Showing posts with label western. Show all posts
Showing posts with label western. Show all posts

23 March 2015

Blu-ray Review - Man of the West (1958)

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Eureka Entertainment
Release Date:
23rd March 2015 (UK)
Rating: 12
Anthony Mann
Gary Cooper, Lee J. Cobb, Julie London
Buy: Man of the West - [Blu-ray]

Anthony Mann is considered by many to be one of the masters of American Cinema to come out of the studio age. He was one of those old time directors who had a crack at pretty much every genre under the sun, but he is best known for his historical epics and most famously his westerns. Man of the West was the second to last western he would direct, and it’s often cited as his finest along with the earlier The Furies.

Man of the West is one of the most startling westerns I’ve seen from the “classic” era of the genre. Around this time (1958) around 20% of films made were westerns -this was before the revisionist westerns of the 60s and onwards. Gary Cooper plays former outlaw Link Jones who has saved some money to help a schoolteacher, but the train he was on gets held up by outlaws. He is stuck with two others passengers and ends up finding his old uncle Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb), who he lost contact with after he attempted to go straight, and just happens to be leading the gang of outlaws who hold up the train.

Gary Cooper was as dignified an actor as you can get, he perfectly captures the conflict the role requires. Cooper also has the right level of darkness needed for the film’s sense of dread that runs through it, until the film’s final shootout, which is darker than almost any western of the classic era. Lee J. Cobb’s performance is the kind you sometimes find in westerns where you can almost just smell the liquor on them. The lounge singer Julie London also appears and for a kick check out her version of The Doors’ Light My Fire, you won’t be disappointed.

The late 50s were a period where studio films were becoming darker because of a more sophisticated audience and the initial advent of foreign language films. Man of the West came out in 1958 the same year as two of the darkest film noirs of the era, Vertigo and Touch of Evil. Film noir and the western are two of the most closely linked genres due to their similar themes of violence, masculinity etc. and that’s sometimes forgotten. Man of the West and the earlier Gary Cooper film High Noon are both films influenced by what was happening in film noir, so they have a darker bent to the proceedings. It’s also no surprise Mann, in between his famous westerns, also directed a handful of noirs as well.

Masters of Cinema's release includes a new HD transfer which looks gorgeous in all its Technicolour glory. The two features on the disc are a commentary by Glenn Kenny and Farran Nehme, and a video interview with Douglas Pye. This is finished with a booklet that includes writing by Jean-Luc Godard who was enamoured with the film saying “I have seen nothing so completely new since — why not? — Griffith… With Anthony Mann, one rediscovers the western, as one discovers arithmetic in an elementary maths class. Which is to say that Man of the West is the most intelligent of films, and at the same time the most simple.” Which is very high praise indeed.

Ian Schultz

9 January 2015

Yee-Haa! Eureka! Entertainment Giving Gary Cooper's Classic Western Man Of The West Masters Of Cinema Treatment

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Eureka! Entertainment have announced the release of MAN OF THE WEST, starring studio superstar Gary Cooper in one of his most uncompromising performances. The capstone to director Anthony Mann’s extraordinary run of westerns in the 1950s (including Winchester ’73, The Furies, Bend of the River, The Naked Spur, and more), Man of the West is regarded alongside The Searchers, Rio Bravo, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, as one of the greatest of all westerns. Man of the West will be released on Blu-ray in a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition as part of Eureka’s award-winning The Masters of Cinema Series on 23 February 2015.

Check out the original theatrical trailer sent to us courtesy of Eureka! Entertainment...

The pinnacle in the brilliant career of director Anthony Mann, Man of the West has earned a reputation as one of the finest westerns — and one of the finest films, full stop — produced in the late studio era.

Ex-outlaw Link Jones (Gary Cooper) boards a train to Fort Worth to hire a schoolteacher for his town when he’s knocked unconscious and robbed — by a gang of outlaws associated with his own uncle (Lee J. Cobb) whom he abandoned years earlier in his bid to go straight. Soon after, and in order to protect the life of the woman he’d earmarked for schoolteacher, saloon singer Billie Ellis (Julie London), Link rejoins the gang for one last hold-up…

Jean-Luc Godard wrote of Man of the West: "I have seen nothing so completely new since — why not? — Griffith… With Anthony Mann, one rediscovers the western , as one discovers arithmetic in an elementary maths class. Which is to say that Man of the West is the most intelligent of films, and at the same time the most simple." The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Man of the West in a special Dual Format edition that presents the film on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK.

Man Of The West will come on dual format in a New HD 1080p HD presentation of the film in its original aspect ratio, plus a 44-PAGE BOOKLET with writing by Jean-Luc Godard, a score of rare archival imagery, and more!

