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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Revenge > Professional > Political > Cowboys & Outlaws: Classic Westerns (Backlash/Broken Arrow/Broken Lance/Bull Of The West/Forty Guns/Great Northfield Minnesota Raid/Man Without A Star/Texas Across The River/Ulzana’s Raid/Umbrella Ent

Cowboys & Outlaws: Classic Westerns (Backlash/Broken Arrow/Broken Lance/Bull Of The West/Forty Guns/Great Northfield Minnesota Raid/Man Without A Star/Texas Across The River/Ulzana’s Raid/Umbrella Entertainment/PAL Region 4/Four DVD Import Set)


Picture: C+ (Bull & Texas: C)     Sound: C+ (B- on Lance/C on Ulzana)     Extras: D*     Films after notice…



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL format software (though some discs are PAL Region Free) and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Backlash (1956)  B   John Sturges’ Revenge Western pairs Richard Widmark with an unusually aggressive Donna Reed in this tale of backstabbing and betrayal as our hero looks for survivors from the Apache ambush that killed his father.  The Indians are Old Hollywood, but the film is not bad.  John McIntire, Harry Morgan and Edward Platt also star in this Universal film.



Broken Arrow (1950)  B  We previously reviewed this in its U.S. version here:




Broken Lance (1955)  B-  We previously reviewed the Limited Edition CD soundtrack of this film at this link:



This CinemaScope film was in black and white, featured Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark and an up and coming Robert Wagner winning an Oscar for its script.  It is a first rate production worth revisiting.



Bull Of The West (1971)  C  This is an artificial telefilm cutting together to later episodes of The Virginian with Charles Bronson.  As usual, the transfers are old, grainy and not as good as actual episodes, which you can read more about in our coverage of the First Season on DVD at this link:




Lee J. Cobb, Brian Keith and George Kennedy also star.



Forty Guns (1957)  B-  Sam Fuller made this Western for Fox in CinemaScope with a tough Barbara Stanwyck taking on the West and the male cast, including Barry Sullivan, John Ericson, Gene Barry and Dean Jagger.  A solid entry into the genre worth seeing again.



Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972)  B-  The newest and edgiest of the Westerns in this set, Universal released this Professional Western directed by Philip Kaufmann about how Jesse James (Robert Duvall at his coldest) and Cole Younger (Cliff Robertson in his glory) teamed up for a big money heist and how it worked out.  A breakthrough film for Kaufmann, his script is well written and the cast also includes R.G. Armstrong, Dana Elcar, Donald Moffat, Royal Dano and Elisha Cook, Jr.



Man Without A Star (1955)  B-  King Vidor helmed this Kirk Douglas Revenge Western as a cowboy trying to find a future and finding trouble instead.  Done with some comedy, this is not bad and shows what a star Douglas was in his time.  Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor and Richard Boone lead the cast in this underrated film.



100 Rifles (1969)  B-  We also reviewed the Limited Edition CD soundtrack of this film at this link:



Fox wanted in on the Spaghetti Western look and came up with this very good Revenge Western (with some slight comedy) that got chemistry out of its cast that includes Jim Brown, Raquel Welch, Burt Reynolds on his way to superstardom, Dan O’Herlihy, Fernando Lamas and Eric Braeden.  Another good film worth revisiting and Jerry Goldsmith’s score only helps matters.



Texas Across The River (1966)  C+  This Western Comedy with some action awkwardly paired Dean Martin and Alain Delon around the time Martin began playing Matt helm for Columbia.  This Universal production is mixed and has not aged well, despite the support of cast members Peter Graves, Andrew Prine, Michael Ansara, Linden Chiles and the ever-present Joey Bishop.  A Techniscope curio at best, you can see for yourself if you like it.



Ulzana’s Raid (1972)  B-  The great and gutsy Robert Aldrich directed this allegory about Vietnam with the great Burt Lancaster as a man caught in the middle of madness between the expanding U.S. Government and the Apaches not ready to give up their land any time soon, especially under the leadership the great warrior Ulzana (Joaquin Martinez).  Now Aldrich’s best, but it has its moments and was a moderate hit for Universal.



The picture quality on each is good, except for lame TV print of Bull and color-poor, grainy, mis-framed image on Texas.  All are anamorphically enhanced, except Bull, Arrow (practically the same transfer as the U.S. DVD) and Star, and are otherwise scope-frame 2.35 X 1 film save Backlash (2.20 X 1 flat widescreen), Northfield, Rifles and Ulzana (roughly 1.85 X 1 in all cases).  The sound in most cases is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, Arrow has been bumped up to 2.0 Dolby Stereo, Guns is also that way since it was four-track magnetic stereo originally and Lance has a 3.1 Dolby Digital mix intended to equal the four-track magnetic stereo of the original 35mm prints.


*There are no extras, save a trailer at the end of Arrow, Backlash and Northfield if you wait long enough when the film is finished, while Forty Guns is the only one of the ten DVDs to allow you to access its trailer and a few others of title from Umbrella.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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