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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Drama > Comedy > Broken Hill (2009/E1 DVD) + Deadly Shooter (1997/Vivendi DVD) + The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday (1976/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD) + Tennessee’s Partner (1955/VCI DVD)

Broken Hill (2009/E1 DVD) + Deadly Shooter (1997/Vivendi DVD) + The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday (1976/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD) + Tennessee’s Partner (1955/VCI DVD)


Picture: C/C/C+/C     Sound: C+/C/C+/C     Extras: C/D/D/C-     Features: C/C-/B-/C



PLEASE NOTE: Great Scout is an on-line only exclusive from MGM and can be purchased from Amazon.com, which you can reach through the sidebar of this side.




And now for a look at films that each represents the Western in their own way.


Though a modern Australian drama, Broken Hill (2009) is like many films from Down Under that seem like they are in the genre, though they are not which always makes the country seem like a final frontier.  This one is more like a formulaic Rocky movie with Luke Arnold (a look-alike for Timothy Hutton, who plays his father here) as a young man who wants to be in music, gets into big trouble and lands up doing community service by trying to get prisoners/criminals to make up a band.  Very melodramatic, I was bored and it is far from the best work from that country I have seen of late.


Fred Olin Ray’s Deadly Shooter (1997) is an older work with a slight following with Michael Dudikoff as a gunslinger who is not the most popular person when he arrives in a local town up to no good.  Also formulaic, it is the poorest showing here and is very boring.  For fans only, Randy Travis, William Smith and even Andrew Stevens also show up, but only diehard fans should follow.


Don Taylor’s The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday (1976) is a politically incorrect (and somewhat counterculture) comedy Western released by American International at the time late in their existence when they had some hit A-level product (including Futureworld and original Amityville Horror, both reviewed elsewhere on this site) that wanted to follow Blazing Saddles and every other trend, with some good results.


Lee Marvin (Monte Walsh) is a gunslinging legend on the run with an old “Indian” friend (Brit Oliver Reed in full wacky mode) out for revenge on some people who stole money from them a long time ago.  In the process, they land up getting shot at, bringing a hooker (Kay Lenz) with them and being chased all over the West.  I remembered some of this and though it does not always work, it has some good energy that keeps it moving and it does know how to have fun with the genre.  Sylvia Miles (Midnight Cowboy) is a Madame and Robert Culp is a corrupt politician who hates them all.  Not bad and better than most such films since.  Elizabeth Ashley and Strother Martin also star.


Finally we get a reissue of Allan Dwan’s Tennessee’s Partner (1955), an RKO Western made towards the end of the studio‘s run as a tricky gambler (John Payne) and gunslinger (Ronald Reagan) set up an uneasy relationship further tested by an attractive woman (Coleen Gray) in the middle of their own scheming.  A decent film that holds up well, it is not great, but interesting to see and for more than just Reagan as a cowboy towards the end of his career.  Rhonda Fleming plays a Madame and the film is worth seeing at least once.


The image across the four films is on the soft side with the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Hill, 1.33 X 1 on Shooter and anamorphically enhanced 2 X 1 SuperScope image on Partner all being softer than they should be, even for DVD.  We get motion blur on Hill and the color on Partner disappoints as it was originally a three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor release.  That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Scout (a DVD-R) having the best performance with good color and decent definition, though it too is not perfect.  It has the best source too, despite flaws.  All have Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound, though Hill has a Dolby 5.1 additional option that just spreads the simple stereo around and both are no better than the sound on the older Scout.


Extras are only on two of the titles with Hill having an audio commentary track and Partner adding a trailer.  Too bad Scout does not have a trailer, because I bet it was amusing.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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