We will be reviewing the film so stayed tuned, Man of The West will be released on 23rd February on Dual Format , pre-order your copy here

24 October 2013

Red River (1948) Masters Of Cinema Blu-Ray Review

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Release Date:
28th October 2013 (UK)
Eureka! Video
Howard Hawks
Montgomery Clift, John Wayne, Joanne Dru,

Red River is one of the finest classic Hollywood westerns ever made. The jack of all genres Howard Hawks, who also directed the great western Rio Bravo, directs it. John Wayne starred in both; he probably gives his finest performance in Red River.

The film unlike many pre-60s westerns doesn’t have the racial stereotypes that populate the film of let’s say John Ford. That’s not a dig at John Ford who was a mighty fine director in his own right but Hawks was a much more sophisticated director when it came to his subject matter. Orson Welles once perfectly described the different between Hawks and Ford “Hawks is great prose; Ford is poetry". Ford’s films were more about the poetry and mythology of the west while Hawks’ films were based on the true west.

Red River is based on a news article about the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. It’s set after the end of the American civil war and the South is too poor after loosing the war. Thomas Dunson must lead a group of men including his adopted son Matthew Garth (Montgomery Clift) to move his massive herd of cattle to Missouri.

Dunson is determined to get to Missouri but he is told by many people on the way that the railroad has reach Abilene, Kansas. He instantly dismisses these claims because none of the people have actually seen the railroad. He becomes increasingly merciless in his control over the men and naturally a rebellion starts to grow.

The film is expertly told by Hawks with book passages to fill you in, it moves a very solid pace though out. Hawks after all directed one of the fastest moving films ever made His Girl Friday. The cinematography by Russell B. Harlan is outstanding with stunning point of view shots from inside the carriages. The only real flaw in photography is some of the rear projection is bit dodgy at times; it was clearly shot as pick-up after the location shootss. Harlan also shot To Kill a Mockingbird later in his career along with many films for Hawks like The Thing.

John Wayne’s performance is widely considered one of his finest if not his finest. He was never known for his great acting ability but he gives a fascinating psychological portrayal of a tyrant. The only other performance he gave that comes close would be The Searchers. Red River was only Montgomery Clift’s 2nd film role and was the one that really made him a star and it’s a great performance. Walter Brennan is great as usual; he is really the quintessential character actor of the first half of the 20th century he was literally in everything from Bride of Frankenstein, Swamp Water, Meet John Doe, To Have and Have Not and countless westerns.

The film has some hilarious gay subtext to a modern audience. It’s widely known now that Montgomery Clift was bisexual. The scene that makes the gay subtext very overt is when Cherry Valance (John Ireland) appears and is clearly eying up Matt and they have an exchange involving such lines as “Can I see your gun?” and “Would you like to see mine?” Dunson and Matt’s relationship is also rather suspect especially with the line at the end after a fight between the 2 a woman says “Everybody can see you love each other” There is also barely any women in the film and even they appear and the love interest is basically there just to verbalise the tension between Dunson and Matt.

Red River is possibly the finest western of the Golden age of Hollywood with great performance, expert storytelling, fantastic cinematography and priceless gay subtext. Masters of Cinema has done a very fine Blu-ray release even though a few more bonus features would have been nice.


Ian Schultz

3 June 2013

The Long Riders (1980) Blu Ray Review

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The Long Riders is a film by Walter Hill, who is perhaps one of the more under appreciated directors of the “New Hollywood” generation. He started out writing screenplays for Sam Peckinpah (The Getaway) and John Huston (The Machintosh Man) and eventually starting directing films starting with Hard Times. His next film was The Driver (which shared many similarities with the modern classic Drive) and the bonafide classic The Warriors. He has also been involved with the Alien franchise from the beginning. He also wanted to make a western and finally got his chance with The Long Riders and since it’s release he has many some more and he was involved with the tv show Deadwood.

The Long Riders is in a long lineage of films about Jesse-Younger Gang. There have been many better films made about Jesse James such as The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford and I Shot Jesse James. Both of those films however deal more with the difficult relationship between Jesse and his assassinator Robert Ford and because of this it’s interesting to see a film about his and his gang’s exploits. The film features real life brothers as the 4 groups of brothers… The Keaches play the James, The Carradines play the Youngers, The Quaids play the Millers and lastly The Guests play The Ford (yes…. Christopher Guest of Spinal Tap fame). This gives the film a extra authenticity other films on the subject lack and all them give very fine performances with David Carradine and Stacy Keach being the standouts.

Walter Hill has said, “Every film I've done has been a Western" and there is certainly some truth in that and he has elaborated "The Western is ultimately a stripped down moral universe that is, whatever the dramatic problems are, beyond the normal avenues of social control and social alleviation of the problem, and I like to do that even within contemporary stories.". It’s interesting to see him tackle a “real western” and his take is very much influenced to his mentor Sam Peckinpah despites his claims he wasn’t with this film. The slow motion scenes certainly recall Peckinpah’s masterpiece The Wild Bunch. It’s a very romanticized version of the west which Peckinpah dealt with often in his western but the difference is Peckinpah was much more cynical.

