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)
C+ (Bull & Texas: C) Sound: C+ (B- on Lance/C on Ulzana) Extras: D* Films
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.
Broken Lance (1955) B- We
previously reviewed the Limited Edition CD soundtrack of this film at 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
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:
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
100 Rifles (1969) B- We
also reviewed the Limited Edition CD soundtrack of this film at this link:
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
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.
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.
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.
above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Umbrella at: