a taut, suspenseful picture starring William Holden and Eleanor Parker.

Shot in Anscocolor, I’m looking forward to what WAC can do with it. Escape From Fort Bravo was originally shown in 1.66, just as the widescreen era was cranking up. But don’t let this make the movie sound like just a technical curio — it’s a damn good 50s Western. Highly recommended.

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Directed by John Sturges
Starring Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones, Earl Holliman, Brian G. Hutton, Dabbs Greer

Here’s the one so many of us, mainly me, have been waiting for. Last Train From Gun Hill (1959) is coming to Blu-Ray from Paramount in June.

An excellent Western, with terrific VistaVision camerawork from Charles B. Lang Jr., this is one of the pictures that made me a 50s Westerns nut and set me on the path to this blog and the upcoming book. It remains one of my all-time favorite films.

If you’re a reader of this blog, this one’s essential.

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