Overall it’s a very fine western by one of 70s/80s more underrated autuers with beautiful cinematography and very fine acting. Second Sight has released it blu-ray and marks their second release of a Walter Hill film, the first being the superior Southern Comfort. They are planning to release his later film Streets of Fire later in the year.


Ian Schultz

Rating: 15
BD Release Date: 3rd June 2013 (UK)

Buy: The Long Riders On Blu-Ray

16 December 2012

Get Ready For Django Unchained With Home Re-Release of The Original Django

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Coinciding with the theatrical release of Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”, the original and greatest Spaghetti Western of them all comes to Blu-ray, the original Django.

It was originally banned in several countries (and denied a certificate by the BBFC in the UK until 1993), but still managed to make an international star of Franco Nero and, worldwide, spawned over 50 unauthorised sequels. One of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns ever made, and without a doubt the most influential, Sergio Corbucci’s iconic masterpiece is a landmark piece of cinema revered by film critics and Western genre fans alike.

On foot and dragging a coffin behind him, a mysterious lone drifter calling himself Django (Franco Nero) arrives on the outskirts of a bleak, mud-drenched town located near the Mexico-US border. He saves the life of a prostitute, Maria (Loredana Nusciak) who is being abused, first by a group of Mexican bandits and then by a gang of racist, Ku Klux Klan-like radicals under the command of corrupt former Confederate soldier Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo). Accompanying Maria back to the town, Django discovers it consists of nothing more than a brothel serving the warring factions of Mexican outlaws and Jackson’s followers. Loyal to none, Django soon finds himself caught in the middle of the violent dispute and, armed with a devastating weapon, he is forced to defend himself against both sides. But when a chance encounter with a former acquaintance presents him with an opportunity to make some money and settle an old score, Django decides to team up with his adversaries, risking everything in a deadly plot that could end his life.

Director Sergio Corbucci (The Great Silence; Navajo Joe; Minnesota Clay), star Franco Nero (Die Hard 2; The Virgin And The Gypsy; Camelot), cinematographer Enzo Barboni (They Call Me Trinity) and Oscar-winning composer Luis Enríquez Bacalov (Il Postino).

Argent Films will be releasing Django on Blu-Ray in UK&Ireland 21st January 2013, Pre-OrderDjango [Blu-ray]

Special Features:
  • Exclusive in-depth presentation by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid And Nancy) in the style of his epoch-making Moviedrome BBC series.
  • Exclusive interview with star Franco Nero.
  • Theatrical trailers.
  • Argent Trailer Park.
  • Alternative Opening Sequence.
  • Reversible Sleeve with original Poster Artwork.

19 June 2012


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Starring Sam Sheppard, Mateo Gil's Blackthorn is now available on DVD and Blu Ray (released June 4th) but thanks to Chelsea Films we have 3 copies of the film to be won on Blu-Ray.

Mateo Gil, the Spanish filmmaker best known for his screenplays for Alejandro Amenabar offers “A fascinating imaginary sequel to the story of Butch and Sundance” (The Observer) in Blackthorn.

Sam Shepard (Brothers, The Assassin of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) delivers “a charismatic performance” (Evening Standard) and “clearly relishes one of his best cinema roles in years” (Daily Express) inn the “elegiac, beautifully shot Western” (New York Post) Blackthorn. It’s been said (but unsubstantiated) that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed in a standoff with the Bolivian military in 1908.

In Blackthorn, Cassidy (Shepard) survived, and is quietly living out his years under the name James Blackthorn in a secluded Bolivian village. Tired of his long exile from the U.S. and hoping to see his family again before he dies, Cassidy sets out on the long journey home. However, when an unexpected encounter with an ambitious young criminal (Eduardo Noriega, The Devil’s Backbone, Open Your Eyes) derails his plans, he is thrust into one last adventure, the likes of which he hasn’t experienced since his glory days with the Sundance Kid.

Co-starring Stephen Rea (Ondine, The Crying Game) and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (“The Game Of Thrones,” Kingdom Of Heaven), Blackthorn was directed by three-time Goya winner Mateo Gil and was shot on location in the breathtaking Bolivian landscape, believed to be Cassidy’s final resting place.

To win Blackthorn on Blu-Ray, please answer the following question:

Q.What was The Name of The Andrew Dominik Western Starred in ?

Send your answer , name, address, to have your email to header As ‘blackthorn’. Deadline:July 15 th, 2012 (2359hrs) . Follow us at our Facebook Page if you haven’t done it already, double entry!
Blackthorn starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Published via

Read our Review of Blackthorn
Terms and Conditions

  • This prize is non-transferable.
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  • The competition is not opened to employees, family, friends of The Peoples Movies, Cinehouse, Chelsea Films employees
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  • The Prize is to win Blackthorn on Blu Ray
  • To enter this competition you must send in your answer, name, address only, Deadline July 15th, 2012 (2359hrs)
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Blu-Ray Review: Blackthorn

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