Results tagged “Western”

Valdez Is Coming (1971) Blu-ray Review: They Just Messed with the Wrong Mexican

Despite casting Burt Lancaster as a Latino, this early revisionist western from Kino Lorber still deserves a look.
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Originally envisioned as a project for director Sydney Pollack and the starpower of Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster, novelist Elmore Leonard's Valdez Is Coming was once set to contend against the Spaghetti Western craze dominating screens throughout the latter half of the '60s. That didn't happen, of course. In fact, Valdez wouldn't come until 1971 ‒ when the European variation of the genre was quickly being paved over by the American revisionist western ‒ with an entirely different cast and crew attached to the project. With Pollack out, Broadway/TV director Edwin Sherin took over directing. It would be the first

Six Shooters: A Full Round of Classic Westerns New to Blu-ray

Twilight Time and the Warner Archive present us with a gunslingin' good time.
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The ageless allure of life in the Old West is just as timely as ever with these six classics, now available on Blu-ray courtesy the efforts of Twilight Time and the Warner Archive Collection. Boasting many common themes (including a few connections between home media distributors!) and ranging from early cinematic 3D productions to the earliest revisionist westerns by genre rule-breaker Sam Peckinpah, there's an awful lot of reason to shoot up the joint over here. Gun Fury 3D (1953, Twilight Time, Limited Edition of 3,000) One of several movies conceived and released during the early '50s 3D phenomenon (and

The Mercenary (1968) Blu-ray Review: This Fun for Hire

Franco Nero, Tony Musante, and a flamboyant Jack Palance highlight this Sergio Corbucci western, now available from Kino Lorber.
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Amongst the many subgenres of the European western ‒ the tombstones of which typically bear the headings of "Revenge" and "Betrayal" ‒ is another category, informally referred to by devout aficionados as the "Zapata Western." Set during the Mexican Revolution (see: History), these plates of Spaghetti usually feature a pair of protagonists, neither of whom truly adore one another or ever see eye-to-eye, but who form an alliance nevertheless in their individual, alternating quests for glory, money, and/or freedom. Naturally, the American(ized) lead is always the one in pursuit of a fistful of dollars within the confines of these fairly

Death Rides a Horse (1967) Blu-ray Review: Lee Van Cleef's Finest Hour

Lee Van Cleef and John Phillip Law each set out for revenge in this above-average Spaghetti Western classic, now available from Kino Lorber.
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Though it was one of several dozen Spaghetti Westerns produced just in the year of 1967 alone, Giulio Petroni's Death Rides a Horse (Da uomo a uomo; or, As Man to Man) has nevertheless managed to climb its way up through the dark and dusty trails of European westerns over the years. Boasting a memorable score by the legendary Ennio Morricone himself (both the soundtrack and film "inspired" several aspects of Quentin Tarantino's homage to just about every kind of genre movie under the desert sun, Kill Bill), the unconventional entry in the long list of Euro westerns ‒ the

Only Noirs and Horses: Four Flicks from the Warner Archive

From classic psychological thrillers to obscure westerns, these WAC releases are worth betting money on.
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In keeping with their tradition of debuting and re-issuing timeless and forgotten classics alike, the Warner Archive Collection has recently brought forth four titles from its vaults. Among this quartet is the classic psychological thriller Undercurrent, and three new-to-DVD rarities: Full Confession, which may very well be the darkest "religious" film I have ever seen; the fascinating western noir Cow Country; and ‒ branching out from the cowboy motif ‒ the long lost '50s family-friendly adventure, The Lion and the Horse. Undercurrent (1946) By and far the most recognized title in the mix, Vincente Minnelli's Undercurrent (also known as You

The Ballad of Cable Hogue Blu-ray Review: A Bland Western

For its fans, Warner Archive has created a satisfying high-definition presentation with interesting extras about the movie and its director.
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In between The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs, two films that exemplified his work as a director, Sam Peckinpah made The Ballad of Cable Hogue, a lighthearted Western that has an interesting premise about a man noticing the inevitable change of the American West. Unfortunately, it suffers from a story that takes too long to develop and characters that don't connect with the audience. Bowen (Strother Martin) and Taggart (LQ Jones) strand former partner Cable Hogue (Jason Robards) in the Arizona desert. Cable goes without water for four days, but eventually stumbles upon a water hole. Though scoffed at by

