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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Revenge > Rio Conchos (1964) & Take A Hard Ride (1975/Fox/Shout! Factory DVD) + A Cold Day In Hell (2011/Lionsgate DVD)

Rio Conchos (1964) & Take A Hard Ride (1975/Fox/Shout! Factory DVD) + A Cold Day In Hell (2011/Lionsgate DVD)


Picture: C+/C+/C     Sound: C+/C/C     Extras: C-/C/D     Films: C+/C+/D



And now for another look at two later Westerns back on DVD and a new one that shows how dead the genre is today.


We have not reviewed the actual film of the capable director Gordon Douglas’ Rio Conchos (1964), but we did review the Limited Edition CD soundtrack featuring one of Jerry Goldsmith’s best scores:




Since then, it and a second official CD have both sold out, proving what a great score and popular score the film has.  It has also been paired as a double feature by Fox and Shout! Factory with a film we reviewed on DVD (licensed to Anchor Bay) before along with its own Limited Edition soundtrack from Film Score Monthly that features another solid Jerry Goldsmith score, Anthony M. Dawson’s Take A Hard Ride (1975), which you can read more about here:





Both of those are out of print with the CD going for $65 and up!  The new DVD is virtually the same picture and sound transfer as the old DVD, but comes with another good film and adds new Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly on-camera interviews in the extras.  Can a Blu-ray of both be behind?


As for Conchos, it may be uneven with “Indian” stereotypes and other items (bad costume-looking costumes, other clichés) that put age on it; this Revenge Western has Richard Boone as an ex-Confederate soldier who wants to get back at the Apache tribe for killing his family and steals a repeating rifle to do it.  However, that belonged to the U.S. Army and they want it back and their own reparations.  To not go to jail, he has to get a small group (Jim Brown, Stuart Whitman, Tony Franciosa, Wende Wagner) to Mexico, only to find an insane Confederate elder (Edmond O’Brien) selling plenty of weapons to the Apaches.  A trailer is it’s only extra, though neither have the isolated music tracks they could have had.


Both are good Westerns at the end of the genre’s prime years, reflecting changes in the genre, culture and eventually in action filmmaking (which The Western was part of) that would cause the genre to die.  Any serious film fan should see both at least once.


I cannot say that of Christopher Forbes’ silly, tired A Cold Day In Hell (2011), a dumb would-be Western as desperate as its title, shot cheaply on digital video (motion-blur laced HD) with Michael Madsen once again being wasted as a U.S. Marshall infiltrating an evil organization headed by a banking head who will kill to keep his wealth and add to it.  I never bought it for a minute and it is a predictable, clichéd, badly acted bore all the way.  Stills and a feature length audio commentary with the cast and director are the only extras.


The anamorphically enhanced on the older films may have patches of softness and discoloration at times, but they still look better than the new, HD shot Hell, which is presented at 1.78 X 1 like Ride.  Conchos is a CinemaScope film presented here in its 2.35 X 1 frame.  All have Dolby Digital soundtracks, with Conchos having the best sound of the three, but Conchos and Ride (both 2.0 Mono) having sound that sometimes sounds stereo-like when the music kicks in.  Both films were monophonic theatrical releases.  That leaves Hell with location audio issues, a bad soundfield and thin recording overall in its 5.1 mix.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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