Terror in a Texas Town (1958) Blu-ray Review: Swedish Sterling Slays Slinger

One of Dalton Trumbo's last pseudonymous screenplays before the blacklist was broken, this is a stylish Western noir.
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Watching older movies, it's fun to remember sometimes how much all media is created as much by the times as it is by its creators. A lot of times, this is basically what reviewers mean when they call something 'dated' - it looks like the time it's from. Timelessness is overrated, to my mind, and highly subjective, anyway. Terror in a Texas Town, a Western that plays a little like a film noir, shows signs of being a movie that was made very much with television in the back of its mind. The opening sequence of the movie shows Sterling

Longmire: The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review: The Best Season to Date

Season Five continued the series' successful formula.
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Season Five of Longmire, which aired on Netflix, continued the successful formula of a twisting and turning season-long story arc along with intermittent original and intriguing cases for our beloved sheriff to solve. Starting off with a bang, Sherriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) is recovering in the hospital after being shot by an unknown assailant and having no memory of what transpired. After he starts to remember what happened, he realizes his love interest Donna (Ally Walker) is missing. What started out as a search for his shooter has turned into a hunt to find her and unravel the mystery

Terror in a Texas Town (1958) Blu-ray Review: The Dark Side of the West

Arrow Academy releases Joseph H. Lewis' wonderful western/film noir hybrid, which features Sterling Hayden as a Swedish sailor who brings a whaling harpoon to a gunfight.
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Though he mostly helmed B-grade crime dramas, Saturday matinee western oaters, and early entries in what would eventually become a part of The Bowery Boys legacy, director Joseph H. Lewis nevertheless made several notable contributions to the world of film noir. One such title was 1950's Gun Crazy, which writer Dalton Trumbo was forced to employ a front for due to the fact he had been blacklisted by the McCarthy Era witch hunts. Appropriately, the writer and director would pair once more in 1958 for Lewis' final theatrical film: a nifty little B-grade western film noir sporting a parallel or

The Rounders (1965) Blu-ray Review: Glenn Ford. Henry Fonda. 'Nuff Said.

The Warner Archive Collection wrangles up a classic western comedy starring two of filmdom's greatest cowboys.
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The Rounders is the sort of film that made a bigger impression on the public than anyone had anticipated. Originally released on the tail end of a double feature ‒ a spot generally reserved for movies nobody expected much from ‒ the 1965 cowboy comedy starring the unbeatable pairing of western icons Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda garnered enough attention to launch a prequel TV series starring Ron Hayes and Patrick Wayne. But whereas the television version was doomed to failure (as was just about any project starring Ron Hayes or Patrick Wayne), this adaptation of Max Evans' 1960 novel

Ride the High Country Blu-ray Review: A Captivating Western

The Blu-ray's video shines as bright as the film's two lead actors.
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Sam Peckinpah's second film, Ride the High Country, is a captivating Western about two old gunslingers who reunite for a dangerous job. With limited resources and futures, their relationship is tested, as is each man's character, along the journey. Former marshal Steven Judd (Joel McCrea) is hired by a bank to transport gold from the mining town of Coarse Gold. Six miners have been killed trying to make the trip, but he needs the work. Steve runs into his old deputy Gil Westrum (Randolph Scott), who is working as a hustler with a young man named Heck Longtree (Ron Starr),

High Noon (Olive Signature) Blu-ray Review: One is the Loneliest Number

Another impressive high-definition presentation in the Olive Signature line.
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Created during the period in United States history when the House Un-American Activities Committee was destroying lives under the pretense of protecting the country from Communism, Fred Zimmerman's High Noon is a classic tale about an individual who must stand up alone for what he believes against seemingly insurmountable odds. Its theme is applicable to many situations where the just path can leave a person isolated because of dangerous consequences. Three men ride into Hadleyville in the New Mexico Territory and head to the train station. Dimitri Tiomkin's score and the reactions of those they pass by indicate trouble is

The Valley of Gwangi / When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth Blu-ray Reviews: More Animated than Ever

The Warner Archive Collection shows off two showcases of animators Ray Harryhausen and Jim Danforth in these splendid catalog releases.
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Decades before civilized man would figure out new and inventive ways to suck the life out of that good ol' fashioned movie magic previous generations grew up looking up to, a species of gifted animators roamed the great halls of special effects studios near and far. Out of all the long-leggedy beasties, none were as revered and respected as the Hausenusharrius Rayus ‒ better known as Ray Harryhausen to us laymen ‒ whose magnificence and might effectively crowned him King of the Stop-Motion Animators. And it is with one of his tales that we begin this peek at two recent

Twilight Time Presents: Odd Men Out (and the Women Who Drive Them)

Vindictive villains, stereoscopic Stooges, speculative spouses, heroic horsemen, and illiterate inventors highlight this quartet of New-to-Blu releases.
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At one point or another, every one of us falls under the jurisdiction of being that which they once called the "odd man out." Maybe you're that unathletic movie nerd who finds himself amidst a group of people talking about sports. Or you're the jock who can't seem to communicate with all of the people talking about a popular television series you've never heard of. I'm sure you get the idea ‒ as do the various protagonists of this batch of Blu-ray releases from Twilight Time, which features a wide array of odd men who are a bit out of

Django, Prepare a Coffin (Arrow) Blu-ray Review: A Slick Spaghetti Western

Terence Hill takes over the Django role in this unofficial prequel.
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Following the success of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti western, Django, dozens of films were released that bore the name but only served as a means to capitalize from it. A lot of them had nothing to do with the character, and neither Corbucci nor the film’s original star, Franco Nero, had any involvement in the making of them. It wasn’t until 1987 that fans got an official sequel with Django Strikes Again, in which Nero reprised the role and Corbucci had a credit for being the character’s creator, but didn’t have a hand in the screenplay and didn’t return to

Django, Prepare a Coffin (1968) Blu-ray Review: Can You Dig It?

Terence Hill digs a name for himself in the only legitimate unofficial prequel to the Sergio Corbucci cult classic.
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While Sergio Leone's legendary pairings with Clint Eastwood may have injected fresh blood into the waning genre of the cinematic western, Sergio Corbucci's quasi-remake Django (1966) with Franco Nero was the first film to really draw it. Considered to be one of the most violent motion pictures ever made at the time, Django's popularity resulted in a new era of filmmaking in Europe: the bastard sequel. Soon, unofficial followups ‒ few of which had anything to do with the character ‒ were popping up in cinemas courtesy seasoned professionals trying to make a quick buck to total newbs who were

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Blu-ray Review: A Great Day for Movie Lovers

The Warner Archive Collection brings us the groundbreaking precursor to the revenge film genre in what is easily one of the most beautiful transfers of the year.
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A stranger arrives in a small town, only to discover he isn't wanted. While such a premise may have been quintessential in the storyline of every other classic oater western made in the '30s and '40s ‒ to say nothing of many a hicksploitation thriller that graced grimy screen throughout the '60s and '70s ‒ said diegesis has never been more at home than in John Sturges' 1955 Bad Day at Black Rock. Here, in a performance that would earn him a Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival that same year, the one and only Spencer Tracy portrays

Mondo Bastardo: Odds and Ends from the International World of Exploitation

From Brazilian horrors to 3D European westerns, this assortment of weird and unusual films knows its target audiences quite well.
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While the nations of the world may not agree on many points, at least our respective histories of filmmaking have proven there is at least one thing we can see eye to eye on: exploitation. Here, we bridge the gaps between Brazilian horrors and American blaxploitation, and from Italian sex flicks to Spanish westerns. It's a thoroughly jaw-dropping assortment of odds and ends, replete with nudity, sex, violence, and many other magnificent marketing gimmicks, right down to the lost art of Stereoscopic 3D. At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964) / This Night, I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967) [2017, Synapse

Binge-Worthy Collections from the Warner Archive

From forgotten comedy duos to early travelogues to matinee cowboy pictures, the WAC has just a bit of everything for classic film collectors.
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In this time where people will often sit and binge-watch an entire television series, half of the population gleefully engages in such sittings regularly, while the other half will sit and wonder why the term "binge-watch" was added to the dictionary, especially since there was already a perfectly good word selected for marathon viewings in the first place: "marathon." But no matter what side of the vernacular you're on, there truly is nothing quite like being able to sit down and get a good proper feel for a particular performer or series. Thankfully, even film history's lesser-remembered talents continue to

Wagon Tracks Blu-ray Review: Revenge on the Santa Fe Trail

Silent western icon William S. Hart rides onto Blu-ray for the first time.
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William S. Hart was one of the preeminent stars of the silent film era, well-loved for his portrayals of stoic, strong-jawed Wild West heroes. His relative obscurity today isn’t helped by a lack of representation on home video; most, if not all, extant DVD releases of his films are Alpha Video public-domain cheapies. But here comes Olive Films, riding in heroically on horseback with the first Blu-ray release of a Hart film, 1919’s Wagon Tracks, sourced from an original 35mm nitrate print from the Library of Congress. It’s a good choice. Far from an anonymous run-of-the-mill oater, Wagon Tracks is
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